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  • List : Courtney's games of 2015

    List : Courtney's games of 2015

    Since we’re still discovering a ton of older games, we’re continuing with our tradition of highlighting our top 10 games we played for the first time this year [some new, some not].

    As Drew mentioned yesterday, we played a lot of games for the first time this year, I beat him with 65 new titles!

    Trekking the National Parks

    I’ve gone on enough about this game this year. Check out our profile from a few weeks ago. It just hit all the right notes for me when I played it at GenCon and it became a game I wanted to share with everyone.

    Great Dinosaur Rush

    I’m really glad I got a chance to play this at GenCon this year, and we backed it on the first day of the campaign. It brings two of my passions, board games and natural history/science, together in a way that is creative, engaging and a little educational. 

    Eminent Domain

    Fact: I love deckbuilding games. I hadn’t actually heard of Eminent Domain, but Drew had been curious about it, and Tasty Minstrel were kind enough to send us a copy. I was hooked! The limited card pool, ability to take actions on other people’s turns, and the mechanism of planetary exploration really set it apart from other deck builders and make it stand out.

    Harbour

    Worker placement games are my other bread and butter, and this game brings a lot of substance to the table for such a small box. After a short demo at GenCon, we were sold and picking up a copy on the spot. The theme of a goblin-run port is fun [the custom meeples are an added bonus] and the ever changing economics of selling goods makes things challenging.

    Landed

    A tile laying, zone control game by local publisher Argyle, hitting Kickstarter soon! It’s easy to introduce to new gamers, but has enough complexity and strategy built in to be interesting for more experienced players as well. We’ll be bringing this out to more pop-up events the next couple months, so be sure to drop by and check it out!

    Teen Titans

    The DC Deckbuilding game is what made the genre click for me. This newest installment, based around the Teen Titans brings some new strategy and game play style to the franchise by focusing on having cards in play that either help over multiple turns, can help boost other cards, or can be sacrificed on a later turn.

    One Hit Kill

    Someone brought this out to one of our pop-ups recently and I was instantly taken with it. It’s a quick play game where each player is trying to collect cards to complete the requirements of “building” their super weapon. Which may or may not be a cuddly bunny. Best super weapon ever?

    Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn

    Ashes is a BEAUTIFUL combat-y card game with some interesting features. Dice serve as your energy source to play cards from your hand, and you choose your starting hand?! Crazy right?

    Lanterns

    This is another game that someone brought out to an event that I was instantly taken with. It’s a beautiful tile laying, set collection game where each person is competing to make the best lantern display on the palace lake.

    Raiders of the North Sea

    Have I mentioned I like worker placement games? Raiders has an interesting “place one, take one” aspect to it, which allows for 2 actions per turn. The art is dynamic and really sets the scene.

    Honorary mention, I got to play about half a game at GenCon at their table, and I enjoyed it enough that I’m still thinking about it.

    The New Science

  • Review : AquaSphere

    Review : AquaSphere

    AquaSphere is a game of researchers doing science in their deep sea lab by programming robots to carry out tasks. That probably sounds like a lot, which is part of AquaSphere’s “thing,” the game seems pretty complex but is actually surprisingly easy to grasp once you figure it out. The first thing you’ll notice about the game is that the board is really colorful and seems pretty intricate. What is important to know though is that the board is broken down into six almost identical sections and once you understand how one of these sections works you will be able to understand them all.

    Most games generally require you to plan ahead and AquaSphere is no exception. What makes the game stand out though is that it kind of points you in the right direction and tells you what to expect in a very subtle way. Players need to program a robot ahead of time and specialize it for one of seven particular tasks including: gathering octopods, expanding your lab or acquiring a research card, etc. It takes place in a series of four rounds, the first usually being the longest as everyone learns the game, and players are told ahead of time what will be added to the board in the following round. Many parts of the initial setup are partially randomized in a way that you will get a slightly different experience each time, which is nice if you’re playing with a bunch of experienced gamers because this will help even the playing field somewhat.

    Recommended for: People who’ve already played a worker placement game like Lords of Waterdeep or Agricola. While they are very different from AquaSphere, understanding those types of mechanics will go towards laying the foundation to understanding and appreciating what this great game has to offer.

    What Drew likes most about the game: The game works really well in some very subtle ways, once the game starts going it plays very smoothly and quickly. The scoring track puts some hurdles in your way which require players to diversify their actions. Being able to build up your laboratory and specialize it how you like is extremely cool and fits the modular feel of the game perfectly. Finally, there are a number of goals to work towards all of which reward you if you are able to reach them.

    Bonus points for: Modular setup & gameplay… ALWAYS bonus points for modular games!