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  • Writer's picture Danielle Reynolds - @TokenGaymer

February 2020 Game Play Journal

My February started a little late as far as playing published games go. I have been focusing mostly on my prototype games, but I still got to play a decent amount of games towards the end of the month. I even got a chance to play a few I’ve never played! You’ll notice a lot of games from Road to Infamy on this list. That’s because I worked their booth the weekend of C2E2, a huge Comic Con in the Chicago area, during the last weekend in February. So, I had to learn all their games to demo at the convention.

Below are my thoughts and observations on the games I played this month.

February 11, 2020

In ClipCut Parks players are given a sheet of paper with multiple different colored squares on it and a few symbols. During the game you are trying to cut the pieces you need to fulfill the Park card’s requirements. Depending on what symbols/numbers the player rolls is how many cuts you make and how long they are. I’ve played this game a few times, but this was the first time that we never rolled any 1 cuts. It made the game significantly harder and a bit frustrating. In general, you have a 50/50 shot of rolling smaller cuts and the odds were just not in our favor for this game. My aunt felt frustrated but at the end felt successful and over all enjoyed the game.

Liked: The interesting use of components. I love the tiny scissors and that you are managing your paper to avoid negative points in the future.

Disliked: Explaining that pieces of paper that fall off after cutting are negative points. It was hard for my aunt to understand. I don’t think it’s a flaw in the rules, but it makes me think it may not be an entry level game or you might need to ignore that rule with newer players.

February 14, 2020

This was a Kickstarter I was really excited to get where players play Kraken cards to defeat pirates and other Krakens to claim treasure. As a heads up this rulebook is not laid out well and a tad hard to understand. I looked to Youtube before teaching the game and it might be that we didn’t fully understand the rules, or it just wasn’t that fun. It may also be that a 2-player game is just too easy, so I need to try it again at more players. Overall, not my favorite game.

Liked: The theme, component’s quality and illustrations.

Disliked: The game wasn’t that interesting, and the rulebook could have used a better editor and graphic designer for the layout. It is nice that the rules were translated into many languages though.

I love this game! It’s one of my go to traveling games anytime I go on a plane. I got the chance to show it to Joe on our lunch break and he picked it up really quickly. In the game you are collecting customers, taking their orders and fulfilling their orders with ice cream pops. It’s a light game with great graphic design. The same card is used for 3 different actions, so they kept the competent number down. I highly suggest checking it out.

Liked: The turn mechanism of the ice cream truck that is farthest behind gets to take their turn until they are not the last truck on the road. The graphic layout of the cards is great.

Disliked: Nothing. It does everything it needs to do for a game like it.

February 15, 2020

I’m a huge fan of this game but most of my non-gamer friends aren’t a big fan of it. The scoring conditions confuse too many of them. This helps me remember that even if I think a game is easy that doesn’t mean others do. I love the use of the roll and write mechanic to fill in colored triangles to eventually score fireworks and ponds. This is probably my favorite roll & write but I need to find more friends willing to play it with me.

Liked: The art, the theme, the use of the roll & write mechanic.

Disliked: Every time I play this game someone messes up the boat condition of scoring where you fill in all the squares around the boat but not the boat itself. The pond sizes mess people up to. I like them but for newer players I sometimes skip it because every game I’ve played someone has messed up those scorings and felt bad and didn’t want to play again.

This is the adult version of 5 Second Rule where you draw a card with a subject like “name 3 female celebrities” and have to come up with 3 of the answer in 5 seconds to win the card. I personally love playing this game with large groups and at parties. It’s always a good laugh.

Liked: The simple rules and timed game play.

Disliked: Nothing, it’s a great party game. If you’re someone who doesn’t like timed games this might not be for you.

Tattoo Stories is a party game about taking 5 card driven elements like fish, ice cream, Santa, cheese and a number to be combined into a drawing. Players then describe the drawing. The player in the customer role then awards each card as a point to the player who most creatively adapted that element into the drawing.

Liked: The rules are simple and it’s an art game you can win just by being a good storyteller.

Disliked: I never win and I’m an artist! (Which does make the game fairer for everyone else, but I want to win someday.)

February 16, 2020

You and your fellow players are scavenging space for valuable Fragments from the unstable planets after the super Nova. You get to collect cards and barter for fragments to win.

Liked: I loved the bartering in this game. At first, I found it annoying that you could convince other players on your turn to basically pay the cost of the card and you’d still end up with most of the fragments. But then I realized it was a fun way to have some interesting player interaction. I ended up forming an alliance with one other player to land in second place by the end of the game.

