November 2018 roundup

During November, I managed to play 27 games of 21 different titles, with 6 of them being new to me. The new games were:


Qwantum – 4 plays –  6 
First Published 2018

Another roll and write game in the Qwixx and Qwinto family but this one doesn’t work as well. Admittedly, I’ve only played solo but there seems very little you can do to mitigate the luck of the dice rolls. Tried a couple of tweaks but I think I’m done with it and I don’t think the ability to leach numbers in the multi-player game will change things enough for me to rather play something else.

Sprawlopolis – 2 plays –  7 
First Published 2018

This solo print and play is pretty good and I like that the cards have the goals on the back of the cards, which changes the distribution of cards to be played when they are drawn as objectives. Very neat puzzle and quite hard on my first couple of plays.

Outback – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2018

Nice tile laying family game with a bit of push your luck in the dice rolling and cursing towards the end when the tiles don’t fit in your remaining spaces. Not a great game but one that is easy to get the family to play.

3×8 – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2018

Another in Amigo’s line of number card games, where this time you’re in a race to build three columns of eight ascending number cards. This sort of worked but Jan had a few difficulties with how the card manipulation worked (not that it’s difficult; she probably just wasn’t in the mood to work it out in her head). However, the game is still distinctly average. It works but not terribly fun and the blocker cards seemed a bit pointless really.

Lifestyle – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2018

Another small Amigo card game but this one surprised me as I wasn’t sure it would work. However, it did play pretty well and the combination of pushing your luck in determining how many cards to add to your die row and being able to manipulate the dice rolls with the sports cards made for a nice card management game, while trying to get the right sets of cards to score well. Jan and I both liked this. Not sure if the “Love” cards can skew the game if someone is fortunate that they turn up when only you can grab them but everyone should be watching out for these doublers.

Brikks – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2018

This is Tetris the roll and write game and is another nice puzzle game from Wolfgang Warsch. Not as good as Ganz Schon Clever but still pretty good. The tension increases towards the end of the game as the available points at the top of the grid is higher but not being able to fit a “tile” is disaster as it’s game over. Better hope you’ve got enough energy points left to manipulate the tile. Very good.


2x Orchard: A 9 card solitaire game
2x Whacky Wit
1x Finito!
1x Hostage Negotiator
1x Steam Time
1x The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
1x Onirim
1x Musée
1x Witch of Salem
1x The Game
1x Urbion
1x Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers
1x Kreuz & Quer
1x Flash Point: Fire Rescue
1x Khmer

It was nice to get games of Whacky Wit, Flash Point: Fire Rescue and Witch of Salem to the table this month. Also managed my best score in Kreuz & Quer (Connections)this month (5 points), only to discover Laszlo’s wife and daughter regularly score in the range of 2-4 points. Obviously need to keep practicing.


I added 3 new titles to the collection which were Brikks, Qwantum and Outback. I also reacquired Steam Time for just £10 in The Works’ latest strategy game sale, and this means my total collection now stands at 611.

I have 1 unplayed game (3 at the start of the month) and my Game of the Month was tough to choose as there wasn’t really any game that wowed me. In the end, I was switching between Sprawlopolis, Outback and Brikks but eventually decided that Brikks probably just had the edge.

October 2018 roundup

During October, I managed to play 17 games of 15 different titles, with 5 of them being new to me. The new games were:


Luxor – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2018

I was expecting to like this and wasn’t disappointed. Part race game, part set collection, with a nice light hand management / movement system and it works well with two. We really enjoyed this and I can see why it got a Spiel des Jahres nomination.

Bandido – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2016

Bandido is a simple solo puzzle cardgame that can also be played as a multi-player co-op. The cards create a maze of tunnels with a number of dead ends and you are trying to close off all the tunnels to prevent the bandido from escaping. There is obviously some luck in how soon the dead ends appear but my game went the distance (with me losing) and it takes a surprising amount of table space by the end. Good for an occasional play but it might get samey if played lots of times.

Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2018

This is another nice commercial tie-in with a decent game behind it. As it’s from USAopoly, it draws comparisons with Hogwarts Battle and it holds up well but doesn’t have the same aspect of ramping-up over several games. It is a bit less complex than Harry Potter but still presents a tough challenge. As fans of the film, it worked nicely for us.

Orchard: A 9 card solitaire game – 2 plays –  7 
First Published 2018

A print and play solo microgame, this is a clever 5-10 minute puzzle with a beat your high score challenge. This is a game that can go anywhere with you as it’s so compact and I’m really enjoying it so far.

