2017 – –

I guess we didn’t quite get enough games for Christmas so for Valentine’s Day this year I got us each one…

And one big ass heavy game with an app!!

Sushi Go Party

(from publisher Gamewright) Sushi Go Party!, an expanded version of the best-selling card game Sushi Go!, is a party platter of mega maki, super sashimi, and endless edamame. You still earn points by picking winning sushi combos, but now you can customize each game by choosing à la carte from a menu of more than twenty delectable dishes. What’s more, up to eight players can join in on the sushi-feast. Let the good times roll!

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): We really like Sushi Go and this one adds a bunch of cards and other playing options… pretty much just more of a good thing!! All the original cards are included in this Party edition so we passed the original on to some flourishing game fans…


(from publisher Aporta) Avenue is a quick and exciting family game that can be played with up to ten players with very little downtime. Players draw a network of roads on their player sheet, trying to connect their farms and castles to grapes. Each round, a card is drawn that shows which type of road the players must draw. Some cards are marked as scoring cards, and when the fourth scoring card is drawn, a new farm is scored. The order in which the farms are scored is revealed one-by-one throughout the game, so players must constantly adapt their strategies.

When a scoring takes place, you score points for every grape that your farm is connected to — but you shouldn’t be too greedy because if a farm is not connected to more grapes than your previous farm, you lose points! Scoring many points early will therefore make things difficult later. This keeps the game exciting until the end.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): The cute theme – delivering grapes to the farms and castles… the idea of everyone accomplishing the same thing differently but for points sounded interesting… It’s another competitive solitaire game where everyone is drawing routes on their own maps then scoring each round. The part that really makes this game a bear is that during the 5 rounds your score each round has to be at least 1 more than the previous round or you get a 0 with equates to -5 for each 0 at the end of the game… sounds simple but it’s not and it takes careful planning.

I started feeling a little too much repetition so I custom designed 5 other layouts so I now print a single page with 6 different layouts… handy for marathon sessions which this game is perfect for since a 6 game ‘marathon’ might last 30 minutes!! Very easy on the surface and a lot of fun!!

UPDATE: I think I can easily say that this is one of my wife’s favorites!! When our daughter’s and my work schedules prevent any game nights I usually come home to find several exhausted Avenue sheets where my wife has been playing solo… 🙂

Codenames Pictures

(from BGG) What are these strange symbols on the map? They are code for locations where spies must contact secret agents!

Two rival spymasters know the agent in each location. They deliver coded messages telling their field operatives where to go for clandestine meetings. Operatives must be clever. A decoding mistake could lead to an unpleasant encounter with an enemy agent – or worse, with the assassin! Both teams race to contact all their agents, but only one team can win.

Codenames: Pictures differs from the original Codenames in that the agents are no longer represented by a single word, but by an image that contains multiple elements.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): We loved the original Codenames so this one was a no-brainer!! Same great gameplay as the original but with pictures this time!! I still think it’s more fun with a larger group but we’ll still pull out both versions regularly.

Mansions of Madness Second Edition

(from publisher Fantasy Flight Games) Mansions of Madness: Second Edition is a fully cooperative, app-driven board game of horror and mystery for one to five players that takes place in the same universe as Eldritch Horror and Elder Sign. Let the immersive app guide you through the veiled streets of Innsmouth and the haunted corridors of Arkham’s cursed mansions as you search for answers and respite. Eight brave investigators stand ready to confront four scenarios of fear and mystery, collecting weapons, tools, and information, solving complex puzzles, and fighting monsters, insanity, and death. Open the door and step inside these hair-raising Mansions of Madness: Second Edition. It will take more than just survival to conquer the evils terrorizing this town.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): A couple things drove me to snag this… Mainly Selena loves these types of spooky haunted house type games but also every revue I’d seen was going bonkers over it… and then there’s the app!! There are a number of games that have companion apps – many are optional – but this one is an integral part of the game… in fact, you can’t play without it!! And it is amazing… it drives the game, adds a tremendous amount of atmosphere and keeps track of everybody involved… very well done!!

One of the coolest things (besides the app) is that when you start a scenario you have no idea what it’s about or what you need to do to survive – let alone win the game!! We learned after the 2nd or 3rd play that we were doing a couple things wrong… it felt too easy… then we discovered that bad things are supposed to happen after each player’s turn rather than the end of a round… oops… guaranteed this game kicks our ass next time…

My band rehearses throughout the fall and winter and into the spring in East Greenbush and at some point while searching for games I stumbled on a listing for Flipside Gaming – a little comic book / collectable cards / game shop – 5 minutes from where we practice!! Naturally I had to check it out…

When I first walked in, it was just as I expected… comic books here… cards everywhere… and lots of tables for the gamers to gather to play. I was about to give up when I came around the end of a set of shelves… and I heard the angels!! I’d found a 15′ foot (+/-) section 4 levels high with nothing but BOARD GAMES!! I knew I was in trouble…

The first week I came home with Santorini – an abstract strategy game…

(from BGG) Santorini is a non-abstract re-imagining of the 2004 edition. Since its original inception over 30 years ago, Santorini has been endlessly developed, enhanced and refined by mathematician and educator, Dr. Gordon Hamilton.