Disliked: I normally don’t play or buy space games, but I made an exception for this one.

I finally got a chance to play the second edition of Azul and I really enjoyed it. The rulebook was a little confusing but once I had the rules down it was easy to teach to my friends. My fiancé destroyed me in the scoring realizing early on the best strategy is to play towards the color bonuses of each round. I worked towards the bonuses for filling around the ornament at the end and did pretty well, but I think I’ll look for a new strategy next time.

Liked: The theme, mechanics and component quality.

Disliked: The rules took longer to grasp then they should have for a casual game.

This was a Kickstarter I was really excited about. Sadly, we played the game wrong based on how we misinterpreted the rules. Because of this I can’t give it a real review. I will give it another try in the future though!

Liked: The theme and the use of Cyanide and Happiness illustrations.

Disliked: The rulebook.

February 18, 2020

The king is dead, and his children are mad that he wanted to be buried with his treasure. So, they have sent their servants to grave rob their dad’s tomb. In the game, players allocate die strengths on the different treasure cards to win. The stronger the dice the harder it will be to keep the dice. If you place a die with the 5 pips up, you must roll a 5 or 6 to keep that dice. Otherwise you may sit out a round to get your dice back. You will score your treasure and their bonuses.

Liked: Theme, dice allocation and artwork.

Disliked: Nothing. I thought it was a good game for what it’s trying to be.

We played this trick taking game to discuss possible changes to it in the future edition. We didn’t get a chance to finish the game but did have some comments that could make the original game better like having each player have an identical player draw deck instead of one that everyone shares. Changing the cop action and a few of the ability cards.

Liked: That the trick taking game was trying to do something extra.

Disliked: In general, I wasn’t really a fan of the game. I enjoy Road to Infamy’s other games significantly more.

The thought behind this game is every player is representing a different country and bidding on things. The cool part is they can bid any amount under the sun. The only catch is you automatically lose if you spent the most money.

Liked: This game is very creative with the use of push your luck and betting. I love the dry erase components.

Disliked: This game will most likely always be won by the person who’s played before. They know to start high on their bets to win the first three rounds then they can sit back as other players play obscene amounts of money near the end. That’s problematic for me because most of the people I play games with are learning games for the first time. I’d hate to ruin their experience by starting the costs so high.

February 20, 2020

Look at the January 2020 Game Journal for a past review. Joe loved this game because of its combination of strategy and numbers.

Using hexagon tiles players are trying to continue different color vines and mark them with their color blossoms. The player to place all their blossoms first is the winner. This is one of fiancés favorite games due to its easy strategy and elegant theme.

Liked: Joe really enjoyed how easy and fast this game is to play. I had the upper hand because I’ve played the game many times before.

Disliked: I want more blossoms so I can play the game longer!

February 23, 2020

I had been waiting to play this game since I heard the national park artwork would be in it. I’ve bought most of the National Parks calendars that have come out in that style, so I was excited to try out the game. Thankfully it didn’t disappoint. My friend read through the rulebook and probably spent more time then he needed on explaining the rules but as soon as we started playing everyone picked up how to play and set up easily. Currently, this game is now on my wedding registry I liked it so much. In the game you are playing as 2 hikers collecting resources by landing on different tiles. Eventually you have enough resources to buy things like canteens and other cards that will help you build an engine quicker so you can “visit” a park which is how you collect the card with the points on it. I suggest this game for casual gamers especially, but I think anyone can enjoy it.

Liked: The art, mechanics, component quality and overall game design. Think there is enough flexibility in the strategies that there could be multiple ways to win.

Disliked: Nothing, it’s great and I want it.

In this social deduction game, you are trying to get 3 tokens of your color from either passing missions or failing missions. Depending on the player count one to three spies are thrown secretly into the mix. In the game you will take turns choosing teams to go on missions, approving them then seeing the result of the mission. I enjoyed the game but found that my non-gamer friends were either confused or didn’t like the game compared to Hail Hydra or Secret Hitler.

Liked: The gameplay and different boards for different player counts.

Disliked: That my friends didn’t enjoy it so it probably won’t get played again.

This is a kids game that was much too easy for me and my friends even while intoxicated. But a good game for elementary aged kids.

Liked: I like the tick tak toe scoring.

Disliked: It’s a kid’s game that works for kids and not adults.

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