Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 2017 Boardgames Round-Up

So after a look back at the Whole Year, and already planning out next year, let's have a quick (not so quick) look at December...


After startlingly little gaming in October or November, we finally got some games going on this past month! As end of the renovations in the kitchen finally started to seem like a possibility, and kids activities wrapped up for the year, we found a bit more time (and space) to play!

2 December 2017 - Tales from the Loop

We continued the campaign started in September and… I can’t even remember what happened in this one. Bob was back, but Amanda wasn’t feeling up to heading over to Aaron and Emily’s to play… a second game was planned for the 16th, but too many people were just too worn out from Xmas parties and other seasonal activities so we had to cancel that one.

4 December 2017 - Legendary 

We played a game of Legenary in the afternoon and tried out some of the stuff from Finnegan’s new Dark City expansion. It was a fun game. I can’t remember what hereoes we used or who the bad guy was, but I remember it was fun and challenging and, at times, it seemed like we might not succeed, but in the end we did and it didn’t feel like it dragged on forEVER! (like some of the games do – sometimes it’s just too easy and it feels like you’re goig through the motions and the end is a foregone conclusion. Other times it’s impossible and it feels like you’re going through the motions and the end is a foregone conclusion – it’s less bad when you lose the game wuickly but when it drags on and on and on and you know there’s just no way you’re going to win, but keep playing because you haven’t lost yet…)

8 December 2017 – Mythotopia

Mythotopia is a Martin Wallace game that reminds me a little of A Study in Emerald (which I love – actually I’ve yet to play a game by Mr. Wallace that I didn’t like…) The kids and I had fun figuring this out, building our empires and thwarting our neighbor’s expansion… I did play this at John’s some time ago, but had mostly forgotten how it played. Wasn’t hard to pick up again. We’ll have to get Amanda to play this sometime.

Hmmmmm... What am I going to do with THIS hand... Oh, I know! Let's invade someone's country!

12 December 2017 – Fluxx and Exploding Kittens 

This days games were motivated by my BGG Five and Dime list. Five and Dimes are one of the many weird little stats BGG tracks for you. It’s a list of games that you have recored more than five or more than ten plays, respectively. I’d noticed a few games that had 4 or 9 plays – and were thus ONE PLAY from making it on to the list (or moving up to the next list) and decided to play a few of them…

First we played Eco Fluxx (or Nature Fluxx as it is now called…). For the longest time I had that freaking Forest Fire Creeper in front of me and I think it was burning up a Keeper every turn! Luckily I had a LOT of keepers. There were SO MANY times I just-about-could-have won – I’d draw a Goal card that would have won me the game if one of the necessary Keepers hadn’t been burned the previous turn. Unlike the other games, when there’s a creeper in play in Eco Fluxx NO ONE can win – despite this the kids were no help in getting rid of it – they just sat and watched as species after species roasted in the fire. I finally got rid of is somehow and I think I actually did end up winning a turn or two later…

Then we played Firefly Fluxx. There was a lot of stealing and swapping and redistribution of keepers in this game. It was a little crazy. Came close to winning so many times – if only I could get to my turn without SOMEONE MESSING WITH MY CARDS!? Ugh… lot of fun. Totally can’t rememver who won this one… pretty sure it wasn’t me…

Then we played Exploding Kittens.

I think it came down to me and Finnegan and the last few cards in the deck. In the end, I got blowed up by a Kitty.

I really like the Oatmeal. And this was fun for laughs the first couple times we played. Maybe good for another laugh or two if we only play it once a year or so. But beyond that… Meh…

13 December 2017 - Tri Spy and Kingdomino

Finnegan was just finishing up the last of his math for this year (The Girl was all finished a few days earlier) and she came up and asked if I wanted to play TriSpy. We hadn’t played it in ages. It’s a fun little pattern detection game – I think it’s one of the only gifts my sister-in-law ever sent that the kids took a second look at after they opened it on Xmas day.

Later in the eveing Finnegan joined us for a game of Kingdomino while Amanda was out at Yoga. She got home just as we were finishing up. I like Kingdomino. It’s simple and quick – simple enough that my folks can play with us. But there’s still some strategy there – balancing picking the best tiles with keeping options open for future tiles…

I wasn’t able to place the last tile I acquired (no matching adjacent lands) but I managed to keep the castle central to my lands. The kids did much better…

14 December 2017 – Ingenious

On Thursday The Girl got us to play Ingenious. She’d been hounding us to play it for a while. She’s really good at dragging out the games I overlook and don’t get on the table very often. I don’t LOVE Ingenious. But it’s fun to play from time to time. Despite it looking very bad for me there with green only at TWO I think this ended up being a very close game – I mean, I totally didn’t win… but I caught up to within in a point or two of the others…

20 December 2017 – Just Desserts and Star Realms

Somehow a week flew by before we got another game on the table… It was a busy week for the kitchen renos, I think… December is really all a blur of Kitchen renos, dizziness and screwy-head-feelings… Actually, now that I think about it, that was the week my doctor put me on some new medication and I pretty much slept for the week…

We started off with some Star Realms and I crushed the kids little star empires! This pic was taken halfway through the game – I drew a hand of entirely starter cards!?

