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What We’ve Been Playing September 2022

what we've been playing sep 22
what we've been playing sep 22

Hey! It's that time of the month again where we take a look at the Zatu bloggers What We've Been Playing, throughout the month of September.

Thom Newton

This has been a bit of a big month for me as far as boardgames go. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’ve challenged myself to play 52 new games over the course of the year. Well, this month I finished it. So, let’s have a look at the last games in the group.

I started the month off with the new version of Castles of Mad King Ludwig. I’d never played this before, but I am a massive fan of Suburbia, which this borrows very heavily from. This game has players taking on the role of architects trying to build bonkers castles to satisfy the whims of an eccentric monarch. It’s a lot of fun and has some interesting mechanisms around special abilities for completing rooms. My favourite aspect must be the bidding though. It’s a lot like in Isle of Skye. One player sets the prices for the tiles up for purchase that round, but all the money goes to them. If you set it too low you won’t get much money, but if you set it too high, players may do alternative actions instead of buying. It’s a delicate tightrope to walk and I love it!

Next up was My Father’s Work. This is a story-based worker placement game where players take on the role of a family dynasty trying to complete some mad science project. The game has an app which throws scenarios at you. Depending on how you react to these scenarios the game can take different paths. Different action spots may open up, or others may become trickier to do. I don’t want to say too much because discovering this stuff a big part of the game.

We played two Paris themed games this month too. Paris: New Eden and Dinner in Paris. Very different games with very different vibes. Paris: New Eden has you rebuilding a settlement by drafting new citizens and buildings to give you the abilities you need to thrive. It’s not too heavy and it’s got some neat artwork too.

Dinner in Paris is a fun little game about buying up restaurants and trying to get the best spots in the patio out front. Players are collecting card sets in a similar manner to Ticket to Ride to be able to buy restaurants. These give you money which you can then spend on seating areas. There are public and private goals to achieve as well as some special abilities to unlock. It’s a lot of fun and can get a lot more cutthroat than the theme might suggest.

Lastly, and by no means leastly, I also played Twilight Inscription; The roll and write based on the huge Twilight Imperium. I’m not going to say much as I’m going to be writing a full review of that for Zatu in the coming weeks. If I had to sum it up in word though? Large!

what we've been playing neil

Neil Proctor

September has been a wonderful gaming month for me. I have managed to squeeze so many new games in as well as finally playing some classics that have always eluded me. But firstly let me mention Zatu Con 22 which occurred at the end of August. This was a brilliant day full of gaming, laughter, demos, a pub quiz (board game related of course), meeting lots of new people and finally having a drink with some of the other Zatu Bloggers. I can only assume that due to its massive success there will be a Zatu Con 23 and I urge you to get your tickets as soon as they become available. My short review of the day is here.

This months games will feel a little bit like a list as I have played so many but I will just provide the highlights for you. Bohnanza is 25 years old and I finally got to play this Uwe Rosenburg classic and I love it. The negotiation, the set collection, the deals and lies, it is so much fun from start to finish and I want to play it again and again. I even like the two player variant.

Next Station London & Village Rails are both designed by one of my favourite designers Matthew Dunstan (Brett J Gilbert is co-designer on Village Rails) and they are both wonderful games. I recently reviewed Village Rails and you can see why I think you need this game in your collection with my review.

Akropolis, Musical Chairs and Shamans have barely left my table all month but the biggest surprise has been the sheer joy that Into The Blue has brought me and everyone I have taught it to. Reiner Knizia has done it again with his taking of a simple concept (this time dice chucking Yahtzee style) and making it one of the most addictive and easy games to play, plus it looks amazing on the table.

Next month should be a quieter month with less new games expected to arrive at my doorstep……..I’d better order some more.

