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What We’ve Been Playing December 2022

what we've been playing dec
what we've been playing dec

Today we are welcoming in the New Year with what we've been playing from the last month of 2022!

Neil Proctor

I went into December with such high hopes for a Happy Gaming Christmas, what I got instead was flu, a chest infection and several doses of antibiotics. I am finally coming through to the other side of this illness and can reflect on some brilliant games I still got to play in December.

Longboard (by designer Reiner Knizia) is a brilliant 2 to 4 player game all about building the best surfboards. It has the feel of Lost Cities but with completely open information and a very positive player interaction. I can’t wait to teach this game to more people. The production from 25th Century Games is really good which brings me on to my second game from the same publishers.

Ghosts Love Candy Too (by designer Danny Devine) is a simultaneous selection game where you are trying to steal candy from kids at Halloween without scaring them too much (you are friendly ghosts). Each of the 100 kids in the game have unique powers which can be triggered resulting in some great com-boos. Once again amazing artwork and production which shows how much can be achieved by a game with a relatively low price point.

Talking of low price points the latest Clever game Clever 4 Ever (designer Wolfgang Warsch) was released late in December and it has hit all the right notes with me. The clever series of games have had their ups and downs but I would say this is one of the best released so far. You can see the combinations and how to trigger them a lot easier than you could in the third game (Clever Cubed) and the scoring opportunities are vast.

In January I intend to make up for my lack of gaming Christmas starting with a gaming New Year’s Eve with friends followed up by a game play testing session. Scarily I currently have no games on order so I guess I’d better do something about that.

Hannah Blacknell

I seem to have spent the whole of December feeling unwell, and so I have been craving quiet games that I can play without thinking too hard or concentrating for too long. In between profusely blowing my nose and binge-watching Christmas films, I managed to get an obscene amount of games of Ganz Schon Clever (also known as That’s Pretty Clever) played.

Ganz Schon is the first in a series of (so far) four roll and write games by Wolfgang Warsch. These games consist of a sheet with five different coloured regions on them, and six different coloured dice. There is no theme to this game, you derive the enjoyment purely from the smooth as butter gameplay. During your turn you roll all the dice and arrange in ascending order. You will select one and then reroll the rest, select a second, and repeat for a third. You can select any die but note that any strictly lower dice that you don’t take will be removed from the pool and placed on the silver platter. So you likely will have to take a lower die the first time to ensure you have enough dice for all three turns. Placing a die will get you points almost certainly, but it will also perhaps cause a chain reaction where placing a six into the yellow section will then mean that you can place into the blue section, and then placing that blue will allow you to cross off something on the green box. These combo moves will make you make you feel like a dice wielding brainbox and I LOVE IT

If you want something that allows you to cascade actions and feel clever then this would be my pick, there is also a kid friendly version which is Ganz Schon Kids which is also worth a look for a family version.

Dan Street-Phillips

A few years ago I played Bruce Glassco’s Fantasy Realms. A card game where you try and combo your hand in order to get as many points as possible by either drawing a card blind, or one from a shared discard pile. I loved the tight mechanisms that pushed you to make decisions quickly and regularly but the theme didn’t quite grab me. Firstly, the titular realms are all in a generic fantasy setting. Incredibly generic which visually offers it no real identity of its own. And with that also comes the traditional misogynistic designs. I understand that it might not effect everyone but there is something about scantily clad women in games designed by men that makes me feel a little uncomfortable in this day and age.

Luckily, I was thrilled when Wizkids announced that they were releasing a new version themed around Marvel. Marvel Remix is not just a pure re-skin, it also adds some really interesting things without complicating the simplicity of the original game. It also streamlines the scoring. With the original, scoring could easily get into the hundreds making it so hard to keep track of that they had to release an app in order to help.

However, with Marvel Remix it keeps scores to around the hundred and under mark, making it much more accessible. Since getting it for Christmas I have played it dozens of times, with my husband and several members of our family from adults down to my eight year old nephew. Whether you like Marvel or not, the game play is addictive enough that everyone who has played, has wanted to play again. But if you love Marvel like I do, then there is something incredibly satisfying about transforming Bruce Banner into the Hulk whilst combo-ing Professor X with Cerebro in order to maximise points. A really super fun game for the whole family, not just for Christmas.

Matt Thomasson

It has been a very cold Dec. Sub zero temperatures, snow, ice some may say that the Endless Winter has arrived.

In actually fact, Endless Winter did arrive (see what I did there?) and was hitting my table a lot in Dec. A beautiful mix of worker placement and deck building layered with stunning art from “The Mico”. It is a bit of a table hog but there is some interesting cardplay and a varied way of scoring points. I love the mix of gameplay elements in Endless Winter and there is some competition on the map and race elements for the bonus worker action spots.

MicroMacro: All In - the third installment in the MicroMacro games - has also been hitting the table in December. I love these games. I am not going to discuss the “game vs activity” argument here, suffice to say I just enjoy the game. It is a great game that me and my partner can spend an hour or so playing, solving a few crimes and hunting for motives, suspects and victims. There are a lot of crimes to solve in this box and you will need to scour the map for clues and follow the breadcrumbs to solve the mystery.

Marvel: Remix was a new game that I received and played a bunch in Dec. Taking the Fantasy Realms system and adding in the Marvel theme, this quick playing card game is a blast to play. You have a hand of seven cards and will pick up a card and discard a card until the end game triggers. You will score whatever is in your hand. There are some fun decisions to be made and you need to be able to formulate a plan and run with it, whilst being flexible to change on the fly.

December was a great mix of games for me and a fab way to round off 2022. Here is to 2023!


Brrrrrr, it’s Baltic bleak out there this time of year. Leafless trees and white capped hills. But luckily, we have been playing the gorgeously green and colourfully crunchy Verdant by AEG and Flatout Games (who also co-publish Calico, Cascadia and others)! At its heart, Verdant is an abstract, open drafting, spatial placement optimisation puzzle of a game. In it, we are creating a home full of beautiful house plants that grow like Geronimo if we get the lighting conditions just right! And the designers have got this game right! It’s quietly crunchy and delightfully thinky for a game with just 13 turns!

A smaller game to hit our table has been the 2 player Splendor Duel. But don’t let the modest box size fool you! It’s fantastic! Just like 7 Wonders Duel, Bruno Cathala’s magical touch has woven itself around the jewelled cards and tokens to produce the most satisfyingly crunchy 2 player version of classic engine cranking, set collecting, open drafting card game, Splendor. With each turn presenting options, balancing the need to produce gems against wanting to spend them on instant victory points is a delicious dilemma! With much more direct player interaction than the original, this version is going to be a regular visitor to our gaming table!

One more highlight of our gaming month has been Lost Seas. Another abstract, open drafting, spatial placement optimisation puzzle game, this one gets to the table in seconds! Building 4 x 4 tableaus out of tiles, each row and column has a unique scoring objective. But, with your opponents discarding tiles from the pool on their turn, the tension mounts as fast as the game space shrinks! With 44 double sided objectives in the box, we could play every day and never play the same combination twice! Easy on the rules, hearty on the quick playing crunch, I’ll happily get lost in this game any day of the week!