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What We’ve Been Playing August 2022

What We've Been Playing

What We've Been Playing

Us here at Zatu are always finding new and exciting games to play every month! Here is What We’ve Been Playing in the month of August, considering it flew by!

Neil Proctor

Wow. 10/10. 5 Stars. Ark Nova deserves the hype. I finally convinced my wife that we needed another big game in our lives and this really was designed for me. Part Terraforming Mars (card play and engine building), part Rajas of Ganges (two scoring tracks crossing over each other to trigger the end of the game), and part Great Western Trail (taking cubes off your player board to unlock bonuses).

You build a Zoo from nothing, fill the pens with exotic animals, sign up sponsors, get universities involved and partner with other Zoos from across the world and eventually start conservation projects such as breeding programs and releasing endangered animals back into the wild. This has shot straight into my top 10 games of all time and I can see it continuing to rise the more I play it.

Ark Nova is an involved learn / teach and our first game took about 4 hours. Luckily we have now got the game down to about 1.5 hours which left time to play a couple of games I wouldn’t normally gravitate towards.

I am not the biggest fan of train or cooperative games but Switch & Signal from Kosmos has been an utter delight and surprise this month. Your task is simple, deliver these cubes from their starting cities to the port city. The game starts off nice and gentle but before long you have trains crashing into each other, accidentally going back to their starting position or hitting every red signal possible. The game includes numerous variants to increase or decrease the difficulty and a second map which adds a significant challenge. Please see my review here for more information and I hope you ‘choo choo’ choose to give it a go.

Even further from my normal play styles is real time games but Zatu very kindly provided me with a review copy of Kites Time to Fly and it has been a massive hit. This game sees you trying to keep your kites in the air which is represented by timers that you need to keep on turning so the sand doesn’t stop moving. Hilarious fun and great for all player counts, this was a massive success at a family get together with nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles and even grandads. Please see my review here and prepare to sing a certain Mary Poppins song.

Pokemon Arceus

Nick Munro Turner

As an avid Pokémon fan, I of course got Pokémon Legends: Arceus when it came out on the Switch earlier this year. It was a new twist on the classic Pokémon games. The series usually casts you as a trainer in a world where humans and Pokémon already coexist. Instead, Arceus takes you to a time when much is unknown about these strange and sometimes terrifying creatures.

I had a lot of fun playing through its story to the end credits and then playing some more to reach the extra ending.

After that, I drifted away and started playing others games. Recently though, I’ve found myself drawn back in. That original prompt of “Seek out all Pokémon” you get right at the start of the game was still calling to me.

This has been the first time since playing Pokémon: Blue in the late 90s that I’ve felt inspired to catch every single Pokémon there is!

Since then, I’ve found this prospect has become more intimidating with each new game. But pursuing this goal in Arceus was an absolute joy! I enjoyed exploring the ancient land of Hisui beyond the main story prompts. And the way you can encounter Pokémon in their natural habitats scratchs a naturalist itch. I’ve found a lot of satisfaction in learning their behaviours and quirks.

Then, of course, comes catching said Pokémon, building your team and going travelling with them. As a long time Pokémon fan, it’s felt like such a revelation to be able to take your Pokémon out pretty much wherever you want. The amount of times I’ve brought them out to let them have some fun and set up some group photos has easily taken up a good portion of my play time.

All this has made the task of completing the Pokédex come much more naturally than other games. Before I knew it, I was almost there! To find the last remaining ‘mons , I needed a little help from fellow players and online forums. After all that, I got to face the final final endgame challenge and bask in the satisfaction of a completed Pokédex.

But that said, there are still many more challenges and good times yet to have in this game. I wouldn’t be too surprised if I still dip back in it from time to time!

P for Pizza


Well, the summer is racing by, and school holidays have been a whirlwind of playdates, playgrounds, and general all round playing! Lucky for me, I’ve managed to sneak some great board games into the mix for both little and big kids alike! One that has hit the spot this month has been P for Pizza by Big Potato games. This is a fun word game where you are trying to grab enough slices to be the first to make a pyramid of 9 tasty pepperoni pizza cards.

The game is super simple to set up. Just place three of the double sided pizza cards on the table with the deck in the middle. Each card on the table shows a letter facing the deck. The deck cards are placed the other way up to show three categories. They also show a difficulty colour (green, yellow and red). To win a card you have to be first to say a word that not only fits the category but also starts with the nearest letter facing it. For example; “A purple fruit” beginning with the letter “P” could be “plum”.

To build your pizza, you always need to build a strong base (5 green cards). But the best pizza needs a tasty layer of cheese (3 yellow), and of course a delicious topping (1 red).

There are no turns in this game – it’s greedy guts card grabbing pizza fest and it’s super fun! And having the perfect word on the tip of your tongue just as someone takes the card and replaces is enough to give you serious heartburn! Haha

We are having a blast with P for Pizza and have played it at home and in the pub with hilarious effect! With a little more time allowed for reading the cards and thinking time, it’s also a brilliant learning tool; getting those vocabulary and dexterity muscles working in equal measure!


Luke Pickles

August has been a great month for gaming for me – mostly because I turned 30 part way through and my partner took me to a gaming café to celebrate, followed by another game day with one of my best friends. We played 12 games over those two days. Honourable mentions go to Dodo, Hanabi and Blitzkrieg! World War Two in 20 minutes, as good little fillers to let the brain reset. The big games that hit the table were Witchstone, Decorum and Khora: Rise of an Empire.

Witchstone satisfied the incredible combo’s part of my brain, with a lovely hexomino placement and action selection system. Khora hit the euro button, ticking off a great dice rolling/action selection game set in one of my favourite themes.

And Decorum – well, what more can I say about Decorum? We loved it so much, we picked it up at the café, brought it home and played it again. In Decorum, you are redecorating a house but you each have your own specific objectives. On your turn, you can add, remove or swap an object or repaint a room. The fun of this game is leaning into the roleplaying aspect, really hamming up the reactions when your playmates make a move that benefits you or contradicts your objectives. An example of that was “I hate that! That is the worst thing you could’ve done! Why would you think I like an Antique Lamp?!” shortly followed by “actually… -reads card- I’m ok with this.” It’s so much fun and there’s a lot of different options of play. There’s even an app coming out later that will give an infinite play, but to be honest, I don’t remember the objectives game to game so what’s in the box will be very replayable!

And that’s a wrap for August! Have you been playing any of these games?