Boardgaming in 2019!


Tried The Mind. Meh.


So… I’ve played a bunch, here actually, and have some thoughts.

Among an experienced group stabbing Merlin is a viable evil strategy. It can be hard to be an effective Merlin, and not get pegged. There is certainly a lot of misdirection. An interesting challenge.

Our experience is that Merlin takes the knife maybe 1/3 games that good wins. Perhaps as high as 50%. But that’s also because the way that things shift when you have records of votes, and can look over statements for ‘tells’. So probably half of evil wins come from stabbing Merlin.

Roughly 1/3 evil wins outright
1/4-1/3 good wins but Merlin gets shanked
Remainder good wins and Merlin gets away.

But we have a fairly developed and sophisticated PBF meta, and certain player personalities. And perhaps my perception of stabbinga is skewed because I tend to be the one taking the knife! Even when I’m not Merlin there’s like a 50% chance I get stabbed at the end, or so it seems.


I didn’t buy the Rise of the Empire expansion to Rebellion (despite delivering the badly needed overhaul to the awful base game combat) solely on the Rogue One crap.

There were so many unused original trilogy icons they could have turned to! Who the hell made the decision to go with U-wings and Strikers instead of A-wings, B-wings, and interceptors?

With any luck, there will be a 2nd edition with more improved rules that decides to use the JJ Abrams trilogy. All of the victory objectives will consist of delivering quirky quippy Joss Whedon lines: 2 VP for prank calling the evil admiral with yo mama jokes :(


PSA: Barenpark is coming back in stock this week. It was pretty hard to get the first time around, so just wanted to mention!


New games this week:


are there any good city builders in the boardgame world? Suburbia (from the outsdide, never played it) had so much calculations to do every turn… Prosperity had issues with replayability and the tiles were too abstract (the tile names were in the rule book) …


Machi Koro though it is broken.


The expansions and the 5-5-2 (or 5-5-3) rule do go a long way to go fixing it .

@newbrof What kind of ‘thing’ are you looking for from a boardgaming city builder? E.g. is Between Two Cities a city builder?


a city builder needs a population of some kind, growth and different types of quarters like industry, residential etc … I think Suburbia was pretty close, but it had a lot of houskeeping every round, no?


Someone’s thought of this question before:

I haven’t played most of these, so I can’t speak to the list’s accuracy. It includes Citadels, which I wouldn’t consider a city builder in the sense you’re talking about.

You might also look at Agricola and Caverna, which are “homestead builders” that include the gameplay elements that you mentioned: resources, a population/family that works and needs to be provided for, buildings with specialized functions.


Hmmm, I haven’t really played a city building game that doesn’t feel like a solitaire puzzle. To be honest, though, I think the best thing about computer city-builders is managing transportation, which would be hard to do with a board game. That is, unless you want to wander into train game territory (which I highly recommend you do!).

I recently got to play Captains of the Gulf – basically Deadliest Catch: The Euro Game. Though I’ve been drifting away from euro games the last couple years, I had fun with it. The fish spawning system is very dynamic and can allow for some indirect player screwage. Unfortunately, speaking of screwing over players, I felt that luck of the draw of the cards made it hard for long term planning. Also, the game was a tad bit too long for being a medium weight euro. The replayability also seems quite low, since you can experience pretty much everyone the game has to offer in 1-2 plays. While I enjoyed our play with it, I don’t think I’ll be picking it up.


I didn’t find Suburbia to have too much housekeeping. You have a track with your current reputation and income on it. Every time you place a city tile (which is every turn) you have to calculate the effects it has on your city based on the tile itself and the tiles surrounding it. There are also some global effects that can benefit (or hinder) your own and other cities. Population is victory points; as it goes up you periodically lose income and reputation. That all sounds pretty complicated but it’s usually not at all, at least until the late game.

The most complicated part is setting up your city so that future tiles you hope to get have a good spot to go.


I picked up Spirit Island. I’ve always been intrigued by this game and it seems to have some staying power. I set up a 2-handed solo game last night and wow, this is a great puzzle. Just a really solid solo game, and I can see how it would make a good co-op too. And there’s about 90 tons of replayability in the box: 8 different spirits with radically different powers, different blight cards, scenarios, adversaries, etc. I’m looking forward to playing this for quite some time.


I was interested in Captains of the Gulf, but the price and some complaints about the game put it on my wait and see list. Thanks for posting this.


I agree with @rho21 I don’t think Suburbia has much housekeeping at all. You gain X dollars and X population every turn based on two stats, that’s about all the housekeeping in the game. I think it’s a really elegant, quick-feeling design. If you’re reading the rules it can sound overwhelming. I think the player aid makes it seem much more complicated than it is. Every turn you just place a tile and collect some stuff. It’s the kind of game I often pull out with family or people who only play light games.