Next The Girl convinced us to play Just Desserts. Apparently my café only sold desserts made with fruit and NO CHOCOLATE!? WTF!? The Girl won with five different customers of different suits/colours – I had only just satisfied my second customer… Finnegan was one away from winning as well. No love for the fruit desserts with no chocolate…

22 December 2017 – Just Desserts, Kingdomino, Hanging Gardens

We played Hanging Gardens in the afternoon – it was fun – we hadn’t played it in a while.

The Girl got off to a quick start picking up two of the red queen tiles completing a set for 15 points in the first few turns of the game! After that she slowed considerably and Finnegan and I caught up…

I ended up doing really well – managing to collect up three full sets. My final score: 64! I think Finnegan and The Girl were in the 30s or 40s… If I’d only gotten a second Tiger it would have been another 15 points.

My mom stopped by for a bit and we played a few games with her – starting with Kingdomino.

My final kingdom – so many non-scoring-tiles… at least it was complete and the castle was in the middle – which pleased my little OCD brain. 32 points…?

Finnegan built this wondrous kingdom with a super-moat around his castle! 80 points!

The Girls Kingdom 28 points?

My mom did okay – but the picture I took of her kingdom was so completely out of focus I couldn’t really even see how many crowns she had…

After Kingdomino we played a couple games of Just Desserts.

23 December 2017 – Race for the Galaxy

we palyed a pretty epic game of Race for the Galaxy in the evening before we started watching The Magicians Season One. I took a pile of pictures of us playing the game and the epic star emprie I built… except I didn’t really, because there was no memory card in my camera… Oh, sure there’s a little black bar across the top of the screen that says “No Memory Card” – but who’s looking at that when they’re trying to take pictures. My previous camera simply wouldn’t allow me to even TRY and take pictures if there wasn’t a memory card – the entire screen would be black with white words across the middle proclaiming “NO MEMORY CARD”. The new one operates just like it does when there is a memory card – you can focus and zoom in and it even makes the clicky sound when you THINK you’re taking a picture!? So annoying….

24 December 2107 – Splendor, Red Dragon Inn, Loonacy

WE traditionally go over to my folks on Xmas eve for the evening. The kid and I might go earlier in the late afterenoon and Amanda joins us around super time – despite the fact that they let everyone off work at noon, she insists on staying a few more hours “just to finish up some things…” Well she couldn’t this year as Xmas even fell on a Sunday – so we all pedaled over there for lunch just after noon. After a pretty mild December, the temperatures plummeted and the windchill was down in the -30/-40°C range.

Years ago we kind of had three days of Xmas – Xmas Eve at my folks, Xmas day at my sisters, and then Boxing day at our place. But after a couple years of that we were getting sick of each other by the third day and no one wanted to get together and would rather hit the boxing day sales… So now it’s just my folks place on Xmas eve.


My sister will only do puzzles. She refuses play games. In just as we were about to bust out the board games, she left.

Amanda, my mom, The Girl, and I tried out Splendor – which my folks had gotten for Amanda. (Finnegan was too busy reading through the cards of his new Red Dragon Inn and Legendary expansions).

Initially my mom was off to a commanding lead with just the points on the gem cards!

Ultimately I nabbed three nobles and won the game.

Later Finnegan tried running my Dad and Amanda through a game of Red Dragon Inn with the new expansion he got.

My dad ended up toddling off to bed before they finished the game. The Girl was knocked out of the game and I can’t remember who won…? I think I may have been Amanda.

Loonacy! One more game after supper. 

My folks got me a copy of Terraforming Mars, but I figured it might be a bit dense for them. I was also tired and not in any condition to read the rules (I’ve never played it – Amanda played it at ToonCon and loved it, but couldn’t remember how to play…)

25 December 2017 - Railways of the World, Splendor, 7 Wonders

Santa left some 7 Wonders cards in Amanda’s stocking! (the Leaders Anniversary Pack)

While everyone else was opening presents, she sat a dn read throught the new cards and tried to figure out how they worked.

The kids got a copy of Stormcloud attack to share – I’m not sure if they’ll ever play it – we mostly got it because it was a really good deal on a Ork and Eldar flyer for each of their 40K forces.

Now I’M going to need to get some air support… Unfortunately, while the Ork and Eldar have dedicated air superiorty or ground attack craft available in plastic kits, the Astra Militarum only has transports (the Valkyrie – sure it’s got weapons on it… but it’s main roll is transport…). Of coruse Forge World has some nice Imperial Navy aircraft – but DAMN they’re pricey!! I do like the look of the Thunderbolt Heavy Fighter….

