board game extravaganza 1 (March)

I went to a board game convention at the beginning of March, and I played lots of games! Here’s a list:

  • Scoville: This is similar to Pastiche, but with peppers. It’s a cute game where you plant peppers and try to harvest increasingly more expensive or strategic peppers. You get victory points by making salsa recipes and selling your peppers. It’s cute and fun, not too heavy, and I really enjoyed it.
  • Kodama: This is a sweet and pretty game that can be played with children if you want. You start with a trunk card that has one of six features on it. Each season (spring, summer, and fall), you place four cards on your tree, scoring points for features, and at the end of each season, you invite a kodama (tree spirit) to your tree, and it gives you additional points. There are kodama cards for children that give more basic points so they can be competitive with adults. It’s a very pretty game, with really nice art.
  • Lost Cities: This is a two-player game where you go build expeditions by going through a deck of cards and playing cards out of your hand in sequential order for each color. Some rounds can be devastatingly bad, going into negative points, but it’s a fun game for two, and it can be quite competitive over a few rounds. I ended up with two copies of this through the math trade, and I think we’re going to give the second copy to Carl’s parents, who like games too.
  • Viticulture: I was really excited about this game, because I love Scythe, and this was his earlier hit. I think this game would be best played with people you know really well, whom you can harass if they take too long, because a couple guys we played with were fairly dense and fairly oblivious. The mechanics are interesting, as you plant vineyards, harvest grapes, and make and sell wine, and it takes a reasonable balancing of resources. It was a fun game, and I’d like to play it again, though with people I know better. 🙂
  • Deadwood Studios: You’re filming a western movie, and you take roles and get paid and get fame for performing well. For each turn, you’re encouraged to perform your line expressively, but you ultimately roll a die to determine whether you succeed or not. It ended up being a lot of fun, with plenty of laughter.
  • Letter Tycoon: I entered a tournament for this game and ended up losing badly. It’s kind of like capitalist Scrabble. You have a hand of cards, build words, and buy patents on letters, which pay out when other people use your letters. I was a little disappointed about doing so poorly, but I love this game. I’d like to add it to my collection, if it weren’t so similar to other word games (that Carl won’t play with me).
  • Shadow Hunters: This game is best played with a large group of people. I think we played with eight. You’re assigned a role of hunter, shadow, or neutral. Hunters and shadows are trying to kill each other, and neutrals each have different win conditions. You can try to figure out who’s who, and you can cause damage to others. It’s a fun game that I’ve played before. It has pretty simple mechanics, and it’s just a good party game.
  • One Night Revolution: Based on Revolution, but happening faster, everyone has a faction, either rebel or informant, and a role, which include signaler and revealer and other things. Informants try to keep from being discovered, and rebels try to figure out who they are. It can be pretty quick, and it’s a fun puzzle game with lots of conversation. We played about eight rounds of it. Very fun.
  • Herbaceous: Very pretty game. You cultivate herbs and plant them in herb boxes for various levels of points. It has simple mechanics, plays quickly, and has beautiful art. It was fun and pretty, a good palate cleanser.
  • Elevenses: Another fairly simple game, it mimics morning tea. You have cards face-down and a few cards in your hand. You try to figure out where your high-value cards are and maximize your points, and each round ends when someone has three cards face-up and plays an elevenses card. It was sweet to play.
  • Biblios: I was interested in playing this game to check it out for a friend. It turned out to be not that cool. You’re trying to build your collection of types of books in a scriptorium. Each person takes a card for herself, a card for the auction, and as many cards for the public offering as there are other people playing, and you go through the deck that way. The auction phase comes with buying cards. People bid on cards to add to their collection. It’s… okay. Not awesome.
  • Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle: We only played two years of the game rather than all seven. Characters (Hermione, Ron, Harry, and Neville) try to fight villains and gain spells and items. It’s a cooperative deck-building game, and it was both fun and not too thrilling. I’m not sure I’ll play it again, but it was good enough as we went.
  • Hardback: This is the “prequel” to Paperback, similar to Paperback but with some different mechanisms. This is going on Kickstarter in April, and if you don’t have Paperback already, you should look at both and decide which to get. Hardback involves buying cards that are one of four different genres – mystery, adventure, horror, and romance – and those cards give special powers when used together. It’s fun but still needs to be polished. It’s similar enough to Paperback to not make me need to buy it, but it could be a good option if you are looking for a word game.
  • Sheriff of Nottingham: This is a bluffing game where you bring legal goods into the town and try to smuggle illegal goods in. Each person takes a turn as the sheriff, and as sheriff, you try to extract bribes from other players. It’s fun if you get into it and really live up your roles. I loved this game a year ago and enjoyed it this year too.
  • Captain Sonar: This is a game for 2-8 players, and we played with all eight, two teams of four. Each team has a captain, a radio operator, a first mate, and an engineer. I was the engineer for two games and the first mate for one. It’s basically real-time Battleship with additional complexity. It was a lot of fun, though the dry erase markers basically stopped working while we were playing. It worked really well with eight players. Not a game I need to own, because I’m not sure I could find seven other people to play with.
  • Broom Service: We played this with five players, and it was fun! This was my first time playing with more than two people, and it was quite enjoyable. It was tense trying to figure out if you should be cowardly or brave. The other people seemed to enjoy it too, one guy said it was his favorite game of the weekend.
  • Artemis (simulation): This was a Star Trek bridge simulation with a crew of six. Five of us did it, and a random person joined us for it. I was the captain (yay!). We helped some Romulans and destroyed basically an entire Klingon fleet, then flew through an asteroid field on our way back. It was fun, and I’d like to try it again (and maybe go rogue).

Stay tuned for another board game extravaganza in April!

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