November Daily Game Challenge: Dice City

This is Day 12 of my Game-and-Blog-Every-Day-in-November Challenge. Search my blog for “Daily Game Challenge” for previous entries.

Dice City

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Dug up an old favorite tonight for a solo run-through and it was as fun as I’d remembered. In Dice City you’re trying to build up Rolldovia (ha!) by rolling dice and activating that spot’s ability. As you gain resources you can buy cards to upgrade the locations in your city (each player gets their own board). Each location can be upgraded to gives more resources, abilities, military strength to attack your opponents, and end-game victory points.

Play is straight-forward and there’s lots of ways to mitigate your bad rolls. It’s a solid gateway game with enough to keep more seasoned gamers engaged. I love that everyone gets their own board and can fill it up the way they want, focusing on different types of buildings for their city. It’s been awhile since I played a multi-player game so I’m hoping to get it to the table with my buddies soon.

November Daily Game Challenge: Exploding Kittens

This is Day 11 of my Game-and-Blog-Every-Day-in-November Challenge. Search my blog for “Daily Game Challenge” for previous entries.

Exploding Kittens

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I don’t really read The Oatmeal anymore, but I’ve always enjoyed those hilarious, off-beat, sometimes wacky, sometimes thought-provoking comics. I remember hearing about the Kickstarter for a card game based on the comics, right about the time I was getting into the board games hobby. It turned out to be an enormous success, generating nearly $9 million in funding.

Exploding Kittens is what was produced from the Kickstarter: a light card game of set collection, take that, and press-your-luck. On your turn you play a card (or not) then draw a card. If it’s an exploding kitten, then you’re out. Last person standing wins. There are plenty of cards to manipulate the deck and there’s a defuse card that gives you a chance to stay in the game.

Fans of The Oatmeal will recognize the familiar style of drawing and unique sense of humor throughout all of the cards. I finally got to play it tonight and, while it’s not something I’d seek out for another play, I wouldn’t turn down a game. It’s a light card game that makes me want to start reading The Oatmeal again.

November Daily Game Challenge: Lost Cities

This is Day 10 of my Game-and-Blog-Every-Day-in-November Challenge. Search my blog for “Daily Game Challenge” for previous entries.

Lost Cities

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Confession: I didn’t play any games today. I worked, took a nap, then my wife and I went to the amazing Philippine Expressions Bookshop, where we were thrilled to attend a presentation and book signing by Jose Antonio Vargas.

I did play a game of Lost Cities yesterday, though. Lost Cities is a two-player card game by Reiner Knizia that takes just a few minutes to play a round. It’s an Indiana Jones-style theme about going to explore, but it’s just a pasted-on theme. Basically, there are five suits of cards numbered 1-10 with a few special cards mixed in. You’re trying to play them in ascending order in your tableau, scoring points at the end of the round. The more cards you have, the better you’ll score.

Like other Knizia games, there’s a twist to the seemingly simple game play. Here, you’re forced to play a card every turn. So, you can’t just hold the best cards, hoping that you’ll be able to play them later when you’ve built up your tableau. You’re also forced to draw a card every turn, which acts as a timer; once the deck runs out, the round is over.

I love the constant tension during each turn, as you try to figure out when to start a new column in your tableau. Why? Because any time you start a new column, you get -20 points, which you’re trying to make up when you play your cards. You may also play a card into the center row, which doesn’t hurt you, but it’s now available to your opponent to draw after they’ve placed a card. It’s always funny when they do because suddenly you’re thinking about why they wanted that card.

Best of all, you can play the “handshake” card which is a way to double your point total for a particular column. Of course, it can also double your negative points, so it’s a risky play.

Lost Cities is yet another one of Knizia’s games that packs a lot more play than appears on the box. The scoring explanation is always a bit funky, but once you’ve learned about the negative scoring and the handshake scoring, it’s pretty straightforward.

November Daily Game Challenge: 7 Wonders Duel

This is Day 9 of my Game-and-Blog-Every-Day-in-November Challenge. Search my blog for “Daily Game Challenge” for previous entries.

