I’ve had a fairly varied November as far as board games go. I’ve revisited a few old favourites as well as trying some new releases too. As we’re back in full-on lockdown, it’s been mostly solo though. First up I was playing a solo game called Maquis. This is a little worker placement game where the player is trying to complete missions for the French resistance in world war 2. It’s quick and simple but very satisfying.
Next up me and the better half finally got around to playing Hanamiikoji. It’s a lovely looking game where players will be trying to earn the favours of geisha masters. You do this by playing cards in front of these geishas on your side of the table. If you have more cards on your side of the table you win. You can be sneaky by secretly removing cards from the deck that your opponent may need or using ‘I split, you choose’ mechanics to force your opponent to make some tricky decisions. Needless to say, I was thrashed.
I received a few Kickstarter expansions this month. Luckily both had solo modes so they didn’t have to languish on the shelf. So, I got to play a bit of both It’s a Wonderful World and Dice Hospital as well as their expansions Ascension and Community Care. I’m happy to report that on first impressions both are excellent expansions. Ascension adds more cards and variety to the base game as well as a new corruption mechanic. Community Care adds three new modules which really change up the way the base game works, the city module is especially excellent.
Lastly, after a challenge over on Instagram, I needed to take some pictures of my all-time favourite game, 7th Continent. So, I took that as an opportunity to mix in absolutely every little module I have for the game to have an epic adventure. It ended up with my cursed adventurer collapsing after a bunch of spiders exploded from her legs. It’s a bit grim on that 7th Continent.
November 2020 saw us back in lockdown and unlike earlier in the year, we did not have the warm days and light nights to cheer us up. I struggled to motivate myself to do much in the evenings other than cook dinner and curl up in front of the TV! Saying that, I always feel so much better after playing a board game and luckily I did manage to play a fair few in November.
My main gaming opponent is my husband and we have some fantastic 2-player games in our collection. A couple of highlights last month were Raptor and 7 Wonders Duel. Luckily we have many games for higher player counts that work well with just two players. We enjoyed plays of Lost Cities: The Board Game, Vikings on Board, Escape from Colditz and Mariposas in November.
My hubby and I also played Unearth, which has a special place in my heart because we found it at the end of our honeymoon (we spent a day exploring Chicago by walking to a board game shop!). We picked up the expansion last month, Unearth: The Lost Tribe, and enjoyed the little changes it made to the game.
The main highlight of November was finishing the final chapter of My City. This is a legacy game that plays over eight chapters, each featuring three episodes that take under 30 minutes to play. It is completely addictive and I have loved the whole experience. Luckily there is an ‘Eternal Game’ that we can keep playing now we have finished the legacy game.
A recent acquisition in our house has been Planet by Blue Orange Games. This has been making a regular appearance at the gaming table. It is a family-friendly game for two to four players that usually takes three quarters of an hour to complete. To describe this as a tile-laying game is to misrepresent it. The first thing that we love would have to be the large dodecahedrons. These form the core of each players planet. Each of the 12 sides will accept a pentagon tile.
The game is played over 12 turns. Each round a player can select one of the five-sided tiles on offer and affix it to their world. These pieces show different terrains; water, ice, forest, desert and savannah. As these are placed on the world so different habitats grow, with the aim to place these to maximise adjacent areas. You need to think in 3D too.
Each player has their own unique target for scoring a specific habitat. However, as the game progresses so additional scoring opportunities become available. Depending on the juxtaposition of regions so each player can have the chance to gain extra scoring cards.
At the end of the game, players hold a lovely representation of their world. The colours are vibrant there’s a sense of ecology at play as the bonus cards have animals that can only live in certain habitats. The upcoming bonus cards that are available are laid out to see in advance so the selection and tile placement can be used strategically to win points later in the game.
So, for us, as we sit at home with the heating on, looking out at a gloomy garden in November this colourful thinking game gives us the chance to design our own world in a way that we would want and then see who’s done the best job.
Weekly gaming sessions continued in my 'bubble' throughout November. Raiders of the North Sea got to the table multiple times, as did Everdell, Istanbul, and Stone Age. I never committed to invest fully in the North Sea or West Kingdom series, but do enjoy Raiders and Architects. Both offer something a little different from my go-to worker placement titles, with solid, engaging gameplay. Though neither have quite made it into my top three (favourite worker placement games). Lords of Waterdeep, Agricola, and Everdell currently hold those spots. Nostalgia might be holding up the first two, but they do still see a lot of play.
Sticking with worker placement, Stone Age is experiencing a resurgence in popularity in my gaming circles. It's nice to see old favourites get appreciation from new (or returning) audiences. Not that a game released twelve years ago is particularly old. Though given the explosion of the hobby recently, and the increased variety and rate of releases, it does feel ancient! As do two other games I got back to the table in November: Bohnanza and Colossal Arena, two classics from antiquity (1997).
Array them alongside some of the fantastic design and artwork we're lucky to get now, and they show their age. However, they remain as fun to play as ever. I'm sure I've mentioned Bohnanza more than once before, it's been a mainstay in my circles since we first picked it up in the early 00's. Both are simple, quick playing games that make great openers (or finishers) to a games night. Especially, in the case of the Bohnanza, if you have a large group.
November has been a quieter month for me. I've still got plenty of games played but not so many as the last few months. I have been enjoying a lot of solo games recently as well as some two-player gaming with my partner. So let's take a look at what have I been playing this month
Marvel Champions continues to routinely hit my table (solo) around three or four times a week. I am still loving this game so much. The replayability with all the content and the new hero/scenario packs that are being released is off the charts. One of the most recent packs was Ant Man with a three-sided folding card. Such a clever design which adds an additional “state” into the game.
Not just hero and alter ego now but you can flip between alter ego, tiny hero and giant hero. So on point with the character and, as usual, very thematic. The combos and the fascinating gameplay moments you can pull off with this hero are so much fun. I just can’t get enough of this game.
I recently picked up Aeon’s End: War Eternal to add additional content to my core box. I have been working my way through the new breach mages and nemesis that the game comes with. Boy oh boy, are some of these nemesis are tough. There are some new gameplay mechanisms for both the heroes and nemesis which I have really enjoyed exploring. I have a long way to go before I can say I have defeated all nemesis but making good progress.
Coffee Roaster is a solo only game all about roasting, well you probably guessed it, coffee. This is a bag building game that comes with a bucket load of different “coffees” to roast. They all have different starting ingredients and come in three different difficulty tiers. You can brew a single coffee or a “campaign” of three. The game is very quick and even brewing the three coffees in one go will only last 30 to 45 minutes. This is very quick but has some interesting gameplay. Another game that I am really enjoying at the moment.