Luke Pickles

September has been a month of replaying some games. Getting through a whole bunch of games that I’ve enjoyed so far this year on either Board Game Arena or at various game days. A Kickstarter delivery of Dog Park was a delightful reminder of the game played digitally back in my old flat, which was lovely to get the reminder. Then I played a whole bunch of games of Wingspan, which is rapidly become a favourite game of mine, even without the Oceania Expansion which I love. I also got the opportunity to play Clans of Caledonia, which is such a great Euro game about trading and economy in Scotland.

And finally Tapestry made a big resurgence this month at a whole bunch of player counts. It’s a great Stonemaier game about building a civilisation and moving up four different tracks to fill your civilisation. It’s so much fun and I really enjoyed exploring the Arts and Architecture expansion as well, adding in that fifth rack and doing some new things there. Expansions have to add something whilst keeping to the original for me, so both this and the Oceanic Expansion for Wingspan tick those boxes.

Finally, I broke open the seal on the 5 and 6 player expansion for Sagrada and gave that a go and I tell ya, that is the most misleading name for an expansion ever. Aside from adding in extra dice for more players, there are extra modular expansions for up to 4 players, including new private objectives and tools for you to throw in as you like. It’s a really nice one to add in to the base Sagrada and it has lined me up to get more of the expansions.

Fred Cronin

September has been a great month for board gaming. The colder weather creeping in is the perfect excuse to bundle up warm and spend the weekends getting stuck into a game. The first game I’ve been playing has been Nemesis and its Carnomorphs expansion. Nemesis is one of my favourite games and the Carnomorphs really put the icing on the cake. These brutal beasties are the most atmospheric of the Nemesis aliens, devouring any heavy objects to grow larger and more powerful. The miniatures, as usual, are stunning and add an incredible atmosphere to the game. As more Carnomorphs are brought on to the board, the more adaptations get revealed, which can derail your plans for victory. Another new mechanic is character mutations. These come as the result of Carnomorph attacks and add new twists to gameplay.

This month I’ve also been getting into some more social games. The first of these has been Muffin Time, by Big Potato Games. This 2-6 player game has a simple sounding objective: start your turn with ten cards in hand. In practice, however, that objective is much harder to reach than you’d expect. As soon as someone announces that they have ten cards, everyone around the table then makes it their mission to stop them winning. The chaos that follows makes for a hilarious party as everyone furiously tries to protect their hands of cards. The second party game I’ve been enjoying is Tsuro. This tile-laying game starts off rather gently but as soon as the board fills up all hell breaks loose. With higher player counts Tsuro makes for a very entertaining evening. With its simple mechanics, Tsuro is the perfect game for new gamers!

Nick Welford

September was a very busy month for me in terms of games played, thanks to a lovely gaming weekend away I had. Small card games got a lot of repeat plays including Fantasy Realms and Mindbug.

Fantasy Realms is the game that Stonemaier’s Red Rising is partially based on. In the game you want to have the best hand of 7 cards by the end of the game. On your turn you will draw a card and discard a card. It’s a simple premise that is made by the scoring combos on the cards. It’s also soon coming out with a Marvel retheme called Marvel Remix.

Mindbug is a two player card duelling game from the brain of Richard Garfield. Unlike Magic though, there are no booster packs. Instead you both draw 10 cards from the main deck to form your deck for this game. Each turn you either play a creature from your hand or attack with a creature previously played. However each player comes equipped with two Mindbug cards. They can discard one of these the moment their opponent plays a new creature to take control of it. This makes Mindbug a very tense affair of trying to tease out the other players Mindbug cards so you don’t lose a good card to them! It really is excellent!

I also got to play Tenpenny Parks which is an excellent game to play with gamers old, new and just starting out. Although it does use the old polymino shapes this time you can’t have them touching which puts a surprisingly smart twist on the formula. It plays quick and smart and looks great too.

I also got a quick play of Village Rails (yes the second mention of this game in this month's What We've Been Playing!). This tiny card game packed a lot of thought into the box. With smart drafting and dastardly decisions it will be a winner for many.