April 2018 roundup

In April, I managed to play 42 games of 32 different titles, with 10 of them being new to me. The new games were:


Menara – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2018

Excellent solo /co-op dexterity game where you build a temple over several levels, following the instructions on various order cards. You have to build up to a certain level, depending on how hard you set the game up to be, but you can’t just stop there. The game ends only when all the temple platforms have been used, all the order cards had been attempted or you suffered a collapse. Really enjoyed this.

Déjà Vu – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

Very clever and fun game where you are trying to grab object tiles before anyone else once two of the same have appeared on the cards that get revealed. But there are 36 different objects to keep track of and many of them look similar. If you make a mistake, you score nothing for the round, otherwise you score a point for each correct tile you grabbed. After the first round, you’ll find it difficult to remember if you saw the same object in the current round or a previous one.

Illusion – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2018

Wolfgang Warsch is on a roll this year. As well as The Mind, this is another great estimation game where rather than judging time, you’re estimating how large an area a particular colour appears on a card compared with others previously played. Think Timeline where you have to slot the card into the right place in the line to keep the order in ascending sequence of area covered. Really simple and some tough choices at times.

Gaia Project – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

Billed as Terra Mystica in space, this is an apt description and it plays pretty similarly. The solo game is very well integrated and there appears to be lots of variety to keep the replayability up. Impressed with this.

Raptor – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2015

An asymmetric two player game from the two Brunos with a nice Jurassic Park feel. One person plays the scientists trying to capture the baby raptors; the other plays the raptors trying to get the babies to safety or munch on all the scientists. Some nice second-guessing each round with the lower value card playing first for their special ability while the higher card gets to do multiple standard actions based on the numerical difference between the two cards.

Gold Armada – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Another light dice game from Reiner Knizia that is a yahtzee-like push your luck game to gain the most treasure. Works well as a family game and is very nicely produced.

After The Virus – 2 plays –  7 
First Published 2017

A solo or multi-player deck building game where you are fighting off the zombie hordes while trying to fulfil the objective of the particular mission you have selected for the game (and there are sixteen missions in the box so plenty to get your teeth stuck into). And the missions seem hard (apart from the first which is a gentle introduction). Not seen too much written about his, which is surprising as it’s designed by that guy who produced the fairly popular terrafroming game set on Mars.

Gier – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Alexander Pfister turns his hand to a push your luck game and it works very well. Try stealing cards from your opponent without drawing a duplicate. Stop at the right time to add the cards to your collection and win the game by being the first person to get six cards of the same value in their collection. Simple, some light take-that gameplay and good fun.

Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2014

This is a rethemed version of Pingu Party with Game of Thrones characters instead of the cute penguins. The characters don’t matter at all; it is just their house (colour) that is important in determining whether the card cant be added to the pyramid of penguins (sorry, Westeros royalty). Solid game but I’m sad I don’t still have the penguin version – even though I do like GoT.

Apocalypse Chaos – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2015

Solo / co-operative game of fighting off aliens in a series of mission scenarios. Seemed really hard but the dice allocation mechanism for various actions didn’t really grab me. It works but it didn’t get me invested in what I was doing. I’d much rather play Space Hulk: Death Angel.


3x The Game
3x Cinque Terre
3x The City
2x Onirim
2x Römisch Pokern
2x Cheeky Monkey
1x Kriss Kross
1x SOS Titanic
1x Herbaceous
1x Poison
1x Schollen Rollen
1x Marco Polo Expedition
1x Pig Pile
1x Love Letter
1x Verflucht!
1x Pairs
1x Al Cabohne
1x Balloon Pop!
1x Kreuz & Quer
1x Africa
1x At the Gates of Loyang
1x Matschig

Still enjoying playing lots of older, shortish games and experimenting with solo variants of Cinque Terre, Romisch Pokern and The City. It was also good to get Loyang back to the table, as well as a few more Knizia’s – especially Africa, Marco Polo Expedition, Kreuz & Quer and Cheeky Monkey.


I added 9 new titles to the collection: Gold Armada, Gier, Deja Vu, Menara, Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue, After the Virus, Raptor, Professor Evil & the Citadel of Time and Illusion. I also reacquired ( 3 ) 4 games (Through the Desert, Loot, Kreuz & Quer and Orongo), which means my total collection now stands at 551.

My list of unplayed games is down from 2 to 1 and my Game of the Month was a new entry in the Zoch wooden block building series, Menara..

