What We Played at Origins 2016 (Part One)

Mystic Vale More info about this game at Board Game Geek

Kelly

In general, I rather enjoy deck-building games so when Matt was telling me about the copy of Mystic Vale that he got, I was pretty excited to give it a shot. Mystic Vale takes deck-building to the next level by having players craft the cards in their decks with clear plastic cards (think Gloom) that slide into the card sleeves of your basic deck. I really enjoyed this one. It provides you with a lot of strategies to gain points, offers a new mechanic in a familiar form and it looks great!

Steve

Full disclosure, I unfairly hated on this game when I first played it. I stepped in for Matt and he gave me a quick rules run down and took over for him. As the game progressed everything felt very pointless and like I could never by card upgrades. I finally felt like I was making progress right when the game was ending and did not have a very good score. We did play again the next day and we realized we got some rules wrong and things seemed to change dramatically from that one small change (we did not have the Fertile Earth cards setup as an available purchase option). On the second play, everyone seemed to be able to get some type of engine going and more card crafting was happening and clearer goals were forming. I don’t think this game is bad but it does feel gimmicky. I also did not feel connected to the theme at all, whatever the theme is. It does however make me interested in seeing the game that incorporates this mechanic into a larger game. I would much rather play a game of Trains over Mystic Vale.

Matt

We’ll have a review of AEG’s new “card crafting” game, Mystic Vale, on the site soon, so I won’t spoil too much. I will say that the system works surprisingly well, proving to be more than a gimmick. The gameplay feels familiar, but the introduction of a push-you-luck mechanism, when combined with the progression of building your cards, makes for a very unique and enjoyable game. I’m looking forward to playing with the system a bit more, but so far it’s promising.

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Why First? More info about this game at Board Game Geek

Matt

I’d heard about this strange little card game from Matt Wolfe, the OG Hipster Gamer, but hadn’t come across it to purchase until this year’s Origins. This game is all about being in second place and you’ll play cards throughout the round to move yourself and your opponents up and down a track before scoring points at the end of the round. The desire to constantly be in second, and the fact that the only way to be in first at the end is to be in second, makes for a mind-bending experience that is wholly hilarious. For $10, I couldn’t pass up on this unique and bizarre little game.

Steve

The wackiest game of Origins 2016 award goes to Why First? This game is such a crazy mind bender of a game that has yourself questioning everything you have ever known about competing with other players. The goal of the game is to hit a scoring sweet spot which is, well, second place. Everything about this game is all about second place. Each round players use a hand of cards and secretly chooses one and plays it on another player or on themselves. Pawns will move backwards and forwards along a track. After all cards have been played ther person in second gains or loses points depending on what space they are on. Now that player is losing because they are in first and everyone else is winning because they are all tied for second! Is your mind melting yet like a cake in the rain!?

Kelly

This game is absolutely insane. You are trying to be in second place to score points, but you’re trying to have the second most points after five rounds to win.  It was a lot of fun to play and totally nuts trying to move everyone’s pawns around so you could come out not quite on top.


Junk Art More info about this game at Board Game Geek

Steve

I had only heard about Junk Art a few days before Origins and I knew this is something I would need in my collection for family game nights. This is such a great and fun game and the different game modes keeps things fresh and lots of fun due to the gameplay varieties. There is also a deck of cards that depicts the different colored pieces that determines what piece you must play. Some game modes require some group co-operation and other modes will rely on speed and height of your Junk (that’s what she said). I really enjoyed this game and we played a few games back to back. It feels like a game where you never care about winning and just want to see how badly you can screw things up for your opponents. I want to be playing this right now.

Kelly

This game is a cranked up Bandu. One of the hot games of Origins 2016, we were lucky to get our hands on a copy of this one, although there was an enlarged version of this one available for demo, as well. The game is played across several rounds, each of which giving players different objectives and criteria for the end of the round. You’re made to stack various colored pieces of all manners of shape better than your opponents. It’s very hard and totally wonderful.

Matt

One of my few intended purchases, Junk Art is the latest in Pretzel Games’ ritzy dexterity line. Costing a whopping $70, this game takes the familiar stacking of Bandu and improves upon it with 10 different modes of play. The game isn’t always about building the highest tower, sometimes it’s about speed or durability. This variety is a lot of fun and it seemed as though everyone quickly latched onto their favorite way to play. It’s definitely pricey, but so far it’s been money well spent.

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Blood Rage More info about this game at Board Game Geek

Kelly

This game certainly made me nervous before starting out.  There are a lot of different things to do and a lot of different ways to score. The theme is wonderful and the minis are spectacular. I really enjoyed playing this game. The final round was just completely mind blowing and everything I thought I had going on was ripped away from me in such a fantastic way that even though I lost at least fifty points I thought I had, everyone else got their Viking worlds ripped apart, too, and I couldn’t even be mad,  just awestruck. I definitely recommend this game:gameplay is exciting and well-paced, and everything about it is over-powerful and unbalanced to the point that it ultimately balances out. It was probably my favorite play of Origins. Just try it.

