On the Table
I was thinking recently about my relationship with my readers. I want to give you a good insight into the sort of games I play, as well as my opinion on the tabletop games sent to me for review. The games I choose to play can tell you a lot about me and my tastes in games. I’ve been tracking my plays using BGstats and it has been good to look back on what I’ve been playing and reflect on what those games were like, whether I’ll revisit them critically, or even add them to my collection if I don’t own them already.
This is going to be a look back at the last 3 months of play, January to March 2022, but this might be something I do more regularly if it proves of interest. Links to critique of games will be provided where they exist. Where they don’t, I’ll give a short overview of my impressions of the game. I’ll list the games in alphabetical order rather than order of play for ease of searching. I’ll also provide BGG links to each title. Let me know what you think of this little experiment as I’ve enjoyed revisiting these games as I’ve been doing the write ups.
7 Wonders Duel
Just a wonderful 2 player game, with a great Boardgame Arena implementation. The expansions are currently on my wishlist.
A true modern classic with delightful pieces, easy to teach rules, and a mean streak a mile wide running through its core. Played the Boardgame Arena version which was very good.
Jamie first introduced me to this one in real life back in the before time. The digital version on TTS is pretty solid. I managed 7 points and the win after my debut game was a stonking 0 points. It’s an interesting game that does a lot with few mechanics. One to play a bit more of before reviewing I think.
Want to play this with a higher player count to see if it sings a bit better with more people jostling for position. A weird mix of race game and hidden traitor as you race to get out of town plagure free. Tortuga is definitely the highlight of this series of games.
Castle of Burgundy
I’ve played this in real life but this was the Boardgame Arena version. Good digital implementation, with one of the advantages of Boardgame Arena being the ability to hover over tiles and get a rules summary just pop up. These lower interaction games really shine on digital platforms as I wrote about recently.
Superb, bright and hyper focused on being a great dexterity game. Which it is.
Queue the music. Much better than Dinosaur Island: less fuss, more game.
Folks on the American side of the pond may know this as Spot It. I own a copy of this but we were trying out the Boardgame Arena implementation. It was good but didn’t quite capture the chaos of the game in real life. I have never reviewed this one but I really should. The maths behind it is fascinating.
Dune: A game of Conquest and Diplomacy
nuDune, mini-Dune, call it what you will. I’ve never played the original game, though Jamie has a copy of the Gale Force Nine version I would love to play sometime. I felt this game lacked something. A bit of bite, some negotiation. I don’t know. It just felt hobbled in some way. That may be down to my passing familiarity of its big brother’s reputation.
This does what it says on the tin. A gotcha game with a dungeons and dragons theme that is perfectly ok and doesn’t outstay its welcome. Not one I’ll be seeking out.
A classic of area control and I can see why. A simple ruleset leads to agonising decisions on every turn without having to do mechanical gymnastics. It would be good to see it come back, maybe with an and graphics upgrade to bring it into the modern era.
A recent addition to the collection, this is the most charming game I own. A combination of worker placement and engine/tableau building, it really won me over with its light touch approach to combining these mechanics and its gentle ramp up in complexity. I’ll likely pick up the Bellefaire expansion to increase the player count but I am not sure the game really needs more than the core.
Feast for Odin
This has been one of the games I’ve been playing only through Boardgame Arena. It’s been a total revelation. This feels more generous that other heavy worker placement games I’ve played, with lots of paths to victory and routes out of sticky situations. May end up owning this.
We are still making our way, very slowly, through this game and loving it. Two new characters joined the old hands and the mechanisms shown off really opened my eyes to what is possible within the confines of the system.
Finally getting some games off the review pile in this garden puzzle with a mean gnome overlord.
Ishtar: Gardens of Babylon
A beautiful looking area control game of making lovely gardens in the desert. I enjoyed it but felt it had a couple of odd quirks that felt out of place. A weird powers mechanics was the most egregious of these. Felt really out of place and the game felt a little overly complicated for what it is.
One of the film adaptation series coming out of Prospero Hall/ Ravensburger. Really great game telling the story of Jaws in two parts with hidden movement driving the action. It’s full of threat and drama just like the film.
King of Tokyo
I own a copy of this and a load of expansions and it is still my favourite light dice chucker game. Looks great on the table, and always fun. These plays were on Boardgame Arena and the digital implementation there is great.
We played this after Biblios and it has a similar set collection mechanism about it. In this case you are making sure you eat a lot of food, but not more than King Louis. Watch out for his pet dragon. I think it might not be historically accurate, but it is fun with an interesting central mechanism.
Lords of Vegas
Still great, still the best push your luck game. A real shame it’s not widely available, should be an evergreen title if you ask me. It will never leave my collection.
This is a beautiful looking game that finished just as it was getting interesting. For me that puts in firmly in Splendor territory, a game I don’t really get on with. Would give it another shot out of curiosity.
A delightful game I may eventually pick up for myself. These plays were on Boardgame Arena. Guide a single token around the carpets you lay down, paying out when you land on other peoples getting paid when they land on yours. Lots of opportunities to be mean with a smile.
Noir: Deductive Mystery Game
A charming small box deduction game that Jamie showed me how to play on Boardgame Arena. He has now lent me a physical copy that I am hoping to dive into soon.
One I usually play with my wife. A fantastic 2-player game that I will never hesitate to recommend.
A simple card game of pushing your luck and taking risks that felt kind of flat to me.
Played this a bunch of times on Boardgame Arena and talked about it on cast 91. This may be the swingiest game I’ve ever played and not in a good way. The Civs you get vary wildly in the ability to manipulate the gamestate and a rebalance introduced in one of the expansions seems to do little to help. Balance is an overrated factor in game design for sure, but when you are seeing gaps of hundreds of points between first and last place, something isn’t quite right.
The best game about going for a nice walk. Simple to teach, fun to play, with just enough depth to give a little umami flavour.
If you would like to discuss any of these games with me come and chat in our Discord