Here are our favourite games of November!
Tom H – Five Tribes
The game that stands out the most to me this past month is Five Tribes. Clever design from Bruno Cathala meets sky-high production quality from publisher Days of Wonder. Five Tribes is set in the fictional Sultanate of Naqala, in ancient Persia. It’s not a brand new game, but it is a rock-solid one.
Five Tribes uses a mancala mechanism. Players pick tribe meeples up and drop them off, one at a time, in other locations. You trigger the tile where you end your movement. As a result, the modular board is a constant see-saw, ever-changing with possibilities. You can even summon djinns – powerful genies – who can bend the rules in your favour. To read about the game in greater detail,check out my recent review!
For me, Five Tribes is my ‘Game of the Month’ because of the positive reaction when I taught it to my ‘non-gamer’ parents. I’ve been introducing games to them in a gradual manner, wary of pushing them out of their comfort zone. Earlier this year I started with things like Ticket To Ride, Azul and Century: Spice Road. These games featured simple set collection and engine-building.
Then we moved onto simple worker placement games such as Stone Age and Caylus: Magna Carta. Worker placements offer a ‘go here to do this, to then do this’ kind of feel. They’ve grasped this now, so I felt they were ready to tackle a different kind of game, like Five Tribes. I knew it had worked when my Dad paused, mid-turn, and said, “This game really makes you think!” Then he played an excellent move that earned him over 20 victory points…
Five Tribes is so interactive between players; every single move changes the board. Did my parents enjoy it? Well, they’ve asked to play it again on our next games night… So I’m chalking that off as another success!
Rob W - Pokemon
Bit of an odd one this as, if you had asked me a couple of months ago, I would have told you that I hate this game with a passion and wished it had never entered my transom of experience (transom means window, fact fans, and defenestration means ‘thrown out of the window’, which is what nearly happened to this game on more than one occasion). The game? Pokemon: Trading Card Game.
Hold on, really? Yes, really. I love the dynamic of evolving your Pokemon, the exhilaration of bringing in a new active at just the right moment, the crushing frustration of suffering from an energy shortage when all you need is one measly psychic energy to make the whole machine work. The reason that my love for this game has been rekindled? Cosmic Eclipse.
Okay, it’s completely impossible to complete your collection (over 240 ‘listed’ cards). But not only do the pulls seem more generous than previous Sun and Moon sets Unified Minds and Unbroken Bonds. But there are some truly beautiful cards to be had in the character cards, featuring trainers and their chosen Pokemon.
You can also pull them in the infamous ‘green code’ packs, usually a source of endless disappointment. This set will be the end of Sun and Moon and the end of GX cards, which is a shame. Next year sees the introduction of Sword and Shield and V-Max cards. However,Pokemon could not have made a better swansong and thank you to the players. I couldn’t stay mad at you…
Ryan H - Warhammer 40k
This month has been a little quiet for my tabletop. Although my birthday this month brought Scythe: The Wind Gambit, Cryptid and Quacks of Quedlinburg to my collection, I’ve not yet had chance to play them. What has consumed my attention, however, has not been a board game. This month I’ve been bitten by the Warhammer 40k bug and the itchy result is grim and dark.
Over the course of around six months or so, I’ve began painting miniatures; a journey that could spawn an article in itself. Figures that have had most of my attention are my little necron warriors. These were a 40k taster for me and they were delicious. I also found that they were remarkably easy to paint, once I got going. Building and painting a squad of minis has taken me probably about 30 hours. I drastically improved the pace of my production line with each figure, but I thoroughly enjoyed each stroke of my brush.
Now with my squad finished, they’re ready to hit the battlefield. However, I first need to learn the rules. I came into this just for the painting, so the combat is an added bonus. I highly recommend giving the hobby a joyride and I hope to throw together an article on just how to do that! In the meantime, I eagerly await the units that Santa might leave in my stocking.
Matt T - Marvel Champions
Marvel Champions is a one to four player super hero game where players take on the role of one of five Marvel heroes to battle it out against one of three villains. Play as Captain Marvel, Spiderman, She Hulk, Black Panther or Iron Man and face off against Rhino, Klaw or Ultron.
Marvel Champions has a lot of variability and replay-ability straight out of the box. There are five heroes, four aspects and three villains (as well as various nemesis and side schemes) so there is a lot combinations to experiment with.
Marvel Champions is a fantastic game. I am struggling to think of what other game might beat this as game of the year for me. It is quick to play (especially solo) and feels streamlined compared to Arkham Horror, which I have played minimally.
The game feels very thematic with the obligations on point with the character. The use of the hero and alter-ego form is a very interesting mechanism. When in hero form the villain/minion will attack your hero and deal you damage. However, when in alter-ego form the villain/minions will scheme and add threat to the main scheme. You can make some interesting and tactical choices of when to switch from one form to the other. The hand limit also changes depending on which form you are in.
Each of the heroes feels and plays differently and comes with their own play style. Add in to that the different aspects, villains and side scheme and you have a different feeling game each time.
Marvel Champions, for me, is the LCG that I didn't know I wanted. I love the universe, enjoy the solo game as well as playing with others, I like the cooperative nature of it and how thematic it feels. I can see this one growing, not just in content, but in my love for the game over the coming months/years. Just need to defeat Klaw and then Ultron and I will be ready for more villains.