Friday, March 31, 2017

Shannon's 1st Quarter of 2017 Board Game Challenge Update

The first three months of 2017 have come and gone. In that time, I had a birthday and received new games, learned to play games that I didn't know how to play, and made a pretty good dent in my board game challenges. Board Game wise, I have had a pretty good start to 2017, so I thought it would be a good time to update how my board game challenges are going.

Challenge #1 Play Through Your Collection Board Game Challenge 

I started off this year with 163 games in my collection, that number has increased to 171 games. I have currently played 59 of those games, so I feel that I have had a pretty good start on this challenge. If I keep up this pace, I could finish this challenge in a year instead of the two years I gave myself. Unfortunately, I have gone from 22 games that I need to learn up to 24, but I still feel really good about how this challenge is going.

Challenge #2 10x10 Board Game Challenge 

As for this challenge, I have played 25 of the 100 games needed. That makes me 1/4 of the way through, so I feel I'm right on track with this challenge. There are a few games that I'm almost completely finished with, while, unfortunately, some of my games on my 10x10 list still haven't been played once! I will have to work on this during this next quarter of the year. 

I hope everyone is doing well on their board game challenges, and that you are all having as much fun with them as I am. It's been great fun going back through all the games in my collection and playing games that I haven't played in a few years. It will also help me at the end of the year unhaul a few games that are sitting on my shelf that I just don't enjoy playing anymore.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Takenoko Review

*Ages 8+
*2-4 Players
*About 45 Minutes
*Antoine Bauza

Takenoko is a cute family game about building a bamboo garden and a panda going around eating the bamboo. For this game you take 2 actions out of the 5 action choices. The choices are: move gardener to grow bamboo, move panda to eat bamboo, draw 3 tiles and place 1, get an irrigation stick, and draw another card. After each player has taken their first turn you add a die roll at the beginning of your turn. The die has a different symbol on each side. The sides mean: grow 1 bamboo plant, move panda to eat 1 bamboo piece, do the same action twice, take an improvement tile, an extra action, and a ? means you can pick which die side you want. As you are building or eating bamboo, you want to complete your cards. The game goes on until someone places their last card, depending on the number of players, that is between 7-9.

Shannon's Thoughts:
Favorite Number To Play With: This is a game that I think plays well with any number of players. 

Mechanics I Like And Dislike:  I love how this game plays, the only thing that I find frustrating, is the die roll. Sometimes I really need an improvement token to finish one or more cards and the only way to get them is from rolling the die, and sometimes you just can't roll what you need.

Favorite Art Or Pieces: Who doesn't love the adorable Panda Piece in this game, and Mrs. Panda in the expansion is equally cute.

Strategies: I usually end up getting lots of gardener and panda eats cards, because I find them easier to complete.

Final Thoughts: This game is so cute. The pieces and artwork are amazing. The game is simple enough for beginners to learn, but still fun for more experienced gamers, especially when they want a simpler game to pull out between more strategic games. Another great game from Antoine Bauza!

8 out of 10 Stars

Amber's Thoughts:
Favorite Number To Play With: Really, just like the box says 2-4, I think it plays well with any of those.

Mechanics I Like And Dislike: Well, for about the first 8 months we misplayed how to move the panda and gardener (we didn't move them in a straight line) and when we grew a color we grew it every where as long as it was irrigated (we didn't just make it grow if it was touching) once we got that fixed I think the mechanics work good. It gives some more challenge to moving and planning out your turns. 

Favorite Art Or Pieces: I like the tiles art work, it is colorful and simple. I also like the character figures!

Strategies: My strategy is to draw a fourth card first thing, because I prefer to have a second plot card so then when I draw tiles next action it is more likely that at least 1 or 2 or all 3 will be ones I want to play! Also after laying down about 4 cards in points, I start to only draw the "grow" cards because others can end up helping you by growing what you need.

Final Thoughts: It is a fun, easy going game. I like that it is easy enough that I can get a non-strategy gamer to attempt it and they understand it pretty quickly. I love the art and character figures! I enjoy the expansion Takenoko Chibis and all it adds to the game.

8 out of 10 Stars  

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dragonheart Review

*Ages 13+
*2 Players
*About 30 Minutes
*Rudiger Dorn

Dragonheart is a two player card management game. Each player takes an identical deck and shuffles it, then draws five cards into their hand. There are 9 spots on the board where your cards could play: huntress, fire dragon, ship, treasure chest, troll, knight, dwarf, petrified dragon, and sorceress. Each spot on the board has a different number of cards that must be played before that spot takes effect. The game is played in three rounds and whoever has to most points at the end of the game wins.

