Boardgames - What have you played recently?

Last couple of weeks we played several games of First Martians by Portal Games:

Overall, a more complex version of Robinson Crusoe by the same designer. Although I like the game, it is a bit 'style over substance', and although using an app is a nice touch, { it hides the future events from you -(as opposed to them being on the foot of each card}, it does seem to be overly complicated. I think I prefer the original.

So, sticking with Ignacy and Portal Games, at the weekend, we had a go of the first part of The Detective, which I had bought on pre-order. After seeing it demoed by the designer at Games Expo, and the hype surrounding it post Expo, Origins and GenCon I was getting some geek froth on. It is sort of like an advanced version of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, from which it has clearly derived from the basics of that game.

Very clever game, is takes SH further , in that you have character professions with their own unique abilities. You have to plan out each working day for the investigative team, who have their own Antares Police Dept website. We assembled our team of investigators and got to it: some 4 hours later and we filled out our final report (online) thinking we had done rather well, and had uncovered a nefarious plot. The questions asked at the end were a bit perplexing, as we were soooo convinced we knew what was going on. Clearly we didn't, and a score of 14/40 with a 'could do better' rating gave us the arse kicking we deserved, We had clearly dived down several rabbit holes looking into minutiae, and not focused enough on solving the actual case! We decided not to save our progress, and come back again with a repeat attempt! Great game :)
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Saturday just past two of us got together and ended up playing:

- Mage Knight. Very good game and excellent solo game too. We played the introductory "First Reconnassance" as I hadn't played for while and the other player hadn't played it before.

- Vast. Asymmetric cave exploration (Knight wants to kill dragon, Goblins want to kill knight, Dragon wants to awaken and escape the cave, Cave wants to collapse and crush everyone, Thief just wants to get in and steal the treasure). We played Knight vs Goblins. Knight managed to escape just as the cave was starting to contract. There are also extra protoganists available, the Ghoul, Unicorn and Ghost, plus a KS that's just ended for a mysterious manor that will include Paladin, Skeletons, Spider, Manor, Enchanter

- Everdell. A really nicely done worker placement/tableau builder with woodland animals trying to build a new town using wood, resin, stone and berries as resources. Comes with it's own tree...(which is completely unnecessary but looks nice!)


Rune Priest
I should have done a write-up for Grad Pad from 2 weeks back. (I blame it on the commuting again...a tendency to fall asleep on the sofa of an evening,)

Anyway, after our usual late arrival (both of us had errands to run in town before going out), we didn't get time to play a game before lunch, but did get some games in after lunch:

Tsuro of the Seas: a Tsuro variant with added dragons that eat the 'board', other dragons and players... It was interesting, but I think it ratchets up the luck element in the game too much. You spent 2 or 3 turns setting things up, and your whole strategy is in tatters because a dragon has moved exactly where you don't want it to go.

I then went out shopping, and Paul played Azul for the first time (we both played later on as well). Paul then played 7 Wonders.

After I got back, we had tea and played the second game of Azul (my first game). Rather abstract; you're placing coloured tokens on a grid, scoring for completed rows and columns (but completing a row ends the game), and also adding tokens to expand the number in a contiguous area. The twist is that when selecting tokens, you can only take one colour at a time, and place them on the board - but you can only place a single colour on each row and you only move it to the scoring area when you complete the row (1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 pre-scoring rows). I didn't do terribly well; I failed to grasp you should be expanding a single contiguous area not starting several areas. As a result, I didn't start getting good scores until late in the game but I did manage to complete a row.

We then played Hanging Gardens - tile-laying with a Babylonian theme, and then MOsAiXs: basically Os & Xs & As. A fun little game. As we needed to go to Asda on the way home (they shut at 8) we then pushed off.
Azul is pretty good - I'd like to try Sagrada which is similar and also has good reviews.

Space Base I may have mentioned before - it's become our most played game recently, and with 5 we know it well enough to do it in an hour.


