April 2020 Game Play Journal
We have been going strong on the stay-at-home order in Illinois. So I have been taking this time to play a few games I own that don’t get as much love as they deserve. Jessa and I have been playing a decent variety of games which has been great! I have also done a little gaming online through Tabletopia and apps on my iPhone. Plus, plenty of online playtests of games in early development. I normally don’t review any games that are not published because they tend to change a lot through playtesting. April was a fun month of a few new games but mostly refreshing my memory on older games. Plus, having my butt whooped by Jessa in probably 75% of the games in April.
April 5, 2020
Potion Explosion is a fun game where players take marbles that represent ingredients used to form potions. When marbles are drawn they create explosions when the same color marbles knock into each other. Which allows you to draw extra marbles. I personally love this game and think it’s a great casual game that kids can even enjoy. The only issue is there is no catch up mechanism. Since you get bonuses for completing potions the player that’s ahead will have more bonuses to propel their win much farther which can put off new players. This can also make it hard if you’re playing with your younger kids. You’ll most likely have to give them a bit of a head start.
I already reviewed this game in January when Joe and I played Funkoverse using just the Batman characters so I want to focus on the Golden Girls expansion. Jessa played as Rose and Blanche versus me as Harley Quinn and Batgirl. This time we chose to play with two characters on each side instead of three since Jessa was just learning the game. We both ended up being pretty evenly matched since I had played before and Jessa had Rose and Blanche’s character abilities. I’ll start by saying the Golden Girl’s powers are crazy good. Much better than the Bat family. They both have a great defense by removing the opposing player’s attack dice or by hitting a player that attacks them back. If Jessa had played the game before I have no doubt she would have beaten me. For any players who have the Golden Girls expansion split up those characters. They are way too powerful together.
Santorini is still one of my favorite games to play with two players but I have had the Golden Fleece expansion sitting in my room for two years on my shelf of shame. I finally decided to open it! The Golden Fleece Expansion comes with new character cards that are either new gods or demigods. Some of these cards also have a golden fleece symbol that allows you to use the golden fleece figurine. This figurine allows any player around the statue to be given the power of the god card selected at the beginning of the game. This power works while your builder is around the figurine. The demigod cards are cool because they are one-off powers. One issue some people have with the game is thinking they have a useless godpower when their opponent has a really good one that they abuse to win the game. With the demi-gods you get to use the power only one time so you need to make it count. I think the expansion is fun and worth it if you’re someone who has over played all the original god cards. If you play Santorini a few times a year the expansion probably isn’t worth it.
April 9, 2020
We gave Disney Villainous a shot online using Google Hangouts and besides it taking a little longer to play the game it worked really well. I wrote a review on Disney Villainous in March but we played different characters and in person. Since this game you only really deal with your own character’s realm and cards plus power tokens you can play this game with anyone who owns their own copy of the game. Our friend Adam owns all the expansions of the game so he was able to check the rules on the characters we were playing which really helped with the game. When players had to choose from two fate cards to play we just showed the cards in the video camera and described the card’s ability. I think this game is a great option for people who already own the game and want to play something on skype/zoom/facetime/etc with friends while in quarantine.
April 11, 2020
I got this game for free a few years back and it seemed cute with the characters all on a cruise with pickpocketers and wallets. In the game you lay out a grid of passenger tiles and add wallets on top of them all, plus a few targets. Each player is given a secret role and you can work to try and expose the other player or steal a certain amount of wallets to win. It was a fast game but honestly not very fun with two players. Jessa and I just took turns trying to expose each other. I would love to try this game again at a higher player count to see if I like it.
Point Salad - 2-player
(See previous blog posts for thoughts on this game.)
Trellis - 2-player
(See previous blog posts for thoughts on this game.)
This game has been appearing all over the gaming facebook groups as an easy one to play over video with friends and family so we decided to play it again. The game is simple. You roll dice, flip three cards with areas of the United States on them and then fill in numbers to try and make your band go on the longest tour of ascending numbers going through neighboring states. The boards are beautiful, the game is relatively quick and what you do doesn’t affect your neighbor so any number of players can play this game competing for the highest score. I want to give it a try sometime with friends online to see how it goes. Overall if you’re a fan of this type of game it’s a great purchase.
April 12, 2020
I think this game is cool with the limited communication and programmable actions of having a cat on a roomba clean dust bunnies as well as the other characters. Sadly, every time I play no one wants to play past the first scenario. So, I think this is a try before you buy game because even though I want to play it no one else in my life seems to be interested.
