The most-played game this month for me has been Rallyman: Dirt, the latest edition of JC Bouvier’s racing system first published in 2009. With some push-your-luck but lots of ways to mitigate it, this is a game that’s quick to pick up but has a surprising tactical depth when you start considering where and when to risk a loss of control. Rallyman: GT is still getting to my table too, when I want circuit racing rather than time-trial rallying, and I’m hoping to have an opportunity to play a crossover RX course using tiles and cars from both games.
The number two game has been Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition, combined with the Rook City Renegades expansion box. With 18 heroes, 36 hero variants, 15 villains (each with two variants of their own) and 11 environments, I won’t be running out of new permutations any time soon, certainly not by the time the Disparation expansion comes out next year – and the same setup can play quite differently with different tactics and the luck of the shuffle.
Other games that reached my table were reliable old warhorse The Resistance (still my favourite social deduction game), new releases Ticket Gagnant (something like the Downforce card system with a few interesting twists) and Tiwanaku (mostly a deduction game with some tactical movement), and a couple of plays of A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game, which sets up an Arkham Horror-like tension between running around collecting power-ups and fighting the big monster– all in a post-colonial American setting. There’s a lot of luck involved, but it affects everyone, and the game’s always a great story generator as it shuffles elements around into implausible combinations (as when the town’s schoolteacher headed off a book-burning hysteria with an “I Think Not!”).
Summer was supposedly here, and I spent two weeks last month in a tent, one camping in the beautiful Isle of Purbeck area of Dorset, and another at Green Man Festival in Wales, which means lots of small box games have made the list this month.
My wife and I have played through the first six chapters of My City Roll and Build, which is a fantastic small box roll and write adaptation of the excellent legacy game My City. My City Roll and Build features a really unique dice mechanic where you put the two rolled dice together to form a building shape which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Also unlike the main game, there are tons of sheets meaning we can replay the campaign several times. Another few camping favourites also hit the tent floor this month, Rustling Leaves, Kingdomino Duel and Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition and Rolling Realms. It’s great taking these smaller box games away with us and none of the games listed take too long or take up too much space which makes them ideal holiday games.
Before we went to Dorset, I had a great week of gaming including an epic six player game of Battlestar Galactica in which it turned out I was a Cylon and managed to win by holding out long enough to then destroy the humans' game plans right at the end. Although long out of print, Unfathomable is a fine reskin of the game and well worth playing.
I played two games of Dune Imperium this month, coming second in -one and getting absolutely destroyed in the other. It's one of those games that I think gets better with every play, particularly one you throw in the Rise of Ix expansion which opens up a range of new strategies to try out.
Earth hit retail this month and I had to get it, playing it three times over the past month. It’s not too long and is not too difficult to learn, but has so many paths to getting points that I still keep trying new things each time I play.
Other games new to me this month include My Gold Mine, which I’ve played three times, and is a really fun quick little game where you need to push your luck to collect as much gold as you can and escape before the dragon gets you. I also tried Villagers for the first time which I really enjoyed and hope to try again along with the other games in the series, Streets and Moon.
Given that I’ve been away so much, the Gloomhaven Jaws of the Lion campaign me and two friends are working through only got played once, as we move closer towards the end of what has been a brilliant game so far. We did get together this week with an initial view of playing the next scenario but opted to play The Red Cathedral and Terraforming Mars Ares Expedition instead which were both excellent and I really recommend them for games with lots of difficult and good decisions that both play in around an hour to 90 minutes.
As if all that wasn’t enough, I had a couple of games of Hive at a local brewery, pressed on with my current solo Marvel Champions campaign box in anticipation for the next release, chucked dice after dinner in Istanbul the dice game, bid for mines in Cornwall in Tinners’ Trail and taught Takenenoko to a non gamer. Looking forward I’ve just arranged a game of Beast for Monday which I’m so excited to try and I’ve just bought Undaunted Stalingrad and Marvel Champions NeXt Evolution.
BOOM! That’s August done and dusted. While work definitely kept me busy, I still managed to pull some games off the shelves and get them to the table.
Sundae Split involves players collecting various ice cream cards to score points while avoiding the veggie cards as they are negative points. And they say vegetables are good for you. Well, not in this game! The fun aspect of this card game is that a player draws cards from the deck (the number drawn varies depending on number of players) and then splits those cards into piles. The drawing player chooses which cards to place face up or face down, trying to mischievously get other players to select the worse piles and keep the better one for themselves.
Stuffed Fables is a fantastic adventure book game. Think Toy Story meets Lord of the Rings. Yeah, it’s awesome! In the game, players select their stuffy (stuffed toy) and roam around the game board that doubles as a story book. You will battle evil toys and try to overcome various skill tests with your stuffies. We just started the new expansion and are very much looking forward to the new challenges for each story.
With my board gaming group, we played the instant classic Blood on the Clocktower.
It was my third go at it, and this time we used the Bad Moon Rising script. Luckily, the good team won in the end even if it took many rounds to finally kill the demon as he was constantly protected by one of his minions. I highly recommend playing this game if you never have. It is a superb social deduction game where you try to hunt down the demon within your group and “kill” it before it and its minions kill off the townsfolk and win the game. Grab a copy, gather your mates, and enjoy!
This month, all my board gaming time has been dominated by two games in particular. A playthrough of the Arkham Horror Circle Undone Campaign expansion and Star Wars Shatterpoint.
Both are two completely different types of game, but both are top of their field and some of the best games I've played.
This campaign has been the best one I've played this far. With a spooky theme, intuitive game design and immersive storytelling; it's everything you want in a campaign.
To make things even more interesting, you can use the Tarot Deck during your game setup phase for extra mystery.
Before starting the game, you shuffle the tarot deck that's included and draw three cards from the stack. Each card has a good effect and bad effect printed on either end. From the three chose, you must turn one around. This could mean anything from adding doom tokens to the bag or gaining extra actions each turn. It really spices up the game.
So, if you haven't played it yet, make it your next adventure!
Shatterpoint is without doubt one of the best miniature games I've played in a very long time. Gameplay is simple to learn and hard to master, and has great teambuilding options.
Another great features is the way it's set apart from other miniature games. The unit activation is very tactical and the attack chart adds great variation to the damage dealt. I also love that it's a very fast paced game with little to no downtime.
I also love the nods to the community that are included throughout the game and expansions. Packs such as the 'High Ground' and 'Hello There' boxes spring to mind, and add a great bit of humour to the game.