What We’ve Been Playing (11.23.2015)

Coal Baron

Smee

Balance your (mine) shaft between the light and the dark sides. Does it tilt to the left, or the right, or does it stay true? Featuring the most adorable player board I’ve seen in a while, with a working elevator; players must collect contracts for fulfillment, explore the various levels of their mine for coal, then dig it all up and drag it back to the surface for delivery! With only a limited number of workers available for each of the three shifts (rounds), and actions becoming more expensive as players use them, it’s a challenge to do everything you need!

Steve

As a fan of pick-up and deliver type games, Coal Baron was always intriguing to me. Coupled with some worker placement, it really felt very rewarding for me. The game featured an awesome player board with a movable elevator to mine your coal and deliver them to the surface to fulfill orders for points. You need to work quickly, and efficiently, because the longer you wait to take certain actions, the more it will cost in workers. Very easy to teach, tight scoring and a great theme that is executed beautifully. One thing that turned us off, as it does in most other gamers, was the use of paper money. Coal Baron has elevated its way to the top of my list.

 

Mysterium

Kelly

The newest release of this game is the same great one that we’d been playing, only now there is an added component of voting on whether your companions are correct in their guesses to earn opportunities to get clues in identifying the actual killer in the final round of the game. This is an excellent mystery game, whether you’re trying to relate bizarre non-descript cards to assigned identities, weapons or locations, or you’re just trying to figure out what in the heck your clue giver is trying to tell you. The two-player playability is great, too, which is awesome!

Matt

Though much of the gaming world has moved on from Mysterium, the new American version continues to find success with our less board game focused friends and family. The new edition is lovely, with art and component quality far beyond its European predecessor. The experience is largely the same, but it has proven enjoyable with all player counts, 2-7. The few tweaks in the gameplay create more tension and give you more to consider during the play, making it all the more engaging. Definitely one to check out if you ever have the chance.

 

7 Wonders: Duel

Matt

I grabbed this two-player 7 Wonders spin-off at a midnight release recently and have gotten it to the table several times in the last week. It feels very similar to the traditional 7 Wonders, but makes smart choices to distinguish it within the series and is much more tactical between two players. Our games have only taken 30 minutes to play and have still managed to provide a feeling of accomplishment and cleverness.

Kelly

What a great way to play 7 Wonders! I love this. It’s simple and it’s an excellent two-player version of a classic. I’ve played it multiple times and every time it’s been just as fantastic.

 

Diamonds

Kelly

I wanted to play Black Spy, but Matt suggested Diamonds instead. This is a really good trick-taking game and the fact that playing out of suit gives you special abilities (and/or the abilities of the other suits) makes it fun even if you’re traditionally kind of bad at trick-taking games by still giving you a chance to do something on your turn and hopefully still score some points.

Matt

I had forgotten about this lovely trick-taker until I was tasked with finding a lighter competitive game that was easy to grasp and quick to play. I’m a big fan of Diamonds because of the unique powers related to each of the four suits and how it feels classic like Hearts and others, but has such a big twist that gameplay is strategically transformed. I may have to put this back into the regular rotation. It really is a great time for families, friends and other gamers.

 

Vault Wars

Steve

A great take on the popular reality tv show “Storage Wars.” The theme of the game is fantasy-based, where elves and dwarves alike are competing for different treasure chests. The game offers some small card drafting and mainly centers around auctioning and bluffing. The goal is to manage your finances while collecting different sets of weapon, armor or gemstones. The theme and mechanics of vault wars is fantastic and it all works perfectly. I especially enjoyed blowing all of my cash on different vaults to drive the price up because I had the full set of four diamonds in my possession. This warranted a landslide victory since the full set, on its own, was worth 28 points. Maybe a couple points less since I borrowed some coin from a loan shark. No really! You can get a loan from a loan shark in this game.

 

Ophir

Smee

Let’s go sailing, they said! Let’s be merchants, they said! Why don’t we build this bloody giant temple while we’re at it, too? Ophir is a pick-up-and-deliver style of game where the resources are free, cargo space is limited, and you can get arbitrarily blocked in your passage around the islands by the luck of opposing captains’ dice, and your own failure to roll above a ‘1’.

 

Pandemic Legacy

Steve

It is so hard not to post about this game in detail on this little site of ours due to the spoilers it may contain. I am loving our sessions of Pandemic Legacy. The twists that this game throws at you has been really fun to adapt. The last two months/sessions, we were pretty dominant in eradicating a couple diseases and gaining some bonuses. We are about to head into April this week. I have been seeing some internet murmurs about April and how it will just make you cry. I am terrified, yet excited, of what is in store for us.

Kelly

We had much better runs at this in February and March. We might be getting the hang of it. Then again, Steve said that he heard April is really hard, so we might be about to get our butts handed to us again. Who really knows?

Matt

Session 3 was awesome. I’m loving this title, 100%.

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.