March 2018 roundup

In March, I managed to play 32 games of 24 different titles, with 3 of them being new to me. The new games were:


Verflucht! – 4 plays –  8 
First Published 2018

Another nice quick card game where you are trying to match good (green) cards with the equivalent bad (red) cards. As a solo game, it plays very much like a typical game of patience (Solitaire) and has a large element of luck of the draw but, as it only takes 10 minutes, it has a bit of an addictive “let’s try again” quality. I suspect multi-player will be even more challenging but I’ve not tried it this way so far.

Ganz schön clever – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2018

Another roll and write game but this is a bit meatier than most with a Feld-like multiplicity of scoring options. The dice selection/manipulation and choosing when to stop rolling are quite interesting and I very much enjoyed my first solo play. Very good.

The Grimm Forest – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2018

One of my rare kickstarter acquisitions. Nice family style game with a little bit of nastiness thrown in. As one of the three little pigs, you’re racing to be the first to build three houses. The fable and friend cards add a bit of variability to keep things fresh.


3x Onirim
2x The Grizzled
2x The Mind
2x Thunderbirds
1x Exxtra
1x Piece o’ Cake
1x Twenty One
1x Burgle Bros.
1x Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game
1x Familienbande
1x Tante Tarantel
1x Ingenious
1x Sushizock im Gockelwok
1x Snowdonia
1x Terraforming Mars
1x Numeri
1x Pandemic: The Cure
1x Royal Turf
1x 7 Wonders Duel
1x Risk Express
1x Finca

Lots of games that I haven’t played for ages returned to the table this month. Finca was one that Jan really enjoyed and is such an elegant game, it deserves the reprint it’s getting later this year. A few more Knizias reappeared: Risk Express is ok but not one of my favourites, whereas Ingenious, Royal Turf and Sushizock im Gockelwock were all great fun. And I got back to solo Snowdonia again after a long absence. Train 4, Snowdon, this time and it reminded what a great design Mr Boydell’s masterpiece really is.


I added 5 new titles to the collection: Verflucht, Ganz Schon Clever, The Grimm Forest, Apocalypse Chaos and Gaia Project, which means my total collection now stands at 538. I think April will see me start to do another batch of collection trimming so watch out for a few geeklist auctions soon.

My list of unplayed games is up from zero to 2 because of two new arrivals at the end of the month and my Game of the Month was Ganz Schon Clever.

February 2018 roundup

In February, I managed to play 24 games of 22 different titles, with 8 of them being new to me. The new games were:


The Mind – 2 plays –  8 
First Published 2018

This is a really novel game where a shared sense of timing is the crucial mechanism. It can be very tense with lots of groan moments when you misjudge the next card to be played. I see this getting lots of play.

Powerships – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2018

Powerships is very similar to Powerboats and that’s great because ‘boats is one of my favourite race games. There is probably a bit more variability in Powerships with the greater number of board pieces to mix up.

Voodoo Prince – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

Another excellent small card game from Reiner Knizia. This is a trick-taking game where you try to delay taking tricks until the best time. The two player game works slightly differently but still plays very well. Another one I hope gets plenty of play.

Würfelland – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2018

The latest roll and write game which is a race to complete one coloured area and cross out 9 treasure fields. Works pretty well but not sure it is different enough from others to stand out. But I like these roll and write games a lot so it’ll probably see more plays.

Die Eisernen Manner – 1 play –  7 
First Published 1993

This is an old 1993 game that came in a tube. It’s a race game depicting a triathlon with different rules for the swimming, cycling and running stages. Not too much in the way of strategy but pleasant enough.

The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

This is CoB – the roll and write variant and feels like Castles of Burgundy, which means it’s good. Only played solo so far but easy to get in a game in less than half an hour.

Carcassonne für 2 – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

This isn’t any different from normal Carcassonne other than it’s more compact with smaller and fewer tiles. If you want a more portable version for two players, it’s worth getting but it doesn’t add anything more to its bigger brother so not a must-buy if you have the original.

Bärenpark – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Is this Patchwork with bears? Well, yes in some ways, in that it’s about efficiently covering your boards but there’s a bit more to it when you add in the achievement tiles. And thecreatures are not all bears. However, it’s a solid, easy to pick up game with a nice theme..