Santorini is a highly accessible pure strategy game that is simple enough for an elementary school classroom. But with enough gameplay depth and content for even hardcore gamers to explore, Santorini is truly a game for everyone. The rules are deceptively simple. Each turn consists of 2 steps:

1. Move – move one of your builders into a neighboring space. You may move your Builder Pawn on the same level, step-up one level, or step down any number of levels.

2. Build – Then construct a building level adjacent to the builder you moved. When building on top of the third level, place a dome instead, removing that space from play.

Winning the game – If either of your builders reaches the third level, you win.

Variable player powers – What makes Santorini truly special is its seamless integration of variable player powers into a pure-strategy game. Dr Hamilton has designed over 40 thematic god and hero powers, each fundamentally changing the way the game is played.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): After watching some revues with Selena this became another of her must haves… It’s a beautiful board with great pieces and I would say the special powers make it even more interesting… We played a couple 2 player games and they only lasted 5 – 10 minutes… It got more interesting and challenging when we added a 3rd player (which is how I prefer it now)… wonderful game!!

and Clank – A Deck Building Adventure – a sort of deck building dungeon crawl /race of sorts…

(from publisher Renegade Games) Burgle your way to adventure in the deck-building board game Clank! Sneak into an angry dragon’s mountain lair to steal precious artifacts. Delve deeper to find more valuable loot. Acquire cards for your deck and watch your thievish abilities grow.

Be quick and be quiet. One false step and CLANK! Each careless sound draws the attention of the dragon, and each artifact stolen increases its rage. You can enjoy your plunder only if you make it out of the depths alive!

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): The reviews on this were off the charts!! The board and components all look incredible and the gameplay is both thinky and fun!! It’s driven by deck building (hope you took notes above so you know what I mean) which determines the options available on your turn… at the same time it’s a race to get in and steal the best treasure without disturbing the dragon but the key is knowing when to get out. The first person to get out triggers a sort of timer and all other players need to get out before time runs out. A gorgeous, fabulous game!! There are expansions already and at this years GenCon (board games biggest convention held in August 2017) Clank! In Space was the major announcement of the week!!

I bought my own birthday present (because who knows me better than me?)…

Coal Baron-The Great Card Game

(from BGG) The city of Essen, Germany at the turn of the 20th century was a center for coal mining in Europe. Immerse yourself in the dark world of coal mining as you extract coal from pits, load coal to wagon trains, and then rail your coal off to distant locations in search of fortunes.

Coal Baron: The Great Card Game is a standalone game based on the very popular board game, Coal Baron, originally published in 2013. With innovative mechanisms and almost 240 cards, Coal Baron: The Great Card Game creates an experience that feels very distinct from, yet is just as intense as, the original game.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): I’d never played the original board game versions but everything I’d seen and read said that the card game version retains all the best parts of the board game and even streamlines several parts of the game. The player boards (the each player gets to help corral all the cards) are perfect for the task because there are literally cards EVERYWHERE!! One of my favorites and the girls enjoyed it as well…

Another week with some extra cash so a quick stop to Flipside before band practice of course…


(from BGG) Plan, build, and develop a small town into a major metropolis. Use hex-shaped building tiles to add residential, commercial, civic, and industrial areas, as well as special points of interest that provide benefits and take advantage of the resources of nearby towns. Your goal is to have your borough thrive and end up with a greater population than any of your opponents.

Suburbia is a tile-laying game in which each player tries to build up an economic engine and infrastructure that will be initially self-sufficient, and eventually become both profitable and encourage population growth. As your town grows, you’ll modify both your income and your reputation. As your income increases, you’ll have more cash on hand to purchase better and more valuable buildings, such as an international airport or a high rise office building. As your reputation increases, you’ll gain more and more population (and the winner at the end of the game is the player with the largest population).

During each game, players compete for several unique goals that offer an additional population boost – and the buildings available in each game vary, so you’ll never play the same game twice!

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): This is an older game but many of the reviews mentioned SimCity – a computer based city builder that I fell in love with back before there were beautiful graphics and your city / zone population was indicated by small and large black squares inside a box – all on a grey background… not the prettiest by far but certainly a ton of fun.

This game inherits several of those same characteristics and makes them work extremely well as a board game. We’ve only played a couple times… the girls like it but not as much as I do but that may be because we were still really learning it… I know Julie plays HeyDay for hours at a time and Selena loved playing SimCity with me on a PC way back before she was old enough to work a mouse.


(from BGG) In Imhotep, the players become builders in Egypt who want to emulate the first and best-known architect there, namely Imhotep.

Over six rounds, they move wooden stones by boat to create five seminal monuments, and on a turn, a player chooses one of four actions: Procure new stones, load stones on a boat, bring a boat to a monument, or play an action card. While this sounds easy, naturally the other players constantly thwart your building plans by carrying out plans of their own. Only those with the best timing — and the stones to back up their plans — will prove to be Egypt’s best builder.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): The big, meaty cubes!! These things have got to be almost a full half inch square and they’re perfect for this game about building pyramids and monuments and shipping the blocks to various locations… Tons of strategy for loading the ships and unloading at the destinations, and a little screw your neighbor when it comes to the shipping… it all makes for a beautifully designed strategy game that we enjoy!!


