Not everybody thinks the same about our lovely hobby. Actually, I think a burglar would be quite surprised and disappointed to find mostly board games in a house. 😉 To most people board games are just games and they have no idea of their value, let alone that they are familiar with how board games have evolved.

 

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We’ve played some great games last week, and that did make us realize how incredibly interesting and varied games have become. We played Brew, the latest release of Pandasaurus Games, and this worker dice-placement game is packed with mechanics in such a lovely theme. Players brew potions by collecting ingredients, which they can use in a relentless area control part of the game on the forest cards. And there are adorable creatures that can help you make impressive combos throughout the game.

We also played Fort by Leder Games with the Cats & Dogs expansion (which is available for pre-order if you’re interested) and this really is another super interesting take on deck-building games. The theme is awesomely interwoven with the gameplay, making it a really witty and joyful game. The expansion really just adds to that wittiness by adding cats and dogs. We really like that they are both optional modules with you can add to your game.

And we played Merv by Osprey Games, a real stunner on the table and fun but brain-intensive euro game. Players only have twelve turns during a game and there are a lot of ways to score points, so it’s quite intense to play it. On the other hand, you also know you can’t do it all and if you accept that – it’s probably less intense. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to play it with other players yet so we still have to experience the more “aggressive” version of the game in which a lot of your actions will be blocked by other players. With just two players there is an AI player, which works well, but I can imagine the experience is very different with more players.

This week, we’ve got a game of Gloomhaven planned, we’re finally taking on the “Headless Horseman” scenario which we epically failed with a previous party, but we think we might have a chance of beating him this time. Other than that, we’ve got nothing planned, so we might continue our Lost Ruins of Arnak solo campaign and play whatever game we feel like!

What’s your most prized board game possession?

Cats know exactly where the sweet spot is on a table. The point of interest, the zero-zero-zero point. And in our case, especially Starbuck will like to let us know that she definitely deserves more attention than some silly cardboard on the table. Luckily she never really completely reset/sabotaged any of our games, not even dexterity games like Megacity Oceania or Junk Art, so we’re counting our blessings. 😉

 

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Last week Heinze picked something up at our local game store and came across something wonderful: little baggies for the buildings in Tiny Towns! We really enjoy Tiny Towns, but we do find the setup a little bit fiddly with all the plastic bags with the buildings and the different resource cubes. This makes the setup a lot quicker and it also looks really nice on the table. That surely was a no-brainer purchase for us. These were released in retail in The Netherlands by the Dutch retailer, but we also spotted them in the BGG store if you’re interested.

We also played our third game of Pandemic Legacy Season 0 and… we won! But again, barely. We adapted our tactics and that certainly helped a lot, but the cards weren’t stacked in our favor. We do, however, feel like we can start the campaign now after a few practice games. Looking forward to creating some cool characters in the next session.

And yesterday we’ve played a game of Terra Mystica! It had been four years since the last time we played the game, so we were a little rusty on the rules. It’s still a great game, but it did take us over five hours with five players. That’s a little longer than I prefer games to be or that we remembered it took last time. Although to be fair, it might not have been the game’s fault since one of the players was dealing with a serious case of analysis paralysis.

This coming week we’ve got a game of Gloomhaven scheduled and that’s it! So it’s still a surprise what we’ll get to the table, although we’ve been talking about Merv quite a lot lately, so that’s probably going to be one of them and I’m looking forward to it!

Did a pet ever ruin any of your games?

We often hear of people that rent a nice cabin somewhere to mostly play board games all day and I’ve always found this fascinating. I associate holidays with hiking, exploring and, when abroad, learning about foreign cultures. Then again, if you have little time to play board games at home or if the home situation is too distracting, then it seems like a logical thing to do. To be really honest, we haven’t been on vacation abroad in quite a few years and it’s definitely something we should do again once the worldwide situation allows for it. One of the things we love to do when we’re visiting an unknown city is checking out the local game stores, it’s fun to see the different styles of shops and what games are being sold.

 

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We haven’t been playing as many games last week as we had hoped, but there were some fun ones! We solved the hardest scenario of Chronicles of Crime: 1900 and we really enjoyed that! We almost completed it perfectly. This version of Chronicles of Crime adds some escape-room-like puzzles to the game and they are a fun addition and nicely weaved into the story. We might like this version of the series the best so far. We’ve also played our second game of Pandemic Legacy Season 0. It finally clicked in our heads halfway through the game that we had to use the vans more. We won, but we’re still going to play another “practice” game before we actually begin the campaign. We also played three practice games with season 2 and that really helped us to prevent some silly mistakes during the game.

There also was more Gloomhaven! I’m playing the ultimate support character right now. I basically only influence the enemies and put curses into their attack deck and I just keep boosting the two other party members. It’s fun, but the character does feel slightly overpowered or just makes it feel too easy since the enemies almost never get to hit us with the number of curses that are in their deck. Another big box game we played this weekend was Mansions of Madness, which has been quite a while since we had time for that! And a game of Jaipur, you can never go wrong with that!

