The summer certainly has been scorching over the last few weeks but let’s look back at the distinctly cooler June as I wax lyrical about the heady days of just over a month ago. Was a pretty good month for games on the table overall with some old favourites and new discoveries. As with previous articles I am going to link all the games alphabetically, provide a BGG link, and a link to my review of the game if relevant. I’ll also indicate if I played the game in real life or via BGA or equivalent.
Simple. Ruthless. Immensely satisfying to play. Always up for a game of this.
Despite the BGA implementation being a little odd, I really enjoy Barenpark. It’s not in my collection anymore but I still think it is a really solid polyonimo game with an easy teach and straight forward but interesting decisions.
Bubble Pop (BGA)
A match 3 game that unfortunately left me wondering how it would feel to play in real life. As it was I just felt like I should be playing a proper match 3 computer game. A bit too close to the source material maybe.
An odd little drafting game that has elements of Sushi GO combined with a spatial puzzle. Opportunities to back you opponent into a corner are plentiful and satisfying to pull off. Just watch out for past you, they are bound to have made some terrible choices.
Can’t Stop (BGA)
An absolute classic for a reason. Roll dice, climb the mountain, choose to push your luck or not. Sounds simple. Is Simple. Still absolutely nail biting and immensely satisfying. Jamie never can stop.
Another polyonimo game that quite captured the imagination of the community when it came out. It is fun building things. In this case you are arranging windows on the tall buildings of Copenhagen, scoring points as you go for filling rows and columns. There is a neat added wrinkle here where you get to pick up powers as you go, but you choose which ones you take and when, giving you an almost asymmetric setup as the players choose different routes.
I haven’t played all of Leder’s output, and still have to play more Oath. That said I think the design and production ethos of the studio is superb and Fort is a great example of both. Player boards that make the flow of the game clear, a central mechanic that has a lovely risk and reward flow to it, and your deck building engine is always at risk. One of my favourite deck builders.
Next Station: London (BGA)
Designed by Matthew Dunstan of Postmark Games amongst many other projects. This is a tight ‘draw a card and write’ of manipulating underground train routes in London. Each round you draw a different coloured line, drawing cards to tell you what stations you can go to as you try and cross the Thames as many times as you can, get a good density of stations, visit lots of burghs etc. Lots of different ways to score points and you’ll be cursing past you as you find yourself blocked off by choices you made before. Short term panic vs. long term strategy make for a tight puzzle.
Is. Weird. I’ll be reviewing this after some more plays as it was kindly provided by Stonemaier Games. It got a bit of a critical panning on release. At first flush I like the mechanics of worker placement powered by countdown timers. The setting is absolute fantasy heartbreaker trash and the production has some confusing issues. More on that when I actually get around to putting proper thoughts down about it.
One of the worst games I’ve played in a while, so bad we stopped half way through the game. A sort of Hanabi alike where you are duelling to complete runs of colours while trying to avoid certain cards and repeating colours. Cards are double sided and you can’t see the back of yours and there are flipping mechanics that power how you play cards. That said there feels like there is no control over how you progress, and failure seemed utterly random. The cards are plain colours with no shapes, I looked at photos of a physical version, which for a game released in 2021 is a total accessibility no-no.
If you want value for money in your games then look no further than this anti-colonial co-op game. Keen to play more of this, dive into more Spirit combos and try some of the scenarios and harder settings. An absolute delight of a game from start to finish.
An abstract game with a Quorridor kind of style to it. This game sees you moving your units across a board and back again, trying to do that before your opponent. Each one of your pieces moves at a different rate going one way, and changes rate on the way back. This way you are using big moves to race across, whilst protecting your slower pieces where you can. You can shove your opponent back a ways by crossing paths. Every time you complete a journey you lose a piece, adding a wrinkle to the proceedings. Liked it.
Tigris & Euphrates (BGA)
A Reiner Knizia class that is regarded by many as his masterpiece. I can see why. A simple ruleset gives rise to a game of bold attacks, quiet insurrections, and strategy that games 4 times its mechanical complexity never manage. A truly brilliant game that I go into more depth in my review. A crime that it is no longer available to buy.
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