(from BGG) Lotus is a beautiful game that grows into a unique work of art every time you play.

Clear your head and take in the quiet strength of the lotus garden. It takes skillful care and nurturing to grow these flowers to their full potential, but, once picked, they provide their owner with wisdom. Beware, for there are others who will do anything they can to get their hands on these mystical flowers. You’ll need to enlist the help of creatures native to this land to take control of the lotus garden and achieve true enlightenment.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): (see below with Dragon Farkle)

Dragon Farkle

(from BGG) Gather your courage! The long-enjoyed peace of Yon has been disrupted by a ferocious and mean-spirited dragon — he’s terrorizing the locals and eating their livestock without their permission! Fortunately, a few wannabe heroes (that’s you!) have risen to the challenge of slaying the beast. Get yourself a brave companion, gather a powerful army, and enter the Dragon’s Keep for cheese and country in Dragon Farkle!

To play, you gather an army of loyal soldiers or steal them from your opponents, hire suspicious-looking companions and gain allegedly useful items (most of which aren’t even cursed), then fight that dragon you’ve heard so much about — or don’t, if you hate winning…

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): Vacation week for schools in NY so my daughter usually comes to work with me at least one day – mostly for the food (we have some great places to eat near the school where I work) but also because she knows I have band rehearsal that night which means a visit to Flipside Gaming again – her first!!

We had just watched Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop show play Dragon Farkle and she loved it and as luck would have it that was on the shelf when we got there!! We also snagged Lotus for my wife who had been feeling under the weather again so in lieu of flowers…

Dragon Farkle is based on the original Farkle which is similar to Yahtzee in it’s scoring… Dragon Farkle introduces a battle element where you’re recruiting soldiers to battle a dragon… Selena will play this every chance she gets!!

Lotus has the most amazing cards I’ve ever seen and you collect them to literally build flowers that are gorgeous!!

A quick Farkle follow up…

We tried it with my Mom one day since she loves Yahtzee and this is similar… she didn’t quite follow the battling the dragon part of it but was catching on to the dice chucking (a term you’ll hear again)… One day Selena was going for a visit and I stuck some classic Farkle score sheets in her bag… a few games of that and ‘Nana’ (now 85) was hooked!! I will stop over occasionally while I’m waiting to pick Selena up from work and play for an hour or so… Mom loves it!!

There are score sheets a-plenty online for printing but you don’t even need them – just 6 dice and the value of the various rolls!!

Box of Rocks

(from BGG) Failure…self doubt…existential despair: This best sums up your feelings in the immediate aftermath of playing “Are You Dumber Than a Box of Rocks”. Why? Read on, professor…

You have three chances to beat the Box of Rocks at trivia. Three hundred multiple choice questions are peppered across one hundred cards. The answer to all of the questions is either 0, 1, or 2. Also included are a wooden human pawn and three synthetic yet astoundingly astute rocks. (It’s rumored that they teach night classes at the University.)

Anyway, have someone read any one of the questions aloud to you (preferably in front of a group of friends and loved ones who relish public humiliation). Speak your answer. Now shake the box containing two of the numbered rocks. Hold your breath and open the box. Is the answer you gave correct, or have the rocks guessed the right number? Advance either the human pawn or the rock one space on the scorecard. It’s a best-of-three challenge, and the chance at beating these clever little pebbles isn’t as easy as you’ve hoped. Pass the challenge to the next victim and take some time to yourself. One round of gameplay takes all of five minutes; the shame lasts decidedly longer.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): I was so excited to finally see this as available but only from the publisher HaywireGames.com (and select gift shops that look like they’re run out of people’s houses)… I bought two copies and was glad I did because my good friend and coworker Bill and his family love it too…

The idea is so mind-numbingly simple yet so very entertaining… 3 questions on a card and a score card… ask each question, get the player’s answer then shake the box and reveal its answer… The BOX wins the game more than 50% of the time!!! Oh the joys of ‘scientifically’ proving that your friend is dumber than a box of rocks…

Sadly, the final band rehearsal for this year (well, until Fall) so I had to pick up something…


(from BGG) Each player builds their own metropolis in Quadropolis (first announced as City Mania), but they’re competing with one another for the shops, parks, public services and other structures to be placed in them.

The game lasts four rounds, and in each round players first lay out tiles for the appropriate round at random on a 5×5 grid. Each player has four architects numbered 1-4 and on a turn, a player places an architect next to a row or column in the grid, claims the tile that’s as far in as the number of the architect placed (e.g., the fourth tile in for architect #4), places that tile in the appropriately numbered row or column on the player’s 4×4 city board, then claims any resources associated with the tile (inhabitants or energy).

When a player takes a tile, a figure is placed in this now-empty space and the next player cannot place an architect in the same row or column where this tile was located. In addition, you can’t place one architect on top of another, so each placement cuts off play options for you and everyone else later in the round. After all players have placed all four architects, the round ends, all remaining tiles are removed, and the tiles for the next round laid out.