7 Wonders Duel

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I love the original 7 Wonders game and I thought I’d love 7 Wonders Duel when I played it a few years ago. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best experience.

Still, I bought a copy when it was on sale, based on its stellar reputation alone. Perhaps I’d mis-judged it during that initial play. It sat unplayed for over year, though; it seemed like I’d always find different two-player games to play with my buddies.

Thankfully, my friend Marlon re-taught the game to me and I’m glad I never got rid of my copy. It’s a fantastic game for two and deserving of its high ranking on BGG. I’ve seen the light!

Just like the original, you’re trying to build your wonders while also improving your resource production, military strength, and advance in science and technology. I liked how Duel reimplemented military as a tug-of-war, while science was now straight set collection without the funky multipliers.

Right now Akrotiri, Sun-Tzu, The Castles of Burgundy, and Baseball Highlights: 2045 are my go-to games for two players, but this one’s being dusted off and becoming a regular part of my two-player rotation.

November Daily Game Challenge: Nexus Ops

This is Day 8 of my Game-and-Blog-Every-Day-in-November Challenge. Search my blog for “Daily Game Challenge” for previous entries.

Nexus Ops

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Got to play one of my favorite Ameritrash games today, Nexus Ops. It’s a sci-fi war game that’s been out since 2005 and I always have fun whenever it hits the table.

Fantasy Flight took over the original from Avalon Hill, but it’s been years since they’ve printed a batch. There are still some copies out there, but most don’t go cheap.

In Nexus Ops you and your opponent control factions vying for world domination. There are also secret missions that you fulfill throughout a game that score you victory points. Turns consist of deploying then moving your army into adjacent hexes. If you land on a space with an enemy, it’s time to battle. Score 10 victory points and you’re the winner.

Although an older design, there’s so much to like about Nexus Ops, from its relatively straight-forward turns to those cool miniatures. I’ve never NOT had fun playing this game. It’s a solid design and more people should be playing it.

November Daily Game Challenge: Imperial Settlers

This is Day 7 of my Game-and-Blog-Every-Day-in-November Challenge. Search my blog for “Daily Game Challenge” for previous entries.

Imperial Settlers

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I played a two-player game of Imperial Settlers with my buddy Daryl today. It’d been a while since we played so it took us a few turns to get back into the flow of things.

Once we did, though, I remembered why I love Imperial Settlers so much. It’s an awesome tableau builder and engine builder, and it can be surprisingly think-y when you start getting your cards together. There’s even a little take-that whenever you raze an opponent’s locations, so it’s not just multi-player solitaire.

Earlier this year I played in solo league on BGG. Although my faction lost, it was a blast playing with my fellow solo gamers. The league helped me learn a lot about the game.

Today was my 10th play of Imperial Settlers this year, which meant I had completed my BGG 10×10 challenge for 2018! Woo hoo!

Here are the 10 games I played 10 times each this year:

Azul

Cities of Splendor

Dice Stars

Fear

Imperial Settlers

My Little Scythe

NMBR 9

OK Play

Sagrada

Welcome To …

November Daily Game Challenge: BONK

This is Day 6 of my Game-and-Blog-Every-Day-in-November Challenge. Search my blog for “Daily Game Challenge” for previous entries.

BONK

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I’ve found quite a few deals in the clearance sections at Target over the years. And as Target continues to expand its board game selection it’s easier to find excellent prices on quality games.

The other night I was poking around brickseeker.com, which is where gamers go to find out what’s on sale at their nearby Targets. I stumbled upon BONK, a dexterity game from the makers of the popular KLASK. Both have a similar bar-game-for-home-use feel to them, with nice quality wood boards and plastic parts. For only $9 (list price $60!), I couldn’t resist picking it up today.

In BONK, two teams of two players each attempt to hit a wooden ball into their opponents’ goal. They do this by rolling pachinko-like balls down these plastic sides, aiming them toward the wooden ball. Since the playing surface is curved, the ball never stops rolling until it’s in somebody’s goal, so the action is non-stop. First to five goals wins.

My wife and I played a quick game and while it worked with two, it’s definitely going to be a better experience with four players. And I’m already planning on bringing it to our holiday parties.

