Table Games in 2016: Board, Card, and Miniatures Games


New year, new resolutions, new games, new thread, and new topics.

Resolutions first.

2016 is going to be the year I buy more games. Because that is every year. However, before that, I’m going to make a resolution to get some of my “underplayed games” played, and if I decide I don’t like them, try to find a buyer.

Currently, I have a bunch of games in my collection purchased on clearance or used, and thus got them at a great price. Yet, I’ve not yet played them. This includes Smallworld: Underground, Battue: Storm of the Horselords, and Munchkin: Some Spinoff. Actually, a better goal might be to get Rex and Chaos in the Old World played more than once. I mean, I spent like $90 bucks on Fief with the plastic buildings expansion, and I’ve only played that twice.
New games?

Well, they are coming. Honestly, I just can’t get hyped about games that only exist in protypes. So, I rarely pay attention to games before they actually come out. Yet, I have heard enough about Star Wars: Rebellion to be interested. Also, apparently a ‘sequel’ to the Age of Empires 3 board game is coming, called Empires: Galactic Rebellion that sounds cool. It is important to note that the second game is NOT in fact a Star Wars game. Which says something. I am also very interested in the Kemet expansion, but boy am I worried that it will add superfluous parts to an otherwise excellent game. Remember, perfection in design is not when there is nothing else to add, but nothing left to take away.

Which brings me to new topics.

Tom Vassal predicted more games utilizing electronic apps in 2015. That really did not happen, with XCOM being the notable exception. Which does not really surprise me, nor displease me. Making apps is a different skillset than making board games. Plus, my greatest challenge when board gaming is to get people to pay more attention to the game then their phones. So, I’m just saying there is a reason I go analogue about once a week.
Asmodee now owns Fantasy Flight and Days of Wonder, which is a lot of big brands and games. Also, apparently companies will not be able to sell their product online unless they get a special license. Best guess? Asmodee is trying to stabilize prices for brick and mortar stores by charging online retailers a higher base price.

So, what are you going to try to accomplish in board games this new year? Play more games? Buy fewer games? Avoid Kickstarter hype?


My fiancee and I decided three years ago on a max size board game collection. We got a shelfing unit that can hold about 80 games and agreed we wouldn’t go beyond that point. Up until now that hasn’t been a huge deal. I’ve been at the limit a while, but usually have enough games I either dislike or am ambivalent about to get rid of a year. But now I’m hitting the limit with nearly only games I like still on the shelves. I recently put Puzzle Strike in my give-away section despite really liking the game because its long setup time means we rarely play it. Now I’m anxiously eyeing games like Puerto Rico and Zhan Guo which I love, but the people I play with aren’t really interested in, so they rarely hit the table.

So in an effort to help with this, my goal for 2016 is to do the BGG 10x10 challenge which is to play 10 games 10 times this year. I’m hoping in the process to get a better sense of which games really do deserve keeping. I am skeptical, for instance, that I’ll continue to enjoy Russian Railroads and Tzolk’in after their 10th plays, but I enjoy them enough now to keep them on the shelves. Hopefully this challenge will help me clear out the games that don’t stand up to extended scrutiny so I’ll still have room for personal favorites that rarely get played.

I also want to spend more effort seeking out and learning to appreciate games in genres I don’t often play. I tend to stick to Industry and Euro-games because I really enjoy their mechanics and themes. Recently, playing and loving Command and Color Ancients made me aware of how much my predilections are closing me off to great experiences. I’m particularly intrigued by Above and Below due to it’s bridging of what I find familiar and comforting with what I find harder to enjoy. I’m hoping to lean into more experiences like that this year.


Why are you prejudiced against roleplaying games? They’re table games too, dangit!

Also, if Asmodee really does force the online prices of their games into line with brick and mortar retail prices, (or if that policy gets their games out of online retail, since it’s not remotely convenient for me to shop locally), I will just not buy their games. They’re expensive propositions even at online prices. It’ll help my “buy less games, play the ones I own more” resolution anyway, and help keep my shelf population stable.


This weekend was kinda retro week for me.

I reorganized my [B]Axis and Allies[/B] and [B]Conquest of the Empire[/B] (Both of them the 80s versions) games into some Plano storage containers. I also started re-reading the rules to [B]Supremacy[/B].

Of the three, I only expect Conquest of the Empire to hit my regular gaming group table. We all have fond memories of A&A, but it’s made clear we will keep the fond memories in the past. A&A is just too long a game for us to set up and play. Maybe if we had 5 players it would be quicker, but we just don’t have the energy for it.

Supremacy is a game I enjoyed, but I think it was more due to teenage angst over being able to nuke regions. I need to finish the rules, but I’m not sure this game has aged very well.