After four rounds, the game ends. Players can move the inhabitants and energy among their tiles at any point during the game to see how to maximize their score. At game end, they then score for each of the six types of buildings depending on how well they build their city — as long as they have activated the buildings with inhabitants or energy as required:

  • Residential buildings score depending on their height
  • Shops score depending on how many customers they have
  • Public services score depending on the number of districts in your city that have them
  • Parks score depending on the number of residential buildings next to them
  • Harbors score based on the longest row or column of activated harbors in the city
  • Factories score based on the number of adjacent shops and harbors

Some buildings are worth victory points (VPs) on their own, and once players sum these values with what they’ve scored for each type of building in their city, whoever has the highest score wins.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): More city building… I love city building as you know if you read through my drooling all over SimCity on PC earlier… This game takes a different approach with a common pool of tiles randomly placed in a grid for players to pick from then place on their own player mats. It has easy and hard levels and either one is great!! Just a well designed and entertaining game with fantastic components!!

Bang! The Dice Game

(from BGG) In the U.S. wild west, the eternal battle between the law and the outlaws keeps heating up. Suddenly, a rain of arrows darken the sky: It’s an Indian attack! Are you bold enough to keep up with the Indians? Do you have the courage to challenge your fate? Can you expose and defeat the ruthless gunmen around you?

BANG! The Dice Game keeps the core of the Bang! card game in place. At the start of the game, players each take a role card that secretly places them on a team: the Sheriff and deputies, outlaws, and renegades. The Sheriff and deputies need to kill the outlaws, the outlaws win by killing the Sheriff, and the renegades want to be the last players alive in the game.

Each player also receives a character card which grants him a special power in the game. The Sheriff reveals his role card and takes the first turn of the game. On a turn, a player can roll the five dice up to three times, using the results of the dice to shoot neighboring players, increase the range of his shots, heal his (or anyone else’s) life points, or put him in range of the Indians, which are represented by nine tokens in the center of the table. Each time a player rolls an arrow, he takes one of these tokens; when the final token is taken, each player loses one life point for each token he holds, then the tokens are returned to the center of the table.

If a player collects a trio of Gatling symbols on the dice, he fires one shot at everyone else and rids himself of Indian tokens. Who’ll get his shot off first? Play continues until one team meets its winning condition – and death won’t necessarily keep you from winning as long as your teammates pull through!

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): Dice chucking in the old west – how can you go wrong?? We enjoy playing this quick game but I will say this is another one of those that I think would be more fun with a larger group as there are so many characters but wit just the 3 of us the options are limited but we still like it.

Ticket To Ride – Map Pack 5 – UK and Pennsylvania (for Julie’s birthday – CoolStuffInc.com)

(from BGG) Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 5 – United Kingdom & Pennsylvania contains a double-sided game board with new rules for use with Ticket to Ride or Ticket to Ride: Europe with players now creating train lines in the British Isles and in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania half of this map collection adds a share mechanism to the basic TtR game. Each time that a player completes a route, they claim a share of one of the companies depicted next to that route. At the end of the game, whoever holds more shares of a company than all other players receives points as a reward.

The United Kingdom half of this map collection introduces the concept of technology to TtR. At the start of the game, players can build only one- and two-train routes and only in England. By spending wild cards, players gain the ability to build routes three trains long or longer, in addition to being able to build ferries across water and build train routes in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Players can also buy bonus cards that allow them to score extra points for taking certain actions during play. Despite the name, the map covers both the UK and the Republic of Ireland, that is, the islands of Great Britain and Ireland.

Although officially an expansion for Ticket to Ride or Ticket to Ride: Europe, this could be used for Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries. However use with Nordic Countries would be limited to three players and use of spare trains. The UK map requires 35 trains, the Pennsylvania map requires 45 trains, and Nordic Countries contains 40 of each colour (with 5 spare).

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): Ticket To Ride was one of the early games that we all really liked… While there have been several expansions I was drawn to this one for the different elements the TWO expansions in the box offer… one has technology that needs to be developed before your route can expand and the other has stock and pickup and delivery sort of like Spike… but the latter also takes place in Pennsylvania and Julie has family there so I thought it would be fun to see some cities reflected on the board that we know personally (like Albany, NY)…

Colosseum – The Emperor’s Edition (for myself for Father’s Day – CoolStuffInc.com)

(from BGG) In Colosseum each player is a Roman impresario – producing great spectacles in his or her arena in the hopes of attracting the most spectators. Players earn wealth and glory for each event run, using it to create ever more ambitious events. They will need to improve their arena, find the best performers, lure the Emperor and his nobles, and manage assets for long-term success to be granted the title of Grand Impresario, with tales of your extraordinary spectacles acclaimed throughout the empire.

As commanded by the Emperor, the greatest celebration in Roman history has continued unabated for 99 days. All of Rome has borne witness to the grandest spectacles the empire has ever seen— all to commemorate the opening of the Amphitheatrum Flavium, the Colosseum.

