March 2020 Game Play Journal
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed a lot as far as game design, playtesting and playing published games has gone in March. Since half of the month I spent at home with my fiancé in quarantine I wasn’t able to go to meetups, host game nights or go over to friend’s houses. I also had a few personal losses that set my daily routine off. Because of this lack of human interaction my list of published games is short for March. My fiancé isn’t a huge fan of games so it has been hard to use them as a way to pass the time while being stuck indoors. I am hoping to start utilizing digital platforms like Tabletop Simulator, Facebook Live and Tabletopia in April to get some gaming in. As well as playing through a few games I own that have one-player variant rules. Hopefully things will go back to normal by our wedding in May. Until then, here is a list of games and impressions from the month of March!
March 1, 2020
During C2E2, a Chicago based Comic Con, I had the chance to volunteer for the Road to Infamy Games booth showing off their upcoming Kickstarter game Canvas. In Canvas you are using set-collection to place transparent cards ontop of eachother to create paintings then sleeve them to score points. After playing it multiple times in a row I actually enjoyed the game more and more which surprised the designers. I enjoyed trying to gain ribbons for different symbol/color combinations and I didn’t always win which was nice since I had become an expert by the end of the Con. I think the components are unique and perfect for the theme but their fans might be upset that this isn’t going to be their typical super cheap Kickstarter game. I am a little over art themed games but this is probably the only one I’d have in my collection.
I got introduced to Disney's Villainous on my lunch break at C2E2 when I checked out the Game Zone. I got to play with a few Dice Dojo employees and Con goers. For this game I played as Hades going up against Yzma, Scar and Dr. Facilier (the Shadow Man from Princess and the Frog). In Disney's Villainous players have asymmetric goals and powers. There is very little interaction between the different players beyond playing hero cards into your opponent’s relm. And those cards come straight from their character’s hero deck. So I wouldn’t have a Kronk coming into my pile instead of Hercules. These hero cards have different abilities that make it harder for you to complete your win condition. They also cover up different symbols on your mat that give you power, allow you to play cards, move characters and more. So you have to play allies to defeat the heroes. Honestly, I was incredibly impressed with this game. It was very thematic, the artwork was great, the game play wasn’t that hard after it was explained to me and the balancing of the different villains was impressive. It made me want to try out all the different villains. I was sad to see the base game basically all sold out but I was gifted one of the expansions as a feel better during quarantine gift. I look forward to playing it with Jessa some day. For a current mass market game I do think newer players will have a hard time understanding the game if they aren’t used to playing these kinds of games. The rulebook is well done but there will be a learning curve for sure if your experience with gaming is Monopoly.
March 11, 2020
This is one of my new favorite games and one that Jessa doesn’t mind playing with me. I’ve written about it before so I’ll just say now that I have the rules memorized it’s an easy game to put together quick and play when you have around an hour to spare. I think the graphic design and artwork makes it really easy for new players to have a reminder of what they can do on their turn. I look forward to learning how to play the 1-player variant. I do think however I wouldn’t enjoy the game as much at a higher player count.
March 14, 2020
My mom was very overwhelmed when she saw how long it took to set this game up. There are a lot of pieces but she soon found the rules were very simple. Once we had played a round she was doing great and ended up in second place. I really enjoy this game but the set up time and switching out the cards each round is very time consuming and hindered the other player’s experience. I think this is a game that needs to be played with people that don’t mind larger set up times. I still think the art is great but some of the chief powers could use some balancing. I would suggest trying it before you buy it.
March 19, 2020
I finally got to play one of the DC Deckbuilders and since I was very familiar with other deckbuilders it was easy for Jessa and I to grasp the rules. I loved seeing some of my favorite DC characters in action but I have to agree that the game isn’t very thematic. It doesn’t make sense how the villains get added to your deck. If I look past the pasted on theme I still really enjoyed this game even though I lost by a few points. We were surprised how close a game it was. Basically every card you gained had a victory point on it so we mostly counted cards at the end. The main villains were the real point getters. Jessa felt that she wouldn’t like playing this game with a larger group since it over stayed it welcome in her eyes. I would want to try it with 3 players next time to see if that drastically changed the point balance. Overall, I enjoyed it and want to buy an expansion to see what that looks like.
March 20, 2020
This is a classic party game where everyone writes an answer to try and guess what the main player is thinking. Then everyone votes to see which answer was written by the main player. It’s a fun game that’s better when with a bunch of close friends. Unfortunately, I was only close with half of the people playing the game so I didn’t do as well. I enjoy party games like Loaded Questions where you write in the answer. I think this game makes for a good bonding experience or sleep over game for younger age groups.
In this game two cards are drawn to make a statement like: “Something crunchy you don’t want to step on.” All the other players have until the timer runs out to shout out a funny answer that the reader will enjoy enough to give them one of their 3 tokens. The player with the most points wins. It was a fun game that fit in a super tiny box which made it a great travel sized game. With any of these games some players had a hard time thinking of things to say. If you’re with the right people this is a really fun and easy party game.
March 23, 24 & 29, 2020
Jessa and I have been working through this game since I got it last summer. Thanks to COVID19 we have jumped back into the game and have been working through it fairly quick. I actually think we will have it finished by the end of April. I don’t want to spoil any of it but just know there are some cool components waiting in those mystery boxes. Jessa is a fan of this game because it slowly introduces new rules so she doesn’t feel like she’s learning a whole new game each time she plays. The first game is very simple and intuitive thanks to the graphics. I think this is a great game for introducing someone into more light-medium weight games. I’ve enjoyed playing with her as the difficulty of the game has gone up as we played through the story. This was the perfect legacy game for us and it has made her more interested in trying other legacy games like Pandemic Legacy in the future. Plus, Legacy games that work for two people are perfect for when you’re stuck in quarantine.
March 26, 2020
It only took 4 months to finally get this on the table. Sprawlopolis was a late birthday gift that I will be playing more now that I have tried the 1-player rules. The use of the back of the cards is clever and resourceful for an 18-card game. I’ve only played it twice and barely lost both times so I am determined to win. I think everyone should own this wallet sized game. Unless you don’t like puzzles. If you don’t like puzzles you will not enjoy this game.
March 31, 2020
This was a game I backed on Kickstarter last year when I had a serious addiction. I enjoyed the illustrations and set-collection nature but I honestly couldn’t remember why I backed it. I think I just wanted to support new creators. The components turned out really nice. Especially the box. I don’t know what finish and thickness the box was made of but it felt hard almost like metal. The game itself was quick but nothing overly impressive. There are so many set collection games so it’s hard to stand out. I would play it again because it’s quick but Jessa had zero interest in another robot themed game. And I kind of agree. I have seen way too many robot games on kickstarter and want to see more uniquely themed games like Wingspan.
Even though March wasn’t a massive published game month I do think I got a lot of quality games in. I look forward to April’s games which will mostly include 2-player games and ones you can do online. I hope everyone is staying safe and enjoying going through maybe a few games you haven’t had a chance to get to the table.