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What We’ve Been Playing October 2022

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

It's November already, the month before Christmas! Let's find out what the Zatu bloggers have been playing. Here's what we've been playing in October.

Neil Proctor

There is something wonderful about being late to the party on certain games. That way when you finally do get to play it all the buzz has died down and you are free to make your own judgement on the game without being influenced by the hype. With this in mind during October I took the opportunity to purchase some slightly older games and give them a whirl (it also helped Zatu had a good sale on).

First up was Cloud City from publisher Blue Orange Games and designed by one of my favourite designers Phil Walker Harding. Next up was Sakura from publishers Osprey Games by another one of my favourite designers Reiner Knizia. I really like this game and have had massive success teaching it to friends and family. You can see why in my review here.

I also had the good fortune to obtain a copy of Clank! This game has been an absolute revelation in our household and has barely left the table all month. I love the deck building and dungeon crawling as well as the fear and holding of breath as the clank cubes are pulled from the dragon bag. We have played the game so much it was ‘necessary’ to buy three expansions for it. So far we have played ‘Expeditions Gold & Silk’ as well as ‘Expeditions Temple of the Ape Lords’ and both are excellent with clever unique twists on the Clank! formula.

We also had a great games day get together this month and played quite a few social deduction games the highlight of which was Secret Hitler. If you haven’t played this game yet it is an absolute must. The lies, deceit, broken promises and all round deception caused laughter all night and we can’t wait to play it again.

stefano wwbp

Stefano Paravisi

October has been a weird (but very pleasant) month for me boardgames-wise. I spent most of the month checking my mail for the dispatch confirmation of Flamecraft , a game I backed on kickstarter last year.

While I was waiting for the new shiny game to arrive, I enjoyed a lot playing Spirit Island. In this game, you take the role of a spirit of the nature trying to repel the invaders that arrived to your island. The game is quite strategic and challenge you a lot to find a strategy to overcome your foes. The three available expansions add both new mechanics and new spirits and I had great fun combining them both to play solo and with friends.

Stardew Valley has also helped to keep me busy this month. In this game, you have to gather fishes, ores, artefacts and crops to rebuild the community room for your village. Although it shares some aspects with the videogame bearing the same name, this boardgame is a very pleasant experience on its own. I like for example the sense of pressure you get from having only four seasons to achieve your goals while in the videogame you do not have any time limit.

October has also been the month where my son formally decided that Yu-Gi-Oh! is his new passion. We played together a few of the newer structure decks in August and in September (Cyber strike) , Tormentor and Slyfer mainly Yugioh: Egyptian God Decks) but we started October actively looking forward to the new releases. I sense a long way ahead...

If you are wondering, I finally got Flamecraft almost at the end of the month. So far, I could only say that it was worth the wait. The graphics in particular are beautiful and the game itself turned out to be a nice light weight resource management and worker placement game.

Nathan Coombs

Narrative and deduction games are a different genre, bringing together the chance to think about a situation, use information, complete clues and so finish a task. Over the past few years interest in Sherlock Holmes has been quite intense, possibly accentuated by the BBC Sherlock series. However, look back 30 years to a Gibson Games version- 221B Baker Street, named after Mr Holmes and Dr Watson’s lodgings. We took our old travel version of this game away whilst travelling around Europe this month. Economy class luggage allowances precluded anything bigger unfortunately. In this classic all players are looking to solve a murder [or murders]. A synopsis of the case is read to everyone. Players have just 30 seconds to glean the basics of the case and are then tasked with solving a series of questions; What is the identity of the victim? Why were they killed? Where are the stolen diamonds? The board is a plan of Victorian London with important buildings depicted almost like rooms, Cluedo-style. Players move around the board entering each location and secretly gaining information. From each this provides a series of coded sentence is or pieces of information. Depending on the route taken and the lateral thinking of the player, some pieces of information or clues seemed to make no sense at all until other places are visited. Once a player thinks they have solved the murder and answered all of the questions it is a race back to 221B Baker Street to see if they are correct.

With three players we usually solve each scenario within about 45 minutes, and with 75 problems in the base game there is no shortage of gameplay and replayability. We love to 221B so much that it has become our regular “go to” game on a Sunday afternoon. With our travels over and our full-size 221B board game available we are not even halfway through the original Sherlock Holmes cases despite repeated plays. Even so, with an expansion pack of another 50 crimes to solve, there is plenty more scope to continue pretending to be a master of deduction.

Dan Street-Phillips

The new game Flamecraft has been eagerly awaited since the Kickstarter launched over a year ago. It was the art by Magic the Gathering’s Sandara Tang that set the world ablaze with cute dragons working in artisanal shops. Well this month saw the delivery of my order, as a backer, just before the game becomes available at retail for all to enjoy.

It’s quite a simple worker placement game where placing your dragons on a shop gives you the resources you need to enchant said shops in order to get reputations points within the town. I have played several times this month at different player counts and different ages and it never fails to charm. There is an inherently ‘nice’ atmosphere within the game with a mix of positive interactions, where you can give to other players to get more reputation points, and a collective improvement of the town which can benefit everyone. However the big surprise I had was just how much depth there was to the decision making. I had bought the game with the excitement of teaching my nephew as well as my in-laws as it appeared to be a very light game with beautiful art, and yes I know how to kindly manipulate all my family members into a night at the table!

One evening I took it along to my local weekly board game club who I usually spend time playing Lacerda games or other heavy Euros with and three of us sat down (after a heavy game of T’zolkin) to try and game the heck out if it. To our surprise, when put under the pressure of heavy gamers, it was a tight fight with some crunchy decisions.

As this game starts to become available via retail I encourage you to look past the light looking exterior and give it a chance to explore the fire within!


Being a household of 2 ½ (okay so our son is 7 and is wiser than us already, but he still takes up half the space of a full human!), means that party games don’t usually feature much in our daily gaming. And having a sensitivity to chaos often rules me out of the zaniest of group activities. But Anomia 2.0 seems to have hit the perfect place between bigger group and face-off focused game play.

If you haven’t played it before, Anomia is a word game about recalling the names of things. If you suffer with anomia like me, you’ll know the struggle is real! Thing-umy-bob, oojamaflip, and wotsit are usually my go-to responses! But this game turns those frustrated growls into flipping good fun!

Each round, players take turns to flip a card from either deck until two players have matching symbols. At that point, it’s a race to call out a correct example of the symbol on the other player's card. Whoever gets there first, takes their opponent's card. If removing reveals another match, those two players immediately face-off in the same way. Plus wild cards with two symbols crank up the matching potential as soon as one is revealed. The winner is the player with the most cards by the time the deck has depleted. I didn’t play the original Anomia, but I understand this 2.0 version has two new decks which can be mixed in to expand the game play. Which we may well do as both are budget friendly and we love word games. And I really like the twist in that you have to race to think of something matching your opponent’s card rather than your own. Physically taking a card off one another (or vice versa) plays straight into our love-to-hate-take-that two player gaming style. But it’s cushioned by the fact that it might not always be the same players going head to head.

Overall we really enjoyed our games of Anomia 2.0 this month. Plus it is definitely going to be one game that hits our table during the festive party season!