In the past few years I’ve been buying a lot (or getting gifted a few), and I justified that because I got in the hobby about three years ago and I wanted to build up a varied collection, suitable for a number of different situations. At this point, I think I’ve accomplished this goal, so I think it’s probably time to a) slow down on purchases and b) start getting rid of games I know won’t likely get played. Given that I just got gifted about 8 of so games off my wishlist (plus an in-progress Pandemic Legacy game going), I should be able to hold out for at least 6 months or so. Ideally I’d pick up only a few games this year (Star Wars: Rebellion is a potential weak point for the near future).

I also want to go back and start “completing” a lot of the games I bought for solo gaming. I made lists recently of all the characters/heroes/villains/schemes etc. in games like Eldritch Horror, Sentinels of the Multiverse, and Marvel: Legendary with the goal of playing and/or winning with all of them.

So buy less, get a lot more plays in of stuff I already own and enjoy, and figure out the best method for getting rid of the chaff.


I’m tempted to try this 10x10 thing. I’m guilty of only playing some games a limited number of times and not really having too strong of an opinion on them, whereas if they were played more they’d probably be firmly in either the love or hate category, which means I can work towards getting rid of some of them without feeling guilty that I’m ditching an unknown treasure or something. Also, I just got a bunch for Christmas and then bought many, many more after christmas in some big splurge. So when they arrive tomorrow my playtime:cost ratio is going to go way down!

(This isn’t helped by the fact that the games people on BGG rant and rave about are often games I completely hate, e.g. Puerto Rico or Powergrid – both games I traded away)


Oh, I just think RPGs really need their own thread to them justice. Or something. I’m guessing RPGs are just a different kind of experience. Look, if you really want to discuss them here, go right ahead.

Also, if Asmodee really does force the online prices of their games into line with brick and mortar retail prices, (or if that policy gets their games out of online retail, since it’s not remotely convenient for me to shop locally), I will just not buy their games. They’re expensive propositions even at online prices. It’ll help my “buy less games, play the ones I own more” resolution anyway, and help keep my shelf population stable.

Their games will definitely be available online. However, what will be limited is who can sell them online. Barnes and Noble, for example, will still have their games online. They certainly cannot stop aftermarket users selling their games. It could also be I don’t have a clue what is going on, and this is just some corporate speak that will help them reduce shipping costs and won’t actually effect users.

As a fellow wallet watcher, I can relate to rising prices. Yet, I know what I’m willing to pay for a game. If the price go to high, I will buy something else or not at all. If this helps the industry, though, well, its a small price to not pay.


I tried out my second solo game of [B]Darkest Night[/B] today, randomly picking the Priest, Paragon, Acolyte, and Knight as my party. I was just playing the normal game, not using quests, and it went pretty well until the end. The Necromancer chased the 0 secrecy Priest for a couple of locations while the darkness track climbed over 20…the Acolyte managed to scrounge up a 3rd key in the meantime and we gathered in the Mountains to end its evil grasp on the land! Unfortunately things didn’t go so well as first the Priest, then the Paragon were both struck down by the Necromancer while trying to wipe out the accumulated blights in the area. Luckily the Acolyte (who had to visit the Monastery to heal up in the meantime) and the Knight held on while a new hero joined the fight (appropriately enough it was the Wayfarer who happened to wander by on his travels.)

I’m not 100% sure but I believe the new hero starts in Monastery on the 2nd turn after the original’s death so that’s how I played it. He traveled to the Mountains, held tight for a turn, then helped nail one of the two blights in prep for the Necro’s demise. Unfortunately that’s the same turn the Paragon bit it (secrecy went to zero and the Necro ended him during his Events phase) so things looked grim - two heroes left to act so I really needed the Acolyte to take out the last blight and leave the Necromancer defenseless for the relic-wielding Knight. The Acolyte blew it and couldn’t remove the Desecration blight so I thought I was finished. BUT the Knight’s secrecy went to zero at the start of her turn so the Necro moved in for the kill (literally, she was down to 0 grace also.) I had activated the aura that gives +1 vs. the Necro already so I wasn’t in terrible shape. I managed to roll a 6 (+1 aura, +1 relic) and lo and behold, you get a free action if you win a fight vs. the Necro! The win allowed me to remove the Desecration blight and I pummeled the Necromancer for good with my free action, rolling a natural 6 (+1 relic) and somehow pulling out the win.

I’m pretty sure I missed a couple things during the game that probably made it a little easier since it was only my 2nd game but it was still nice to get a win after losing two characters!

