Boardgaming in 2019!


I would love to play FCM online if anyone wants to do that. It’s a brilliant game.


FCM is a great game, but it has one of the worst setup times I’ve seen, and is a serious table hog. If they could somehow fix those issues, I would order my own copy immediately.




I am trying to think what the “next” step from Terraforming Mars would be. Yeah, you could go more complicated, but part of the appeal of Terraforming Mars is the theme and the fact the gameplay is ultimately straightforward. Play cards to build your engine (and get points), to ultimately build points. I have not played Pax Pamir, but the other Pax and “Elkland” games lack that linear development. Players are required to balance themselves, there are weird times when you hurt your personal game state to gain a longtime advantage, and the game might have a sudden win condition. So, games for players who like learning the “meta” in addition to the listed rules.

Instead, if the group liked card play with a colorful board, I recommend the Quartermaster General games (because of course I do). If you think what they really like is the engine building with some minor player interaction, then something like Scythe or Suburbia would seem to be better bets. Perhaps the newly released Architects of the West Kingdom might find a sweet spot as well. If they really want a strong theme with a sense of turn to turn accomplishment, Sentinels of the Multiverse is a pleasure for me as is the Pathfinder card games (though I’ve only played the latter on PC).


So at my monthly game night we laid down some Space Base and Architects of the West Kingdom, both new games I got recently.

Space Base was enjoyable, but also a disappointment. Frankly, I could tell as soon as I opened the box. What was obvious was that this game adds some smart mechanics on top of the Machi Koro formula. On the flip side, it totally flubs it on the thematic front–or more precisely, the “theme-reinforcing-mechanics-and-vice-versa” front–and you can tell as soon as you look at the cards. Let me start with the petty point: It’s called “Space Base,” but where’s my base? All I have are ships, basically. Okay, fine. What differentiates those ships, fictionally? Barely anything. I can tell that some abilities are associated with a type of ship, but that’s a simple correspondence of mechanic to fiction, and it goes no further than that.

Compare with Machi Koro: If I have a couple of Ranches, I’m going to want to build the Cheese Factory. How do I enable my various fishing boats? I’ll need a Harbor. When I roll the number to activate the Stadium, it’s like calling people from all the surrounding towns to come to the big game! None of this logic seems to exist in Space Base, and for me it really flattens the experience.

Architects of the West Kingdom, by contrast, seemed like a winner when I broke it open. And the mechanics seemed to basically work when I played a solo game (which operates with a robot opponent performing simplified actions). Played with four, it wasn’t quite what I was hoping it would be. The problem seems to me to be an improper balance of resource inputs and sinks. It felt like there weren’t effective things to spend silver on halfway through the game, for example. This meant we didn’t end up doing much capturing of our opponents’ workers. Apprentices are fairly useful early in the game, but they don’t provide any direct victory points, so that side of the economy languished. Several of us felt like we didn’t have a lot of effective moves to make as we made our way toward the end of the game.

I like the speed of turns. I basically like every individual component of the design. I’ll need to give it another play to see if we get a different dynamic with a different group. Here’s hoping!


Finally, after much sanding, effort, and help from my parents and two friends over four separate sessions, finished my Daedalus Mansions of Madness insert (I’ll take photos when less tired, also hopefully with bits in it.) Mixed feelings overall. It’s a really smart design with lots of cool filigrees and cosmetic touches, thoughtful engraving, etc. But this first run missed tolerances or something and became an absolute nightmare to put together, and even finally assembled is just a little sloppy-feeling. And the instructions are a bit lacking - the PDF that was eventually provided works, I suppose, but it’s less step by step than I’d like, and the original video was no help at all. I assume they’ve found the problem and future installments will be recommendable though.

Then we played two rounds of three player Dice Throne. This was our second and third time with the game and we all came away glowing and fired up about the whole thing. Both games were incredibly close and dramatic, and the characters are varied yet seem super well balanced against each other. Even the complexity 1 Barbarian, played in all three games by my friend Drew, may not be fancy but he is an incredibly real threat between intense damage output and significant self-healing capacity.

This time around we did Artificer (me) versus Tactician and Barbarian, and Paladin (me) versus Samurai and Barbarian. I won the former on the razor’s edge, choosing to take out the Tactician when I had the ability to rather than merely drop the Barbarian into danger range, and getting a very clutch kill a couple of rounds later on said Barbarian. The Artificer spends a lot of time building a status resource called Synth in order to build, upgrade and activate three robots (defensive healing, electric shock added to attacks, and the ability to detonate Nanites added to other players, respectively). The Tactician is, as you might expect, very flexible and has a lot of defensive options.

