Now that I’ve gained a couple of pounds, opened a few presents, had the annual viewing of Christmas Vacation (shitter’s full) and played even more board games, I have returned to give you the remaining list of my 12 (ish) games of Gamesmas. For Part One, click here.
On the 7th day of Gamesmas my true nerd gave to me…..
7) Clockwork Wars (Eagle-Gryphon): I’ve gotten to play this masterpiece twice in the last two weeks. Clockwork Wars provides as an intense a game experience as you will find anywhere. Players engage in espionage, research, and deterministic combat by using simultaneous hidden movement. Espionage cards add a “take that” aspect to the game, but overall it is just your brains against your opponents’. The artwork is quite nice and the components are top notch. I was lucky enough to play this with some thick-skinned friends, because this game is not for those who don’t handle conflict well. I highly recommend CW.
8) Fallout (Fantasy Flight Games): I got dragged into the second half of a game last week, and I have to say, Fallout absolutely captures the feel of the video game series as it brings it to the tabletop. Radscorpions and raiders abound as players move around the board, discovering locations and resolving adventures and combat using dice rolls boosted by modifiers from equipment they’ve gained over the course of their travels. Fun stuff. While the game can go on for quite sometime if you don’t complete the main missions…. Oh wait…. Fallout.
9) 878 Vikings (Academy Games): One of the best publishers around, Academy Games’s battle system in this series is true genius. 878 Vikings takes some new chances and delivers yet another great game. One side (1 or 2 players) takes the invading Vikings while the other (1 or 2 players) plays the English trying to keep the Vikings out. There is great tension that builds over the course of the game, with the English taking it hard on the chin during the early part as waves of Vikings keep on coming. Can they hold on? Play it and see. One of the best games of the year, period. See my full review here.
10) Founding Fathers (Matgot): Another game that flies below the radar, Founding Fathers has players taking the roles of major players druing the creating of the U.S. Constitution. This surprisingly tense card game has players influencing the votes in the assembly room, or working behind the scenes in the committee room, all the while trying to earn the most points by having their factions (Federalist/Anti-federalist or big states/small states) pass the most bills over four rounds. I got to play it twice over Gamesmas and it continues to be a winner each time it gets to the table.
11) Booty (Mayfair Games): I call Booty a thinking person’s party game. Up to seven players take the role of pirates splitting up loot they have plundered. Each round a number of cards are placed on the table and players take turns as the Quartermaster, creating and offering portions of the loot to the other players. Once a player takes a portion, they are out of the round. There is a lot of strategy and bluffing involved as players decide to take now, or wait for something better. Points are earned for collecting certain types of loot and marques and the pirate who collects best wins. Plus, it’s fun to say ‘booty” a lot.
12) Escape 100 Million B.C. (IDW Games): I got to play this brand new cooperative game 3 times during Gamesmas. 1-6 players take the role of the crew of the first time machine voyage ever – that has, of course, crashed into a volcano in 100 million B.C. Players have to explore the island and work together to recover time machine parts (to repair the time machine) and their equipment (so as not to leave ray guns and candy bars to disturb the time-space continuum) before the volcano explodes. Along the way, time castaways (some of whom are famous people in history) will fall from rifts in the continuum caused by the time machine’s wreck. Players will need to help the castaways return to their respective time periods to avoid paradoxes. Escape is a very thematic game in the vein of Land of The Lost. Players will encounter several dinosaurs and other perils as they try to return home. We’ve had a great time with it.
13) Santa’s Workshop (Rio Grande Games): This new release came to my attention like a holiday miracle out of nowhere about two weeks ago. A super thematic worker placement game, Santa’s Workshop has players pitted against each other as Santa’s elves trying to complete the most toys before Christmas. Over 9 rounds, players will gather resources and train their elves, all with the goal of earning the most cookies (victory points) because the most productive elf will get to go with Santa on a post Christmas vacation. Very simple mechanics belie the subtle strategies that Santa’s Workshop requires for victory, making it a game that should provide family entertainment during the holidays for lots of gamers. It sure did for mine. Pick it up before it goes out of print.
Well, there’s my list, with a 13th item thrown in for the gamer’s dozen. Full disclosure – I also got a chance to play Civilization New Dawn from Fantasy Flight Games, and it is quite good and worth checking out. I hope you all had a fun season and wish everyone a happy and healthy 2018. Thanks for reading and keep nerding on!