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Game Of The Month – March 2024


Eldritch Horror: Northern Invasion Stu

March was a very special month for me. Eldritch Horror is my favourite board game and this month, after playing a couple of times a year for almost a decade, I finally managed to win. Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty sure I could’ve won plenty of times in the past, but I am one for randomness wherever I can get it so we don’t tactically choose characters based upon which Old One we’re facing or upon the identity of the other characters that are taking part. Instead we draw characters blindly regardless of their strengths, abilities or starting locations and make best of the situation. Unfortunately that approach hasn’t proved particularly successful until this month.

For those that aren’t familiar with the game, Eldritch Horror is now almost ten years old and is definitely one of the most thematic, narrative and varied games available. If you like the Cthulhu mythos or the works of H P Lovecraft in general, this is probably the game for you. Players take on the role of investigators that travel the globe, searching for clues, testing their skills and defeating enemies whilst trying to close gates to other dimensions and fend-off one of a number of Elder Gods before it brings about the end of the world. This isn’t a fast game - it takes a while to set up and it can hog the table. That said, all of the time you put in is paid back with exceptional story-driven gameplay.

The base game is a great investment and is really good value for money compared to similar games that have been released more recently. Once you have come to terms with the enemies within the core box, there are three smaller and four larger expansions that include new characters, items, artefacts, spells, allies and enemies for you to bring into your games. You could dedicate your Fridays to playing only this game and would easily have entertainment for the entire year. Losing isn’t so bad given the narrative nature of the game. I find that it’s just as exciting watching your characters go slowly insane or falling to exotic creatures as they ineffectively attempt to defend the world against the inevitable.

Eldritch Horror plays well solo or with up to 6 people. Each of the Elder Gods has its own distinct feel and the game plays very differently depending which one you select to face.

Since I managed to defeat the Great Old One this time, my glorious victory will live long in my memory. I am going to revel in my glory before no doubt being put back in my place next time.

Paint The Roses: Hannah Blacknell

This month has been a great month of playing, we went to a convention and tried a bunch of new to us games. We had a few stand out hits including Crack List and Farshore but the winner for game of the month is Paint the Roses.

Paint the Roses is a co-op deduction game that is themed around Alice in Wonderland. You are racing to communicate the whims of the Queen of Hearts regarding her garden roses. You can either choose easy (colour to colour), medium (colour to colour or shape to shape), or hard whims (all of the above plus shape to colour). By placing your hedge tile into the garden to make matches fitting your whim card, you can communicate silently with your fellow players about what is on your card. So if you are trying to get your players to guess you are yellow to spades, you will want to place the red spade tile you have selected next to multiple yellow roses. After placement each player will place cubes of their colour onto the tile to denote how many matches it makes for their whim card. After this you will try to deduce as a team whether you can guess accurately one of the whims around the table.

After each tile is placed, you must as a team make a guess. If you're right you will move along the track a distance based on the difficulty of the card. The queen will also move towards you, the rate of which depends on how far through the game you are. If you are wrong, the queen will move double the amount of spaces! Your aim is to stay ahead of the queen long enough to fill the garden with tiles. Not an easy feat and will require careful thought about tile placement.

Sidereal Confluence: John H

As a big fan of negotiation games, I have been wanting to try out Sidereal Confluence for some time, and I finally got the chance on a weekend away to see friends.

Sidereal is a space-themed, resource management and negotiation game. You play as a specific and highly asymmetric alien race with the goal of trading to accrue resources and turn them into victory points. Key to this is an evolving array of cards you have in your personal tableau. They represent a range of resource production and conversion processes, which are added to turnly, through auctions for planets to colonise and research projects to develop.

There are 7 different resources in three categories, but the key conceit here is that you can’t run some/all/any of your own conversion processes with the resources you produce at the start of the game. The need to trade is baked into the game, and you can trade anything and everything except victory points.

