November Writing Challenge Day 18: Wingspan

I’m blogging every day this month. Some will be game-related, but this challenge is different than my most recent play-a-game-and-blog-about-it challenge. I’m writing a single post every day: no topic guidelines, with some posts being a collection of random thoughts. Click here to read yesterday’s post.

My first play of Wingspan was at Orccon, the first of three yearly events hosted in Los Angeles by Strategicon. I played with my friends Jac and Ben, who taught the game.

I’d passed on Wingspan when it was announced. The pitch was interesting: a game about birds that was an engine builder between Gizmos and Terraforming Mars. Although I’m a big Stonemaier Games fan, I didn’t think a lighter Terraforming Mars game about birds would be that great.

I was wrong.

After that first game with Ben and Jac, I played it twice at Dice Tower West and it confirmed that Wingspan was something special. The smooth play and the gorgeous components are Stonemaier staples, and I shouldn’t have been surprised by how much I loved this game. But I was.

From the bird feeder dice tower to the beautiful artwork on the cards, Wingspan is a beautiful game on the tabletop. I love that it’s more than just a bunch of nice bits, though; the game play is rock solid and features an easy-to-learn ruleset.

When the European Expansion was announced, I knew I’d be the first in line when it went on pre-order. I received my copy last week and after three games (at the two-, three-, and four-player counts), I’m happy with the expansion. It adds just enough new birds with new actions, both during your turn and at the end of the round, to keep the game fresh.

Best of all, everything I’ve seen while playing the expansion makes for a better and more interactive experience. I love expansions that don’t change too much of the base game; I prefer enhancements to the base game and I’m not a fan of expansions that change things so much you wonder if the base game was properly play tested.

While the European expansion isn’t essential, I recommend it for fans of the game. The additional abilities and bonuses make it easy to re-learn the game on the fly. It makes a great game ever better.

The Day in Gaming, September 7, 2019: Tapestry

I’m posting about a game every day in September! Here’s a link to yesterday’s post.

Let’s cut to the chase: Yes, Tapestry is fantastic. Although I haven’t received my shipping notification yet, my friend Jin received his copy today and within an hour we met up and got a four-player game in with our friends Jose and Amanda.

Now here’s the thing about Tapestry. If you’re a Stonemaier Games fan I’m almost positive you’ll love it. Like other games in their small-but-impressive catalog, Tapestry is smooth-playing and a gorgeous production. The player boards and reference sheets explain everything you need to know about game play. I love that.

I don’t think it’ll have the mass crossover appeal of Stonemaier’s other huge hit of 2019, Wingspan. Tapestry is a gamer’s game and isn’t meant to appeal to everyone. But what I love about Tapestry is that for a midweight game it doesn’t feel like it. It plays lighter than you’d expect, but as you reach the second half of the game it feels a lot deeper than that first round of basically collecting your income. I’m excited that this may be casual gamers’ gateway into heavier games.

I know I just said Tapestry won’t have the crossover appeal of Wingspan, but I’m not making any predictions. If there’s one thing I learned after initially dismissing a game about birds, it’s never bet against Stonemaier.

Play These Games Featuring Pie on National Pi Day

Every March 14th math geeks everywhere celebrate Pi Day, dedicated to everyone’s favorite irrational number, 3.14. From wearing Pi-centrific clothing to eating pies priced at $3.14, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the big day. For us board gamers we can play games that feature pies, whether sweet or savory. Check out these three (sorry, I couldn’t find 3.14 games) games for a fun way to celebrate 3/14.

Pie Town

Pie Town

Pie Town

In this worker placement game, you and your opponents use dice to select actions and bake pies for victory points. You collect ingredients for your pies, hoping to bake your secret recipe for more points. Of course, you’ll need to add more workers to keep up with demand and make more pies and eventually you’ll try to guess your opponents’ secret recipes as well. While the artwork and components are solid, Pie Town fell flat with me. Perhaps your pie-loving group will enjoy it more than I did.

New York Slice

New York Slice

New York Slice

While I do love me a good ol’ slice of apple pie for dessert, my favorite pies are of the pizza variety. I like ‘em all, from a simple cheese slice to a pizza with all of the toppings (and anchovies!).

The components in New York Slice are absolutely perfect, from the thick cardboard slices to the rulebook menu. Leave this out on the table and it can be easily mistaken for the real thing. I love the I-cut-you-choose mechanism, which typically involves some tough choices. Can you force your opponent to take something you don’t want? Or will they choose something just to spite you? Either way, don’t play New York Slice on an empty stomach; your stomach will be grumbling within the first few turns.

My Little Scythe

My Little Scythe

My Little Scythe

I wrote about my love for My Little Scythe over on Geek & Sundry, so let me just recap here. You’re in this My Little Pony-inspired world, trying to win a friendly tournament. One of your goals is to make pies: gather enough apples, then bake your pie. If you later travel into a space with an opponent, it’s time for a pie fight! Just like the original Scythe, you have a combat dial that you can modify with cards. There are several ways to win the game and no matter which route you choose, you’ll have a fantastic time playing My Little Scythe.

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 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.

Board Games Played: March 2017 Update

Viticulture Essential Edition. Solo campaign complete!

Viticulture Essential Edition. Solo campaign complete!

So far my 2017 has been an excellent year for board gaming. According to my Board Game Geek stats, I’ve played 65 different games for a total of 191 plays. Not bad!

I’ve solo played more this year, thanks to a binge of Viticulture Essential Edition (36 total plays). After picking up a half-priced copy of VEE last December (thanks, BGG flea market!), the game sat on my shelf for a month before I learned how to play. WOW. It’s the perfect blend of theme and mechanisms; it really feels like you have a little vineyard that you can build into a well-oiled wine-making machine.

It always takes me a game or two to really “get” any game I play and solo-ing VEE with the Automa cards helped me tremendously. When I eventually played with friends, I felt comfortable playing and teaching the game. I even played the solo campaign, scoring a 14 in the 8-game challenge.

My love of VEE led me to buy the Tuscany Essential Edition expansion. I haven’t played it yet, but I’m sure I’ll binge on that as well. And after playing Scythe, Euphoria: Build A Better Dystopia, Between Two Cities, and VEE, I consider myself a full-on Stonemaier Games fanboy.

Here are a few of the games I’ve enjoyed this year:

Santorini.The best two-player game I own. I’m writing another blog post about this wonderful game by Dr. Alan Gordon.

Imperial Settlers. Thanks to my gaming buddy Daryl for teaching me this one. It was a lot more think-y than I expected, but I like it a lot and it’s a fun solo game. Best of all, it no longer sits on my Shelf of Shame (unplayed games in my library).

Ca$h ‘n Guns. One of my favorites for an impromptu game night. My wife and I recently visited our daughter at college and played this with her and her roommates. It was a welcome study break for them and a fun way for us to spend time with everybody. Nothing says fun like pointing fake guns at your friends and family.

Baseball Highlights: 2045. Now that baseball season is about to start, I’m getting back into this fantastic deck builder. It never ceases to amaze me how Mike Fitzgerald managed to capture the feel of a baseball game with only six cards. Only six! It’s also a tremendous solo game.

Nexus Ops. In the context of most gamers’ Cult of the New obsession Nexus Ops is an ancient game, having been released in 2005. But it still holds up today and it’s interesting to see its influence on modern area control games like Blood Rage or Cry Havoc. Resolving combat can be frustrating or exhilarating, depending on your dice rolls, but it’s an excellent introductory war game. Best of all, it was a big hit at the weekly board games club I host at a local high school.