Tens of thousands have flocked to the city to experience the sight of a hundred gladiators in battle…rare and exotic animals prowling the arena floor…and to hear and see the greatest musicians and entertainers from throughout the empire. But these events have only been a prelude to today — the closing finale! As a master impresario you have prepared for this moment your entire life. Titus himself has taken his seat in the Emperor’s Loge. At the drop of his hand, the final spectacle will begin. Your moment in the sun has come…

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): I saw an old review of this and knew I had to have it!! Problem was it was out of print (I think the games was 5 or 10 years old)… then I heard they were doing a reprint… Selena saw it and there’s a deluxe version with metal coins!! Then SHE wanted it too!!

It felt like forever before it was finally released but I eventually got my hands on a copy and all is right with the world… And as luck would have it, I did get the deluxe version and those coins are amazing (though it may have doubled the cost of shipping)… 🙂

The idea of collection the necessary pieces to put on a show then a bigger and better show was appealing… and the scoring mechanic is cool… you don’t add to your score with each show – your score only increases if you put on a better show that’s worth more points (if I put a show on that scores 10, that’s my score for the game unless I put on a show for say 25, then 25 is my score for the game – it doesn’t get added together). There are a ton of pieces and the metal coins are amazing… just a very entertaining and challenging game!!

Selena’s Uncle Adam gave her Tier Auf Tier (or Animal Upon Animal)

(from BGG) The animals want to show how good they are at making tall pyramids! They must be skillfully careful: Who will position the penguin on top of the crocodile, the sheep on top of the penguin, the serpent on the sheep? The hedgehog wants to stand on top of the pyramid but the height is making him dizzy.

Tier auf Tier (a.k.a. Animal Upon Animal, Pyramide d’animaux, and Dier op dier) is a simple stacking game, listed for ages 4-99, with 29 cute wooden animals.

Each turn a player rolls the die and either places one or two animals on to the stack of animals, passes one of his or her animals to another player for them to place, or places an animal on the table, extending the base for other players to build upon. Of course, if any pieces fall off whilst you are building, you get up to two of them back. The first player to have used all of their animals wins.

This game, intended for children, is equally popular with adults.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): Haba makes incredible kids games but many cross over for adults as sort of party games and this is one of them… There’s the dexterity element of stacking the animals and the added challenge of having to rotate the board and not dump the animals which has the childlike / party element where you have to imitate the animal sounds as you pass their marker when you rotate… It’s quick and fun for all ages!!

…and Looney Quest for her birthday…

(from BGG) In the wonderful land of Arkadia, a very old king has no heir. He organizes a tournament to offer his throne to the bravest adventurer of the kingdom. Up to five finalists will wander seven worlds full of surprises…

In the drawing game Loony Quest, players study challenging level cards, then try to replicate the outline to meet targets and avoid obstacles on their tracing sheets. Once finished, players place their sheets on top of the level card to see whether the drawings line up with the targets they meant to hit — or avoid. Largely inspired by video games, Loony Quest players discover various worlds, play with 3D and 2D levels, run into loony monsters — Loonies — and big bosses, trigger special stages, collect bonuses, use penalties on opponents, and gather as many Xperience points as possible to win.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): I had never heard of this before Selena showed me she had received it as a gift… I read the rules and it reminded me a little of Avenue (where you have to draw routes)… What’s fascinating and most interesting about this game is that each player has a 2 sided player board – one side white and one side a brightly colored vortex… There are 30 or so different game boards and they get hard as you go – each with various treasures and hazards… The goal is to take your game board, lay a clear sheet of plastic over it and draw the designated path so you touch the treasures but not the hazards… easy, right?? BUT WAIT… everyone is drawing at the same time on their own sheets with dry erase markers and you have to eyeball your route before time runs out… oh yeah – there’s a timer too!! When time runs out players take turns laying their drawn routes over the actual board and add or deduct points as appropriate. There are some ‘take that’ (screw your neighbor) elements as well… like forcing them to draw the next round holding the pen in only their pinky and thumb or while balancing a mosquito tile on top of the pen or drawing on the vortex side of the player board which really throws off your drawing. Quick and fun and challenging – great filler game!!

I had to order some band clothes from Amazon and stumbled on Harbour and had to have it (of course)…

(from BBG) Dockmaster Schlibble and Constable O’Brady cordially invite you to visit their bustling Harbour town! Attend to business at the Trader’s Guild or the Masoner’s Hall. Break for lunch at the Sushi Shop, or stop off for a drink at the Pub. Don’t forget to check out the Wizard’s Traveling Imaginarium before you go! But no matter where you go, keep on the lookout for a bargain… the denizens of this town are always wheeling and dealing! Collect and trade resources as you visit the various buildings of Harbour, and cash them in to buy your way into the town. Whoever has the most points worth of buildings when the game ends, wins!

Harbour is a worker placement game where players move their worker from building to building, collecting and trading Fish, Livestock, Wood, and Stone; and cashing those resources in to purchase buildings (which are the worker placement spots) from the central pool. Once a building is purchased, it is replaced from the deck, and the central pool is a small subset of the deck, and is therefore different every game.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): This was my first pickup from season 4 of Wil Wheaton’s tabletop… This small box packs a lot of game and I love the way you place your worker and especially the way the market changes. Just some neat twists on some board game mechanics!! Well designed, great artwork and fun to play!!