I don’t think any of the games in the IGN list have all of the parts of a city builder you’re looking for other than Suburbia. Alhambra and Quadropolis do have distinct districts that play out in a sort of set-collection manner. All of them have a city building theme though. Might also be worth looking at New York 1901 if you’re just looking for city building themed games. It’s a very simple and accessible game where players are competing to build New York Skyscrapers. It feels more city-building to me than those other games, though it doesn’t have population tracking or anything.


There’s a really spiffy looking deluxe edition of Suburbia on Kickstarter right now. I’m not sure I’d like the game or I’d be in on it.


I don’t think Suburbia has too much house keeping, although “too much” is presumably subjective. That said, we messed up last time I played. This game really nails the feel of building a city for me.

And I prefer the design of the base version to this “deluxe” edition.

I know some people like the Days of Wonder game Quadropolis, but I’ve not played it.


What is your favorite dungeon crawl (doesn’t have to be fantasy themed) and what mechanics or elements make it stand out above the rest?
Separate question, though related, what game has the best AI Overlord or equivalent?


Gloomhaven. And the fantastically deep, rich tactical battles, enormously distinct and compelling class design, constant stream of meaningful decisions at both a micro and macro level, and of course the sheer ridiculous amount of content in one merely $140 MSRP box are what make it stand out.

It’d probably also be my answer for AI design because of the personality the action cards for each monster type give and the robust handling thereof, but something app based like Descent/Imperial Assault/Mansions of Madness 2E would be next up.

MoM also stands out as a pretty solid horror-themed “dungeon crawl” of sorts, and past that I’d probably plump for Eldritch Horror, Arkham Horror (both card and board game), and the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game or better yet Apocrypha, none of which are strictly speaking classic dungeon crawls, but they capture the adventuring feel that I’m looking for, fighting monsters, having story encounters, advancing characters and getting all sorts of fabulous loot and other upgrades. (Well, the story is more frame than individual encounter in the latter two and vice versa for the Horrors.)

I’m guessing things like Imperial Assault, maybe Descent 2E (both with apps), Hexplore It, and Sword & Sorcery would be on my list if I’d played them yet. (I mean, I’ve played the first two as a one vs. many affair but I do not recommend that.)


Okay, I meant to get into this a bit in that other thread where Tom reviewed the WH40k thing a few weeks ago, but I got sidetracked.

As @malkav11 pointed out, Gloomhaven really is aces, if you want interesting decisions and a long campaign. So I’ll just leave that.

My favorite more-traditional style game is Mutant Chronicles: Siege at the Citadel, which was a contemporary of the original Hero Quest, (c. 1990 or so), but much, much better. A kickstarter was run a while back for a new version, Siege of the Citadel that seems to be finally shipping soon. I didn’t buy in since I did a crazy total conversion update of the original (I’ve mentioned it around here before) a while back, so I’m not entirely sure what the changes are. From what I understand, it’s mostly the same, a few balance tweaks, a few new things.

Reasons why I like it:

  • The game is a competitive co-op, 1 vs many. And they mean it. You are trying to complete the mission with the other players, but you want to do better than them.

  • The game plays fast- no real bookkeeping or tokens or whatnot. Heroes roll to hit, if they do enough damage, the enemy is destroyed. If not, no change, etc. Nothing to track, just keep it moving.

  • Similarly, missions have a designated goal and time limit (6-10 turns?) so they are done in an hour or so.

  • The game is built for a campaign, but one player doesn’t get stuck playing the bad guy- that roll rotates among players, and they get xp points for their regular heroes for playing well in the evil role! This incentivizes them to play hard.

  • Starting a couple missions into the campaign, each player gets a Secret Mission, which will give them bonus XP for completing it… but might not help move toward the overall goal. You also have a couple special cards that can be used to help your squad, or alternately slow down your ‘friends’- nothing major, just a little poke.

Things folks might not like:

  • remember how I said you want to do better than the other players? That’s because of the loot system. There isn’t one- you find no loot during the game. Instead you requisition equipment before each mission. Higher levels and more money mean better equipment, but you return it after each mission, so just because you get it once, you might not get it next time.

  • Each player controls a squad of two, and they’re pretty generic- one melee-focused, one ranged, no other special powers or skills (though each player has a ‘Corp’ that has an intrinsic bonus, different from all the others). Your special stuff comes from your equipment each game.

  • Theme is a pretty blatant WH40k rip-off. Techno-magic Space Marines with Big Shoulder Pads and bigger guns. You can see why I felt the need to change the setting up a bit.