Boardgaming in 2017!


I enjoyed the actual game but everything else I was not loving. One thing about board gaming, the group you are playing with and also the overall level of organization of your gathering/meetup etc. makes a big difference.

Right now I’m mostly playing in semi-anonymous / semi-random groups via meetup and other gatherings rather than with a dedicated group of friends.

As I play more and more I’m beginning to want to play selectively with certain people rather than others. This somewhat goes against my general “open membership” policy but hey, it’s my entertainment time, and some people are more or less entertaining to play with than others. On the other hand, I don’t want to be the jerkhole who leaves people sad and gameless when everyone else is playing; that’s just mean.

I’m curious: for people who play in large quasi-anonymous groups where the people at the table vary randomly - do you folks do much “cat herding” to get the player mix you want, do you folks just go “open table!” or what? Is there a magic diplomatic way to be somewhat selective without hurting people’s feelings?


Yeah, the worst thing about gaming is gamers. I used to game a lot in open gaming situations, and I learned which people in my local community I could stand to game with, and which I couldn’t. I would just not sit down at a table with people I didn’t want to play with, and if I was sitting down to form a game, and one of them approached, I would just look at my watch and say “oh, look at the time, I actually have to go”. There were plenty of times I went home rather than play a game.

Eventually, it turned out the same group of 5 or 6 of us were always playing together anyway, so we just formed a private group and started playing at people’s houses. Problem solved. There was a lot of pain getting to that point though.


Had you played eclipse before. I have played a full count of Eclipse 1 time and that was when everyone but one person had played the game. I wouldn’t say it was as long as eclipse, but it was definitely 4 hours we used the simultaneous movement which was actually really awesome. I wasn’t sure it would work but totally did. Blood Rage is all about the draft and misdirection. Are you going to go for area control for one area only to fake the other players out and move them to another area? Are you trying to lose a battle? I still prefer Chaos in the old world over this, but for the amount of time it takes to play this, it certainly is entertaining.

Played a great game of Mombasa this weekend. I was doing really well and then goof on turn 6 cost me 30 points and the game. I was so furious with myself. Also read through Lisboa. Still trying to get my head around it, but it looks awesome.

I wanted to ask if anyone had played DRCongo: Hope out of Horror? I had heard about the game before, but it disappeared into the black hole of the boardgame geek. It sound like a very interesting take on a business game.


I think it can feel this way in your first few plays as your still learning some of the stranger card combos, but in my experience there’s usually a way to draft out of most bad openings. It can be particularly rough if you get no stat upgrades in the first round or if your only upgrade is horns and you end up with low table presence. Still, I’ve seen a lot of miraculous recoveries from bad openings, often by drafting into an approach the rest of the table isn’t used to.


I got to play this last night! It’s insane. It was the hardest to follow Lacerda game I’ve played. I liked it quite a bit, though. I feel like in Lacerda games you usually have to do a bit of everything to do well, but in Lisboa it felt like you benefit more from focusing on a few subsections of the board. You can build up special abilities that make you stronger in that area and amp-up your personal scoring there and then go to town, which makes it feel different than his typical games. I’m interested to play it again and hear what others think. I suspect it will be more divisive than The Gallerist.


The game definitely feels more free form than his other games, more like a Caverna than an Agricola.
I tried to start a solo player game and wasn’t even sure what I should start with. One thing I was trying to find was when you gain officials what is the cost? I had a tile that gave me a discount on buying officials, but I never saw that you actually paid for them other than to use the action.


Yeah that’s a weird one. To gain officials to court costs nothing (other than taking the actions). However, when you use officials to open a public building, if you don’t have enough officials you can buy the difference at treasury cost. So that tile reduces the cost to purchase officials when building a public building. What’s neat about it is it means you can skip the “hire officials” action for nearly the whole game because that tile decreases the cost to hire them on the fly by such a large amount.


That makes more sense. Thanks for clarifying.


Been playing a lot of Spirit Island recently. Played mostly solo but tried a few games with the kiddo.

