New to Me – July 2017

It was a fairly lean month for new games, which involved me missing one of my game days due to illness.

But four is not a bad number! I love doing a mix of old favourites and “new to me” games. But I’m not “Cult of the New.” It doesn’t have to be a new game necessarily. Just new to me.

As you can see from a 4-year old game on my list!

Once again, there is one semi-brain burner on my list. It seems that I always have to challenge myself at least a little bit.

It’s also my favourite new game of the month.

So let’s get to the good stuff.

Great Western Trail (2016 – Stronghold Games) – 1 Play

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Funnily enough, the first of two Alexander Pfister-designed games on my July play list. I had no idea I had become a fan!

This is a game that combines a lot of other game mechanics into a meaty whole.

(Oh, stop groaning out there. You know you liked that)

In Great Western Trail, you are taking cattle to market and selling it.

You start with a deck of cows…I mean cards. That represent cows.

You are a rancher who is making a number of trips to Kansas City in order to sell these cows, but on the way you are doing a bunch of other stuff.

You can build buildings that will let you do even more stuff. You can extend the reach of your train so you can get your cows further along, maybe even all the way to San Francisco! You can extend your train even longer and score even more points.

There’s too much to explain in a pithy little “new to me” post. Maybe if I actually get the game, I’ll do a full review and rules explanation.

But I will tell you that the number of choices in this game are enough to make your brain hurt.

And I love that there are multiple avenues to victory. If you try to spread yourself too thin and dip your toes into all of them, then you are likely to lose.

There’s the Cowboy strategy (sounds like somebody deciding how they’re going to use Tinder), the Train strategy, the Building Strategy, and the Cow strategy (which is kind of similar to the Cowboy strategy, and may also be a Tinder reference).

And probably more that I haven’t even heard of.

This is a fascinating game, but be warned. It can be quite long, especially for your first few plays.

Especially when you’re playing one of the rules wrong.

Anyway, really want to play this again, and glad that I finally got a chance!

Epic Spell Wars: Rumble at Castle Tentakill (2015 – Cryptozoic Games) – 1 Play

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This is the standalone expansion to Epic Spell Wars: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre which adds a few twists to that fun card game.

The basic rules are the same as in the previous version (so I’m not going to go into them here), but this expansion adds a couple of things.

First, there’s blood. No, sorry, there’s Blood.

Capitalization is important.

Anyway, Blood lets you do additional things sometimes when you cast spells. For example, a card may let you target a random foe, but if you spend 3 Blood, you can target all foes. It’s a resource that carries over once you’ve died. It doesn’t reset to zero when the next game hits.

The second thing it adds is Creatures. The Delivery (third card in a 3-card spell) components of most spells in this expansion are also Creatures. When you cast your spell, there is a chance that the Creature will remain in front of you after you discard the rest of your cards. This means you can use it next turn as part of your spell, in addition to the up-to-three cards you already are using.

This can be quite powerful.

Finally, there’s the standee, which in the first game had no purpose whatsoever. In this game it does! It can help you gain Blood and it also has some uses for some of the cards in your spells.

All of this adds some interesting twists to the game, and if I had to choose between the two, this is the Epic Spell Wars I would choose to play. The variety is definitely a bonus.

But it’s still too long for what it is.

We played the “quick play” variant that’s in the rulebook, which added its own confusion.

This variant just has you play three games, and whoever has killed the most wizards at the end of the third game wins.

But there are cards that reference Last Wizard Standing tokens and they aren’t awarded in the variant. Are these cards effectively useless?

(Thankfully, doing this post made me actually go to Boardgame Geek and look, which I’m surprised I didn’t do at the time. Designer Matt Hyra clarified that LWS tokens are still awarded as normal to the winner of each game, and those are what count for the cards)

Anyway, fun game. Glad I own it. Definitely don’t need both, though.

Oh My Goods! (2015 – Mayfair Games) – 2 plays

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My second Alexander Pfister game! And both played on the same day. I don’t know if that’s destiny or what.

I’ve heard so many good things about this game that I’ve always wanted to try it.

And we liked it so much (and it is so quick) that we played it twice.

This is a game where you are basically using goods from your starting goods card in order to build other cards that will also give you other (and hopefully better) goods.

Lather, rinse, repeat, until you have 8 buildings built.

It doesn’t sound like much, but yet it was such a blast to play. When you can get a nice chain of goods going (this building produces this good, which chains into this other building that uses that good to produce this even better good, etc), it can be a thing of beauty.

So needless to say that never happened for me.

But it was fun to watch!

It plays quickly, probably within 30-45 minutes. And it’s fun enough to play multiple times if you are waiting for people.

Rise of Augustus (2013 – Hurrican) – 1 play

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No, that is not misspelled. It is “Hurrican” Games.

This is Roman Bingo with some strategy.

Which is not a bad thing!

Little Known Historical Fact: The Romans expanded by drawing tiles from a bag and taking over provinces once they had the right tiles out.

It’s true! Check Wikipedia.

Anyway, this is not a deep game. It’s feather-light, and literally is Bingo with some added mechanisms (Grandma always liked completing the Bingo card that made everybody else rip up one of their already-completed ones…she was pretty badass)

But yet it’s fun.

Not if you’re in the mood for something to really think about, but as a quick filler with a little bit of substance, it is definitely up there.

So what new games did you play last month?

What do you think of these games?

Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

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