Steve

It’s all the rage! Nothing by viking hype surrounding this one and I think it certainly deserves it. I am not one to be drawn into a mini’s game trap but this was not one those games. At the heart of the game it is a card drafting game with area control. I initially went with a questing strategy in mind and just have enough players on the board to complete them, but that fell through kinda quickly. I went the Loki route and was gaining a TON of points just for having my warriors and botas killed/destroyed. There were so many memorable moments when playing this game. Like that time Kelly summoned a Fire Giant and destroyed everyone in the village or when Dan (Dan L.) wiped out the entire army invading Yggdrasil. And of course when I was bluffing and mopped up Dan’s army with my one baby warrior. So much fun! Can’t wait to play again to try out a different strategy.

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Worlds Fair: 1893 More info about this game at Board Game Geek

Matt

We previewed World’s Fair 1893 on the site previously, but this was my first play of the final production copy. The game plays quickly and smoothly, and really is a wonderful entry level area-control game. It’s simple but still begs for your attention each round; just make sure that you don’t neglect the power of the Historical Figures cards. They can make or break your game!

Kelly

This is a game I had the opportunity to play and enjoy prior to publication and I will say that the final game was just as excellent. The ferris wheel board design is wonderful and the game itself is great. I enjoy the decision making between trying to get the cards you want and placing your markers in sections that you need to actually score with those cards. This game is a perfect level of difficulty and an excellent length of time. I’m incredibly pleased with this game.

 


Dice Heist More info about this game at Board Game Geek

Steve

A simple but currently overpriced dice rolling set collection game where players are trying to steal items from different museums around the world. Drawing cards off a central deck you place them next to the corresponding museum locations. Each location has a die value from 2-5. On your turn you can decide to roll you one die and see if you can steal some loot or hire and sidekick and add more dice to your pool. It all comes down to luck and timing if you can earn any cards. I enjoyed this one and can see it being in a collection alongside games like Roll for It. I would not spend $20 for this game. Wait until the price goes down and I would recommend grabbing this one for a light and quick game.


Roll For It! More info about this game at Board Game Geek

Matt

Roll for It has become a bit of a tradition; each year at Origins, we make our initial stop at Barley’s for some food and play Roll for It, along with other light filler games, while we wait for our food. It’s a random dice-fest, for sure, but that’s kind of the point. Not terribly engaging, but still interesting enough to have on the table while we chat and wait.

Kelly

This was the first game of Origins 2016 and I’d say it was was a successful start to the weekend, which could just be because I won. We played this little dice game while we waited for lunch at Barley after our six hour drive in. I love how easy it is to bring this one along and play it anywhere.

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ManaSurge More info about this game at Board Game Geek

Matt

We played through Mana Surge while it was on Kickstarter, but this was my first play of the full production copy. My rules overview was a bit shoddy, so we spent the beginning of the game confused, but overall it was a fun experience. I’d say that six players is probably too many, at least when everyone is new to the game, but it’s still functional. I’d consider it at 3-5 players moving forward.

Kelly

I got a chance to check out a production copy of this game at the convention and I’ll say that after I relearned the rules, I rather enjoyed it. We played with a pretty large group so it took a few spells to get in the swing of it, but it turned out to be a rather fast-paced card game with just enough take-that play to keep you on your toes. With that being said, I died at least three times and I will definitely need to step up my game the next time this game comes my way.

Steve

Daily Magic Games seems to know what they are doing when it comes to fantasy card games. This is a quick and easy game to play with a larger group of gamers. We did have some stumbles on the rules on the first couple rounds since the gameplay is a little different in terms of mechanics. The goal of the game is to cast spells that are bigger and better than your opponents to earn shards as points while making the other players have their spells explode in their face and cause damage. Playing certain cards can garner some special abilities like stealing tokens or cards, and even reversing the turn order. The game also fixes player elimination as long as you have shards to spend to revive. I enjoyed this one once we smoothed out the kinks but can’t see it being as fun with a lower player count.

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Welcome to the Dungeon More info about this game at Board Game Geek

Kelly

We got the first couple rounds of this one in while waiting for food. Even though we didn’t finish playing, I feel like it’s worth talking about. This game is so simple and with its press-your-luck dungeon crawling, it’s always exciting. We stopped by the Iello booth for Matt to check out Welcome Back to the Dungeon, but they didn’t have any. I can’t wait to give that one’s new characters a shot.

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.