Do you play a lot of games when you’re on vacation?

We’re aware that in parts of the world, like in India, Covid is still raging and what’s unfolding there is devastating. Beneeta Kaur and AnnaMaria Jackson-Phelps have done an amazing job on running a Twitch stream raising money for Covid Relief in India, raising over 17.000 dollars. We’re so impressed by their hard work and everybody who has participated and contributed to this amazing result! If you want to donate to India’s covid relief, you can do so here: https://gnfa.breezechms.com/give/online.

 

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On the other hand, vaccines are slowly being administered all around the world and for a lot of people, that means that game nights can be a thing again! But it’s been quite a long time since we’ve had these strange social gatherings with groups and games and so we thought it would be good to remind people of some things that are different from playing games with each other digitally. 😉

It’s going to take a little while longer for us before we can have gaming days and nights with gaming groups again, be we simply can’t wait to play and share amazing new games with our friends. And… continue our game of The King’s Dilemma that has lain dormant since February last year! :’) Here in The Netherlands, they’re expecting that most people will have been vaccinated somewhere in August, so we’ll just have to be patient a little longer.

Last week, we haven’t played a lot of games. We were kinda obsessed with the TV series American Gods which was very interesting since Heinze has read the book and I haven’t – so it’s a different experience for the both of us. We’ve just finished the first season and enjoyed it a lot.

This weekend, we did play two new things! First was a Dutch escape room game called “Het Boekanier Dossier” and that was fun. We did apparently missed/skipped quite a few puzzles but still came to the right conclusion to the story. Whoops!

And we played the preview copy we received of the expansion Tall Tales for Ruthless. We think that Ruthless is one of the better deckbuilding games out there but few people know about it. The expansion comes with six modules that you can mix up with the base game and we’ve played with about half of them now. You can read our first impression on our Instagram page. The expansion will be on Kickstarter, you can sign up on this website if you’d like to be notified when it launches.

What else should people keep in mind when gaming with other people IRL again?

 

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Games can make you a certain way. When we’re playing a game of Lost Ruins of Arnak, we feel like cool adventurers, exploring and finding treasure. When we’re playing games like Hive and Onitama, we feel cool and calculated. But… when playing heavy economic games like Food Chain Magnate, for example, we both often have no clue what we’re doing. We don’t play them very often, that certainly helps. 😉

Speaking of games we do understand, Villagers! Sinister Fish was kind enough to have us on as guests playing Villagers, with the upcoming Shifting Seasons expansion, live on their awShux stream! We played together with Dave, the owner of Sinister Fish and Haakon, the designer and Rachel won! While we hope we get to play with Dave and Haakon at a con someday it’s also nice to know Rachel has a 100% win rate playing Villagers against the designer of the game. Click here to watch it!

Other than that we have completed the It’s A Wonderful World War or Peace campaign which was fun and we’re looking forward to trying the Leisure and Decadence campaign when it comes out in retail. Or… if we can’t wait, we’ll order it from La Boîte De Jeu’s website. 🙂 We also tried Mandala Stones which is a nice abstract game but we’re going to try it a few times more to see if it is a classic or just a fun game. It does look incredibly pretty so if you like pretty games with few rules but hard decisions, you should check it out.

And in non-gaming news, since we haven’t been able to go bouldering for over four months now and the weather is starting to get better, we’ve started slacklining! We’re still not really good at it, but it’s a ton of fun. Have any of you ever done this? And we’ve found a freely accessible outside boulder wall on the grounds of our local university and that certainly was a highlight for us this past week.

This week, if everything goes right, we’ll get an advance copy of the upcoming Ruthless expansion which has got us excited. We always thought the pirate themed deck builder does some fun and different things which makes it unique, so it will be cool to see what designer and illustrator Roland has done to make his game even better. We’ll let you know!

What game makes you feel like a bumbling child?

 

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It’s like MicroMacro: Crime City has a bit of buzz going on since Spiel! Pegasus did a cool viral marketing thing by sending parts of the map as a postcard to different board game personalities and now that it’s out in several countries a lot of people seem to be enjoying it.

We got it last week as part of our going project to support our local game store during these hard times (at least that is the excuse we’re using 🙂 ) and we’ve played the first eight cases so far. We definitely recommend playing it on the “expert” mode as we think the first cases are very easy. By only looking at the first card of the case it feels more like actual detective work and not like an eye exam trying to spot the requested part of the map. It is an enjoyable experience, though, and we expect our friends to get a kick out of it once we’re done with it. The game doesn’t really have any rules that you’ll have to learn or things the can ruin the experience so if you want to show people how different and interesting games can be, this is probably one to try! Our only critique is that we find the price a little steep if you compare it to, for example, Chronicles of Crime which will provide you with many more hours of detective work. But we have the hardest cases still in front of us, so maybe the game will surprise us just yet.