The Samurai won the second game, but it was incredibly dramatic. See, the Paladin has a really unusual dice spread (compared to most of the characters) and no basic attack option, so has significantly fewer viable roll combinations and not really any straightforward damage output. But he does have a passive that lets him spend the game’s currency (combat points) to reroll dice whenever he wants and buy extra cards, and many of his powers reward combat points. And he has several powerful status effects, including the Blessing of Divinity, which allows him to survive death once and cannot be meddled with otherwise. This only fires when he scores his ultimate…but I managed to do this in the late stages of the game with a bit of card-based dice-meddling. A little later, the Barbarian managed to do me in, so I popped back up with 1 HP left, vulnerable to literally any attack. But then I was able to pull up my Ultimate again, which would have eliminated either player and healed me and given me another free death save, effectively handing me the game…except the Samurai managed to slip the dice out from under me at the last possible moment, so I just ended up taking a bunch of CP instead. The Samurai then eliminated the Barbarian and…could I do 9 damage and take him out before he could turn back to me? Nope! But I got my Retaliate status, which would let me do half (rounded up) of incoming damage, and enough CP to upgrade my defenses and I had a special Paladin card in my hand that let me defend even more. I could, conceivably, take the Samurai down with me between Retaliate and my defensive power, or maybe even kill him with counter damage and prevent enough to survive, even at 1 HP. And I probably would have managed it if he had either gotten a big attack (which I could Retaliate into a lethal blow combined with my defensive power and the card in my hand), or done a weaker undefendable attack. But he managed to hit the one single attack he had that a) wasn’t worth Retaliating, b) was undefendable so I couldn’t use my defensive power, and c) did just enough damage that only 1 in 6 results for my card would save me. I used my passive to reroll twice and still didn’t quite manage. But good lord was it close.

I really cannot recommend this game highly enough.


Western Legends or Dinosaur island? Both? Neither?

Western Legends
Like= Sandbox
Like= western theme
Worry= that it’s too light
Worry= I already have Merchants and Marauders

Dinosaur Island
Like= Jurassic Park
Like= Worker Placement
Worry= Nothing new
Worry= Missed opportunity to differentiate between the different Dino types.
Worry= Is DinoGenics the game I want.

Bonus Question:
Did anyone here back Lifeform?


Keep us informed if your opinion changes! A game running out of steam before the end always completely kills a game for me. You might’ve talked this off my list for now.


New games this week!



Missed one:



Only just bothered opening this thread. So here’s a months worth of replies :)

Me! Did you pick it up? From what I can tell from all of the whinging on the BGG forums, it’s out of stock in most places and so quite hard to get hold of. But I’d say you should definitely grab it if you want something like “Jagged Alliance themed Catacombs”. I’m having a hard time getting it to the table as flicking things isn’t cerebral and number-crunchy enough for the groups I play with :’(

IMHO: Exit is best, then Unlock!, then Escape the Room. I played Escape the Room: Stargazer’s Manor, which is apparently the hardest one [at least, at the time], and it was a bit too simple and not enough of a challenge for me. Still, it’s fun to play, but if you’re a keen Exit and Unlock! player than ETR might not cut it for you?

I have this :) I found that the “miss a go” and “lose all your acorns” spaces came up way too often. And both of those spaces are, as most little kids like to loudly point out, “unfair”. Still: kids seem to enjoy it.

For 2 year old kids I’d recommend First Orchard over Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, it seems to go down a bit better.

Hobbit fingers? The English word is “tweezers” :)

I have this set (though it cost £5), and I find the ones with the “hooked” end are the best for chits, so I bought a few more separate pairs.

Your board is the base! The ships are docked with it, and when you send them off into deep space you turn them over and tuck them under.

But I agree, the theme is irrelevant. I definitely felt that Machi Koro’s theme “worked”, whereas Space Base’s doesn’t.

We must be playing different games! If anything it suffers from the usual Euro/Worker-placement problem of “ARGH, NOT ENOUGH RESOURCES TO DO X Y Z”. Running out of money is often a real engine-breaker, and money seemed to be spent by players at all times throughout the game, with some people even needing to resort to the desperate measure of collecting from the tax box. Though saying that I did see one player amass loads, but he used it all in the end to improve his score.

Depending on your strat and what apprentices you have, they are useful right 'til the end. Especially the ones at the storehouse that allow you to switch goods, that seemed to be very effective.

Maybe, because no one was lassoing their opponents meeples often enough, people were getting 6 resources a pop, rather than 2, which led to your perceived imbalance? (Though surely you’d run out of meeples? We found lassoing was very necessary!)

Maybe they’ll be able to print the cards correctly in this version? :)


Thanks Pod. Seal Team is getting an expansion and reprint.


Wow no kickstarter for Victorian Masterminds? I’m kind of shocked. I know it’s been out on Asia, but still. Looking forward to it.