I love how each spirit really plays differently and trying to find a good pair of spirits to synergize together is a fun exercise.

Got the expansion today and will add that to the base game…looks like it gives a good deal of more variety and some nice new spirits.

For a solo gamer or a group, this is a really good thinking game.


The expansion is soooooo good! I love the spirits, I love the additional Blight cards, the additional powers, the events (with choices!) and most of all I love that one Major Power. You know the one. Or if you don’t, go through them carefully and you’ll totally guess which one I mean.

edit: if you wanna guess just tell me the name of the power, no need to spoil what it does :P


I’m not entirely sold on the Spirit Island expansion. I like some of the stuff a lot (more Blight cards should have been in the base game, the tokens do a great job of bring the maps to life, especially the thematic maps), but chucking so much randomness into every invader turn changes the feel of the game a lot. And not necessarily for the better. The elegance and intricacy of Spirit Island is based on adapting your gods’ powers to the unfolding situation on the board. Throwing a big fat pair of dice into the gameplay is certainly an add-on, but it’s not necessarily an improvement.



I definitely agree with you about the blight cards- my first instinct when I saw them in the base game was “well, this seems more like a preview of a mechanic than a mechanic per se” and sure enough, the main course came with the expansion. I don’t begrudge them that too badly, though, as I feel like the base game is a pretty robust package but for that (to my mind) minor issue.

As for the chaos entailed in the events, well first let me say that on the level of difficulty I am playing on, which involves the basic level of an adversary and a random blight card in solo mode, I find that the spirits seem to still have a flexible enough panoply to weather as much and as good as the event deck can bring. It also comes with a disease token being placed in the first city’s area, which shifts things in your favor compared to the base game, as well as a wildcard beast token tossed out there. I definitely see what you mean about the elegant determinism of the base game, but after a couple of games with the event deck I’m not sure if I want to go back. I’ll try without it next time and maybe kick up the difficulty in a more predictable way instead.

I have not tried the Beast spirit yet, but I find the Tree Guardians very interesting and more dependent on positioning than any other faction save, of course, the Ocean, albeit for very different reasons. You intuitively want to be tossing those Wild tokens out there, but it is hard to find the time and energy to do it! Fortunately, I found another way to spread my influence via an acquired power, and that helped nicely.

What are your thoughts on the game in general?

Edit: the designer talks about the modularity of the expansion vs. difficulty level here in the FAQ:!.7w4g8ow


Got my Kickstarter copy of Vital Lacerda’s latest game, Lisboa on Monday and got it to table tonight. (Pictured below, the final state of the game when we had finished.).

Like the other two Lacerda games I’ve played, the actual turns are deceptively simple, but the interlocking mechanisms make it an incredible puzzle and offer a ton of potential approaches. In this case, you get a hand of five Politics cards, which can be Noble cards or Treasury cards. On your turn, you play one of these cards, either to your Portfolio (which has limited space), or to the Royal Court. If you add it to your portfolio, you receive an immediate benefit of some kind (or occasionally pay a penalty) and then an ongoing benefit (Nobles give you Influence when you Gain Influence, Treasury cards give you some sort of ongoing discount or additional cash when selling), and can round out your turn by either Selling Goods, which takes goods from your warehouse (which also has limited space) and loads them onto ships, your own or those of other players. You get immediate cash based on their market value, and if the ship is full, it sets sail and gives that player that many wigs (VP), docking again and clearing its cargo hold at the start of that player’s next turn. Or you can Trade Goods with Nobles. This allows you to exchange goods that a given noble values (tools, cloth, or books; they all accept gold) to take one or two State Actions they offer, including placing Court Officers in a noble’s court to make it more difficult to see them (and make the Officers available for staffing public buildings), acquiring building plans to turn into public buildings, building ships, producing goods from stores you own, meeting with the Cardinal, and gaining a royal favor. You can take any combination of two State Actions you have the goods to trade for.

