I’m a huge fan of Imperial Settlers (my #2), so I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time now and it really delivers.
The art and component is fantastic, much better than IS (which was great). The included insert is amazing, very well thought out with a lot of nice touches, on par or better than Days of Wonder.
The gameplay is a great step up, IMO. Superior enough to make me prefer it over IS, but different enough to not permanently remove it from my line up.
While strategies are more linear, variance and randomness are reduced, while player skill, planning and interaction feel much more rewarded. Keeping resources between rounds feels like the way it should have been all along.
The main thing I want to talk about though is the two modes of player interaction. Raze tokens and the sail action/expedition phase.
Raze tokens no longer actually raze buildings, exhausting them instead, on paper feels like a massive downgrade, but honestly, feels a lot easier to throw a wrench in the works, with less “bad feels”.
Ships/sailing/expedition is such a cool addition, lots of littler pieces of strategy intertwined here. Lots of opportunities for strategy and counterplay. As a mechanic we all loved it.
Going to play a bunch more games tomorrow, really excited to get more time with it.
Any of you guys got your copies yet? What are your thoughts? Anyone have any questions about the game? Maybe even weird rules questions that have already popped up?
First off, here's the calm before the storm/pic4858712.jpg). I made custom organizers/pic4516371.jpg) out of foam core and printed out guides from BGG that explain the strategy cards on one side (so players can know the primary and secondary abilities both while they're deciding which to choose and when the card is being played) and a quick reference guide on the other. I also added token holders to help make them stand out easier on the board and platforms from Etsy, which were awesome to have from the start and even more valuable as the fleets grew. If you can't tell, I like organization :D. Here's a look at how the entire box is organized/pic4516365.jpg) and a view of what a player's starting kit/pic4516364.jpg) would look like. I also assigned homework - at the very least going through the Learn to Play booklet or watching RTFM's explanation.
I'd been holding onto this game for a couple months before I could get a group together that was 1) interested in playing and 2) all available on the same day. We had originally planned to do this in June, but with schedule conflicts we had to postpone and serendipitously landed on my birthday as the best available day to play!
I played as the Yin Brotherhood, my SO as Xxcha Kingdom, and two other friends as Emirates of Hacan and Naalu Collective. Naalu let it be known to Xxcha when myself and Hacan went upstairs to grab some beer that his plan was to make it look as if he was making a move on Mecatol Rex but it would be a bluff. Xxcha had no issue with that as she really just planned to embrace her space turtle origin and turtle throughout the game without engaging any players in battle, and turtle she did. By the second or third round, since Naalu was apparently not making moves on Mecatol Rex, I swooped in there myself and claimed the victory point and influence. Hacan was busy building up a sizable army as well, which he eventually allied with Naalu against myself and Xxcha, who had built up a lead by keeping to herself while satisfying the public and secret objectives.
In a strange turn of events in the fifth round, when Xxcha attempted to take the Imperial strategy card in order to prevent me from gaining a free victory point with my possession of Mecatol Rex, Naalu played an action card that made her choose a different strategy card. I picked up the Imperial card and was able to take the lead by a point by the end of the round. Up until this point, no battles had happened, and my victory was eminent. Hacan and Naalu decided to make a push to try to extend to another round, but I simply had too many options to score points in the status phase. Hacan attacked one of Xxcha's ships that was minding its own business on an alpha wormhole (part of an already satisfied secret objective to have ships on both an alpha and beta womhole), and Xxcha successfully retreated, but the battle (and action phase secret objective of winning a battle with a flagship) went to Hacan. Naalu made a move on Mecatol Rex and won the space combat, but did not bring enough ground troops to take over the planet. Hacan also attempted to take my home system, but was easily fended off by the Van Hague and three dreadnoughts.
After seven and a half hours and six rounds, I was able to claim the win thanks to initiative in the final status phase, while Xxcha finished with nine. Hacan was not far off with seven, and Naalu finished at two victory points. It definitely did not seem like it took that long, and we can't wait to play again. Here's a look at the aftermath. The first round was definitely the longest as we were all getting used to the game play, but eased into a comfortable pace in no time. If anybody is on the fence about buying/playing TI4, it has my glowing recommendation. At this point, we're hoping to get a game in once a month if schedules will allow.
I really got into the hobby around March 2017 when I received Small World, Lords of Waterdeep, and Betrayal at House on the Hill for my birthday. I had played games before, but didn’t start buying and really playing until around this time. In June 2017, I downloaded BG Stats and started recording my plays. On July 16, 2019, I hit 100 unique games played. This is my ranking of those games.
I’m putting the number of plays for each game so that you may see at what point my judgment is coming from. Sometimes a game needs multiple plays, sometimes one is enough.
50. Telestrations - 5 Plays - I don’t keep score in this game. I’m not even sure how scoring works. I think if you keep score in this game, you’re playing way wrong. This game is the very best party games in terms of laughs per minute and the worse you are at drawing, the better. I will play two ways. I’ll play the “roll the dice and do what it says on the card” and I’ll play “write whatever you want and let’s see where it goes.” Straight fun, homey.
49. Dominion - 1 Play – Deck building is one of my favorite mechanics and this is the granddaddy of ‘em all. Simple mechanics, different card set ups, but no theme and can have sets with very little interaction. Dominion is another case where I think the variability does make the game more replayable, and there are a ton of different combinations. And Dominion is all about combinations. Who doesn’t love combos? Pizzeria pretzel are my favorite Combos.