April 14, 2020
I got a chance to play this game on Tabletopia which was a blast. Even though the game is meant to be played with a two story tower and see-through spaces it was still fun to play online with people I didn’t know. I backed this game on Kickstarter and it’s based on Holi, the festival of colors. In the game you are throwing paint trying to hit other players and spaces. You get points based on how many spaces you covered and on what level of the 3-D structure. Plus, there are snack points and bonus card goals that switch out every game to add replayability. If you’re able to snag a copy I would because the combination of this theme, the components and puzzley area control gameplay makes it more than worth it.
April 16, 2020
The OP (usaopoly) did a great job with their Rising games but Thanos is my favorite of the ones I’ve played. Work as the Avengers trying to stop Thanos and his minions from building the infinity gauntlet or killing a certain amount of your teammates. This specific gameplay Jessa and I were very lucky with where Thanos punched and his minions cards appeared but in an average game it can be difficult to win at times. On your turn you are choosing a grouping of cards you want to roll dice to claim or defeat. You roll to see what Thanos does then roll and allocate your dice to different cards to build your team. I personally love co-op games but I don’t agree that they all need to be so difficult that more than half the time you’re going to lose. Especially if it is a casual game based on an IP like Marvel Comics. I appreciate the diversity of main starting players with Captain America, Black Panther, Dr. Strange and Gamora. When they could have easily made all the starting players white male heroes. This is a game I will be keeping for many years and continuing to introduce to my nerdy comic book loving friends. I look forward to seeing how the The Batman Who Laughs™ Rising game plays in comparison.
April 20, 2020
If you like air hockey you will like this dexterity game. The only difference is the game is smaller, your hands are controlling your paddle under the table thanks to magnets, there’s a hole you can fall in/score in and there are baby magnets you need to avoid. The first player to 7 points is the winner! Personally, I think this is a great game to have out at events or parties and with the carrying box it makes it easy to transport. I got mine on a great Black Friday deal last year so watch out for those sales and pick up a copy!
April 26, 2020
I got this game back when Board Game Bento, the subscription box, was a thing. And I love it. It’s an easy game for casual players and my biggest issue with it is the balloon colors are too similar. I like the funky dreamscape theme and that you need to rotate tiles to move your balloons to find the elements on your cards in order to score points. I do think that at 4 players you might get annoyed with needing to refix all the tiles you rotated to get somewhere but with two players we didn’t have many issues. The game plays in around 30 minutes and was easy for me to quickly refresh the rules in my head on.
This is one of my favorite casual worker placement games and space themed games. In Asking for Trobils you only have one action per turn: move your ship or recall your ship. Beyond that you are just collecting items to win the trobil cards while attempting to buy more ships and upgrade. I love the game because everything you need to know is on the board. The graphic design is clear so the game is easy to pick up. I also like that you can bump people out of a space instead of being locked out of it. And when you play a two-player game you get a bonus item if you’re knocked off a space by another player. I think this game makes a great entry to the concept of worker placement and I look forward to playing this with my little cousins once the quarantine is lifted.
Unique theme, easy to understand rules and mostly unique mechanics makes this a great casual/kids game from Gamewright. As a vegan, Jessa took a shine to the theme of the game right away. Plus, the deck building/wrecking mechanic was familiar thanks to playing games like Dominion and Subatomic. My only complaint is it went too fast but I’m sure that was based on the 2-player count and the types of cards that came into the garden. In the game each player starts with a hand of 10 artichoke cards. In order to win you need to draw a hand at the beginning of your turn with 0 artichoke cards in it. So you need to collect and play vegetable cards that help you remove artichokes from your hand into the compost to increase your chances of drawing the perfect artichoke free hand. I was sad that Jessa beat me by one turn! I look forward to playing this game with more people to see how different it feels. Another affordable tin game from Game Wright that is worth adding to a family’s collection!
All of April
Sagrada (App) - 1-player
I’ll start by saying Sagrada was a game I’ve always wanted to try because I’m a huge fan of Sudoku and I’ve actually been to the Sagrada Família in Spain and it was amazing! But it was one that I knew none of my friends would play with me so I resisted purchasing it and hoped it would appear during a convention one day. Then I got the news that it was an app and officially released on iphone and I was hooked immediately. It is now my favorite app game with the beautiful gameplay and visuals. I have played the ai and through the campaign so far. I look forward to exploring the other features as well. All I can say is this app is a keeper and I highly recommend it for how cheap it is! And for those of you who aren’t familiar with the board game, players are given boards with grids on them and different restrictions to some of the spaces like you need a certain number or colored die in a space. So, groups roll the dice and take turns drafting them onto their boards to score points according to the scoring condition cards that are put out at the beginning of the game. Plus, there are ability cards that allow you to adjust dice, re-roll and other things to try and help you during the game. Basically avoid putting the same numbers and colors next to each other while working towards bonuses. Honestly, I think the app is all I need from Sagrada. I’ll save the board game for a convention some day.
As fun as all these 2-player games have been this month I look forward to going back to in-person game nights with friends!