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Game Of The Month October 2022

game of the month - everdell

Welcome to October 2022's edition of game of the month! What can we expect to see on this months feature?

Everdell - Thom Newton

I was so close to calling Beyond the Sun my Game of the month but Everdell sneaked it at the last moment. Everdell is one of those games that I never really got around to playing. I’d always heard good things about it, but it never bubbled up to the top of my ‘to buy’ list. Well, that all changed when a complete edition went up on Kickstarter. I clicked back and then sat down and waited for the best part of 2 years. Now the wait is over and I’ve finally tried it and it was brilliant!

Everdell is a town building game set in a woodland of some sort. Named Everdell, presumably, I didn’t read the lore. Anyways, there are two sides to the game, a worker placement element and a tableau building element. To start off with, your workers can go out and gather various materials and goods you can used to build buildings and attract critters. You can then use these resources to place cards down into your town.

Sometimes you’ll get a little bonus for doing that. Sometimes you may get a new worker placement spot just for you. Some buildings give you end game scoring opportunities. What is quite nice is that once you’ve got some buildings down you can use them to attract certain critters into your village for free. What a nice little bonus that is. Of course, you can still pay for them, if you’d like, but free is better.

There is a lot of variability in the base game, the deck us huge and there are loads of event cards that trigger when you get certain combos of cards in your village. I’m pretty new to this anthropomorphic forest life game, but I’m very excited to see what else I can discover!

Meadow - Kirsty Hewitt

Beautiful artwork? Check. Cute creatures? Check. Interesting Mechanisms? Check. Ok, so it was fairly obvious that Meadow would be right up my street!

In Meadow you are collecting and playing cards to build your meadow. At the end of the game you want to have the meadow with the most points. So far, so straightforward. But it is the way in which you collect and play cards which is so clever.

Each player starts the game with a set of numbered markers. Every turn you place one of these down either at the main board or the camp fire board. Placing them on the main board allows you to pick up a card. You pick up the card in the row and column indicated by where you place the marker, and the number on it. Placing at the camp fire allows you to carry out special actions.

When you have picked up a card from the main board you can then play it. But each card has certain requirements that you must have in your tableau to play it. Every card has one or two symbols on which help meet these requirements. You need to consider carefully the order in which you play cards though. Cover up symbols too early and you may not be able to play later cards.

Meadow ticks the box for me of a game I will always be in the mood to play. Whether at the weekend alongside other games or as a quick game of a weekday evening. Whilst there are decisions to make, these are not too heavy. The game has a nice flow, which combined with its clever mechanics and great artwork makes it my game of the month.

No Thanks! - Rob Wright

It has been an exciting month for games, though as Christmas approaches I am very much on a games acquisition embargo now (it’s tough – feel my pain!) But despite the fact that I’ve played Scythe, Carnegie and Nemesis: Lockdown for the first time this month, it is another less significant game that has made my GOTM – No Thanks!

No, that doesn’t mean I’m refusing to write this, that is the name of the game. I know! I have been on the lookout for this for a while as it is an icebreaker/filler/drinky game to challenge the mighty 6 Nimmt (as if that was even possible).

In No Thanks!, you are trying to get the lowest score possible by avoiding picking up high value cards (cards carry a score of 3 to 35 and each card has little hints on whether you should pick it up or not, if you are unfamiliar with counting). Each player starts with a number of very tactile tokens. On your turn, you can either pick up the card or say ‘no thanks!’, but if you say ‘no thanks’, you must place one of your tokens on the card. This can go on for several players, but when someone picks up the car, they also pick up all the tokens on the card as well. Which is handy, as every token you have at the end of the game is deducted from your score. Not only that, but if you have a run of cards, you only score the lowest in the run – sometimes it pays to grab high.

No Thanks! Is very easy to pick up but trickier to put down again as it has that real ‘just one more go’ essence in spades. Plus it’s hard to part with the tokens. Mmmm, pebbly…

My City - Matt Thomasson

My Game of the Month is two years old. Shock! I was late to the party on this one but since receiving the game it has been a massive hit with me and my wife. From the legend that is Reiner Knizia My City is a polyomino game published by Kosmos Games. It is quick playing at around 30 minutes per game making it an ideal mid week game.

In My City you will be revealing a card from a deck and placing the corresponding polyomino shaped piece onto your player board. Each player has the same board layout and the same shape and number of pieces. It is delightfully simple in its rule set but can get very thinky as the game goes on. I am being very vague here with the gameplay because what I have failed to mention is that this is a legacy game (you probably already know that though). You play through eight chapters and each chapter has three games in it. At the end of each game you will be adding stickers to your board. At the end of each chapter you will be adding new elements to the game. What these are, well, that would be spoiling it for you. But suffice to say it mixes up the gameplay and adds some fun surprises along the way. Points are awarded at the end of each game and tracked on your board. At the end of all the chapters there will be an overall winner.

Although each player starts off the game with the game polyomino pieces your board will always look different at the end. I enjoy the reveal of the new gameplay elements and the new rules that each game/chapter. It adds a fun element of surprise that keeps me coming back for more.

With its simple ruleset, legacy elements and endless replayability once finished it is a gem of a game that I have been having an amazing time with.

Ultimate Railroads - Joe Packham

Strangely enough I discovered Ultimate Railroads in digital format. After a couple of games i was obsessed and had to pre-order a tangible copy from Zatu. This led to the wierd situation where I'd played the game a ton before ever opening it in all its big box glory! So its my game of the month because October was the month I finally got the beast to the table in all its corporeal beauty, but don't think this is novel infatuation! I have several dozen plays under my belt and this game delivers every… single… time!

So what’s the fuss about? Well the base game Russian Railroads is a highly abstract railroad building game. It basically boils down to worker placement and track advancement. There’s 3 main lines to advance on and a separate industry track also. Starting with basic wood track pieces players have to decide how to proceed by upgrading their tracks, increasing their range with locomotives, advancing along tracks or gaining boosts like points doublers, more workers or engineers which provide personal action spots.

All sounds very standard i know but the thing that makes Russian Railroads intensely addictive and deeply satisfying is the action chaining! As you advance along each track certain spaces have bonuses, the scope of these bonuses is wide and the way they interact can be so epic. Efficiency is king on the railroad and i still get a rush optimising my workers in this game. Add to that the fact that there are 3 more modules in this ultimate box, Asian, German and American Railroads each with a fresh spin on the core game and Ultimate Railroads might just be a contender for my Game of the Year!