Shannon's Thoughts:
Mechanics I Like And Dislike: Sometimes I dislike the amount of luck involved in the cards you draw. Sometimes you just can't get the right cards in your hand, and that makes it really hard for you to win.

Favorite Art Or Pieces: All the Dragons! I love Dragons, so all the artwork and the dragon piece are wonderful!

Strategies: Holding as many of a set in my hand as I can so I can play them all at once to get a high amount of points and also getting the Great Dragon token as often as I can so I have an extra card in my hand.

Final Thoughts: There is a lot of luck involved with this game, but I still love it. The theme really draws me in, and it's a fun and quick two player game.

8 out of 10 Stars

Amber's Thoughts:
Mechanics I Like And Dislike: I feel like the card drawing can be crappy at times, like when you grab a ship in your first draw, or when you need 1 more of a set to take it all, but can't seem to draw it, but the other player can draw it! :S I do like the 2 player aspect, it is like rock/paper/scissors with more actions :D

Favorite Art Or Pieces: Either the huntress or the treasure chest.

Strategies: Hold on to your ships until you have all 3 to lay down at one time. Try and play down what you can pick up next, aka play a treasure chest and then play a fire dragon or a sorceress.

Final Thoughts: I really like this game. It is a game Shannon and I learned on over a year ago. I like that Shannon now owns an actual copy of it, so we get to play it more often and it takes less than 15 minutes.

7 out of 10 Stars  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Our Favorite Party Games

With Summer coming up soon, it reminds us of late night gatherings playing party games together with friends. We wanted to talk about some of our favorite games to pull out and play when we have a larger group. Click the name of any game to learn more about it from it's boardgamegeek page!


Shannon: Codenames: This game can be fun, but sometimes I find it a little frustrating to play. I tend to make connections to words that no one else will be able to get. So, for me, I have to take a step back and think about who I'm giving clues to.
Amber:  The Resistance Avalon: I used to like this game a lot, even though the "quests" are make believe, but we don't play it as much as we used too.


Shannon: Red Dragon Inn: I enjoy this game a lot. I like getting to pick out different characters each time to play so the cards are always different. But, as with all player elimination games, if you get eliminated early on, it can be really boring.
Amber:  Reverse Charades: I feel like this game is the GO TO Game for another couple we hang out with on occasion. And I, at first, wasn't sure how much I liked it, but the last 2 times we played it at their house, I will admit I have fallen in like with the game. It is just SO FUNNY to see how others act out words and how much chaos a group can do for 1 guesser. 


Shannon: Happy Salmon: This game reminds me of the craziness of Pit. Everyone is yelling out different things trying to get heard, but I like how you have to move around in this game. It's really nice when you've been sitting around playing games for a while to get up and move a bit.
Amber:  Love Letter Premium: I like Love Letter, and have only gotten to play the Deluxe Edition a couple of times, but the added characters were REALLY fun! I liked the chances of playing different characters (even if they are the same numbers 1-9) and having new specials to try out. (If you want more info on this game we wrote a review of it back in January! Go check it out!)


Shannon: Concept: I like the complexity of trying to get people to guess your words or phrases with the random pictures on the board. It makes you think, but I feel like this game is usually better with the right group or it can get a little boring.
Amber:  Telestrations: I liked telephone as a kid, and this game sometimes takes me back to when I was a kid! :) I like the added difficulty of drawing.  I do feel like this game NEEDS to be played with 5+ people, because with 4 people if a clue makes it around the table, people don't get as many points. And I could be the person that totally writes the wrong thing down to screw someone out of points, but that person frustrates me so I don't.


Shannon: The Resistance and The Resistance Avalon: I have played both versions and I love them both. I like Avalon a little better, because I like the extra abilities of some of the cards, but I think I would enjoy the regular version with it's expansions just as much. I grew up playing Mafia with a regular deck of cards, so when this game was introduced to me, I fell in love with it. I enjoy games like this.
Amber:  Bang! The Dice Game: Dice rolling can be a turn off to me in a group game, because if your roll sucks, you don't have any good options. I personally do ok at the game, but my poor husband somehow dies within his first 2 turns most games. He then will make up backstories for characters, which is funny yet annoying, but adds something to the game :) I do like in the new expansion with the Ghost, because when knocked out early, you don't just have to sit by and watch.