2x Exxtra
1x Katzenjammer Blues
1x Forbidden Island
1x Rallyman
1x Potato Man
1x Loony Quest
1x Pizza Box Football
1x Lord of the Rings
1x Finito!
1x Nautilion
1x Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
1x Geister Geister Schatzsuchmeister
1x The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug


I added 7 new titles to the collection and discovered one in the garage that I hadn’t previously logged, which means my total collection now stands at 533.

My list of unplayed games is still at zero (Woohoo!) and my Game of the Month, due to its very different gameplay concept, was The Mind.

January 2018 roundup

During January, I managed to play 20 games of 16 different titles, with just 1 of them being new to me. Having cleared my unplayed list at the end of last year, the only new game was:


Nautilion – 2 plays –  7 
First Published 2016

I ran out of patience waiting for Z-Man to release this in the UK so ordered a copy from Amazon US and it arrived about a week ago. Really pleased with it so far. It’s a dice management game where you are racing to get your ship to the Abyss with a full crew before the Phantom’s ship reaches the Happy Isles and, presumably, causes bad things to happen. Two games using the base setup and the A (easiest) board have turned on the very last turn so it’s been quite tense and the harder boards and additional rules will clearly make it more challenging so it should get a few more plays yet at least. Rating may rise when the extra elements are added if they make the game more interesting, but it’s still an enjoyable and solid game already.


2x Can’t Stop
2x 20 Express
2x Pickomino
1x Coloretto
1x Zooloretto: The Dice Game
1x Träxx
1x Elder Sign
1x Straw
1x Rummikub
1x Limes
1x Finito!
1x Star Realms
1x Thurn and Taxis
1x Exxtra
1x Keltis: Das Kartenspiel

Played several games I’ve not played for ages. Thurn & Taxis hasn’t been played for over 10 years but is still great. Coloretto is still one of my favourite Michael Schacht games and it’s criminal that I haven’t played it since 2013 (also need to give Hansa another try before long). Keltis: das Kartenspiel and Exxtra are terrific light and short Reiner Knizia games that should be played more. I need to keep the older Knizia games in circulation, particularly as Doug Adams is embarking on a Knizia challenge for 2018 so I’m bound to be tempted to revisit some when he picks them out (Trendy is already on the list).


I added only 1 new title to the collection (Nautilion) and reacquired one, Keltis: Das Kartenspiel which means my total collection now stands at 525.

My list of unplayed games is still at zero (Hurray!) and my Game of the Month by default (although it’s still worthy of the accolade) was Nautilion.

Holiday Mhing

Mhing is a Mah Jongg card game released in 1982 that I’ve played a couple of times but have no real desire to revisit. That said, the box has always served me well (despite now being a bit battered) to transport several compact games when I’ve ventured off on holiday.

We’re off to Tenerife on Saturday so I’ve sorted out a few (let’s call it 12) games that will fit in the Mhing box. Accompanying us this time are:

Love Letter
Zooloretto Wurfelspiel
Fox in the Forest
Eggs & Empires
Dice Heist
Potato Man
Blood of an Englishman
Mystery Rummy: Al Capone & the Chicago Underworld
Crazy Chicken

Who can tell how many we’ll actually get to play?

My 20 game choices from 2007 and earlier

Following on from yesterday’s post about the latest Gamenight episode, I decided to construct my own list and managed an initial selection of thirty. Unfortunately, that meant I had to cut High Society, Quandary, Die Siedler von Catan, Traumfabrik, Speculation, Basari, Street Soccer, Tumblin’ Dice, Medici and Mystery Rummy: Al Capone & the Chicago Underworld. However, that still left me with:

Ave Caesar
El Grande
Liar’s Dice / Bluff
San Juan
Pillars of the Earth
Shadows over Camelot
Kardinal & Konig / Web of Power
6 Nimmt
Around the World in 80 Days
For Sale
Lord of the Rings
Can’t Stop
Lost Cities
Ticket to Ride

None of these are ever leaving my collection and I’d be happy to play these any time.

Pre-2007 games on Gamenight

Just listened to one of my favourite episodes of Gamenight where they review the best games of 2007 and earlier. The link is here. Lots of fond memories of some fantastic games and it goes to show what a talented designer Reiner Knizia was (and still is). Not only his gamer games but also lighter stuff like Exxtra and En Garde still stand the test of time.

Mark’s and Dave’s choices probably align closest to my own tastes although I’ve not bothered to work out my own top 20. Knowing their tastes, I wasn’t surprised to hear Harry’s Grand Slam Baseball Game and Entdecker included. However, there were a few omissions that I was disappointed didn’t feature. I would definitely have Liar’s Dice / BluffAve Caesar and The Pillars of the Earth on my list.

