First Impression: Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars Box
Terraforming Mars
Some games have a theme with a very small scope. (I’m looking at you, “Patchwork.”) Some games have a grand tapestry of material to draw from. (Welcome to the table “X-Wing.”) And then there is Terraforming Mars — a game that spans multiple generations as players attempt to convert the planet Mars into an area suitable for human habitation. What a cool concept!

I first heard about this game because, well, everyone on Board Game Geek was talking about it. It’s still in the top 20 of “The Hotness” side banner as I write this. Being a science nerd as well as a game geek it felt like a good fit. I bought it, and then bought expansions, then watched some “How It’s Played” videos…then put the game back on the shelf.

Where was the fun in that? Continue reading “First Impression: Terraforming Mars”

Bargain Disappointment

There are several Half Price Books stores in our area, which I like. I like to read, I like to listen to music, I like to watch movies, and I like board games. They have all of these things. They buy used and resell, but they also sell new items on occasion as well. (For example, right now they’re carrying the board game Scythe and Sagrada and others still in shrink wrap.)

This past week was one of their thrice-yearly progressive sales. They start with a 20% off a single item coupon for Monday and Tuesday, move to 30% off a single item for Wednesday and Thursday, graduate to 40% off a single item on Friday and Saturday, and finish with a 50% off coupon (again, a single item) for Sunday. I will frequently visit several stores early in the week to scope out what is available, and if possible; I will even put items on hold to purchase later in the week. (They will hold items for up to three days.) It’s a great way to get bargains, and since we have about a dozen stores in our area the selections are often quite good.

This week my take included a copy of Overlords of Infamy still in shrink-wrap, a copy of the third edition of Red November, a copy of Mastermind that was brand new, a copy of an interesting Hawaiian-themed game called Haleakala that has superb quality components, and among a few other things a copy of Nuns on the Run.

I had tried to buy a copy of Nuns earlier this year on a different edition of the progressive sale, but someone beat me to it. (That’s when I learned if there is something I want, I need to put it on hold.) This time I found it and picked it up on a 40% day, which was still a bargain considering what it typically goes for on eBay.

Unfortunately the story does not end well. I opened the game this evening to do an inventory, and two of the cards were missing. Nope, wait; one of them was just stuck in the manual. But the other card was definitely missing. I even had my wife come look through the box and make sure. Oh well, I do have the receipt and I will return it. And I still picked up some interesting new additions to my game collection.

Oh, and I got to play Scythe again this weekend! But that’s a story that I haven’t even begun to tell, so I’ll provide details on that later.

First Impression: Patchwork

My wife loves to quilt. That’s not normally the way I would introduce a board game post, but in this case it’s relevant. There are styles of games my wife likes to play, and styles of games she is less comfortable / interested in. If I can find something that she likes, the odds of being able to play it go up! It also helps if it’s short. Patchwork fits all of those criteria. Continue reading “First Impression: Patchwork”

Game Day Lunch: Carcassone + Azul

I had forgotten how fun Carcassonne is. It’s a fairly simple tile-laying worker-placement game that takes less than ten minutes to teach. Today I introduced our Game Day Lunch crew to this game, as none of them had played before.

Carcassonne is an actual city in France, with a history that dates base thousands of years. It has been at times under Celtic, Roman, Spanish and of course French control. The architecture of the city influenced the graphics of the game. None of this impacts how the game is played, but it’s fun to know. Continue reading “Game Day Lunch: Carcassone + Azul”

Father’s Day Fun

“A good friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body.”
— Steven J. Daniels

Love Letter Premium
Love Letter Premium
Yesterday we helped some friends move. Today the same friends came over and we had a much less stressful afternoon for Father’s Day. We played several games of Welcome to the Dungeon along with a session of Love Letter. I had picked up a premium edition of “Love Letter” essentially by accident, but it sure is pretty. Normally with this group of friends we like to play Pandemic or Dead of Winter but after a long day moving boxes around it was nice to have something simple.

Good times. 😎

First Impression: Sagrada

Tonight we pulled out Sagrada — a game that we picked up after our pleasant experience with Azul. Sagrada is a similar game in that you are picking (drafting) things and placing them on a grid. Both games are also based on historical elements: Azul is based on Portuguese wall tiles, and Sagrada is inspired by famous stained glass windows in Spain from the church of the same name.

Sagrada is different (more complex) in that the items you’re drafting are dice with different colors and numbers. How does it look? How does it play? After two games I’m now ready to at least write up my first impressions. A first impression post is written after only a few plays. A full-fledged review will come after longer experience with the game. Continue reading “First Impression: Sagrada”

Weekend Gaming Session Report

Dead of Winter Cover Art
Dead of Winter
Our regular gaming friends came over today for a weekend gaming session. We played one game of Hellapagos, a game of Azul, five rounds of Codenames with the kids, and we ended the evening with a couple of fast games of Skulls. Our longer afternoon game was Shadows Over Camelot and our evening game was Dead of Winter. For DoW we attempted “Home Sweet Home” on easy mode.

Spoiler alert: We did not make it. Continue reading “Weekend Gaming Session Report”

Azul – A Beautiful Mosaic

Title: Azul
Players: 2-4
Play Time: 30-45 minutes
Designer: Michael Kiesling
Publisher: Next Move / Plan B
Year: 2017

Azul is one of the newest games in my (ever-growing) collection, and I can already tell I am going to be bugging my friends to play it. It seems deceptively simple, but I’m sure there are nuances and depth that I’ve not yet discovered. If not, well, I bet I will have played the game often enough to make it worthwhile. Continue reading “Azul – A Beautiful Mosaic”

Game Night! How To Transport Games…

I love Game Night. Or even Game Day Lunch. We don’t have nearly enough of them, unfortunately. When we do, we are not always the host. That spawns the question: Where are we going to play? What games do we want to play? How are we going to transport them? Wait, that was actually three questions.  😉 Today I’m going to post about options I’ve tried for carrying games, other than this:

Armored Truck
Armored Truck

Continue reading “Game Night! How To Transport Games…”


Fury Of Dracula
Fury Of Dracula
As detailed previously, I picked up a game called Fury of Dracula essentially by accident. I bought the 3rd edition. A 4th edition was just released but by a new publisher. What the new publisher did really well (and frankly I was quite impressed) was they spent time reading and talking to folks on to review commonly debated issues and address them in the revised rule book. Fantastic idea!

The problems came about because the same level of attention was not given to the graphical elements of the board game. Oops. Continue reading “Oops!”