48. Steam Park - 8 Plays – Shit happens. I didn’t think robots would leave it everywhere, but lo and behold. I love the theming of this game, I love the real time dice rolling and racing, and I love the components. This game is a little repetitive from play to play, but I have never had a bad time playing it. Not every game needs to have strategic depth. Sometimes you just need to be knee deep in…ya know.
47. Above and Below - 4 Plays – Ryan Laukat’s art is garbage. I didn’t mean that, I just didn’t want to be the one billionth guy to say how good his games look. His games look really good. The adventuring in this game is really what makes it, but mainly because I love the gamble. You could get a sweet adventure or a bad one, or you could pick the wrong situation, or you could roll really poorly. The gamble makes it exciting.
46. Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization - 2 Plays (and a couple on the app) – I can’t believe this game is so highly rated on BGG, just because the length of time it takes to play. Seriously, all I ever hear is how people want quick games. “Best part of X is that it’s all this in 45 minutes!” Through the Ages is not quick. It’s more than long. I don’t even know if I’d want to play this with more than 2 players. Enough of the complaining, this game is very well designed. It’s very cool to build up your own civilization, using different leaders, focusing on different things than history did and your opponent is. The really interesting part comes with the military cards and events. I love knowing what I laid, but also knowing my opponent probably screwed me big time with whatever he played. This game is great, but like once or twice a year great.
45. Catan - 12 Plays – The game of our generation. I honestly believe every collection should have Catan. It has meant so much to our hobby and gets far too much hate. The game is built on trading, but don’t get too far ahead or no one will trade with you. This game, like others that can lead to king-making, reminds me a lot of Survivor. It’s not just about playing the game strategically well or getting lucky, it’s about how you are interacting with the other players. Know when to block someone off, not being a turd to them for not trading with you, etc. You have to manipulate the social aspect. I have a friend that always complains me and someone else always trade and don’t trade with him, which isn’t true, but because he complains about it, I want to make it true. Also, like Survivor, you can play amazingly and still get unlucky. Poor Cirie.
44. Libertalia - 1 Play – I need to play this again. I had fun playing this when I did, but I also don’t think I understood it until about halfway through. The hook of this game is great. Every player has the same set of cards (that set is different every round) and it’s all about who plays that set the best. Do you play high initiative or do you play for the power or do you wait for everyone else to play that card so it’s even better when you play it? The decisions are so good. It’s a shame this game has kind of been lost in time, but I really want to try it again.
43. Power Grid - 1 Play – “I’ll keep it short and sweet. Family, religion, friendship. These are the three demons you must slay if wish to succeed in business.” This wisdom brought to you by Mr. Burns, and he knows a thing or two about running a power plant. This game checks a lot of boxes for me. I like the economics, I like the unique-ish theme, I like the auction, and I like the route building. You know what I don’t like? The end game. Oh my goodness, what a stupid way to end a game. I understand I only have one play, but I’ve watched videos too and I’ve discussed with friends, does everyone tie and it just comes down to money anyway? I feel like this game is so close, but I just didn’t like how the game ended.
42. Camel Up (2nd Edition) – 2 Plays – I’ve already said in this post that I love to gamble. This is gambling, alright. It’s hard to have a strategy in this game. So much is changing, so much is reliant on the dice rolls and the crazy camels, and you can’t plan for that. Everyone has a plan until the white camel takes your overall winner back to the start. This has stand up, “oh my gosh” moments because of the randomness, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
41. Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 - 16 Plays – How many season 2’s are better than season 1? The Office and Parks and Rec have incredible season 2’s. Sadly, Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 aligns more with Stranger Things Season 2. Yea, it was still fun, but so inferior to the first season. I got to a point where finishing this just felt like a chore. Partly because we played season 1 and 2 back to back, and partly because I didn’t have base Pandemic as a crutch to knowing the game. It took me so long to grasp the rules to season 2 that I didn’t feel like I was contributing much. With that said, we dominated season 2. It was almost too easy. Other people I’ve heard from had said there play of it was way too hard and they didn’t really have a chance. Pandemic is a great design because it’s a close win or a close loss almost every single time and this didn’t really deliver on that excitement. Hopefully Pandemic Legacy continues to follow Stranger Things and follows up with a very good third season.
I am curious about my experiences on BGG and hoping others may be able to shed some light. I have recently jumped into the board game trading scene and have completed three trades on BGG that were a very positive experience. That said, I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that only 10% of the people I message ever even reply. I think it's worth saying that I don't think any user owes me a reply, but I'm just confused as to why so many people ignore messages entirely rather than just say they aren't interested or counter an offer? I can't think of a single reddit user I've messaged who hasn't messaged me back.
It's likely the first piece of advice is going to be to make sure your trades are fair and actually offer what is on the person's desired list, which I'm doing my best on the former and always following on the latter.
I have a large collection of expansions and extra boxes to board games that I don't need anymore due to combining them together as much as possible for each game. I'm not a game designer, so I don't need a box to store my own creations. I rarely do print n plays for an entire game, so no need there. I gave one large box to my daughter to use to store her jewelry and hair accessories.
The empty boxes were piling up, so I decided I would toss them. BUT... First I used an exacto knife and cut out the top covers, since the artwork and titles were important, and look cool. So, now I have this cardboard art gallery collection of board game expansion boxes. What should I do with them? Anyone got any arts and crafts ideas?
Do you save the empty expansion boxes? What do you do with them?
EDIT: I had an idea to make some kind of collage of them together, as a framed piece of art- OR, as something to decorate a tabletop. Has that been done before?