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What We’ve Been Playing June 2023

what we've been playing (1)

Dan Hilton

The game I have been playing this month is a game that I haven’t seen anyone talking about. Murano: Light Masters is a small, unassuming game at face value, but when you crack the surface and get to its gooey insides… oof. I really enjoy this game. The game itself is a simple little abstract crossed with contract fulfilment wrapped around a tasty looking glass making theme. Tasty was not a strange choice of descriptor by the way, the little glass shards you will be using look like little yummy sweets. They are not edible though. Unfortunately.

This game is really simple. Your turn consists of a few simple actions that you have to follow in order. These actions come down to several different ways you can use the market to collect glass colours; then using these colours to fulfil the objectives that are on the cards in your hand. The twist in this game is that you are not allowed to rearrange the cards in your hand, and you have to complete them in order. You also get a bonus for being able to complete two during your turn.

I really enjoy how clean and simple the design to this game is. It takes a few mechanisms that we see often in different games and gives them just enough of a twist to give this game its own identity. Given the price point of this game too, it is so hard not to recommend. If you are in the market for a new quirky little game, then give Murano: Light Masters a try. Just don’t try eating the components.

Stefano Paravisi

Summer definitely (and finally) arrived in UK in June bringing very warm weather and just a few rainy days. You may think this may have provided less opportunity to play boardgames but what's better than enjoying some time playing with friends outside while having a nice barbecue or a cold drink? June, in fact, has been all about playing games with family and friends.

In particular, I discovered this month the new My City – Roll & Build that proved to be a great option as it is suitable for any number of players and it can be played quite quickly. My City has been a major favourite of my family and we were really looking forward to the play this new roll & write game. In this game, you are still the major of a newly founded town and your aim is still to place buildings on the map making the best out of the available space and natural features present. Being a Roll & Write, the buildings in the latest game are randomly generated by a clever combination of two dices and this creates a very good level of challenge with respect to the original game where you know from the beginning which building may be drafted. Overall, I must admit that My City – Roll & Build proved to be an amazing game with a great value for its price.

The other big protagonist of this month has been Digimon, the Trading card game. In June we saw the delayed release of BT12Across time and the release of EX04 – Alternative Being, two sets I was really looking forward to collect. In particular I was really looking forward to try out the Hunter Deck and the Lopmon/Terriermon Alliance Deck as they are quite budget friendly and they can be easily assembled by opening one box of BT12 and EX04. Among the two, the Hunter deck played quite nicely during a recent tournament and I am now looking for a couple of cards to make it even more effective.

Rob Wright

Well, this has been quite the month – starting with UKGE and finishing with a go at a game which I should have played… well, probably a year ago, but things get busy, don’t they?

So what’s been a-playing? Well, there’s been a new Pokemon set released, Paldea Evolved, so that has meant a lot of Pokemoning, with a big shout going out to my newly finessed Big Fish deck (Wailord from Silver Tempest, Dondozo from Scarlet and Violet and Cetitan from Paldea Evolved) that tanks for days then hits for loads, and the United Wings deck (see Paldea Evolved review), which is actually doing pretty well in the North America International Championships at the moment. New Night March FTW!

When people get fed up of being pwned by my Big Fish deck, I usually end up playing on my own, so I have been indulging in a lot of One Deck Galaxy (ODG) this month as well – the sequel to the One Deck Dungeon series. ODG takes this dice and card solo masterpiece to the stars and beyond, facing off against terrifying cosmic foes like… the Neeble-Woober Colony Fleet! Silly names aside, this is a great little game that can be played by two but… yeah, it’s all about the solo experience.

Finally, that game which I should have played months ago, but didn’t, and just snuck in with a playthrough on 30th June (almost, due to play time, crossing over into 1st July) – Ark Nova. Described by a friend as ‘the game with all the mechanisms’, Ark Nova is a tile-laying, card-playing, action-taking, track-running, worker-placing epic, where you must build a zoo that is profitable, educational and environmentally beneficial and… I really enjoyed it! And not just because I won convincingly. Though that helped. I think it was all down to my petting zoo – feel the irresistible draw of the alpaca, horse and parakeet show!

Hannah Blacknell

I remember the first time I played Root, we spent a fair few hours with the learn to play guide at our local gaming café getting to grips with a two player cats and birds game. I came away and remember saying that this game could well be one of the best I'd ever played. I think years later that is still true. Root is phenomenal. We have a Root Group where we can get this wonderful game to the table and keep playing it at higher player counts than just two. However, having recently bought the Marauders Expansion, we thought we would get that one to the table at two and see how it fared.

I think it's clear from my preamble that I love Root, I enjoy the artwork and asymmetrical games really sing for me (providing everyone knows what they are doing). The Marauder expansion offered two new large reach factions (large reach is essential for two player games) in keepers of iron and lord of the hundreds.

I took on the role of rat warrior and had no problem flooding the map with my minions, crafting was difficult and as I added more items to my board from the ruins I got more and more powerful. I think if a vagabond was pootling around then getting powerful may be a little more difficult as you fight over the ruins. This felt similar in play style to the Underground Duchy (my family faction) in the play style and was a huge hit for me.

My opponent took on the Keepers in Iron who are a band of badgers digging up items from within the forest and bringing these sacred relics back to their board to increase their own engine power. Although quick off the blocks, a few stutters when caught off guard and I stunted their growth significantly. This one had a programming element similar to the Eyrie although a lot less harsh in punishment when things go awry.

The final new addition was the hirelings. These are amazing. I love them, they give you so many more warriors on the map. I cannot stress enough how easy they were to implement and I don't think I will reserve Root for higher player counts as a result!