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!