Dragon Master – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2004

Dragon Master is the same game as Knizia’s Robot Master but using a 4×4 grid rather than 5×5. Perfect for a quick two-player match where your card play is all about helping yourself more than your opponent and hoping not to get screwed at the end of the game.


2x Flamme Rouge
1x Te-Trix
1x Targi
1x Five Tribes
1x Majesty: For the Realm
1x 20 Express
1x Star Wars: Angriff der Klonkrieger
1x Träxx
1x Cucina Curiosa
1x Dixit: Odyssey

Had a ten player game of Dixit while away in Abu Dhabi with work colleagues and glad they all enjoyed it. Ten players is probably a bit too many but, as I couldn’t get hold of a copy of the 12 player version of Telestrations, I settled for this being simple to explain and a way of keeping everyone involved. It was also nice to get Star Wars: Angriff der Klonkrieger on the table again. This is a fine co-op from Inka & Markus Brand and works well as a solo game.


I added 9 new titles to the collection which were Luxor, Flamme Rouge: Peloton, Dragon Master, Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War, Dixit: Odyssey, Karate Tomate, 3×8, Lifestyle and Bandido. I also reacquired the new version of Mosaix, which is now called Te-Trix, and this means my total collection now stands at 607.

I have 3 unplayed games (none at the start of the month) and my Game of the Month was the Spiel-des-Jahres nominated game, Luxor.

September 2018 roundup

During September, I managed to play 37 games of 32 different titles, with 9 of them being new to me. The new games were:


Justice League: Hero Dice – Batman – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2015

Justice League: Hero Dice – Green Lantern – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2016

Justice League: Hero Dice – Superman – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2015

Justice League: Hero Dice – Flash – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2016

Four different sets of dice to pit against the villains linked to the various DC heroes. Each set plays a bit differently and works reasonably well but I wasn’t feeling enough to persuade me to play any of the sets again.

Blue Lagoon – 1 play –  9 
First Published 2018

Fabulous new token placement game from Reiner Knizia, reminiscent of Through the Desert but with a Feldian multiplicity of scoring methods. Really enjoyed this.

Aladdin’s Dragons – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2000

Having released Keydom from the collection, I managed to grab a reasonably priced copy of the Rio Grande revision to see how it compared. Almost identical and good fun.

Donkey Derby – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2016

Another updated version of an older game, this time Favoriten being turned into a donkey race. Very little different from the earlier version and again good fun. Glad to have got this back in the collection.

Zeus on the Loose – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2006

A simple numbers game like Straw but where only the one person who holds Zeus wins the round and advances towards the four winning-rounds target. Good but, given a choice, I’d much rather play Straw.

Mondrian: The Dice Game – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2016

A dice rolling game where you need to roll and land your dice on the right areas of the grid of cards. But each die needs to be launched onto the play area in a different way: right and left handed rolls, a blind roll, a flick and a drop. Quite good fun but a bit random if you’re not very dexterous.


2x Fastcard Soccer
2x Onirim
2x Memoir ’44
2x Urbion
2x Pickomino
1x Noch mal!
1x The Game
1x Mmm!
1x Castellion
1x Concordia
1x Pandemic: The Cure
1x For Sale
1x Elevenses for One
1x Hostage Negotiator
1x The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game
1x Oceania
1x Vegas
1x Winchester
1x Fireside Football
1x Archaeology: The Card Game
1x Powerships
1x Rolling Japan
1x Straw


So far this year, I’ve played 267 games of 176 different titles. My most played are:
Cucina Curiosa 7
Onirim 7
Verflucht 7
After the Virus 5
Exxtra 5
The Game 5
The Mind 5


I added just 4 new titles to the collection which were the four Justice League: Hero Dice titles. I also reacquired Knizia’s Palazzo which means my total collection now stands at 597.

I am back down to zero unplayed games (5 at the start of the month) and my Game of the Month was another Reiner knizia game, Blue Lagoon.

August 2018 roundup

August saw quite a bit of gaming and I managed to play 47 games of 39 different titles, with 5 of them being new to me. The new games, which were all Reiner Knizia games, were:


Forbidden City – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2018

Knizia does Carcassonne: Forbidden City is a tile-laying game where you try to close off areas where you have the most presence. But the twist is that the area also scores for linked adjacent areas. Solid game where spotting and playing for the linked areas is the key to the game.