2017 end of year roundup

2017 saw me play 274 games of 175 different titles and 106 of these were new to me during the year. This was up on last year although 2016 suffered due to my house move and general lack of opportunities to play. Here are the totals for the last several years:

Year Total Different
2017 274 175
2016 133 119
2015 314 205
2014 335 219
2013 234 155
2012 239 154
2011 200 156
2010 208 157
2009 229 157

My full list of games played in 2017 is here.


My most played games were Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle with 11 plays (once with the Monster Box of Monsters expansion) and Mmm! with 10 plays. Then came Formula D (8 plays), Herbaceous (7 plays), Limes (6 plays) and Can’t Stop (5 plays). 5 games were played four times, 5 games were played three times, 33 were played twice and 126 of them were played just once. My unplayed games list started 2017 at 28 and I’m happy to report it has sunk to zero as of the end of this year.

My six picks for the best games I played for the first time in 2017 were Azul, Flamme Rouge, Majesty: For the Realm, Mmm! The Quest for El Dorado and Terraforming Mars. As with last year, I’ve also done a six picks of solo / two-player games featuring 4 Seasons, Blood of an Englishman, Codenames: Duet, Fox in the Forest, Klask and Nemo’s War (second edition).


As far as the collection is concerned, I sold off another large batch of games in the second half of the year but have been adding a few each month over the course of the year. Nevertheless, the total has come down again from 561 to 523. I’d like to get the total closer to 400 so will be doing some more auctions in 2018.

December 2017 roundup

During December, I managed to play 29 games of 25 different titles, with 20 of them being new to me in my quest to clear my unplayed games list by the end of the year. The new games were:


Legends – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2016

Legends is an excellent,family game using the Thebes time-track turn-order mechanism, with you spending time to travel the map, collect cards, spend cards to lay books of knowledge at the locations, and influence the headquarters deck, which determines which locations are likely to be scored when the scoring phase is triggered. A pleasant surprise for a game that seems to have had very little attention on BGG.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

More Hogwarts Battle with Creatures being added to the list of Villains you need to defeat and Encounters that you need to overcome. Not too different from the base game so far (only Box 1 opened so far).

Abyss – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2014

A game I’ve had nearly a year before finally playing it and it’s very good. Fairly easy to explain and play with Jan and Becky both enjoying it.

Majesty: For the Realm – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

I hoped this new title by Marc Andre was going to be good, based on how much I like Splendor, but this was truly excellent. One of the best games of the year and easily played within half an hour with four players. Should be just as good with two so it should see more play in 2018.

Word Slam – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2016

Excellent party game with two teams trying to guess the same answer with a clue giver on each side frantically selecting word cards to guide their team to the solution. But the other team’s guesses could be just as helpful in narrowing things down. Great fun.

Smile – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

Michael Schacht does Geschenkt/ No Thanks. I really enjoyed this one and the rule where pairs of the same value get discarded can either help to get rid of negative cards or drive you mad when you’re forced to discard a high positive one. Excellent, although pricey for what you get in the box.

Dream On! – 2 plays –  8 
First Published 2017

Another great party game where you spend 2 minutes using cards to create a story and then co-operate to re-tell it as best you can. We were so bad at remembering things (alcohol may have hindered us quite a bit) but we still had a fun time.

Azul – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

Brilliant game of drafting tiles to then be placed as decorations in your palace. Points are scored depending on how they are placed with bonuses for certain patterns and tile sets. Simple to play but plenty to think about. Excellent.

Vienna – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2015

Dice game a bit like Kingsburg but playable in a much shorter time. A solid design and enjoyable gameplay.

Pyramids – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Another very good card-drafting game that plays in half an hour. Constructing three structures with your stone cards, you try to connect stones of the same colour in your pyramid, get a certain colour appear on many levels in your obelisk, and try to have colour majorities in your tomb.

The Chameleon – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Another very good party game where one player tries to hide the fact they are the chameleon during a single round of clue-giving towards a word that everyone but the chameleon knows. Chameleon gets a point if they remain hidden or are discovered but can guess the secret word. We had good fun with this, even though I failed to score a point the whole game.

KLASK – 2 plays –  7 
First Published 2014

Great dexterity game which is a bit like Weykick but has magnets that you need your playing piece to avoid as well as not falling into your own goal.