Shannon: One Night Ultimate Werewolf: This game is quick, the special abilities are really cool, and it's just a lot of fun to play. When we pull this one out, we always play is several times in a row because it's just so much fun and everyone loves it.
Amber:  Blood Bound: I like the secret identities in the game and the way each character has a roll in their Vampire Family! Also the characters on the cards are really interesting!


Shannon: Blood Bound: This is another game where everyone has secret identities and abilities, and I enjoy the challenge of figuring out who is on my team. 
Amber:  Happy Salmon: A newer game to my collection, but I LOVE IT! I love the chaos that goes on and how much fun it is to just be yelling out what card you have, trying to find someone do the card's action with!


Shannon: Dixit: I love the artwork on these cards, and I like the whole concept of trying to get people to guess which card is mine based on a vague clue. 
Amber:  Codenames: I think this is a fun word game. I have mentioned before I am not big on word games, but this one has sold me! We own Codenames original and pictures. I like the problem solving of how words can work together. Also it really makes you think about the different meanings of words, which can (and has in many games) backfire on the clue giver. (We wrote a blog review on this one too! GO check it out!)


Shannon: Bang! The Dice Game: This game has secret roles too, but I find it's usually pretty easy to find out who everyone is. I know some people don't like this one as much, because it relies heavily on dice rolls, but that's one of the things I like about it. 
Amber:  Dixit: FIRST OFF I LOVE THE ART ON THE CARDS!!! I think this game plays at its best at about 4+ players. I love that when playing with people you know WELL or don't know at all, it can be so much fun to see what the art reminds me of and how their brain works. I also really like when playing with someone new, they say their clue/hint and 1 or 2 specific cards pops up in my head :D


Shannon: Telestrations: This game is so much fun. It's like a giant game of telephone only with drawings. It's hilarious to see how one concept completely changes to something completely different at the end of each round.
Amber: One Night Ultimate Werewolf: I love this game! I haven't owned if for more than like 3 months...but no matter what group I have tried it with, it is SO MUCH FUN!! :D I have tried it with up to 7 people aging from 10-40! :) It reminds me of playing Mafia at summer camp, but the characters are much cooler!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dead Of Winter Review

*Ages 14+
*2-5 Players
*About 45-210 Minutes
*Jonathan Gilmour & Isaac Vega
*Fan Made Crossroads Companion App (Digital version of the crossroad cards)

Dead Of Winter is a cooperative game where you choose a scenario to play, then decide to play the hard side with no secret objectives, keeping it completely cooperative, or the easy side where everyone is then given a secret objective to complete and one person may be a betrayer. At the beginning of each round a crisis card is drawn that give the players a task to complete before the round is over or there are negative consequences that happen at the end of the round. The player whose character has the highest influence goes first, taking as many actions that don't require dice as they want, and using their dice to perform actions that require them. Sample actions are searching a location for items, killing zombies, and playing cards. The player to their right looks at a crossroads card for the active player and reads the card only if the active player triggers it by performing a specific action. Play then continues to the left until all players have had a turn. At the end of each round, players must pay food, add zombies, resolve the crisis card, check the main objective, and move the round tracker down, until the round tracker hits zero or the main objective has been completed.

With Dead of Winter: The Long Night, you have several new modules you can add in like Bandits, Improvements, and the Raxxon zombies. They change the game in little ways so you can slowly add them into your base game to learn without it getting too complicated. 

Shannon's Thoughts:
Favorite Number To Play With: I like this game as a four player game. That keeps the rounds from feeling too long, and you have plenty of people to get objectives done. With only two people, getting the objective and crisis cards done gets really hard, and with five people it just seems to take too long to get through a round.

Favorite Character And Why: I have always liked Kodiak Colby (You do not count him in the night phase for zombies or food). (A promotional card.) I enjoy that he does not add zombies to his location. From just the base game I'd pick Alexis Gray (Once per turn you can keep two cards when you search at the library). Being able to go to the library and find all the blueprints for the other locations is a lot of fun. From The Long Night I like Emma Han (Once per turn look at the first four cards at the location you're at and you can keep one book). I love reading the funny titles for the books and they can be very useful.

Least Favorite Character And Why: Forest Plum! (Take him out of the game to raise the morale by one.) It can be nice to have him if you are low on morale, but it leaves you with less dice to do other things with.

Mechanics I Like And Dislike: There are so many parts of this game I like. I enjoy that, on top of the main objective, each round there are mini objectives in the crisis cards. I also like that the crossroads cards can trigger and change everything for better or worse. And for dislike, I really enjoy cooperative games, so for me, I'm not a big fan of the possibility of having a betrayer in the game. 