You can trade resources of course; ships – which are used for the turnly planet and research auctions; the loan of your race specific cards for a turn or more; planet cards and research projects themselves.. the list goes on. Deals are binding and the terms can span several turns. They can be simple or complex. But as the game plays over 6 turns and everyone is interdependent to a degree, deals tend to be profit driven, while maintaining enduring relationships. Trying to fleece everyone is a bold and foolhardy move.

The result is a loud, chaotic, delightful blend of lively but generally good-spirited negotiation and Euroy resource management. It’s a few hours and has some crunch to it – so it’s a bit more involved than the likes of Chinatown. But then it plays up to 9, with 5 – 7 as the sweet spot. We had a blast and I can’t wait to get it to the table again.

Seb Hawden: Blood Rage

Blood, rage and area control. Blood Rage has always been a favourite game of mine and this month, across BGA and on my table, it has had quite a few plays. I have laughed, I have shouted, I have made errors in judgement and had some awesome victories. Games of Blood Rage games always have a tale to tell and are constantly entertaining.

Blood Rage is a fighty fighty game that revolves around card drafting and action efficiency. What
I really love about it though is it's cadence and flow. When you play your cards, when you choose to fight and the timing of everything is paramount. Upgrading your clan and having a strategy is key, especially when all the players see the same cards and upgrades. All the facets of this lovely game fit together like a well used jigsaw. Yes it has monster minis, yes you can obliterate your friends but it's the tactics and strategies you can pull off that make it shine ever so brightly.

After the initial draft you take turns moving troops, summoning monsters and pilaging. Timing is key though as most actions cost rage, which is the technically your action points and when you run out, you are just about helpless. There is a tactic to saving your rage and dominating the tail end of the rounds. Also, on the flipside of that there is something to be said about getting in and pillaging early before people get settled. There is so much to consider, so much to ponder and I adore it deeply.

No route to Blood Rage victory is the same and no game is alike. Each game is governed by what cards you see and draft. You must use what tools you have available to squeeze out what points you can. It's reactive, it's ever changing and even though there have been many area control games since, Blood Rage is still among the greats.

Munchkin: Scooby Doo Edition: Rachael Duchovny

Zoinks, Scooby Doo Munchkin is great fun! If you love Scooby Doo, you MUST buy this game, if you’re a fan of Steve Jackson’s Munchkin games you probably still want to buy it, because it’s a great version! Released at the end of October ‘23 I arrived a little late to Crystal Cove, picking this up recently as a birthday present.

As with other games in the Munchkin series Scooby plays pretty similarly with slight changes to fit the IP. There are locations to visit (aka dungeons) because obviously the gang need to explore the various attractions Crystal Cove has to offer, which add different elements that are either advantageous or disadvantageous to your adventures. When knocking down doors you may open a portal which will take you to one, or more, new location adding their own effects to the game.

Of course the whole point of Scooby Doo Munchkin is you’re going to get to play as one of the Scooby Game right. And they’re all there… including Scrappy Doo. As in Munchkin, each character has their own unique ability so choose your fighter wisely! And of course you get treasure to help you battle monsters, including vehicles like the Mystery Machine giving you a whopping plus 5!

Jeepers it’s the Creeper! Yes folks, you are battling monsters from across the Scooby Doo, Where Are You! cartoons. And they’re all here, from the Black Knight to the Spooky Space Kook, the Snow Ghost, the Funland Robot and of course the Ghost of Captain Cutler, simply named Ghost Diver. The artwork is taken directly from the cartoon and the monster level, text and bad stuff… meh sort of matches the character.

Zoinks, don’t lose your glasses! The game also features curse cards which will mess you up! From discarding headgear to losing your class and even getting a minus 3 in combat these cards are NOT good! Nothing good will come from you drawing a curse and your frenemies will remember you putting a curse on them!

So get your meddling friends together for a game of battling, negotiations and, of course, backstabbing!