Later in the afternoon John and Brenda came over to play Railways of the World with us. Amanda and I set up too close to each other and ended upcompeting with each other for the limited space around the great lakes between Chigaco and the Appalachians. It was brutal – like a knife fight in a phonebooth. John and Finnegan were competing along the east coast. Brenda mostly stuck to the southeast. The Girl pretty much owned everything out west – completing one of the major lines from New Orleans to Minneapolis, I think she ended up winning the game – mostly because she (as always) had very few bonds at the end of the game…

After John and Brenda left we had to play a game of 7 Wonders with our new Leaders – who all happen to be women. Amanda wanted to play with JUST the new leaders, but as there were only 15 and we needed 16 for a four-player game, I fished out the other female leaders from the original expansion and shuffled them in together before dealing leaders out.

I had Rhodes and totally crushed the science – 53 points worth or it (because I had a leader that gave an additional science of the type you have the most of!) but it wasn’t nearly enough to keep up with Amanda’s far more diversified city!!

Later we played another game of Splendor so Finnegan cold try it out.

This game Amanda won – and I don’t think she even claimed any nobles!? She did it all with points on gem cards!?

26 December 2017 – Churchill

On Boxing Day Amanda headed out east. Originally, she’d planned to spend the week with us organizing the new kitchen and playing games. But then a few days before the Holidaze began she got an email from the husband of her friend Kari - an old college friend - asking her to contact him and later found out she is dying of cancer. Though they had kind of fallen out of touch the last couple years they had been in a co-op program together and for four years pretty much ate, slept, worked and lived together. When they finished their program they toured Australia and New Zealand together on bikes. Kari even moved out to Saskatchewan and worked in Regina for a few years at the U of R – so I met her on a number of occasions and we even went on a couple of camping trips together. It was 20 years ago this xmas that Amanda flew down to Florida to got to Kari’s wedding! So when she heard her friend was dying she kind of just knew she had to go out and visit. Luckily She’s now living in Michigan – just two hours from where Amanda’s folks live in Windsor and only an hour from where Amanda’s sister lives in Michigan. So Tuesday morning she flew off and oru plans totally changed.

Originally on Boxing day (after going to the Dragon’s Den Games Bosing day sale) I was going to head over to Brent’s to play our semi-annual game of Angola with Brent, Kurtis and John… but then John couldn’t make it and Amanda was away and I didn’t want to ditch the kids for a full 8 hours… (Angola’s a LONG game). Kurtis and Brent came over to our place and instead of Angola they Brought Churchill.

We started off with “The Training Scenario” because I’ve never played before. This is normally the last three rounds of the full game (which is normally played over 10 rounds)… except we only played two and the war ended with both Germany and Japan surrendering!

After sucesffully getting through that we decided to play the full campaign game!

It's a very LONG game, so at some point halfway through I made some supper for everyone – trying to play between making quesadillas.

Churchill is a totally fascinating game. Three players take on the roles of the heads of state of the three major allied powers in World War Two (Churchill, Staling and Roosevelt/Truman – I played Roosevelt). There are two parts to each round – first is the conferences – representing the conferences the three had throughout the war to plan the coming months and years of the conflict. There are different issues to be debated - through play of cards - which moves issue markers on tracks towards or away from the respective leaders. Whoever wins the most issues at each conference gains victory points and each issue won somehow effects how the war plays out. So you do have to cooperate to some degree to actually WIN the war, but each had their own agenda and other things they score victory points for.

It was pretty dense, and most of the time I felt like I had NO IDEA what I was doing or what the outcome of different decisions would be… but the process was totally engrossing. If I had unlimited time at my disposal, I’d love to play this every day for a week or two and really get into it and figure it all out because I think it would be a great educational game to play with the kids to teach them about the politics going on behind the planning of the war – but I’d really have to know the game inside-out to be able to run them through a game and be able to explain all of the options open to them and what different decisions could mean for the game in the long run…

27 December 2017 – Splendor, Forbidden Island, Carcassonne

On the 27th our friend and neighbor Laura came over to try playing games with us in the afternoon. She hasn’t really played a lot of games but thought she’s like to have a go after seeing pictures I’d posted on Facebook.

We started with Splendor – because it’s pretty easy and also new to us so we haven’t really figured out the best strategies ourselves.

I’m not sure that’s the best plan for teaching a game to a new player. It seems like it might level the playing field, but as we’ve played LOTS of other games before, we do figure out games a lot quicker than people who haven’t played many before. Also I do like pointing out strategies and options to new players and as I was just trying to figure them out as we played I was unable to do so.