Ghosts – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2007

Knizia does Poison again. Rather than 13, the trouble number is 7, and taking the pot to that number or more gets you a penalty, with the chance to get rid of penalties if you don’t take any at the end of each round. Scratches the same itch and plays pretty well. We really enjoyed our four player game.

Drachenhort – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2015

Knizia does Midnight Party with a dragon taking the place of Hugo. Simple game but the passage layout with traps, deviously placed, treasures available to tempt you and secretly backing certain heroes makes this a very fun game.

Kariba – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2010

Knizia does Frank’s Zoo (I know there’s a better analogy but I’m struggling to remember). Play one or more cards of the same animal to the table. If there are three or more of that animal in play, it scares off the next highest valued creatures and they score points but, of course, the mouse still scares off the elephant. A nice light hand management game.

Kartel – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2018

Knizia does Patchwork: Gangsters from 7 gangster families are placed in a circle; the cop figure moves and arrests a gangster or takes a bribe. Taking a head of family puts him in jail and means the rest of the family will score points. Once five heads are in jail, the other two are declared innocent and any arrests of that family deduct from your points but bribes taken for the “innocent” family get paid out by the free crimelord. Good game that has a bit of group-think attached to it in terms of how quickly the family heads get carted off to jail.


3x Sylvion
3x After The Virus
2x Professor Evil and The Citadel of Time
2x Cucina Curiosa
2x Flamme Rouge
2x Port Royal
1x Between Two Cities
1x Ticket to Ride: New York
1x Verflucht!
1x 10 Days in the USA
1x Koalition
1x Ra: The Dice Game
1x Rummikub
1x Sagrada
1x Unlock! Escape Adventures
1x Honeybears
1x 20 Express
1x Kreuz & Quer
1x Maestro
1x Kingdomino
1x Limes
1x Peloponnes
1x Star Realms
1x The Lost Expedition
1x Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
1x The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game
1x Urbion
1x Römisch Pokern
1x Patchwork
1x Herbaceous
1x Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
1x Hostage Negotiator
1x A Fistful of Penguins

Lots of solo games this month, with the newly released Patchwork Automa working really well. A welcome return to the table for Peloponnes, Monster Box 1 from Hogwarts Battle (3 player – lost again), Star Realms and Legendary, which I can’t believe I’ve not played since December 2015. Also, a few “ancient” titles got an outing this month, such as Honeybears, Maestro and a good seven player game of Koalition.


I added 6 new titles to the collection: Drachenhort, Kariba, Kartel, Ghosts, Blue Lagoon and Donkey Derby. I also reacquired four games and parted company with one, which means my total collection now stands at 592.

My list of unplayed games is up from 4 to 5 and, although there was nothing new that rated above a 7, my Game of the Month deservedly went to Drachenhort.

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:


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.


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.


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.

June 2018 roundup

If May was a slow month of gaming then June turned out to be glacial as the unusually pleasant weather and a two week holiday saw me tied up doing lots of other things. Consequently, I only managed to play 7 games of 7 different titles, with 2 of them being new to me. The new games were:


Icarus – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2015

This was a really great surprise as I wasn’t expecting too much from it but it definitely worked fantastically well for me. I’d describe it as Knizia’s take on Liar’s Dice / Bluff, although with cards rather than dice. Revealing a card gives everyone more information but you have flexibility in upping your bid to any of the seven different suits / colours. Production quality is only so-so – the cards are fine but the box and board detract from the overall appearance. Not sure why this wasn’t picked up by one of the usual German producers.

Sakura – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2018

Sakura is another push-your-luck game from Reiner Knizia where you use cards to move the player pawns and the emperor with a view to getting your pawn closest to the emperor when he reaches a scoring space without bumping into him beforehand. Fun and quick but not one of his top-rier games. Will definitely play from time to time but it’s not likely to be a regular.


1x Voodoo Prince
1x The Fox in the Forest
1x Mystery Rummy: Al Capone and the Chicago Underworld
1x Too Many Cooks
1x Habe fertig

It was nice to get a bunch of card games that haven’t been played for a while back to the table. Al Capone may be my favourite in the Mystery Rummy series but I probably should play all of them again to check. Also, Habe Fertig seems to have been overlooked by many but it is another brilliantly simple card game by Steffen Benndorf.


I added 4 new titles to the collection: Mondrian: The Dice Game, Icarus, Sakura and Lost Cities: To Go. I also reacquired three games and parted company with four, which means my total collection now stands at 568.