I also tried a couple solo runs of [B]Argonauts[/B] and that was a fun one. Both ended miserably as my heroes ran out of food about halfway through the journey. Then I realized later that I should have started deducting crew once my rations hit zero. Oops! Might’ve let me get a little farther but not sure it would have changed the outcome in the long run. Will get the rule right the next time I try it out.


Whatwhat? Tell us more about this Argonauts game! I haven’t heard of it!


[B]Argonauts[/B] was a Kickstarter game from a year or so ago that I backed. Co-op game for 1-4 where you basically take Jason & crew on his quest for the Golden Fleece. It has an interesting exhaustion mechanic for your crew. You randomly deal four heroes to four separate crews (the regular game comes with 17 heroes but the KS edition included the mini-expansion which has 7 or 8 more), keeping Jason separate from Hercules and leaving Medea completely out (she swaps in for Hercules about 1/4 of the way through.) Then you can use one hero from each crew per turn - when used, the hero goes to the ‘Exhausted’ spot for that crew, shifting the currently exhausted crew member (if one’s there) over to the ‘Resting’ spot. The hero at the Resting spot goes back to your hand. So once you get going, you’ll usually have two heroes available to choose from for each crew, with one in the Exhausted and one in the Resting spot.

It essentially is a bit of a puzzle game as you work out which heroes you should use for certain challenges, port activities, or legendary encounters. Each hero has a class (Sailor, Warrior, Mystic, Scout, Diplomat) and skills (five of them I believe, including Combat, Stealth, etc, which range from 1-4 though 3s and 4s are very rare) as well as a special ability (Jason’s ability lets you exhaust him in order to use the skills of a currently Resting hero for your current challenge.)

You also need to make sure you avoid any of the loss conditions. You’ll lose if:

  1. the Argo is destroyed (it can take 3 hits with progressively worse effects - the 4th sinks it)
  2. you run out of crew members (you start with 9 - they simulate regular non-hero crew members)
  3. you run out of rations (when you run out of rations, you start losing crew members instead so this is really part of 2) above

So you sail through Jason’s path, stopping at port cities (where you can look for food, ask for help from the local leader, repair the Argo, etc) and facing the random encounters/challenges that occur in ocean spaces. Scattered throughout the path are around 10 legendary encounter spots where you have to face one of the mythical beasts or events that Jason did.

I really liked the theme so that led me to back it in the first place. Fun so far after my two trial runs but it seems geared towards solo (or maybe 2 player) play than a group of four.


If you like deck builder games that are almost puzzle like I would high recommend Shadowrun: Crossfire. It is quite brutal with the event deck. The persistence rpg like gaining of skills with experience is nice but if I didn’t enjoy the gameplay then the rest would just be fluff.

I have also enjoyed a bit of time with Shadows of Malice. Everything is abstract art wise but between the monster abilities and loot you can imagine a great world. It essentially is a adventure game about fending off the shadows and a big bad. (Whose fantasy name escapes me at the moment)

Now just to pick what I should get with an Amazon credit, have been so tempted to get Zulus on the Ramparts since it is a bit different of an States of Siege game then the rest it seems.


Just played my first new game of 2016. Well, new to me. I’m talking about [B]Suburbia[/B], the hex laying game of building your own city away from the city. The main resources are population (VPs), and Money. You use money to buy hexes to add to your development. Some hexes offer flat benefits, but most will either interact with either adjacent hexes, hexes in your development, or all hexes in the game. For example, you can buy a fancy restaurant which will give you +3 income. However, it comes with the caveat that whenever another player builds any type of restaurant, you lose one income. It is quite possible that the fancy restaurant will be losing the player money come game’s end.

However, what Suburbia does differently than any other game is penalize you for having victory points. So, the VP/population track has these red lines interspersed throughout. When you cross a redline, you lose one per turn income and one reputation. Reputation is essentially your “population income.” At the end of your turn, you gain your reputation in population.

Yet, this interesting system led me to the seemingly obvious strategy of focusing heavily on income to start, and then devoting myself to building up reputation with the later turns. I won, though multiple players failed to keep track of their book keeping in a game that gives players a lot to keep track of. For example, remember that restaurant example? You might buy the fancy restaurant early, and then just plain forget that you are suppose to lose income every time somebody build a new restaurant. Two players failed to adjust their population for multiple turns when their reputation moved away from zero. We guesstimated to get them back on track.

The game also gives players bonus population at the end of the game for certain goals. Some of those goals are public, but each player received a secret goal. In an interesting development (maybe pun intended?), no player actually accomplished their secret objective. Instead, the points go to the player who actually met the goal condition, probably unknowingly.

Overall, [B]Suburbia[/B] is an interesting game, and one I would play again, but I had enough wiggles that I would not seek to own it.