Favorite Art Or Pieces: I don't have any that really stick out as my favorite.

Strategies: Discuss with your group what needs to be done, so you know who can accomplish which goals, or which crisis cards you can ignore and not hurt the group. 

Final Thoughts: I am not a fan of zombies, so I really didn't think I would enjoy this game. I was very wrong! This game is cooperative which I love, and it has so much going on with it, so there's rarely a time when you feel like you are just wasting your turn doing nothing. We have replayed it many times, and it's always fun. Overall, it's just a really great game! The Long Night expansion is a great addition to this game.

9 out of 10 Stars

Amber's Thoughts:
Favorite Number To Play With: I like playing with 4 people, because that is what we normally play with, but 2 players is ok too.

Favorite Character And Why: I have 4 favorites right off: Mike Cho, Bev Russell, Talia Jones, and Loretta Rogers. Mike Cho is an awesome ninja that kills zombies without rolling the exposure dice. Bev Russell because 1) she a BA mother who kicks zombie butt and 2) my maiden name was Russell, so that is like brownie points for her. Talia Jones is great because it is huge to look at top 2 cards of the crisis deck and pick between them, so you can push down crisis you don't have the supplies for, or if you know the group have a lot of one kind of card to meet the requirements it is an easy pick. Loretta Rogers is nice because she gives free food each round.

Least Favorite Character And Why: Forest Plum (remove from the game for a morale) or Felicia Day. Plum because I don't like killing off my person, I want to use them for their dice and benefits. Felicia Day because she makes the game harder by triggering crossroads cards.

Mechanics I Like And Dislike: I like the mechanics of secret objectives, but I don't like there being a betrayer. I really don't like people being shady and I want to trust people, so I do not like not knowing if there is a betrayer or who it is. I am working on this because I think that the secret objectives are really fun, I just don't want to betrayed.  :S

Favorite Art Or Pieces: I like looking at all of the character cards, and how unique each person is, just like in real life. And the new zombies all look really cool too!

Strategies: The strategy depends on the scenario. But here are some things that I feel like need to be done with any scenario- 1) feed your people 2) put out barricades 3) clean the waste pile 4) search for weapons/food/blue prints 5) if at all possible, try to not have to roll the exposure dice

Final Thoughts: I really like this game! When Shannon first got it we played it A LOT because there are some many scenarios and secret objects, so the replay value is high. Then we took a break for a while, and now that they have the expansion, we will probably play it more again :D

8 out of 10 Stars


Friday, March 3, 2017

Suspicion Review

*Ages 10+
*2-6 Players
*Forrest-Pruzan Creative

Suspicion is a deduction game kind of like Clue. On your turn you roll the dice and move each of the people you rolled one room in any direction. Then you play a card that has actions on it and you resolve those two actions. The actions are: take a specific gem, take a gem in the room your person is in, a trap door that allows you to move any one pawn any where on the board, or a picture of a person that you can ask any one other person if they can "see" that person (aka are they that person, in a room to the left/right/up/down of that person). Then just mark your sheet if you learned anything. Then it is the next person's turn and you repeat the steps until one pile of gems runs out.

Amber's Thoughts:
Favorite Number To Play With: 3-4

Mechanics I Like And Dislike: I like the very simple choices in the game: 1) roll and move those people 1 room 2) play a card and do the actions on the card 3) mark your sheet with any info you got. I disliked the length of time between my turns in a 5 player game.  

Favorite Art Or Pieces: The art work is simple and clean. I like the sheets for marking off people.

Strategies: PAY ATTENTION TO- what jewel people take. Try and move the people you rolled into rooms that have the same gem you are about to take so you don't give much info about your person or to set your self up to ask someone who they can see.

Final Thoughts: If you like Clue style mystery games, this is a fun deduction game for you! I really liked it, because I liked trying to figure out who was who. I think it is a great game for families and teaching kids deduction and problem solving strategies.

6 out of 10 Stars 

Shannon's Thoughts:
Favorite Number To Play With: I have only played this with 4 players.

Mechanics I Like And Dislike: Being able to move the pieces to help yourself eliminate who is who and also help keep your piece a mystery.

Favorite Art Or Pieces: I don't really have any for this game.

Strategies: Pay attention to what other people do.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoy playing Clue, but this deduction game is too easy for me. It's a nice way to teach beginner deduction, but after playing Clue for many years, this game was too easy and that made it not very fun for me.

5 out of 10 Stars    

It has been a busy couple of weeks! Between work, sickness, and is your week going? Let's know what blog you want to see next week in the comments! And remember you can follow us!