In July the single most prestigious award in board gaming – the 2017 Spiel Des Jahres (German Game of the Year) – was announced and I was disappointed to learn that Great Western Trail was no where to be found… I thought this was a slam dunk and if asked to pick my favorite game of all time (at least to this point – August 2017) that would be it. I think timing was its undoing – it just came out at the wrong time and when nomination time came around it had been a little forgotten but that’s just my opinion… I’ll still play or teach this game every chance I get!!

UPDATE: when the 2018 nominees were announced I learned that the only games eligible for this award are ones released in Germany… GWT didn’t have a German release… mystery solved.

Every couple of weeks my daughter has to have a ‘Nana’ day with my Mom… they go to breakfast, work on projects, go to lunch and usually play some games which prompted me to snag the original Farkle. You can find the rules and scoring online so if you have 6 dice kicking around you really don’t even need to purchase anything.

I’ve been working every weekend with the band but promised my daughter for her birthday back in June we’d visit Flipside Gaming in East Greenbush – the little game shop near where the band rehearses but we don’t rehearse during the busy summer months so as the end of July approached we took a road trip. I could have easily dropped a huge wad of money given all the choices but together we limited our selection to two that interested each of us – Mysterium and Yamatai – the latter more for my wife who still wasn’t feeling well – we thought she’d enjoy the beautiful artwork (again in lieu of flowers)…


(From BGG) In the 1920s, Mr. MacDowell, a gifted astrologist, immediately detected a supernatural being upon entering his new house in Scotland. He gathered eminent mediums of his time for an extraordinary séance, and they have seven hours to contact the ghost and investigate any clues that it can provide to unlock an old mystery.

Unable to talk, the amnesic ghost communicates with the mediums through visions, which are represented in the game by illustrated cards. The mediums must decipher the images to help the ghost remember how he was murdered: Who did the crime? Where did it take place? Which weapon caused the death? The more the mediums cooperate and guess well, the easier it is to catch the right culprit.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): What a game!! One player plays the ghost who can’t remember s$%t and the others play the psychics who were brought in to try to communicate with him non-verbally and reveal the true killer. This was another from TableTop season 4… I knew my daughter would love the Dixit element as soon as she saw it so when she saw this on the shelf at Flipside it never left her arms.

The game play is amazing and throw on the spooky soundtrack for some added atmosphere… It’s a coop so everyone wins or loses… I even brought this in for some team building with my tech interns at school… I played the ghost and they all worked together to try to uncover the murderer and they did it!! Fantastic game!!


(From BGG) In Yamatai , 2-4 players compete to build palaces, torii, and their own buildings in the land of Yamatai. The game includes ten numbered action tiles, each showing one or more colored ships and with most showing a special action. You shuffle these tiles, place them in a row, then reveal one more than the number of players.

On a turn, each player chooses a tile, collects the depicted ships from the reserve, optionally buys or sells one ship, then places the ships on the board. The land has five entryways, and you must start from these points or place adjacent to ships already on the board. You can’t branch the ships being placed, and if you place your first ship adjacent to another, then that first ship must be the same color as the adjacent one; otherwise you can place ships without regard to color.

After placing ships, you can either claim colored resources from land that you’ve touched with new ships this turn or build on one vacant space. To build, the space must have colored ships around it that match the ships depicted on one of the available building tiles. If you build a personal building that’s connected to others you own, you receive money equal to the number of buildings.

You can bank one ship before the end of your turn, then you can use any three resources or a pair of matching resources to purchase a specialist, each of whom has a unique power.

After all players go, you shuffle the action tiles, place them face down in the row, then reveal enough tiles at the front of the line to set up for the next turn, with the turn order being determined by the numbers on the tiles that players chose the previous turn. Once you trigger one of the game-ending conditions — e.g., no ships of one color or no more specialists — you finish the round, then count points for buildings built, specialists hired, and money on hand.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): The gameplay attracted me as much as the bright, colorful artwork… As I said earlier, Julie was under the weather and I thought the beautiful artwork and focusing on the game might take her mind off the pain for a little while anyway. The first play was typically slow as we’re all trying to get a feel for the game but it didn’t take long… we bogged down a little in trying to make good in-game choices. When we finished we all loved it, the girls were ready to play again but I was ready for bed as it was a work night for me and we just realized that it was after 12:30am!! The game must be good for time to go by like that…   Played again the next TWO nights…

Summer’s winding down, I have a night off and there are storms rolling through so we don’t like to use any electronics… I had to pick up a couple of prescriptions at our local Target (now CVS) pharmacy which means a quick run through their game section to see if anything new and different has arrived… as luck would have it there were several!! BUT… I couldn’t remember which were which from the descriptions so I decided to wait until I got home, had some supper and a chance to refresh my memory with the reviews I had seen not long ago.

I finished eating, picked my Mom up for a little dessert run as Rob & Deb’s had her favorite flavor on… MOCHA!! The question was could I get out there and back before the storms hit… We went for it!! It was just starting to sprinkle as I dropped her off… raining increasingly harder as I was leaving and dropping some big drops as I quickly walked into Target to pickup…

How To Rob A Bank!!

