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  • Writer's picture Danielle Reynolds - @TokenGaymer

September 2020 Game Play Journal

September was my birthday month meaning my friends couldn’t say no to a game night or two! This month I got to play a few new Kickstarter games, GenCon Online buys, shelf of shame games and a few games I haven’t touched in a while. Josh and I even previewed Rest in Pieces which will be running on Kickstarter during October. So check out my thoughts on this and other games played this month.

September 5, 2020

Rest in Pieces is an interesting combination of a card driven storytelling game and Jenga. They took a classic game like Jenga and colored half the wooden blocks and added rules related to which colors get pulled from the tower. In this game you are playing as the roommates to the Grim Reaper all living in a studio apartment. In our scenario the Grim Reaper had a massive online shopping addiction. The humor in the scenarios and our solutions were amusing. I felt like I was inside an adult cartoon episode. I also love the art direction they chose. It reminds me of the cartoon Invader Zim. If you like a pick up and go storytelling game that can be played in under an hour check this game out on Kickstarter.

This game continues to get played with it’s easy rules, travel sized box and fun coaster components. It’s a great alternative to a party game.

Codenames is an amazing game. The idea of playing as spies trying to feed their partner clues to reveal words. If you’re creative you can get them to guess more than one word of your team's color while avoiding that one word that will lose you the game. This game is an ideal double date game since it plays best with four players. Personally, I prefer to be the partner giving clues versus guessing words but our team almost won! I do recommend buying the original version of the game versus the Undercover version which is more of an “after dark” or “adult” version of the game. Meaning most of the words have some kind of drinking or sexual context behind it. Making the game so much harder!

September 10, 2020

Calico is a spatial puzzle game featuring cute cats that like to sit on quilts. In the game you are placing hexagon tiles onto your quilt in an attempt to gain bonus points for the colors and patterns the quilts make. You get points for adding buttons, cats and for completing the three goals you start with on your board. The single player on this game is actually really good. It feels very similar to a 2-player except tiles are removed like a conveyor belt instead of randomly by another player. I could see this becoming an app one day. If you like spatial puzzles with cute themes this game is an excellent buy!

September 11, 2020

I got lucky and won the game Ctrl from a Pandasuarous’s Facebook contest where you replied with your favorite color and

tagged a friend in the post. This game was one of the ones I was really interested in checking out because of the unique components. In the game, you and the other players are placing three color blocks in a straight line around a cube until you run out of blocks. There are certain placement rules and flag poles that help block players. At its core it’s a dexterity area control game. I enjoyed it but felt like higher player counts would have made the scores vary more. Thankfully, it is quick to play and easy to learn so I’ll be able to try it again.

September 12, 2020

The combination of special character cards with abilities, carrying capacities and turn order numbers was one of the best parts of this game. After using the two cards they will blast off into another player’s hand so you can’t hord the best abilities. You play different character cards in order to collect and buy space stations to colonize your boards. The space stations are different tetris pieces used to cover different terrain for points. You also have a secret bonus card that gives you extra points for building with certain shapes. I really enjoyed this game and see it staying in my collection. The art is cute, the theme works even though the title isn’t super unique and the game has an easy entry-level while still being heavy enough to entertain me. The game also has various different modes to add to the replayability which I appreciate.

I wrote about it above. The only difference with the multi-payer is there's a winner instead of just trying to get more points then last time. I look forward to playing with higher player counts.

I love the artwork in this game. Very similar to Dixit players are trying to figure out who doesn’t know what the word is. Each round a player will write a word. They will use cards from their hands to describe the word visually. But one player will not receive the word and will have to work to try and blend in while playing cards. Points are rewarded based on guessing which player didn’t know the word after everyone has placed 2 cards and explained why they played those cards for the word. I think this is a great game to play instead of a party game. The deduction element is fun and hearing people’s reasons for playing certain cards can lead to hilarious arguments. My only issue is almost every time we play the game someone decides to use the word “water” or “sky” since those are pictured on all of the cards.

You and your other players are going around the kingdom to gain skills and money in order to go up against monsters for victory points in the forest. It’s a cute, easy to learn game that new players can learn fairly quickly. One thing we were not a fan of is a meeple that blocks one of the options every turn. We decided to house rule him out of the game. Besides that, the game is fun and great for newer gamers to learn a little more about a rondel game.

September 15, 2020

I had played Evolution: In the Beginning but this was my first time playing the original game and it worked really well on Tabletop Simulator. Each round you can play out as many cards as you’d like in order to add food to the central pond, add traits to animals and boost traits. Then you feed! I quickly learned that carnivores even while being a risky play can ultimately give you the win. Playing the game made me want to take my In the Beginning version out for a future game night. I do still prefer to play in person though versus online.

September 25, 2020

This somewhat dungeon crawler that can change the murderous monster or situation depending on how the game plays out was very interesting. I was happy that friends had shown me how to play versus learning on my own because the rulebook is massive. Personally, I didn’t find this game to be a good fit for me. I have never really found a dungeon crawler I enjoyed enough to play again. So this isn’t my kind of game.

September 27, 2020

The Artemis Project is a dice allocation worker placement game where you are trying to gain victory points by going on missions and building your civilization underwater and above the ice. There are round events and different locations that help you collect resources and workers. The coolest part about this game is the pips on the dice determine who will go first interacting with a location. The smaller the number the sooner you collect a resource but you only collect that number of the resources. So if you play a higher number you may get more but other players might take everything before it gets to your die. Between that and the combinations of powers the buildings give you this becomes a really fun game. If you like dice driven worker placement games check this one out!

We played Niju twice because it was a short abstract game based on the idea that you play a tile of your color connected to a tile on the table and aim to fill the requirements. The requirements might want you to have a tile of your color in the upper right corner, and all three bottom spots. So your goal is to make any of your tile’s requirements work before the other player does. Josh won the first round but I got him in the second round. This was one of those games that you felt surprised it wasn’t already a game because it seemed so obvious. I really enjoyed it and recommend it for anyone that likes 2-player abstract strategy games.

Another abstract game! Yinsh is all about getting five circle markers in your color to be in a row three times in order to win. Each player starts with five rings on the board. Every time a ring is moved, it leaves a marker behind. Markers are white on one side and black on the other. When markers are jumped over by a ring they must be flipped, so their color is constantly changing. Eventually you get five all in your color which gives you a point but takes off a ring in your color. This game depending on the players could either go very quickly or take up to an hour. I felt like this was Connect 4’s older brother or father. A great brain burner that is worth checking out!

Of all the new games I played this month I’d have to say my favorites were Calico, Cosmic Colonies and the Artemis Project. All very different games but ones I’d love to play again. I even added the Artemis Project to my Christmas list! I am happy to say with the exception of Betrayal at House on the Hill I enjoyed all the games this month. As more of my Kickstarter games come in the mail I am working to get through my shelf of shame as well as assisting friends on playing through their shelves. As the weather cools down I see many more game nights in the future for me.

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