Evolution: Climate – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2016

Very nice hand-management card game where you create animal species with traits to allow them to feed, while also increasing their body size / population and dealing with the changing climate. Nice game of creating effective card combos.

King’s Road – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Very straightforward area majority game that plays simply and is all about second-guessing what everyone else is trying to do. Solid game but probably not got much in the way of replayability.

Yangtze – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2016

A set-collection and commodity trading game by Reiner which works but turned out to be a bit dull. Nothing wrong with it but pretty forgettable.

Exit: The Game – The Pharaoh’s Tomb – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2016

Another co-operative escape-room type game with some tricky puzzles. Ok but not great.

Bears vs Babies – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2017

The follow-up to Exploding Kittens is about building monsters / bears to be able to defeat the evil babies. Quite good fun with some take that aspects and the monster-part descriptions are pretty funny.

Fast Forward: FEAR – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2017

This is a game. It plays ok but, as with the other Fast Forward titles. I have no desire to replay it.

Fast Forward: FORTRESS – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2017

See above.

Clash of the Gladiators – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2002

I bought an in-shrink copy of this at UK Games Expo this year and opened it this month to find one of the dice was misprinted. You can still play the game but I doubt there’s any chance of obtaining a replacement die. The game is all about chucking dice and hoping for decent rolls. No real strategy after constructing your gladiator teams but it plays ok. You just need the right crowd to make the most of it.


2x The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
2x Zombie Dice
1x Flamme Rouge
1x Mmm!
1x Amphipolis

As I was concentrating on clearing my unplayed games, not a lot else got played, although I did play a couple of games of LotR: TCG to refresh myself on the rules, having last played it in 2011.


I added 9 new titles to the collection which means my total collection now stands at 523. The new games were: Azul, Majesty: For the Realm, Smile, Word Slam, Pyramids, Klask, Bears vs. Babies, Evolution: Climate and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Monster Box of Monsters.

My list of unplayed games has sunk from 10 at the start of the month to zero now (Hurray!) and my Game of the Month was Majesty: For the Realm.

November 2017 roundup

During November, I managed to play 22 games of 21 different titles, with 4 of them being new to me. The new games were:


Nemo’s War (second edition) – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

This is an excellent solo exploration game based on Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, with a nice dice gambling mechanism for the various encounters that take place. Really enjoyed this and with four different motives to try, you’ll play differently each time. Also, thumbs up to Victory Point Games for quickly sending me a replacement board as my original was badly misaligned.

Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

I never tried the original Avenue but jumped on the Kickstarter for Kokoro (which I rarely do these days). Kokoro is very good and presents you with a nice puzzle with a gambling element regarding whether or not to forego a turn to peek at the next destination card.

Century: Spice Road – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

I’m not sure whether I really like Century: Spice Road or whether it’s just a bit too bland. Now it doesn’t normally bother me but this just seemed like the resource conversion process was too drawn out – one conversion in a process that might take several to achieve what you wanted made the game drag a bit. Turns are quick so it comes round without any downtime but the incremental actions were too small for me. Still, I enjoyed the game and do want to play it again.

Fast Forward: FLEE – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2017

This is the htird in Friedemann Friese’s Fast Forward series and is a co-operative card game where you are trying to avoid being captured by the monster. It worked well but I must have been lucky because I won on my first play through. And, having won while know ing what cards are coming up means I’ll probably not need ever to play it again.


2x Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
1x NMBR 9
1x The Lost Expedition
1x Coconuts
1x Numeri
1x Raj
1x Würfelwurst
1x Stop it!
1x Schollen Rollen
1x Rumpelstiltskin
1x Take it Easy!
1x Say Anything
1x Loony Quest
1x Snake Oil
1x Super Cluedo Challenge
1x Zombie Dice
1x Tsuro

We finally won game 7 of Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle this month which was a nice achievement and Becky’s already reset it so she can play the whole series again with her friends. Looking forward to the Monster Box expansion when I can get hold of a copy for a reasonable price. Super Cluedo Challenge was a nice nostalgic return to the table – not sure but it’s probably 15 years at least since I last tried it. And it was also good to get Loony Quest played again as it is really good fun.


I added 5 new titles to the collection and passed 4 on to the local charity shop, which means my total collection now stands at 514. The new games were: Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama, Dream On and the three Fast Forward games: Fear, Fortress and Flee.

My list of unplayed games rose slightly from 9 to 10 and my Game of the Month was Nemo’s War: Second Edition.