Or, you can put the card in the Royal Court instead. If it’s a noble, you can Visit a Noble. This requires you to have and spend influence based on the state of the Treasury and the Officers of other players in that noble’s court. Assuming you do, you can then take one of the noble’s two associated State Actions without spending a good, then you must take the Noble’s Noble Action - building a store, taking a royal decree, or opening a public building. After that, the other players can in order expend a royal favor of that noble’s color to Follow your Visit and take either the Noble Action or one of the State Actions without good cost. You can’t Visit that noble if you can’t take their action. If it’s a treasury card, you pay the current Treasury value in cash and then get the center benefit on the card, which might be a Noble Action that your friends can’t piggyback on, or resources (generally better than you would get by adding cards to your portfolio or taking a single State Action), etc.

And then there are clergy tiles you earn by meeting (and moving) the Cardinal that give ongoing powers but can be sacrificed at certain points for influence and wigs; rubble cubes that you want to assemble sets of to expand your portfolio and warehouse space (plus wigs during scoring and potentially triggering the end of the first period or the whole game) that you get by building stores or opening public buildings; stores that are placed on the city map, earn a bonus and score wigs based on their location and relevant public buildings and give you rubble cubes and produce goods; public buildings that give you a bonus and a larger (but less flexible) set of rubble cubes and score for everyone in their row or column based on the associated colors, plus count towards scoring at the end but require plans and court officers to build and staff; decrees that give all sorts of endgame scoring conditions; market value of goods that declines whenever they’re produced, permanently, but can be counteracted by better ships and Treasury benefits in your portfolio and Clergy tiles; the Treasury itself which increases influence costs and pays out worse every time you draw on it with a Treasury card placed to your portfolio but makes building cheaper, or decreases influence costs and pays out better for treasury cards but costs more to build stores when you build ships or maneuver the cardinal past one end of their track; and probably one or two more mechanics I’m forgetting. It’s nuts. And gorgeous.


I’ve only been playing lower difficulties myself, mostly just solitaire, with two gods at a time. The design absolutely shines playing it this way. And my experience at difficulty one or two is that you have to mess up to lose, especially if you’re using a solid god combo (i.e. Lightning’s Swift Strike with, uh, pretty much anyone else?). It’s not a matter of whether I win, but how quickly.

But I suspect that as I fold in more of the design elements with adversaries and possibly scenarios, events will be more directly responsible for wins and losses. There will be less of a margin for error. The events basically mean your planning will only get you so far. Which is fine if you want that sort of luck-of-the-draw, and I usually love that sort of thing in a solitaire game. There’s certainly plenty of room for it in the Spirit Island design. But right now, with only about ten games under my belt, I still feel like I’m wrapping my head around the basic systems, and how they interact with the various gods (I feel like calling them “spirits” undersells them!). So until I get a bit higher up the learning curve, I don’t want events driving that much of the gameplay.

Which is another reason I’ve stopped playing with events. They will spoil you. Not to mention those tokens. Strife and disease and overgrowth are so helpful! Beasts are the bee’s knees!

I’ve only gazed longingly at the add-ons gods. I haven’t tried either yet. Have you seen the promo gods? CRAY-zee! Check out this guy.



Well, I finally managed to get a game of Marco Polo.

My initial thoughts were of mega confusion, because the rules weren’t clear to me, and I am not a fan of the aesthetic, just seemed…a bit cartoonish or amateurish. I’m referring to the art work of the rulebook and the board.

It took a while to set up but I perservered. Obvious, as with all boardgames, having someone who knows the game is a huge boost, instead of 2 Marco Polo virgins trying to set it up.

It didn’t help that the game I played before that was Istanbul, which is very clearly laid out, easy to set up, easy to follow and easy to see what the opponent is doing.

However, glad I am that persevered I did.

Game is fun.

I lost, quite miserably, because my innate lucrephilia (have I just invented a word?!!!) took over and I was trying to maximise coinage available, before realising halfway through the game that victory points gain the win, not the gold, and that the gold is just a tool (I have played a tonne of Merchants and Marauders, so hard habit to get rid of).