My list of unplayed games is up from 2 to 3 and my Game of the Month was Icarus, which turned out to be a fantastic variant of Liar’s Dice / Bluff.

May 2018 roundup

May turned out to be a slow month of gaming and I only managed to play 23 games of 23 different titles, with 8 of them being new to me. The new games were:


Professor Evil and The Citadel of Time – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

This is a terrific solo/co-op game with some decent differential abilities for each character and constantly having to choose which of two cards is best to utilise. And Professor Evil moves unpredictably to mess things up (although in my game he was Professor Slow and didn’t hamper me too much). Really enjoyed this.

On Tour – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2018

Now this is on kickstarter for a few more days but I printed out the map and played along with one of the run-through videos. Reminded me of Trans America but as a roll and write game and it was an excellent puzzler with lots of tough choices, which become more critical as the game gets closer to the end. Very good and may well back this. As it’s a pre-release game, I ruled that it couldn’t be considered for game of the month but it has a strong chance when it is finally available.

Welcome To… – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2018

Rather than roll and write, this is draw and write (as in card draw) and this again provides an excellent puzzle in trying to work out which of three of the available options moves you closer to your scoring objectives. Like Ganz Schon Clever, you’re juggling how best to score and it works really well.

Toppo – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2006

This is an older Reiner Knizia game that is a bit different from his normal stuff, in that it is a speed pattern recognition game. Each turn, you try to either match the three cards you draw to three cards in the centre, in which case they cover the matching cards, or match fewer than three and place the remainder to the bottom of your deck. If you’re unlucky, yo can do neither and just put all three to the bottom of your deck. Once a player has fewer than ten cards left, they call Toppo and end the game/round. I’m not a big fan of speed games, but this worked pretty well.

Star Wars: Destiny – Two-Player Game – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Found a cheap copy of this and decided to give it a try. Although I’m sure the full game with deck construction is more satisfying in terms of game variability, this starter game works very well and we had a nice battle that turned out to be quite close. The dual objectives of dealing damage to an opponent while not burning through your deck too quickly means the strategy isn’t immediately obvious.

Café Fatal – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Great dice management game, where you’re looking for area majorities to claim pieces of pizza, cake and cheese to score the most points. The placement restrictions are the thing that make the game interesting but you’re still left to the roll of the dice to determine how successful you’ll be. Surprisingly quick game with two players.

Go Nuts for Donuts – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Is this Sushi Go for those with a sweet tooth? Yes, in terms of the set-collection, but this is a second-guessing simultaneous-reveal mechanism rather than card-drafting. You’re still watching for what others are collecting but there’s more groaning when you pair up with another player going for the same card so both come away empty handed. Good fun.

Amun-Re: The Card Game – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

This is a card game version of the terrific Amun Re board game, which maintains the main feel of the game and the changing epochs in particular but without the board positioning. It incorporates a different but nice constrained auction mechanism as you can only bid with a single card; you can’t add more cards, only replace with a higher card. Not sure it would work as well with two but three definitely works and four or five may well be better.


1x Verflucht!
1x Mmm!
1x Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama
1x Forbidden Desert
1x Würfel Bingo
1x The Hobbit
1x Mini Mölkky
1x NMBR 9
1x Kribbeln
1x Connections
1x City Square Off
1x Oceania
1x The Game
1x Top & Down
1x Callisto: The Game

I’ve enjoyed revisiting several short and simple games this month. Roll and write/score games have featured prominently with Kokoro, Wurfel Bingo and Kribbeln getting back to the table. Some of my reacquisitions proved to be good decisions with Oceania, Callisto and Forbidden Desert all justifying their place back in the collection, while Kreuz & Quer (Connections) continues to frustrate (in a good way) with my inability to score well.


So far this year, I’ve played 141 games of 107 different titles. My most played are:
Verflucht 6
Onirim 5
Exxtra 4
The Game 4
The Mind 4


I added 8 new titles to the collection: Amun Re: The Card Game, Welcome To… Go Nuts for Donuts, Toppo, Die Ritter von der Haselnuss, Cafe Fatal, Star Wars: Destiny and Forbidden City. I also reacquired several games and parted company with four, which means my total collection now stands at 565.

My list of unplayed games is up from 1 to 2 and my Game of the Month was Professor Evil and The Citadel of Time, although I very much enjoyed On Tour but that isn’t officially released yet.