Actually, the secret goals can only be completed by the person who has them. The public goals are up for grabs, but you can’t accidentally fulfill someone’s secret goal.

In my experience, the game gets a lot better on everyone’s second play. When everyone is prioritizing early income and trying to figure out how and when to switch to reputation, the tile draft becomes a lot more interesting.


Per Slickdeals, Fury of Dracula is on sale for $39 at Amazon (free shipping + tax):

See Tom’s link below if you’re interested!


Here’s a link to Fury of Dracula that supports Qt3 instead of whatever “slickdeals” is.



Hey Tom, sorry, didn’t see there was a reference to it in the link.


Big ol’ box of games arrived this evening! I got a couple of mega-cheap family card games, Gold Thief, Pixel Tactics, two copies of Frontiers: Liberty or Death!, and Road to Enlightenment. Hopefully I’ll be playing at least one of them tonight.


No problem. I figured you just didn’t know it was in there and I wanted to give folks a Qt3 option.



I’m still getting used to my new Mac from the gift exchange! Links get shortened to their bare minimum by Safari & I haven’t had a chance to see if Chrome works on Mac yet (pretty sure it does.)

Back to board games, my Kickstarter edition of Assault on Doomrock came today! Not sure if I’ll get a chance to learn it before our game night Friday but will hopefully get it to the table before too long. Technically it was the KS for its expansion but I backed to get the original too.


Man I got that one years ago, back from the Kickstarter, but never have managed to get it to the table. It is a game and theme I’d love to play though. Lots of historical flavor, just never has worked out.

But on to games I have actually played:

So for Christmas I had a glut of board games. And over the New Years weekend, I played them all.

King of Tokyo played about half a dozen games with two different groups of 3. Very fun game, plays quick, easy to explain, and a perfect game as a short starter, finisher, or palate cleanser. I see this one getting a lot of play. Never the main event, but always hitting the table.

7 Wonders I had played once before, but it had been a long time. I sold it to my wife and in laws as ‘like Dominion but…’ Which is true, in an overly broad but not all that accurate way. But for a group that doesn’t trawl BGG it was the best way to sell it (they do really like Dominion, which mostly means Dominion Seaside). I can’t say I have a firm grasp of the scoring, not in the sense that I don’t understand it, but in the sense that when playing I don’t really intuit which cards are going to have the best payoff later. I managed to win, despite one person having a very scary looking science setup, mostly by virtue of building a blue card every action for my last 4, and dominating the military every age. Need to play it more, as it is a good game. Enjoyed it, but don’t really have a handle on it.

Formula D is another game that I had played a long time ago and enjoyed. Played it twice, once with 3 people with 2 cars each, the other with 6. There is a certain narrative structure to the game with the ebb and flow of the races. The reckless maneuver that causes you to shred tires, but allows you to slingshot past two other people, the dreadful pit stop that costs you the race, the gamble that ends with you streaking into a wall when you burn your last tires. Both games were exciting, and both were close. We managed to get my father in law to join, which is no small feat. While it is definitely on the lighter side, the fact it can scale from 2-10 pretty well, and the theming mean this game will see steady play.

But the highlight was X-wing. Now with 4 games in. Man I am just loving this game. We played a 3 on 2 match with 3 Imperials with 40 points each versus 2 Rebels at 60 each, for a ship count of 5-4 (2x TIE Interceptor, 2X TIE Fighter, Firespray vs. K-wing, A-wing, YT-2400, X-wing). I love the K-wing. It may be my favorite ship right now, full stop. Such a beautiful array of tools. Miranda Doni (PS 8, cost 29) has an ability that is going to make sure this craft hits the table a bunch, the ability to regenerate shields by reducing an attack, or sacrifice shields to boost an attack. Just so many tactical options when playing with the K-wing. Put some extra munitions on with sonic charges and proximity mines and control the battlefield. The turret primary is icing on the cake. The game ended with a Rebel victory, which has been the case every time the Rebels have a turret craft. With only 4 matches this may not be an issue, but it is certainly something I am being cognizant of when building future matches. So far the only time the Imperials have won is when it was Darth Vader + 2 TIEs versus Luke and Horton Slam (Y-wing).

So now I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole learning about squad building, what counters exist, strategies for different opponent lists, and so on. This game has lit my mind on fire with possibility, and I want to explore them all. The Falcon has been making life difficult? Figure out how to beat it, both for my sake, and for those I play against. Since I have done all the squad building for both sides this is important. But there is a lot of meat on this game, and I’m reveling in it. Now if only I can learn how to properly fly the Phantom…

So, I suppose, the moral of the story is [I]yay boardgames![/I]