What We’ve Been Playing (1.26.16)

Grand Austria Hotel

Steve

Having to manage your own hotel while attracting guests and hiring staff had me performing one of the toughest balancing acts I’ve yet found in a game. Actions are decided by a pre-round dice roll, and you have 2 actions available per round to choose from. Maximizing those actions to make combos with your guests and staff is the trickiest part, but extremely satisfying when you can pull one off. I found myself falling behind in money by mid-game, so it really became tough for me to pull off some actions that I needed to expand my hotel and invite more guests. I really liked this game but ended up concerned that if you get too far behind that it may be too hard to catch back up due to the cascading negative effects that come with the emperor track. I’m still looking forward to playing again, and this may have just made my short list of games to buy.

Dan

As hotel owners, you are trying to accommodate a number of influential guests by hiring staff and providing your guests with a meal and a place to rest their weary heads. The game centers around a die-drafting mechanic where the available dice in a specific action space determines the benefit of that action. Similar to Agricola (or at least the best way to play Agricola), each player will start by drafting a fixed number of staff by which the goal is to create as much synergy as possible between these cards. On your hotel board, you will be serving guests cakes, strudels, wine and coffee before sending them off to their rooms for the night. The preparation of guest rooms in your hotel offers an enjoyable spatial puzzle to explore as well. The game lasts seven rounds and in each round you will only get two main actions so you will have to utilize them as best you can to come out on top. The sheer number of staff and guest cards ensures that each game offers a number of new tactics and strategies to explore. I highly recommend you check this game out if you can get your hands on it. This game deserves much more attention than it is currently receiving.

 

Keyflower

Steve

Thanks to Matt, we have access to the beta version of Tabletopia and have been giving it a whirl here and there. Matt and I played a game of Keyflower and started with a two-player game to learn how to play. Later, managed to get in a three player game with Smee. This is really a fantastic game; the worker placement offers some really tough and interesting decisions. You can use your ‘Keyples’ to bid on tiles to add to your village to score points. Winning bids, however, causes you to lose your workers back to the bag and causes your available pool to dwindle so you have to be ready to take action to gain some more workers. Building and playing on other player’s villages really offers an even deeper level of strategy. If you play workers to your opponents village then they become part of that player pool for next round. I look forward to playing again, hopefully the non-virtual version.

Matt

While being slowly buried under two feet of snow, Steve and I made use of my recent Tabletopia Kickstarter fulfillment and got in two games of Keyflower. Dan had praised this game repeatedly, but my one play of Keythedral completely colored my expectations of its game-cousin. I’m happy to say that Keyflower is a really quick and enjoyable bidding/worker-placement game! It combines some mild tile placement and partial action-space blocking to create great player interaction and a lightweight euro-style puzzle. I was actually expecting a lot more from the game, but was happy to breeze through the first play and play a second right away.

Smee

Admittedly, the first time I tried setting up this game, I threw the rulebook back into the box in frustration! Luckily, Steebin and Buns knew how to play it, this time around, and Tabletopia took care of the setup for me! A fun little game of bidding and town-building, I quite enjoyed the latter aspect of it, collecting the tiles and expanding my town with further actions to take. I’ve played Keythedral and Keyflower: The Farmers before, and while they all have the same theme of colour-coordinated bidding or action-selection, I do believe I like the base version of Keyflower the most, due to the building-your-town theme. I felt that it ran a little quick for my tastes, but I can certainly live with that.

 

M.U.L.E.

Matt

Based on a video game that existed long before I existed, MULE is a weirdly campy economic game that puts too much trust in its players to do the expected. We broke the market on the first turn, played the “screw the leader” events on whoever we damn well pleased and ended up with dozens of unpowered robot-donkeys wandering the planetary expanse. I’m going to need another play…

 

Dexikon

Matt

Another in the long line of words games that I’ll next beat Kelly B at. Dexicon is a lot like Tim Fowers’ Paperback – a spelling, deck-building hybrid – but with a more interesting scoring mechanism. You have to weigh the choice between banking your words for points or taking their full value as buying power, while also crafting a functional deck of letter options. Note to self, remember the basic suffixes (-ed, -ing, -es) next time…

Kelly

This game is very similar to Paperback. I really enjoy Paperback, though, so that’s not really a bad thing for me. What Dexicon brings to the table is an opportunity to affect the length of gameplay. The game ends after you’ve scored seven words. You realistically could score seven smaller words, really quickly, and end the game. Or you could play longer and build up your letter deck so that the words that you’re scoring are worth more points. It’s a really nice flexibility option.

 

Roll for the Galaxy: Ambition

Kelly

The new dice in this are great!! I felt like I was able to do so much more now that I’ve got dice with multiple icons on each face. I also really liked the mini-objectives that were added in. I felt like I had a lot more options to get stuff done throughout the whole game. I really like Roll for the Galaxy.

 

Pandemic Legacy

Ben

We’ve made it into September and things are getting really interesting. I don’t want it to end and  our next campaign-style game is going to have a lot to live up to.

Kelly

We got ourselves into a string of losses, which was nice because we got some funding, and frustrating because we’d been doing so well and because losing sucks. We ended on a win, though, and very cool things are happening!

Matt

Remember the last time I mentioned this game? Yeah, it’s still wild. September, man…freakin’ September….

 

Burgle Bros.

Ben

Got another chance to play this one and it’s still great. The tension is high throughout and the puzzle of trying to navigate the floors is awesome. Definitely a go-to game at this point.

Kelly

I got trapped. And then I had to basically walk in circles trying to avoid a guard. I thought this game was great, until I got trapped and everyone escaped without me. Then I was mad and frustrated. Try again next time.

Steve S. (Steebin)

WEB EDITOR/TECH SUPPORT : I enjoy all types of games from fillers to 3 hour euros. I am the least experienced member of the group but I have pretty quickly learned the whose who of the tabletop world. I am always willing to play any game you put in front of me. I enjoy listening to progressive metal music and I am a die hard Baltimore Orioles and Ravens fan.