Monday, July 31, 2017

July 2017 Boardgames Round-up

This past month started out really good – we played games almost every day for the first week of the month… then things… well... tapered off a bit.

It’s summer, we’ve been getting out for a lot of bike rides!

1 July 2017 - Kingdomino/Race for the Galaxy

Over the long weekend in July my folks moved into a new condo. It was just down the hallway from the one they’ve been renting for the last year, so it wasn’t very far to move… but moving is moving.

We took a bit of a break on the afternoon of the first to play a quick game of Kingdomino. I thought I had it in the bag – because I ended up completely filling up my 5x5 grid – but The Girl beat both me and Finnegan – largely due to a vast region of grassland with 3 crowns in it! Each of those squares were worth 3 points each – that adds up quick!!

After getting home from my folks, in the evening, we played a game of Racefor the Galaxy.

I had a bit of an Imperium theme going on and had a BUNCH of military – which I pretty much NEVER do. It never seems as good as going for genes or alien stuff or setting up a little production/consumption engine and raking in the VPs through commerce. But it somehow worked for me – I got a 6-point development (I forget what it was called – that gave me a bunch of points and two high point rebel worlds and the Not-Death-Star.

2 July 2017 – Dominion: Intrigue

The kids and I played Dominion: Intrigue. We have lots of other Dominion sets, but I just wanted a quick game and so I just grabbed Intrigue and used one of the suggested sets (Victory Dance?). It was a bit longer that I’d hoped – I’d wanted a quick 30-40 minute game so we’d have time to watch a movie and get to bed at a reasonable hour, but I think the game was over an hour. Not sure if it was the mix of cards or because we haven’t played in a while…?

Counting up the points. I think I won…? The Girl was a close second and Finnegan wasn’t far behind.

3 July 2017 – Angola

John, Kurtis and Brent came over for the afternoon to play Angola. It was almost a year to the day (well, a year and one day) since we first played (we also played it 6 months ago over the xmas holidaze). Though we’ve always determined the sides randomly. Brent and I have always ended up with MPLA/FAPLA and Kurtis and John have always played together with UNITA and FNLA. This was the first time I’ve played the MPLA – the two previous games I’ve played the FAPLA.

One of my starting towns was Sa Da Bandeira, which was kind of cut off from the rest of my forces but directly blocked the road from South Africa (or Namibia?) – the UNITA staging area so I put as many troops as I could in there at the beginning and tried to hold on as long as I could. Eventually it fell and pretty much all the other towns I held… but I held onto Luanda and built a pretty MASSIVE column of troops there and in the last few turns broke out of there and, with the aid of Brent’s FAPLA, pretty much wiped out the FNLA forces in Angola. John held on in the centre and south of Angola and after 10 turns and SIX HOURS of playing… it was a draw. Some might find this outcome disappointing – but I just had a great time playing an interesting game with a great bunch of guys. There is a lot of back-and-forth in the game – just enough chaos and friction to keep you guessing as to how it’d going to turn out.

Amanda got home from a week in the U.S.A. and I’d hoped we’d get in a game as a family, but instead we watched Yoga Hosers…

4 July 2017 – Monarch

Had I been thinking a little further ahead I might have dug out 1775: Rebellion in honour of our neighbors Independence Day, alas…

Instead we played a quick game of Monarch. I started off with a couple of critters and got the Beastmaster. Finnegan looked like he was going for Wisdom and The Girl was going for Culture. I thought I might be able to pick up the dragon and the asp to add to my menagerie, but Finnegan swept the board (not just to deny them to me, he isn’t that much of a dick, there just wasn’t anything for him there…). but that brought out a trio of fantastic bounty cards – the one that allows you to buy them for less (cornucopia?), the one that gives you 2 points per bounty card (it’s a dress… the Harvest Dress? I can’t remember and I’m too lazy to look it up) and the one that gives you one point per bounty card (Ermine – also another animal) – all these bounty cards allowed me to claim the bounty banner – which gave another point per bounty card, so I was now getting FOUR points per bounty card in my court AND per bounty improvement – of which there were three or four!

