What We’ve Been Playing (9.6.2015)


Steampunk Rally


In this game you are a famous inventor racing around a course in a fantastical contraption of your own design in the hopes of finishing first. Everyone will have the opportunity to draft a selection of cards each round, either new parts for their vehicle, or special actions that aid your cause. Each part that you obtain may be grafted on to the ever-expanding contraption, or discarded to obtain dice for the round that will be used to activate various elements of their invention. The part I enjoyed most about the game was the dice mechanism which utilizes the various colors of dice and the pips that you have rolled to trigger movement, defense, cogs, etc. Once dice are placed on your machine they remain until you have removed them via an action card or through venting – the term used for winding down the pips on your dice by spending cogs.


Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this game. The dice placement, manipulation and comboing was extremely satisfying. I managed to pull off a huge 13-space move using 3 fully loaded rocket boosters to seal the victory just as my vehicle began to feel the strain and fall apart in front of my eyes. My only issue with the game was the amount of time it took – almost two hours with six players (it plays up to a max of eight). In the future I don’t think I would play this one with more than four, maybe five players.


Rube Goldberg, eat your heart out! I enjoyed this more for constructing elaborate, impractical machines and dice-engines, than actually racing. The fact that you can rearrange your machine at-will instead of having to plan it out was a disappointment.


I was a supporter of this one on Kickstarter and it has turned out to be one of the best projects I have backed so far. The mechanics of the game work very well with the dice placement and manipulation abilities of the pieces you can assemble playing off each other as you strive to build a working engine. You can also tap into your creative side and build a great and powerful racing machine just to run it into the ground!


Discoveries: The Journals of Lewis and Clark (Dice Game)


With our review imminent, we have been playing Discoveries a lot over the past few weeks. A dice-based implementation of Lewis & Clark, Discoveries further saturates the market of “dice-based reimaginings” alongside Roll Through the Ages, Roll for the Galaxy, Nations: The Dice Game, and the upcoming My Village. Though I haven’t played the original game, many people have said Discoveries stays relatively true to the spirit and mechanical weight of its predecessor. Because of this, I will likely pass on playing Lewis & Clark any time soon. While Discoveries is a perfectly sound game with wonderful production values and brisk gameplay, it simply isn’t interesting enough to garner my attention any longer after several plays.


I tied Ben. I totally killed it on set collection and I tied Ben and LOST THE TIEBREAKER. I wanted to flip the table. This game is cool and I like it, though.




Over the past year, my shelves have become flooded with small box games that retail for $10-$20. Though I resisted for now, Kabuki will likely join the ranks as IELLO has created another addictive title with hilariously fun gameplay and an impulse-worthy price tag. We had a lot of fun tempting fate and each other in this filler-style memory game. I’ve now played Open Sesame  and Kabuki almost back-to-back, and have to think hard about which one takes the cake as my new favorite.


I immediately purchased Kabuki after our first play. This is a great little filler game that requires you to pay attention and try to remember what masks have already been played. Players have an opportunity to call out a challenge, gambling with VP points/coins,  when they think there has been a duplicate mask played to a pile. The artwork on the cards are fantastic and they really draw everyone in when it’s on the table. I look forward to playing this many times in the future.




This was a request from Smee who has been asking me to bring this game around for the last few months. I am glad he kept pestering me because I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy this brilliant game. The simple ruleset, quick pace and deep strategy makes for an extremely elegant design. I am still confused how Istanbul won Kennerspiel over this game and Rococo. Ridiculous.


I have heard nothing but good things about Concordia so I was happy to finally get in a play of this. Somewhere along the lines I got super confused on the scoring, maybe I should have paid closer attention. I didn’t do very well, of course. I wouldn’t mind playing it again, but it wasn’t too exciting to me.’


The Little Prince: Rising to the Stars


This is one of the games that the League is reviewing and I had my first opportunity to play it this weekend. It’s a family game, so it’s rather straightforward as far as rules and gameplay go. I can definitely get behind that. It’s also meant to be played in a competitive, but still enjoyable manner. Naturally, adults are able to turn any light-hearted competition into a take-that battle*, so the ability to steal cards from one another by landing on them does certainly create an opportunity for some aggression. I liked it, and it’s surely a good option for something light in between those long brain-busters.

*No League members were harmed in my first play of The Little Prince.



Lift Off! Get Me Off This Planet!


While I love these meeples and the way this game looks, I played this one pretty poorly. I decided that I was only going to use one launch pad for the whole game and that didn’t get me as many guys off the planet as I wanted it to. After we played, we learned that we had been playing the moon phases wrong before, so now I need to play it again the right way and maybe I’ll do better. Or not. Either way, I like playing with the alien meeples and throwing them off the planet when they launch, so I don’t really mind.



Chicago Express


While train games aren’t something I’m necessarily drawn to, Chicago Express offers a nice mix of auction-based share purchasing and route building in a surprisingly tidy package. The social element introduced by the limited number of shares available and the joint-ownership of the limited railways makes the game continuously engaging. I was surprised how well Bri and Hubba took to it, but was pleasantly surprised they, as less frequent gamers, picked it right up and stayed competitive. I’m looking forward to playing this one again soon.



Open Sesame


Developed by my favorite designer, Antoine Bauza, I picked up this press-your-luck memory game on a whim at Gen Con this summer. Players alternate taking on the role of famed thief Ali Baba, stealing grand treasures by revealing cards one by one from the deck. You, his fellow thieves, must repeat what he has shown thus far. Failing to do so will net Ali the lion’s share of the loot, while the rest is spread out among the other players. The press-your-luck aspect comes in as a number of these treasures are bulky, shiny, or noisy, and collecting too many of these will fail the round for Ali. At the end of the game whoever has the most unique treasures in their collection will win. This was a perfect game to end the evening after a 14 hour marathon gaming session. At one point, I zoned out and just said “pillow”, not remembering anything else in Ali Baba’s hand. Good fun!





Mathias Cramer. Nuff said. Brilliant.



Dark Moon


A hidden traitor game, originally designed as BSG Express before being remade into the game currently on the shelves. Pro Tip: When reading your role card, keep in mind the difference between Infected and Uninfected. I’m looking at you, Joshua!





Why didn’t anyone tell me that this was a longer, more complex, and less interesting version of Talisman before I sank 4 hours into it?



Twilight Struggle


First time playing this Cold-War thriller, and it was an interesting experience. The US took a handy VP victory in the early Mid-War through the domination of Europe and Asia, while the Reds had a strong foothold in the Middle East and Africa, but couldn’t score them in time.

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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.