Do like like mystery/deduction games? Which one is your favorite?

 

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We have to admit, that ever since we’ve got Ticket to Ride: Amsterdam it’s been the only version of Ticket to Ride we’ve been playing. It’s simple, competitive (when playing with three or more players) and it takes about fifteen minutes to play and gives you the TTR experience. We think it’s a perfect game to start or end a game night with, although we’ve also had the situation that we ended up playing the game five times in a row on one evening.

We don’t own a ton of Ticket to Ride games, besides the smaller Amsterdam version, we have the USA version with the 1910 ticket expansion and we have two of the map packs, India and the United Kingdom one. But that’s enough Ticket to Ride for us, with a lot of other games on the shelves. 😉

Last week we’ve played some new things! First of all, we started our It’s a Wonderful World: War or Peace campaign and we’re curious how the storyline will develop in the following games! We’ll get back to that after we’ve played a few more games.

And we’ve received a copy of My City and Bonfire, thanks to 999Games! We’ve played the first chapter of My City and that’s been a relaxing experience! It’s a nice puzzly game you can easily play during lunch. So far. We don’t know what’s going to be added in the upcoming games of course. 😉 We also played our first game of Bonfire and that was quite the opposite! The complexity reminded us of how daunting Great Western Trail was to play for the first time but we also know that GWT is not that hard the second or third time you play it. We did enjoy the first game but think we’ll have more fun with the following games. 😀

What Ticket to Ride titles are in your collection?

 

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Ahh, the eternal question… what game(s) would you take to a desert island? My personal opinion diverts from that of my comic’s character. I think most people would go for a gigantic game like Gloomhaven because the more content the better? Somehow I also see the charm in taking a compact game that can be played on basically any surface, unaffected by weather elements like the game Hive. Then again, the option of having a solo-option might also be handy…! Preferably, I’d just skip the desert island. 😉

Last week we reached a new milestone on Instagram, 14k followers! That is a lot of people if you think about it, even more people than that live in the city I grew up in. Crazy! But honestly, even though we are sometimes frustrated by the platform’s algorithms, we’re enjoying sharing our board gaming adventures there and love the lively community.

We also got a surprise in the mail that we’re really hyped about: we got the expansion and campaign for It’s a Wonderful World, a game we both really love. The campaign (War or Peace) will have to wait a little longer since we don’t want to play that with just the two of us but we can’t wait to play more games with the Corruption & Ascension expansion. The expansion dials the game up to eleven with more extreme and advanced cards, making the engine building even more fun.

Game-wise it has been a varied week! Obviously, we’ve played It’s a Wonderful World, but also a second session of Escape Tales: Children of Wyrmwoods. We’re not completely sure what we think about the game. Sometimes it’s really creative and original, but other times it can feel slightly sloppy. We came across one puzzle that we had the correct answer to, but it wasn’t according to the app. Luckily, you don’t get any penalties for when this happens, but it did throw us off a little. However, we do have the feeling that the story is about to get interesting, so we definitely are going to finish the game since there is still a lot of content that might surprise us.

We also played Megacity Oceania, The King is Dead, Umbra Via, Netrunner, and a game of Cubitos last night! We can only conclude: geez, there are a lot of good games out in the world.

What would be your desert island game?

 

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I’m going to have to keep this week’s blog post short because time is my nemesis… a shared nemesis with many other people I think. 😉

This comic is based on a tweet by Calvin Wong Tze Loon because, well, he was totally talking about us! Whenever we see a picture with game boxes in there, we always try to spot what games they are! This is also a lovely thing to do when video conferencing if you’re chatting with people that are into board games.

Last week was a very diverse week! We finally managed to buy a copy of Wildlands Ancients, the big expansion for Wildlands. One of the things it adds to the game is a co-op mode in which we’re really interested! We’ve only played it once and it was hard! We’re curious whether that was due to the combination of ancients we were using or if it’s just always that much of a challenge. We’ll see in future plays! We played a game of Wingspan, which is always relaxing, some Ticket To Ride: Amsterdam, Village Green, and Mandala, which are all highly recommended shorter games.

And… we played Netrunner! Yes, that’s right: NETRUNNER! Project Nisei has sparked our old love for Netrunner and we decided to build some (new) starter decks and just play it again. The last time we had played it, was back in 2017… gasp! The people behind Project Nisei are about to release a new starter pack for people who want to play Netrunner but can’t because the game is no longer in print. We’re so excited that the community behind Netrunner is still thriving – if you’re interested and would like to play a game, you can play it for free on Jinteki.net. 🙂

We participated in PinkAndGeek’s challenge and a real highlight was joining Bez her Friday stream! Bez is such a lovely person and we can’t wait to be back in their stream one day! If you’d like to see us chat away with Bez and her fun audience, check out last week’s Friendly Friday Forum episode!

Do you always need to check out what games there are in the background?
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