July 2018 roundup

July turned out to be a better month for gaming and I managed to play 35 games of 25 different titles, with 7 of them being new to me. The new games were:

== NEW GAMES ==

Roll to the Top! – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2018

Roll and write games are very popular at the moment but this latest addition is excellent with lots of tough choices in what is effectively a race to reach the top of your grid and with lots of different grids to play with, it should see plenty of variation. It can be easy to mess yourself up for later in the game with an ill-chosen number, as I found to my cost the first time we played. Excellent.

Ticket to Ride: New York – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2018

Ticket to Ride condensed to a 10-15 minute game seems like it would be ideal for my shorter game tastes and it is but it does seem to be over a bit too quickly and the absence of long routes decreases a bit of the tactical choices. However, it plays fantastically smoothly and should be easy to get newcomers to play.

Lost Cities: To Go – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2018

Another version in the well known franchise and there are some interesting changes in this version. You have a storage area to bank tiles you want or to hinder your opponent and the 2,3 and 4 tiles allow you to play another tile on the same expedition. Very solid and a nice variant.

Cucina Curiosa – 5 plays –  8 
First Published 2015

This is in the Kreuz & Quer / Take it Easy family of games where you are trying to connect from the entrance to your kitchen to as many lobsters as possible while avoiding the fishbones. The board is a 4×4 grid and you have twenty tiles in your stock, with one player acting as the bingo-caller, drawing a tile at random and everyone placing the same tile in their grid. Once you’ve filled your grid, you score 1 point for each connected lobster but lose 2 points for each connected fishbone. Highest total wins. The game also plays solo where you try to score as high as possible with an adjustment to your total for any lobsters on your unplayed tiles. Very good and deceptively tricky. With five plays this month, it is getting a bit addictive.

Dragon Castle – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

A nicely tactile Mah Jong style game, trying to maximise your points by placing groups of tiles together and in increasing height of blocks. Fairly easy going but I’m not sure it’ll become a favourite of mine, although I need to play again.

Facecards – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Very good party game where everyone selects a pair of cards from their hand, one of which goes in front of them; the other into a face down community pile. The community cards are revealed and players take turns trying to guess a matching pair, with correct guesses yielding points for both players. Simple and fun due to the number of cards that can overlap with others.

Backpacks & Blisters (second edition) – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Picked up a copy of this and was pleased with the nice production of a game I’ve played years ago (although it might have been More Backpacks… actually). As a solo game, it’s a nice puzzle with time getting very tight to get back to Keswick before the search party get mobilised to rescue you.

== OTHER GAMES PLAYED THIS MONTH ==

4x Pig 10
3x Robot Master
2x Ricochet Robots
1x Can’t Stop
1x Ganz schön clever
1x Take it Easy!
1x The Mind
1x Whacky Wit
1x The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game
1x Azul
1x Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age
1x A Fistful of Penguins
1x Jäger und Sammler
1x Nautilion
1x Exxtra
1x Träxx
1x Noch mal!
1x Finito!

Lots of solo games this month with me trying to get some back to the table that I hadn’t played for a while: Roll Through the Ages, Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game and Robot Master to name a few. The latter has had a re-release recently as Dragon Master but I’m not sure the slimmed down 4×4 playing area would be as interesting as the 5×5 in Robot Master. Anyone played Dragon Master yet?

It was also good to get Jager & Sammler and Whacky Wit played again, as well as this year’s Spiel des Jahres, Azul, which I’m really pleased won the award as it is a great game.

== STATE OF THE COLLECTION ==

I added 8 new titles to the collection: Roll to the Top, Aladdin’s Dragons, Bacpacks & Blisters: Second Edition, Dragon Castle, Cucina Curiosa, Facecards, Zeus on the Loose and Ticket to Ride: New york. I also reacquired seven games, which means my total collection now stands at 583.

My list of unplayed games is up from 3 to 4 and my Game of the Month was a tough choice between Roll to the Top and Cucina Curiosa but I decided to go for the latter as it’s fairly addictive, with that just one more go element. Doug, you may need to try this.

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