(from the publisher) One player is the bank and controls the guards while the other players are a team of robbers. Take turns planning your actions by playing cards – but keep your strategies secret. Then take turns revealing your actions by moving, picking up money bags, triggering alarms, and more!

Will the bank win by protecting its loot?

Or will the robbers make off like bandits?

Find out in this suspenseful game of teamwork and competition!

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): I like games (if you couldn’t tell already – well, let me finish)… I like all games but sometimes you’re just in the mood for something that’s easy to learn and fun and quick to play. This is a new game that looks like it will succeed at all of those!!

Unfortunately, by the time I returned home Julie was medicated and drowsy and Selena, hot off the first week at her first job, was asleep in the middle of the floor. Another potential game night shot to Hell!! The band’s back to work in a couple days so maybe next week…

As for the storms and tornado watch, they must have dissipated or gone around us because, aside from a couple distant rumbles of thunder, it thankfully didn’t amount to more than some very hard, short downpours.

We DID eventually get to try this out – played a few games back to back!! It was short and pretty easy to learn and a lot of fun.

Julie had an appointment at St. Peters in Albany and I decided if the timing was right I’d introduce her to Flipside and grab a bite on the way home… Selena wants nothing to do with hospitals right now (I really think she’d just rather stay home and binge watch something and who could blame her) so I had to make sure we were home in time to get her to work… The timing was perfect!!

The first thing I saw when we walked in was Viral… this has been talked about for months now and had piqued my curiosity so it was at the top of my list as I browsed the rest of the available titles but ultimately I ended up snagging a copy.

(from BGG) You are a VIRUS that has just infected a human body. Now you have to spread out and mutate your virus in order to infect other organs to gain VIRAL POINTS. But watch out for the other VIRUS controlled by other players and the powerful IMMUNE SYSTEM!

VIRAL is a 2-5 players competitive board game in which each player controls a virus that is growing inside a human body. Players will simultaneously play cards to place tokens on the board and move them around to gain control of zones to score Viral Points. Players also score points when they cause a crisis in an organ and thus activating the anti-virus (the immune system). Players also can play cards that allows them to attack other players. The player with the most Viral Points when the event deck runs out is the winner of the game VIRAL!

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): I guess I’m a little caught up in the hype and have watched a number of reviews and this just looks very different and at the same time very entertaining… It took us a while to get our first play in but have played a number of times since… it’s easy to learn and teach, has amazing artwork and Selena says it’s anatomically correct.

When Julie and I first started looking over the shelves something caught her eye that turned out to be a title I’d been looking for for some time (I’m not sure why I never ordered it) and we both reached for it simultaneously and that was Cottage Garden!! Truth be told I was hoping to find Barenpark which has some similarities but I was very happy to find this.

(from BGG) In Cottage Garden, you compete in the art of gardening and are working two beds with a variety of flowers. Whenever no unplanted box is visible on a bed, you have completed it, then you count your points and replace it with a fresh, unplanted bed. You gain points for all of the visible plant pots and planting bells.

In more detail, players select various polyomino tiles of flower beds from a central market grid, depending on the location of the “gardener”, then place them on one of their two personal garden boards. Each board has several garden elements that are worth points when not planted over, and these are scored on two different tracks as soon as a garden has been finished. Crossing over a line on each track awards bonus tokens that can fill in empty spaces or give you a better selection of the flower bed tiles. Whenever a garden is finished, you receive a new one to complete. After the gardener completes her fifth lap around the market, the game enters its last round. The player with the most points from their completed gardens at the end of the game wins.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): This had been on my radar for Julie since I first watched a review because I know how much she likes Tetris and those style game. Our first play turned into a marathon!! We must have played 6 games in a row just the two of us and more when our daughter got home from work.

Christmas 2017 – –

We’ve been gaming less and less because they keep changing Julie’s medications in hopes of finding something that might actually help with her chronic pain… I guess that’s what they mean by ‘practicing medicine’… For the most part, the latest batch just knock her out to where she sleeps most of the day and night – sometimes for days…

As Christmas approached we were still in a gaming drought of sorts… on top of that, I felt like anytime Julie was awake or Selena was home they were both on their iPads or iPhones so I decided to support their choices because it obviously made them happy and shifted my focus for Christmas from the recent large numbers of games to iTunes gift cards because I knew they would get used. Then about a month before the holidays Julie had a run of feeling better and the girls got the itch to game again even though I had already told them I wasn’t buying tons of games because we hadn’t been playing… Now I had to do some quick research and shopping…

The first one on my list was Karuba

(from BGG): This is a tile-laying race game with players starting with boards that are identical, and one player drawing tiles that they all will use. They race to get their explorers to temples first and earn points. Along the way they can collect additional points by collecting items off the paths they create.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): I knew Julie would love it because Avenue  is one of her (and my) favorite games and this reminded me of that in a number of ways. We always try to play something on Christmas eve so I thought this would be a good choice for then… it was!! We played several times that night and again over the days and nights that followed. Very easy to learn and teach but tough to beat if the tiles don’t get drawn to match your plan…

While our daughter is working and we’re waiting to pick her up (she has her permit now) my wife and I would relax by watching various board game reviews and play throughs…

One night I was re-watching Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop play of Marvel Legendary with Julie and she commented about how much Selena would love it because she loved those heroes… I knew she liked the movies like Spider-Man, Ironman, Deadpool, etc. so I just had to find it…

(From BGG): Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game is set in the Marvel Comics universe. To set up the game, players choose a mastermind villain (Magneto, Loki, Dr. Doom, etc.), stack that particular villain’s attack cards underneath it, then modify the villain deck as needed based on that villain’s particular scheme. Players then choose a number of hero decks – Spider-Man, Hulk, Cyclops, Wolverine, etc. – and shuffle them together; since players use only a handful of hero decks out of the fifteen included, the hero deck can vary widely in terms of what’s available.

