Each month, our writers come together to share their games of the month. Each writer selects one game from the many that they have been playing, and shares a little bit of information about that game!
Let's find out which board games our team enjoyed the most during the snowy month of February.
Chad - Fog of Love
I’ve spent most of February lost in a dense Fog of Love. Not in my personal life; my own relationship moved past soppy romantic metaphors years ago. No, instead I’ve been navigating through the romance of two complete strangers in Jacob Jaskov’s remarkable new game.
As the box states, Fog of Love is ‘romantic comedy as a board game’. Two players will create characters and guide them through a number of scenes, making decisions which will ultimately determine the fate of their relationship. Based on the cards chosen during character creation, players will roleplay their characters, reacting to scenes in a way that best fits their defining traits.
For one game, I acted as an awkward third wheel. Watching from the sidelines as the players fumbled their way through a relationship. Surprisingly, this was no less involving.
On one side of the table was Claire, an irresponsible, spiritual pilot. Opposite was Wilfred, a promiscuous priest, branded with a facial scar and confined to a wheelchair. Apparently he was involved in a terrible plane crash, thanks to a careless pilot who mysteriously vanished. Make of that what you will…
Despite a rocky start, the relationship blossomed! As an onlooker I reacted with joy as they announced their engagement, and even got invited to the ceremony! But touching moments like this don’t always pop out of nowhere. They’re carefully constructed as a team. Thanks presumably to the designer’s experience as a psychologist, scenes can play out as genuinely moving, hilarious and introspective vignettes.
As a board game, I can’t deny that this is weird. Sure, games have made me feel excited, intrigued, angry. But moved to the point where I begin to analyse the traits and actions that make me who I am? It’s odd.
So, if you’re looking for a tabletop experience like no other, then I wholeheartedly recommend Fog of Love!
Nick - Vast: The Crystal Caverns
The game of the month for me was Vast: The Crystal Caverns. I have been wanting to play Vast for a long time, as quite frankly there isn’t much like it. I got to play with the fancy new miniatures set in a four-player game. As the Dragon it was my job to wake up and escape the cavern before anyone else won, particular the Knight who’s goal was to kill the Dragon.
Each player had their own win condition, their own player mat and their own way of operating. As the Dragon I had cubes representing my sloth, which I had to transfer to my ‘wakefulness’ track. As I woke up more, I became more powerful, but when I woke up fully I would be at my most vulnerable to the Knight.
The Knight has her own problems as the Goblins are trying to kill her, although the Dragon can eat the Goblins, but of course this helps the Knight, and prolongs the game all of which gives the advantage to the Cave who is trying to collapse on everyone else.
Oh? Didn’t I mention the Cave? Yeah someone can play as the Cave. I’m guessing that all sounds pretty mad? But guess what? It works really well. Clear turns for each character, along with individual rules for each of them and well thought out player boards make learning the basics easier than expected. While it takes a few rounds to get into how to play your chosen role, you are soon sweep away with trying to progress your own goal while watching out for everyone else.
I was blown away by this game and wondering how a game that plays so asymmetrically could be so balanced. Cannot wait to play again, with or without minis!
The Game Shelf - Barenpark
Our game of the month for February is Barenpark because I’ve introduced it to lots of new players. We’ve not had a lot of time to play games at home this month, but I have played games in a few different situations. Tile-laying games have been a bit of a favourite for introducing to new people this month, including Indian Summer, Patchwork and NMBR 9, but Barenpark keeps hitting the table.
I introduced Barenpark to my work board gaming group as their first ‘bigger’ game. Until now we’ve mainly played big group party-style games, but with just four people this month I decided Barenpark was a good choice. Everyone around the table understood the game really quickly and one player went for a strategy I’d never seen which was just to fill up as fast as possible, regardless of point value (it didn’t work out). For my group there probably wasn’t enough interaction and the table was eerily quiet, but it’s definitely a next step into some bigger games.
I also took a new work colleague to a board game cafe and Barenpark was one of the games we played. He took to the game really quickly and we played a second time with the advanced objectives. He also beat me fair and square, which was great because he came away from his first board game cafe experience on a high. I might not have a convert yet, but I think he might try some more games with his family.