I actually ordered some of those pincers last week, and they are due tomorrow! I am wary though, since the product page on my local amazon was obviously google translated and the page featured both hooked and non hooked pincers, so I am hoping it is a set I am getting, but it’s very confusing.


This is good to hear. My gaming group is not very aggressive, so I think we were kinder to each other than the game might expect us to be, in terms of arresting each others’ workers. I think started to wish someone would wrangle up our guys by the last few rounds because some of us were slowed way down by having to pick up one guy as our entire turn.

Besides the fact that we play relatively nicey-nicey, I think we were disincentivized from capturing workers because the first worker placed in the town square got to get just one color from one location, and that was typically going to net 3 or 4 coins with two moves (capturing them, then putting them in prison). I guess we were also pretty well spread around the board, not heavily piling on to any resource spaces. Now, one you have a guy in the town square, you can really start to haul 'em in! But no one did that, preferring to spend their dudes elsewhere.


I have also played Seal Team Flix. My godson and i played the campaign on easy and really enjoyed it. When you setup the building/board there is some planning to do before, i thought kinda like Rainbow 6 more than Jagged Alliance but you get the idea. there is some fiddliness with the Patrol reactions that took us a couple games to get down - they react to noise and move towards, which you can use to distract them, but it is a list of things to check to determine where they move exactly that took me time to learn. The flicking was not bad for the most part, and actually fun. We tried the sniper side board once and failed miserably but the defuse bomb and unlock door were the knock things off in a certain amount of time or number of shots. It does a good job being tense but also ‘fun’. During the campaign your characters get to level up and unlock skills and items and weapons.


A reprint is probably worth waiting for, as all the boards in the current version have a pretty big printing omission on them (sentry start locations)…



I hate to say this, but I definitely feel like you guys played the game “wrong”. I know that’s a silly thing to say, as there’s no real “right way” to play the game, but spending an entire go just picking a guy up is a sort of last-resort, “punishment” action. I had to do it once when I miscounted how much money I had, so I couldn’t do the thing I thought I could, which then lead to having too few people etc. If multiple people had to do that simply because no-one in your game went on the lasso space, even to rope in their own guys, feels really “sub-optimal”!

  1. It’s not just the coins you get, but the disadvantage you put your opponents at, and therefore the advantage you put yourself at. Also, there’s the threat of putting them in jail which can result in negative points. Also, most importantly, it stops them getting so many resources! e.g. taking their odd-numbered people from the gold space, which means they have to start accumulating there again :) It seems like as soon as two meeples of the same colours are on a single space everyone I play with starts muttering about how much of a juicy target they are…
  2. On the second, third etc you can capture multiple people, including your own if you need to! And then when you have enough people locked away in your creepy dungeon you can spend a single action to thrown them all in jail. Do that again a second time and you can throw others in jail AND get a second action, e.g. release yours! Was the jail used much, in your game? I guess just from the black market?
  3. Depending on what buildings and apprentices you get some people can profit much more from these actions. Maybe those cards didn’t come up, or if they did no one chose them.

Give the game another go, and, if possible, take some of the cards that might allow you to peruse the lasso? :)

We didn’t find this to be a problem really, as it just adds 1 extra minute to map setup as you have to look in the book a bit.

Given it’s recent release, I think a reprint will be some time off (e.g. 6 months - a year?) but that’s just random guessing. I wouldn’t let that tiny omission hold you back!


Well, we did play wrong in one regard: I didn’t realize you could capture your own dudes. That could end up being a more efficient way of releasing some. (Although, do they have to go through the whole prison cycle? I assume so…) We didn’t WANT to do the move-of-last-resort and take back our single guys, but we didn’t have any choice if no one was sending them to prison!

Anyway, I’m sure we played in an unusually gentle way, but again, I don’t see how a couple of enemies on one space are worth spending one of your super-valuable moves to capture, since you don’t get any positive benefit until you spend ANOTHER move to toss them in prison. Every turn was critical when there were three of us trying to climb the cathedral ladder!


And my copy arrived today. I played a game with my kids. Like all Stonemaier games, turns are quick and fluid, the components are gorgeous and crafted to facilitate gameplay, and rulebooks are attractive and perfect…

…and as I suspected, there is very little player interaction. There are a few bird cards that allow messing with another player’s tableau, and during our play session exactly 0 of these showed up. It’s not even really a combo-heavy game like Gizmos is. In Gizmos, one action will activate another which activates another, etc. In Wingspan, it’s just the cards in that row, with no cascading actions. In Gizmos, the bright art and iconography make it easy to see what my opponents need at all times. Stealing from underneath them is part of the game. In Wingspan, the combo actions are all dark print on a brown background with no iconography. No way to see at a glance what the cards do from across the table. No easy way to get in your opponents’ ways. We enjoyed playing it, but it is truly multiplayer solitaire. I’m almost certainly not going to keep it around very long.