Picking up those three cards ended the game and I scored 42 points.

Of course when Finnegan counted up HIS points he ALSO had 42!? The Girl had a very disappointing 16 points (she’s clobbered us at this before, so I don’t feel TOO bad about that…).

5 July 2017 – Pax Renaissance

I had hoped to play this with the kids in the afternoon – for some practice explaining the game to people that had never played, but we went for a bike ride

We actually had TWO four-player games of Pax Renaissance on at John’s. I was super excited about this as, so far, I’d only played three-player games – and they often seemed to turn out the same. Two players end up battling over one half of the map and the other wins in the other with an Imperial Victory.

I played with John, Kurtis, and Darrin. Kurtis had played before. John has played Pax Porfiriana and other Phil Eklund games. Darrin had no idea what he’d got himself into. Despite that, John nearly had an early Renaissance Victory – with England turned into a republic. Darrin then turned Aragon into a republic and stole England from John and nearly took the win, but never had quite enough Law Prestige. Four player games seem MUCH harder to win – as there are three other players messing with your stuff before you get another action. Anytime someone’s close – everybody dogpiles on. Darrin also came close to an Imperial Victory – he had FIVE kingdoms at one point (and at the time Kurtis and I two or three each – stealing stuff back and forth from each other) – though that ended up being the only victory card was never revealed by a comet.  Kurtis also came very close to a Religious Victory with Islam! So exciting seeing these other possibilities open up.

In the end it was me that won – on my turn ran Eastern Ops and campaigned from Hungary taking over Mamluk – giving me a second Patron Prestige point and then bought a card from the Eastern Market place – which revealed the last card in the market decks ending the game. It was a win for me, but if felt like a cheap one.

After six games I still feel like I’m just figuring stuff out. With this longer four-player games I actually got to try out a lot of new different things I’d never really tried before thus I feel like I learned a lot. Not that I think I’m some sort of Master of the Game – or necessarily all that good at it – but I had a lot of fun and I started to feel like maybe I’m starting to figure things out.

6 July 2017 – Retro Loonacy

Played a couple quick rounds of Retro Loonacy after supper before watching a few more episodes of The 100.

8 July 2017 – Die Macher

Saturday I made my way over to Brent’s to hide in his nice cool basement and play DieMacher
with Kurtis and Jason.

Die Macher a totally fascinating game of German electoral politics. Each player is a German political party trying to get their representatives elected in different regions of Germany. I know… it sounds like a yawner, but the play is really interesting and I’d love to play it more. Unfortunately as it takes about four hours to play, I doubt I’ll get to play it often enough to remember how to play, let alone ever figure out the strategy behind it…

16July 2017 – Compounded, Coup, Incan Gold

The following week our friends Kurtis and Shannon found themselves kidless and decided to have a game day. Amanda and I headed over there for the afternoon while out own kids were out at friends or my folks. Joel and Brent also joined us. 

The first game we played was Compounded. I’ve been wanting to try this game for some time. I actually own the game myself – I picked it up thinking it would be fun to play with them when we get to learning more about chemistry. As it turns out absolutely zero knowledge of chemistry is needed to actually PLAY the game… you can play it by just matching the colours of the necessary elements needed to form the various compounds… but some learning could be worked into it – even if it’s just recognizing the elements being used and the compounds they form.

The second game we played – that went so fast I didn’t even take a picture of it – was Coup. I don’t love Coup. It involves bluffing which I am terrible at. Playing with a larger number (6 – we have played it before with 3 or 4) and adults (only played it with the family before) was a bit better. I think it helped that I went last and could see what everyone else was trying to do. Still not a game I’m going to suggest to play… but I’ll probably play it from time to time.

The third game we played was Incan Gold. I can’t remember who won, but I did pretty good – mostly because I bailed before everyone else and actually GOT treasure while so many of the others pushed their luck and ended up losing out.