Afterwards we played a game of Forbidden Island.

Holy Crap it was a close one – we all JUST got to the helicopter pad as the last of the island sunk into the sea around us! Whew!

28 December 2017 – Kingdom Builder, 878 Vikings, Nations

On Thursday Kurtis came back in the afternoon to play a couple of games with me and the kids. 

First we played Kingdom Builder. Kingdom Builder is actually the first game I ever played with Kurtis three years ago at ToonCon. He apparently bought it after that and played it with his partner Shannon, but found it wasn't a really good two player game... 

After that we tried 878 Vikings!  This was a fun game of the Viking invasions of the 9th Century England. It is made by Academy Games - who also make 1775:  and 1812: Invasion of Canada (which we own and have played together) and shares a lot of the same game mechanics. 

Finnegan and I played the English (Finnegan the Huscarls, and I played the Fyrd). Kurtis and The Girl played the invading Norse. 

Rather than invading York first, as the Vikings did historically, they went straight for London! 

(Though a later invasion did conquer York for a time...)

The Mother -of-all-Battles in Winchester! 

Unfortunately we had to call it at Round Five as Kurtis had to run home and make supper for his family. The writing was on the wall for the Norse, however - Finnegan and I had been pretty successful at clearing most of them out of England by that time. There were more invasions to come, but we had it looking pretty much as it did at the beginning of the game... and on Round Five we would have gotten our own leader! 

Later in the evening Kurtis came back and played a game of nations with us and Other Tim. Kurtis, Other Tim and I played at Prince Level and the kids played at Chieftan Level. I had Persia, Other Tim had Portugal... I can't remember who the others had - Kurtis might have played Venice...? The Girl might have had Japan...? In my last few games I've tried playing China and just taking more people every round and ignoring military and just building up tonnes of stability... It has not yet worked for me. I took a totally different approach and went big into military - buying up War Elephants in the first round and snatching up a few colonies. I did okay. Ended up in third. Finnegan took the win, followed closely by Other Tim and myself. 

29 December 2017 – Hive and Nautilus

The Girl brought Hive to me in the morning and asked if I'd play. We hadn't played in a long time. Took a while to remember how to play. Then I won. She didn't want to go another round. 

In the afternoon Brent came back to teach us how to play Nautilus. The game was originally his, but he brought it to Freezerburn to put in the prize pile and I ended up winning it.

It's actually quite a fun little game - so many things to try and balance, it seemed a little overwhelming at times. Eventually I kind of figured out what I was doing and balanced out things...

...and kind of ended up winning. I felt like I was floundering most of the game but in the last few rounds I had an "ah-ha" moment and pulled it together. I'd hoped we might have had time to play it with Amanda after she got back today... but then we didn't

30 December 2017 – Tales from the Loop …?

We were supposed to play Tales from the Loop on Saturday... 

Since Emily's folks were in town and could take care of the kids we were going to play at our place and I was all ready with snap and everything... Then Christian and Maeve weren't able to make it and Amanda was still out of town (which is HALF the players) and I was just beat - so tired and had a HUGE headache (I'd actually had it most of the week and it just wore me out - today is the first day I've almost felt normal since before Xmas...). So we just hung out and chatted and that was nice.

Hopefully we'll get to finish off the Mystery NEXT Saturday, then I think I'm going to throw in the towel and try to get a different game going on... 

31 December 2017 - Splendor

Amanda flew back from her quick trip to Ontario and Michigan this morning. She's pretty beat too. I've had a few funny-(not-so-funn)-head moments today - but not the headache I've had ALL WEEK and no dizzy spells - so things are looking up! I did a bit of work on my Shadowsword and then we played a quick game of Splendor.

I'm starting to get this game figured out...

I'd like to play with some people that actually know what they're doing and see how they play... 

Tonight we're going to have a pretty quite evening at home - The Girlz are watching The Magicians Season One - I wanted to watch this, but they didn't want to wait for me to finish, so I'm going to join them when I'm done. 

Tomorrow we're heading to Kurtis and Shannons for the day to play boardgames over there and eat some Veggie Chilli. Should but fun (and tasty!).

Skewl and kids activities don't get started for another week - so we've arranged a few days for friends of the kids to come over and play games a few days this week and Friday is Finnegan's 14th birthday(!) and he's planned an entire day of gaming with friends for his party.

Hope you all have a joyous and wonderful new year - thanks for stopping by and reading through the blog - if you got this far... wow... I'd have just stopped and looked at the pictures... Seriously, don't you have something better to do on New Years? 

If you haven't yet, check out to see what's in store for this next year at the Game Plan 2018 post. 

Speaking of plans for the new year... I’ve been doing these monthly boardgame round-ups all year. Should I keep up with it? Does anyone care? Just stick with the miniatures and the game reports (hasn’t been very many of those this past year…)?