Enter Flipside again…

I wanted to get my Mom out of the house after being shut-in due to the extended run of cold and rotten weather we’d had and debated taking a ride to Flipside Gaming and grabbing some lunch prior to taking her grocery shopping… I decided to call first to see if the they had the base game in stock… I thought I remembered seeing it on my last visit… The guy that answered the phone was pretty sure they did but was checking people in for a tournament they were running and asked me to call back in about 10 minutes… I decided to take my chances and we headed down. I was browsing the shelves and found a Deadpool expansion I was going to pick up as well but no signs of the base game. I figured I’d just have to order it and went to check out with the expansion at which point the guy at the counter asked if I was the one who called about the base game… I told him I was and he put it on the counter telling me he had set it aside for me… These types of people are why I like to support the local stores!! I thanked him very much and headed home with two of Selena’s presents in hand. I gave the expansion to my Mom to wrap because Selena always loves how Nana knows what she likes…

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): As I said earlier, Selena loves the Marvel hero movies and we’ve had a couple plays and love it!! I knew she’d know more of the heroes and villains than I but I love deck building so it was a win-win for us. Who wouldn’t want to recruit Hulk or Spider-Man or Wolverine and the like?? We hadn’t been able to convince Julie to play yet… I don’t think she’s as big a fan of the movies but then neither am I and I like the game… all 600+ cards of it!! Finally, as we got into the new year, we had a night and everyone wanted to game and Selena and I talked Julie into trying this… and she loved it!! And we beat it!!

I decided to get one more as a family gift from Santa and selected one I’ve had my eye on since I saw a preview for it well before it was ever released and that’s Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time!!

(From BGG): Professor Evil owns a time machine, and he’s been ripping off all the best historical items from times both past and future. Your team has been charged with confiscating these items and returning them to their proper locations in time, so you now need to infiltrate the mansion and abscond with four items before Prof. Evil can secrete four of them in locations inaccessible to you. Thankfully the old soul is a bit daft and won’t evaporate you should he catch you lurking through the mansion, but simply scoot you out the front door where he’ll forget about you immediately.

Why (we wanted it / like it (or don’t): It took a few days to get this on the table which gave me some time to read the very simple rule book and watch a couple videos to make sure I was ready to teach it when the time came. Then one night while Selena was working I convinced Julie to try it with me and we had a blast!! It’s very easy to pickup once you see everything in front of you… we had lost a treasure, then saved one but were on the verge of losing another when I had to leave to pick Selena up… Julie wanted to finish that game but I wanted to reset everything so Selena could join us… I could teach her the basics while she was eating… We all loved it and will be playing this one again very soon!!

Oh yeah… my wife got our daughter Speak Out and Crabs Adjust Humidity

Speak Out (from BGG): Get ready to be doubled over with laughter with this ridiculous mouthpiece challenge game! The Speak Out game brings friends and family together for laugh-out-loud fun as players try to say different phrases while wearing a mouthpiece that won’t let them shut their mouth. In the Speak Out game, players draw from the deck and read the phrase as best as they can, but it’s not so easy to do when the mouthpiece is hindering them from forming words correctly. The timer counts down as players try to say phrases such as “he’s my stealthy pet ferret name Garrett”, “slow down, you careless clown”, or “pelicans love pollywog falafels.” The laughter continues as players try to decipher what in the world their teammate is trying to say, and must correctly guess the phrase in order to earn the card. The team with the most cards at the end of the game wins. The Speak Out game includes 200 double-sided cards, 5 mouthpieces, and a timer.

Crabs Adjust Humidity is a blatant ripoff of the also tasteless Cards Against Humanity. (from BGG): Love Cards Against Humanity, but even with the official expansions find yourself playing the same cards over and over again? Enter Crabs Adjust Humidity – a crappy little third-party, unofficial, unauthorized expansion card set that blends seamlessly with the original game and adds 108 morally-questionable new cards to play. Professionally printed on linen-finish, casino-quality cards, Crabs Adjust Humidity does not contain shellfish. May be slightly moist.

I’m not a fan of either of these types of party games but they had played it at one of Julie’s family’s parties and they really like it!! They think Monty Python and Airplane are stupid but this stuff cracks them both up… I was losing the first and only time they convinced me to play Crabs until I figured out the answers with dicks and F bombs were getting the points – then I cleaned up. Like any game, being able to adjust your strategy on the fly is sometimes necessary…

Let’s move to 2018 to see if I made up for lost opportunities at Christmas…