Sagrada: A Dicey Challenge

Title: Sagrada
Players: 1-4 (5-6 with expansion)
Play Time: 30-45 minutes
Designer: Adrian Adamescu, Daryl Andrews
Publisher: Floodgate Games
Year: 2017

Sagrada uses brightly colored dice to fill a grid. The game concept was inspired by the stained glass windows of the famous church in Spain. There is a drafting mechanism (picking dice) and there are placement rules (details below) and both hidden and public goals. In this review I’m going to talk about both the base game and the expansion, since we have played with both. The expansion adds support for a fifth and/or sixth player, in addition to providing additional cards, dice, and a dice tray that they might as well have left out. I had previously written up my first impression of Sagrada; this review will provide more details about the components, the rules, and the game play experience. Continue reading “Sagrada: A Dicey Challenge”

Zoom For Games

Covid sucks. I have barely been able to get out of the house. On the plus side, my car insurance company gave me a rebate, so there’s that…

But what do we do about social events like board games? How does that work? I have played games with my sister (remote in Colorado) as well as local friends (local meaning each in our own houses, they just happen to be our normal board game partner family). As we have played I have slowly figured out some things that help (or hurt) the board game experience, so I thought I would share. Continue reading “Zoom For Games”

Session Report: Defenders of the Realm, How Many Ways To Lose?

Defenders of the Realm
Defenders of the Realm
I was introduced to this game a few weeks ago by a gaming friend at a local game store. That was when we were able to gather in public and all that. (Future readers are going to wonder what that means…) After playing it once, I bought it. All of it. 😛 A few nights after the game arrived, I played solo for the first time. I wasn’t sure if in playing solo I should pick multiple characters or a single character. I decided to go with just one.

Disclaimer: This was my first solo game, so I missed some rules. Doesn’t matter, still had a blast! Continue reading “Session Report: Defenders of the Realm, How Many Ways To Lose?”

First Impression: Defenders of the Realm

Defenders of the Realm
Defenders of the Realm

Our Liege is in desperate hour! From what grievous cause have these accursed races arisen? Orcs, Dragons, Demons and the Dead make haste towards Monarch City. The King and Countryside of Monarch City is in need of valiant Heroes!

Will you answer the King’s call?

Defenders of the Realm is a 1-4 player game that definitely feels like it was inspired by Pandemic. Cooperative game? Check. Collecting card sets of the same color? Check. Special / unique player abilities? Check. Escalating threat levels as the game progresses? Check. Multiple ways to lose, with only one way to win? Check.

Dragons? No, dragons are not in Pandemic, and of course they are super-way cool. 😎

Side note: I wanted to write this entire post using the Comic Sans font, but WordPress would not let me. Something about the ’90s called and took their font back… Continue reading “First Impression: Defenders of the Realm”

2020 10×10 Challenge Progress

Last year I learned about something called at “10×10” or “ten-by-ten” challenge. The premise is simple. At the beginning of the year, pick ten games. Play each at least ten times each over the coming 12 months. I initially set up only nine games because I wanted to leave one spot open for a “yet to be determined” game (more on that below).

It’s the end of March, how am I doing so far? Continue reading “2020 10×10 Challenge Progress”

Heroes of the Aturi Cluster (Part II)

Heroes of the Aturi Cluster User Manual Cover
Heroes of the Aturi Cluster
Wow, I completely forgot about this. A long time ago (in a galaxy right here) I wrote a post about “Heroes of the Aturi Cluster” which is a fan-made campaign expansion for X-Wing Miniatures Game. I talked about my Y-Wing pilot “Rover” and the abilities he had by the end of the campaign. What I didn’t talk about was how the Imperial side worked, and I’ll address that now, as well as talk about the overview of how the campaign works. Continue reading “Heroes of the Aturi Cluster (Part II)”

Game Review: Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island
Title: Forbidden Island
Players: 1-4
Play Time: 30 Minutes
Designer: Matt Leacock
Publisher: Gamewright (et al)
Year: 2010

Forbidden Island was one of many games that I learned about by watching the TableTop channel on YouTube. It is a cooperative game where 1-4 players try to move around an island attempting to retrieve four special relics, each representing one of the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Technically it’s sold as a 2-4 player game, but you could easily play this by yourself. There are six roles that are randomly assigned to start the game. Each role has one special ability that I’ll cover a bit later.

If you don’t read any further, here’s the important part: I definitely enjoy this game, and find that it’s a fantastic way to introduce the idea of cooperative gaming to those who haven’t played that style before. (It’s much easier to explain and faster to play than Pandemic, for example, another cooperative game from the same designer.) Adding in the alternate island layouts (details later) has kept this game in my rotation for quite some time.

I don’t like the metal tin. But I can get over that. 😉 Continue reading “Game Review: Forbidden Island”

In My Collection: Abstract Games

I like abstract games! What does that mean! What is an abstract game! Why am I using the exclamation point for questions! 😛

Board Game Geek defines Abstract Games as follows:

An abstract strategy game is a strategy game that minimizes luck and does not rely on a theme. Almost all abstract strategy games will conform to the strictest definition of: a gameboard, card, or tile game in which there is no hidden information, no non-deterministic elements (such as shuffled cards or dice rolls), and (usually) two players or teams taking a finite number of alternating turns.

Wikipedia uses the following definition:

An abstract strategy game is a strategy game in which the theme is not important to the experience of playing. Many of the world’s classic board games, including chess, Go, checkers and draughts, xiangqi (Chinese chess), shogi (Japanese chess), Reversi (marketed as “Othello”), nine men’s morris, and most mancala variants, fit into this category.

When I was growing up I played a lot of standard games like Sorry and Risk and Monopoly. As a teenager I grew to hate Trivial Pursuit. 😛 I also played checkers, chess, and tic-tac-toe. And I liked puzzles. Not jigsaw puzzles, but math or physical puzzles. As my interest in board games was rekindled I learned about an entirely new (to me) category of abstract games. Continue reading “In My Collection: Abstract Games”

Beyond Chess Revisited

Beyond Chess Components
Beyond Chess Components
A while back I wrote about how I encountered the game called Beyond Chess. I don’t get the game out every month, but it is a regular fixture when I teach the Chess merit badge, and it has also been on a couple of trips. What fascinates me the most, I guess, is how little information there is about the game on the Internet. There is almost no discussion on Board Game Geek and the original web site is defunct. Even the “wayback machine” (aka the Internet Archive) doesn’t have anything useful! There is nothing on Amazon, and as I write this there is one active listing on eBay (asking price: $39.95) and nothing in the 90 day sales history.

Not too long ago I was in Denver and I stopped by one of my favorite stores: Black and Read. What did I find? I found another copy of Beyond Chess! But with a twist! Continue reading “Beyond Chess Revisited”