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What We’ve Been Playing February 2024

wyrmspan gotm

Luke Pickles:

When I think about the games I played in the shortest month, there are a couple of strong contenders. Not including Board Game Arena, there are eight games which got multiple plays in the month. First up, the smaller, lighter games that are “We have this set up, we’re playing multiple times” kinda games – Smitten, Spots, Dice Miner and Codenames Duet. All fairly light, easy to play, and mostly there to kill some time before the next big game, or to give a bit of a reset. Actually, I might have to put Legacy of Yu in this group, even though it’s a heavier solo campaign game, where the others are very much not. Once it’s on the table, it’s very easy to just reset and go for the next playthrough.

Then we move to the bigger games. We took on February in Pandemic Legacy Season 1 (yes I’m very late to this particular party), losing the first attempt but nailing the second. I do love the changes from base Pandemic and I’m looking forward to exploring the rest of the campaign. Next up was Isle of Cats Explore and Draw, the flip-n-write version of Isle of Cats, and in my opinion, the far superior game. I introduced this to a group of relatively newer gamers at my local game store and then my partner wanted to give it a go at home, which I was very happy to oblige.

Finally, the big stand out of the month – Wyrmspan. The dragon themed game in the Wingspan universe, and boy, does it stand on its own two feet. I still don’t love the name, I get why it’s there, but it could have been better. The game itself though, I think is better than the avian version, fixing a lot of the issues people have with Wingspan, whilst simultaneously creating a different experience. To me, I think you can have both, but Wyrmspan currently is the more interesting game to me.

Sophie Jones:

As my board game collection grows, I always want to make sure I’m playing the titles I bought right at the beginning. This month I made sure to grab the games that have spent too long on the shelf.

As I recently purchased the Cities of Splendor expansion, it was time to revisit Splendor. This expansion offers 4 different ways to play the game. The components can speed it up, slow it down and make the experience a bit more competitive. I enjoyed going through each new rule and adapting my strategy. As expansions go, this was an interesting one as it didn’t add loads of content. However, there’s enough there to keep Splendor feeling fresh and remaining in my collection.

Next up, I had to reach for Everdell. Everdell is a cute woodland game which will have you building a tableau and placing workers. The cosy aesthetic and medium weight difficulty mean I always want to play it during a frantic week. It’s also a great game to play at 2 which offers enough challenge without causing brain burn out. That being said, the chill vibes of Everdell can soon turn nasty as your competitor steals your forest space, The Judge card or they place the Jester in your tableau.

To finish off the month I cracked open the Sushi Go Party tin. This quick card game is perfect to play with friends. The rules are simple; each round you collect sets to earn points. The great thing about this version is how many cards you have to choose from. Each time you play, you can change your menu items which help with gameplay variety. This is one of the few games I don’t mind losing. I just enjoy moving my soy sauce meeple, collecting dumplings and hoarding all the puddings. It does make me hungry though.

Arnaldo Amaral:

We had a fair few plays in February, including a few “new to us” games. We also pulled the trigger and got a BoardGameArena subscription. I think it’s such good value considering you can test games online before deciding if they’re worth buying for your collection, or if you’re in between similar titles (which we are, on several different themes).

We have been playing online CuBirds which is a really fun set collection card game game, Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers (we still prefer the original Carcassonne, getting a couple expansions for it soon) and finally New York Zoo and The Isle of Cats. These two were up against each other as they’re quite similar in mechanics (polyomino tile placement, space management and strategic gameplay) and while they’re both great, I think The Isle of Cats has got a bit of an edge strategically and we decided that’s the next game we’ll be purchasing (kind of felt like Patchwork on steroids, and we love Patchwork).

Regarding physical plays, we played a lot of 2-player Spots, which is such a great and easy to play push your luck game, as well as a bit of Radlands which, to this day, is still my favourite lane-battling game. Easy to play and teach but high skill cap!

At the 4 player count we played Don’t Get Got which was hilarious as always and great to play as a background to other games, Camel Up (Second Edition) which was fun but I believe 6 players is its ideal player count, and Village Rails which surprised me at how well it plays at 4 player count (only downside is maybe a bit too much downtime).

But the star of the show was Heat: Pedal to the Metal. Oh man, we LOVE this game so much!! I went straight to get the Heat: Heavy Rain expansion as soon as we finished our first play. Everyone had an absolute blast! It’s incredible how immersive this game can be! We’re already planning to play an online championship with all the tracks and extra bits too. So exciting!!

Seb Hawden:

At work, with my newly formed board game cult we have been playing a few smaller games at lunch to unwind from the morning's shenanigans. We love trick taking games and this month we have played a lot of Skull King, if you like trick takers, or even if you don’t, Skull King is equally a delight and irritating (in the best way possible).

For people who have never played a trick taking game, they are, at their base level, quite simple. Whoever leads, plays a card, everyone has to play that suit and highest number wins. There are a few wrinkles to that formula and especially with Skull King but that's what makes it so intricately moreish. If you cant play the suit you can play whatever you want but cannot win the trick. Unless you play the ‘trump’ suit which, well, trumps the regular played suit.

In a normal trick taking game this is all well and good, but Skull King adds special power cards that can be played any time to win tricks, duck out of tricks or just screw your friends over. The latter is the reason why dinner times at work get a bit rowdy. At the start of every round of Skull King you must bid on the number of tricks you will win, you must study your hand, take note of who goes first and try and gauge how powerful your hand is. Every hand in Skull King must be navigated to perfection and even when you play perfectly, your idiotic friends have cards that can irritate you at every turn.

The hands in Skull King increase every round from one card all the way up to ten, as the complexity of the hand increases, so does your score potential and the game ends in a glorious crescendo. We love Skull King, it's easy to understand, difficult to master and has just the right amount of skulduggery, messing your friends over and fluffy edges to make every game a fascinating dance that is constantly on the edge of madness. For the price and box size, there's not much better!

The Friendly Board Gamer:

Another month has gone by and we are taking a look at what we've been playing. It has been another varied month, albeit with not as many games played. Quality over quantity right?

So what have I been playing? Well, a lot of Marvel Champions to start. I am slowly working my way through all the heroes and defeating all the villains. I have recently started playing two handed solo and the combinations and possibilities for combos is fantastic. If you have read any of my reviews or blogs, you know that I love Marvel Champions but I have recently gained a new lease of life for the game. The huge amount of content for this game is amazing but can be daunting. My advice, grab the core game and then just pickup the heroes/villains that you like.

Other games hitting my table this month have been Revive and Bark Avenue. Two very different games but two very good games. Revive is a resource management/hand management game all about exploring a frozen post-apocalyptic world. I love Revive, especially the hand management and tech tree style advancement. Bark Avenue is a charming hand management, action selection game where you are working as a dog walker in New York City. Manage the needs and traits of each dog. Travel around the neighbourhood and drop off your walked dogs at the relevant time. There are end game bonuses, in game bonuses and various ways to score points. It is on the lighter side but it is still fun and one that is worth checking out.

To round out this list I have also been playing Lacrimosa, 7th Citadel & Lost Ruins of Arnak. It has been a good month with a lot of variety.

marvel champions