Plus I didn’t quite get the purpose of the goal cards and so I didn’t start moving around the board until round 2. Given that there are 5 rounds…

I started catching up though once I saw how to convert dice into resources to fulfil conracts, gain gold and use said gold (and dice) to move around.

Then I got hooked. At some point in round 3 I could see that I had already lost (my opponent didn’t) but I played on, trying to find optimal pathways.

I have to say, we only played as Rashid something or other and Marco Polo, so I am only acquainted with those 2 characters but their powers are awesome. Assuming everyone gets a similarly powerful ability (like Kublai Khan, starting in Beijing- I can see that being incredibly useful as it gets you to Sumatra fast, which has 3 ability cards. That’s not the correct name, but I am referring to the cards you have in city spots where you can place a die to use that ability, once you build a trading post there, which is why you need to/ought to move around the board, movement being quite expensive though. I had one card which gave me 2 gold for every completed contract. I had 6 completed contracts and was playing as Rashid, so I could, at will, put a 6 down there, and give myself 12 gold every round) then I can see myself playing this game a hell of a lot!

Rashid’s power is that he chooses the dice number, but Marco Polo gets a contract for free every round (costs a minimum of 1 die otherwise, and you only get 5 dice) and gets a free white die (so he starts with 6 dice, but has to actually roll them).

If we hadn’t both been a bit tired post game, we would have definitely played again.

I can recommend this, with a cup of coffee and an example game to understand game flow, before shifting into a “real” game.

One thing I have to say I am looking forward to is the random distribution of the ability cards, which limits canned strategies. No point building a strategy around the gold-for-contracts- cards I mentioned earlier because it might not show up in any particular playthrough.

Plus, even if it does, it will likely be in another city.

Awesome game. Will play again.


I’ve been pretty disappointed by Greater Than Games’ post Sentinels output (I guess Sentinel Tactics is okay but it’s no Sentinels), but you guys are really making it sound like Spirit Island is finally another winner from them. And I don’t recall even hearing about it before now!


Spirit Island is another I hear about the hype right as everywhere sells out. I guess I need to get back in the loop and pay more attention to “back in stock” alerts that give you a 10 minute to a few hour window to order.


Check that. I saw Flamme Rouge is now in stock at CSI and I have a neighbor who rides and wanted to get that as a thank you to them. And look what is there to make my order $100.48…Spirit Island!!


Okay, so here’s a reason why I love the event cards in the expansion for Spirit Island. Check out the attached card:

New species are spreading with the invaders. What do you do? This is one of the choice events, which are my favorite kind because they make you decide how you want to act rather than suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, etc etc.

Option one- you do nothing. Okay, so this makes you draw a power card and see if it’s got a fast icon. Fast icons are significantly outnumbered by slow icons, so you’re probably okay… if not, your delicate ecosystem pays the price for your lack of vision and you eat some blight. Even then, you probably get to decide where to put it. Life goes on. BUT! By opening the door to invasive species, just like in real life, the consequences ripple through the ecosystem. You’ll be seeing this card again real soon.

Option two- you mutate them to fit Spirit Island. The first thing you notice is that you get a fear counter from this. But why? Because Fido just grew horns and started howling in perfect harmony with the native island dogs, and it seems like he hates me now! You also add a beast counter to a town or city center, which makes sense because that is where the transmuted beasts came from.

Of course, this is going to cost for you to do this- it drains magic that could be spent elsewhere. But what KIND of magic can you use to aid this transmutation? Lunar magic, of course. Why? BECAUSE IT’S A KIND OF LYCANTHROPY!


Moving on down, we see that new diseases spring up. Of course they do, they come with the invasive flora and fauna. This kills some of your native friends, but also stops a build phase, which is immensely useful. Hmm, maybe this is a nice booby prize if you have to let this cycle a second time?

Finally, the surviving Dahan thank you and give you a nice little energy buff. This effectively cheapens the cost of taking option 2, and again softens the blow a bit if you need to cycle the event.

What can I say? I love Spirit Island.


The 7th Continent arrived today!! The game looks amazing and incredibly well produced. Can’t wait to try it out, hopefully this weekend as a co-op with my wife.