Rune Priest
Went to the GradPad monthly games meet earlier this month. I didn't play much (we were later than usual as I had to go into Huntingdon for a couple of bank appointments in the morning and needed to run errands in Cambridge as well), but I did make a game of Forbidden Sky, the latest in the Forbidden series. It's got some really neat components - you're trying to build up the launch pad and power up the rocket to escape a floating station in the skies of a storm world all without being fried by lightning strikes or blown off the platform.

It's lethal - we did a 4-player on the easiest setting and only lasted 2-3 rounds before someone got fried. The game owner has played multiple times and has never won. Although superficially the same as Desert and Island, the tactics seem completely different.

Also played Bohnanza, Agricola (Paul) and some other fillers which haven't stuck in my mind.
In recent weeks


Just got a copy of City of Kings I hope to try soon

Waiting on Cthulhu Wars Onslaught 3 and also The Gods War to turn up...

Had a solid read through Pax Emancipation but not tried it yet (usually more than 3 of us)


Staff member
The kids are really hooked on Star Wars Carcassonne. It plays well, and the youngest enjoyed the fact that he really gets it and thrashes his dad and eldest brother in every game that we have played.


Rune Priest
Not a lot recently. We went to GradPad last Saturday and Paul played Outpost (a good game but far too mathematical for my tastes) while I went into town to do some shopping. When I got back we played a couple of tile-laying games before heading out early due weather conditions and needing to do our weekly shop.

Carcassonne: Hunters & Gatherers
A Carcassonne variant set in the Stone Age. Instead of cities, you have forests for your gatherers, instead of roads, you have rivers which can be fished, instead of farms, you have plains with animals to be hunted. There's a neat twist - some forest tiles have gold nuggets; if you complete a forest containing a nugget, you get to take an extra turn using a bonus tile even if you don't own the forest or have any meeples in it. The bonus tiles contain extra animals and fish, mushrooms (similar to flags), and the hunting shrine and the forest fire. The latter scares off tigers - which otherwise eat the deer in your hunting areas (other animals - aurochs and mammoths are too big for the tigers to take on), and the hunting shrine allows you to win a hunting area even if you are in the minority.

A semi-abstract game based on placing lantern tiles in a lake (the Lantern Festival). Here you are collecting sets of cards to turn in to collect VPs. The twist is that when you place a tile, if you match one or more edges, you get a card of that colour, plus you get a card of the colour that faces you. If the card you adjoin has a platform, you also get a favour token, 2 of which can be used to switch one of your colour cards for one of a different colour. The twist is that when you place a card, you are also giving each opponent a card of the colour that faces them; so you do need to keep an eye on what your opponents are collecting.

Sadly, on Monday we heard that one of the regulars had entered a hospice. He's been suffering with cancer for a few years, and took a marked turn for the worse over Christmas. We're now waiting to hear about the funeral arrangements.
Interesting, I got the full monty from KS, opened it up, started reading the rules, and thought 'Whoooa! this looks great but looks a nightmare to teach someone!'

How did you manage? Any tips?
We have found that there are various ways to win. It looks overwhelming at first with all the bits and coolness. It took us a few turns to get into the swing of it.

There is various ways to win the game. One strategy is not an auto win. I have won with just making Herbivores and other times people have won with Carnivores. A tip would be do not neglect Park Rides and Vendors. Your money does run out quickly and before you know it you do not have the cash for upgrade,
Weekend just gone (22 Feb - 24 Feb) we played:

City of Kings (Stories 1 & 2)
Space Base
Evil High Priest (Cthulhu board)
Legendary Encounters: Predator
Forbidden Lands (RPG)

+consumed a Vindail on Friday, several large pizzas on Saturday, and some mighty breakfasts. Plus a decent amount of beer.
EtDS is quite hard to win...have you seen the expansion stuff they did recently?
So what's the 'trick'? With two players it seems almost impossible to recoup enough health points through resting to face the Boss at the end.
Got the base game through their Kickstarter for the expansions. Didn't get any of the expansions though, that said my finger keeps hovering over the first one... Worth it?