26 July 2017 – Nuclear War, Nuclear Escalation, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, etc.

I have not played Nuclear War in… I don’t know how many years. Could be 20…? And I have never played with any of the expansions (Nuclear Escalation, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of MassDestruction, or any of the promo cards or bonus packs or whatever…). John has them all and decided it was time to dig them all out and have a go.

I started the game with NO Propaganda cards at all – so things escalated to war pretty quickly – there were an awful lot of secrets though, I’m guessing a lot of them came in the expansions. There were also a lot of new delivery systems and warheads I hadn’t seen before. Despite the quick entry to war, it was one of the longer games of Nuke War I’ve ever played! People just could not get the combinations of delivery systems and warheads they needed! I think I was the third to get blown up… John actually made it past the propaganda round – which is unusual for him – and almost made it to the very end.

I’ll have to dig my copy out and play it with the kids sometime…

27 July 2017 Shadowrun: Crossfire

The girl bought Shadowrun: Crossfire early in the year with money she’d received from relatives for Xmas. She’s been wanting to play it since. Finnegan was in Drama “camp” all week, so this week became “Do Stuff With The Girl” week and I promised I’d sit down and help her figure it out. I know we’d watched a how to video some months ago, and I wasn’t really paying attention to it so I had no idea what was really going on and she’s not quite at the stage where she can read rules entirely on her own and explain them to others… So we watched a different how to video and it mostly made sense – sense enough that we dug out it out and popped out all the counters and… buy that time Finnegan was home from camp so we recruited him to play.


I played an elf. I think I was the “Faceman”. We lost. We played the basic starter scenario (I think it was just called “Crossfire”?) and I think we got to the second scene, but it very quickly went sideways. By the end of the first scene we were all down to one health and had no way to get it back (other than the one recovered at the end of the scene). At the beginning of Scene Two we suddenly had MORE and MEANER opponents and it was all over very quickly… Still, it seemed straightforward enough and with a little more familiarity with the cards and a bit more experience playing we might (and maybe a bit of LUCK) be able to beat it.


When Amanda got home in the evening we recruited her to try and play a game. We told her it would take less than an hour. The first game went fairly quickly and it seemed like once we knew what we were doing it could go faster. But now that we knew we needed to be a bit more coordinated, we spent more time contemplating how to go about overcoming each obstacle… and it ended up taking a lot more than one hour. And we still lost. The kids found that a bit discouraging. I think we made it to the Third Scene, though, so… better than we’d done the first time.

I think I played the female troll in the second game - again, the "Face" Role... 

I’ll definitely play it again and would like to try out the campaign! In the campaign you gain “karma” with successful missions and can improve your character with some sort of bonuses (haven’t really looked into it that much). Of course… it would require WINNING some games…

28 July 2017 – D&D 5E

Only game of D&D we got in all month…

I accidentally shot Amanda’s barbarian in the back with an arrow. I rolled a one for damage and she had to go and make a comment about it at least being a "wimpy" shot... I wasn't going to remind anyone that I to +7 DAMAGE with my bow... but she HAD to go and open her big mouth... (We all survived). 

That’s about it… Hopefully our game playing will pick up a bit in the fall… We’ll have to do the 30 Games in 30 Days Challenge again in September.


  1. Inspiring stuff, Tim! I am particularly intrigued with the Angola game.

    1. Thanks Dean! Angloa is a really interesting game. It's six hours of hard decisions. You have to pre-plan which of your brigades are going to move in which order each turn by laying out cards - so you have to kind of guess what everyone else is going to do. It's not so rigid that you have to indicate what they're going to do or anything, but you do have to lay down the cards and you can't look at them. You have to have a plan but you also have to be totally adaptable and be willing to flow with a ever changing situation. Was it Sun Tsu that said "The best laid plans never survive first contact with the enemy"? Yeah, you see that a LOT in Angola!