November Daily Game Challenge: Tiny Epic Galaxies

This is Day 5 of my Game-and-Blog-Every-Day-in-November Challenge. Search my blog for “Daily Game Challenge” for previous entries.

Tiny Epic Galaxies

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It’s no secret how much I love the Tiny Epic series of games. I’ve raved about them here, here, and here.

Tiny Epic Galaxies is the game that got me hooked on the Tiny Epic games. It’s got dice chucking and set collection wrapped up in a sci-fi theme: three of my favorite things.

But wait, there’s more!

Since Galaxies was published, all of the Tiny Epic games come with solo rules, which makes it easy to take these portable games anywhere to get your board game fix. Tonight I needed a quick game to unwind and 20 minutes of Tiny Epic Galaxies was just what the doctor ordered. I defeated the medium-level Rogue Galaxy, Zendica, and now I’m ready for bed.

November Daily Game Challenge: Scythe

This is Day 4 of my Game-and-Blog-Every-Day-in-November Challenge. Search my blog for “Daily Game Challenge” for previous entries.

Scythe

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Scythe is a game that I absolutely love. The jaw-dropping artwork, the stellar components, the solid gameplay: it’s everything I want in a board game. It’s more Eurogame than Ameritrash, which I tend to enjoy more these days. I’ve played it a handful of times and always love it.

Confession time: it’s Sunday night and I didn’t actually play Scythe today. I ended up working today and then my wife and I had to take care of some business in Los Angeles when I got a notification from a Facebook board game sell/trade group: there was a used copy of Scythe for sale about a half hour from where we were in L.A.

Scythe is one of my favorite games ever and for some reason I never picked up my own copy. I always meant to, but … well, you know how it goes.

Anyways, after dinner tonight, my wife and I took a detour back from L.A. and I now have my very own Scythe. I can’t wait to play the solo game and blog about it.

November Daily Game Challenge: Megaland, Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger, Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War

This is Day 2 of my Game-and-Blog-Every-Day-in-November Challenge. Search my blog for “Daily Game Challenge” for previous entries.

I hung out with my niece today. She’s in elementary school and we have two things in common: we love to eat out and we love to play games.

Megaland

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I picked this up as one of Target’s Buy-Two-Get-One-Free sale and I couldn’t be more satisfied. Renowned game designer/illustrator Ryan Lauket has created an ultra-light, push-your-luck family game that’s a lot of fun and wraps up in about 20 minutes. You and your opponents play as characters trying to build up their hometowns by adventuring to the treasure-filled Megaland. Each turn you gain treasures, but you can go further to get more, which enables you to buy bigger and better buildings or increase your health. The production is top-notch: there’s an included Game Trayz insert, a set of Above and Below promo cards, and the wonderful Lauket artwork.

Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger

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Since the Choose Your Own Adventure series was before my niece’s time, I explained to her how her daddy and uncles used to read the books all the time when we were her age. The board game version captures the spirit of the books and this one had a spooky theme to it (no spoilers in the post above, obviously). It’s really a solo game, but we had fun taking turns reading the text and trying to finish the challenges. We finished chapter one of House of Danger after dying a few times, which made us laugh out loud every time. It was great hearing her ask if we could finish all five chapters and I promised her we would next time.

Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War

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I knew my niece like the Avengers movies and she REALLY got into this game. Thanos crushed us in about 20 minutes and she immediately called for a rematch … but not before she jumped online and found a 10-hour loop of the Avengers theme song. Oh, these kids and their technology. LOL

With that song blaring into our ears, we managed to defeat Thanos in about an hour. This was another game I wasn’t expecting much from, but I’ve enjoyed it and it’s nice to see USAopoly produce a quality game for Marvel; something that’s not just a slapped-together money grab, but a game that even hobby gamers will appreciate.

When we defeated the last bad guy, my niece and I gave each other a coupla high-fives. She loved being Doctor Strange and focused on getting her color-coordinated heroes on her team. I’m glad that she’s able to enjoy more “adult” games now, especially one that she was so fired up to play. I gave her the game so hopefully we’ll be able to take down Thanos on my next visit. Even if we have to listen to that theme song for another hour straight.