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ReviewThrift Treasure: The Racing Horse Game ( [The Racing Horse Game]Like| 0 comments | [+]
The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game Review | Board Games | Zatu Games UK image
ReviewThe Really Nasty Horse Racing Game Review | Board Games | Zatu Games UK ( [The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game]Like| 0 comments | [+]
Kickstarter Ending (2/28 - 3/6) [The Simple Spell Tracker, Jujo - Redux, Keep an Eye Out - Make 100, The Evils of Illmire: A Mini-Mega Hexcrawl Adventure Zine, #CultureTags™, Dump Que...]Like| 0 comments | [+]
My Top 5 Board games for two (My fave and me) [878: Vikings - Invasions of England, Odin's Ravens: A Mythical Race Game for Two Players, Azul, 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis, The Fox in the Fore...]Like| 4 comments | [+]
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Quite a game-filled week for me, although all online:

As mentioned below/above (no idea where my comment will appear), we finished another long running game of #Clans of Caledonia which I am a big fan of although it does melt my brain a little. Likewise played a couple of much shorter games of #Kingdom Builder which is a delightfully simple yet strategic game.

Also played #Luxor for the first time which was another lighter yet really interesting racing/set collection hybrid with some really nice mechanics. Maybe not one I would look to own but would love to play it again.

Tried #Santorini , also for the first time, and it is a delight. The BGA (Arena) version is 3D which is very cool and it is also a wonderfully simple yet tactical abstract thinker. I would love to own this one as I imagine playing it in person is joyous with the tiny buldings. 

Got in a couple of games of #Race for the Galaxy which is always a fun filler and continued my now fairly long running D&D campaign with some uni friends which this week involved a lot of beauracy and arguing with guards (as well as one almost unstoppable gnoll).

All in all a great week!

Oh boy! I'm a big Knizia fan  - we held a Kniziathon at our local gaming group, and we usually do an all-Knizia night around his birthday. :)

ALL-TIME GREATS (and I mean all-time great games by anyone, not just Knizia)

#Ra - Such a tense game that combines auctions, press-your-luck, and set collection. And you get to yell "RA!" :)

#High Society - An auction game with some similarities to Ra, but nastier. The "poorest person loses" rule and the reverse auctions for bad items are just so mean!


#Through the Desert - An area-control abstract that puts a lot of balls in the air - reaching oases, fencing off areas, putting out the most camels in a color. And it's very pretty!

#Taj Mahal - Very interesting hand-management game in which you are trying to build the best hand to win auctions. Feels like Euro Poker.

#Lost Cities Board Game  - Multiplayer #Lost Cities with racing on a variable-setup board. Play with the #Keltis rules!

#The Lord of the Rings - Seminal co-op that manages to achieve the feeling of a fellowship with a minimum of rules and chrome.


#Merchants of Amsterdam - Another Knizia auction/area control game - but with a Dutch Auction clock!

#Clash of the Gladiators - Possibly the most un-Knizialike game on the list... Dice rolling! Player elimination! Draft teams of gladiators and pit them against each other. If your gladiators die, you get to control the lions. :D


#Blazing Aces! A Fistful of Family Card Games , #Dice Games Properly Explained, #New Tactical Games with Dice and Cards - In addition to designing hundreds of board games, The Doctor has also written books about board games. All three of these are full of interesting insights into game design from a master - and they have games in them, too!

1.#Star Wars: Rebellion. The Galaxy is wide open. As the Empire you are working on the ultimate weapon and are poised to eliminate the pesky rebel scum. As the Rebels you are well hidden and the Galaxy is full of opportunity to thwart evil and restore peace and justice to the Galaxy. 

2.#Star Wars: Rebellion. Space and ground conflicts are tense. You aren't quite sure if the Empire has located the Rebel base. Perhaps a couple of planets have been destroyed by the Death Star. The imperial war machine is ramping up. Maybe Chewbacca has been frozen in Carbonite. Perhaps Luke Skywalker is still farming moisture on Tatooine. 

3.#Star Wars: Rebellion.  Most likely the Empire knows where the rebel base is and is racing to move fleets there to destroy it. Perhaps they discovered it with a token force and the rebels fight a desperate battle to give them enough time to relocate. The rebels are frantically trying to complete a few more missions that will tip the balance and generate enough support to overthrow the Empire. It might come down to one final turn. One final battle to determine the fate of the Galaxy. 

These would be my picks…

Scott Almes: I have played a few of his Tiny Epic Games, but I would have to go with #Claim. This trick-taker keeps the player on their toes due to each suit (race) having a different ability. With each expansion/standalone the variety and replay ability increases.

Ted Alspach: I would go with #Castles of Mad King Ludwig (#Suburbia is second for me). Nothing like bidding on the next crazy addition of this work in progress castle. I’m sure I am not alone when I say I can’t wait for a deluxe version of this.

Antoine Bauza: #Ghost Stories. My favorite co-op. Love the theme and its brutal difficulty. Damn those hopping vampires.

Bernd Brunnhofer: probably best known for #Stone Age, but for my pick I would have to go with the engine/tableau builder #St. Petersburg. The last time this was reprinted by ZMAN which added some extras (like the market), but I would have loved to have picked up the older version with the artwork that was closer ascetically to the time period when the game was set.

Richard Borg: Honestly, I haven’t played many from Borg. I owned and played the rummy variant #Wyatt Earp and #Thunder & Lightning. I no longer own either.

Inka & Markus Brand: Lots of admiration goes to this power couple. For my money, #Village is their best. What other game allows you to kill off your workers? People say Euros are not thematic, I say check out Village.

Tony Boydell: #Snowdonia hands down. It is one of the few games where the dummy player is not limited to two players. Plus the weather mechanic is nifty. I admit I wanted to like #Guilds of London, but the iconography made it a bear to learn and teach.

Richard Breese: Can’t think of a standout here.

Bruno Cathala: Strangely I feel that this designer does his best work with others. For my pick it would have to be #Abyss which was co-designed with Charles Chevallier. Aside from the artwork, the game does have a lot of neat mechanisms attached to it (press your luck, hand management, and set collection). I will say the game needs the #Abyss: Leviathan to cover what I feel is its weakest points (monster track).

Matthias Cramer: #Rococo which Kind of cheating because it was a co-design with Stephan and Louis Malz. Deckbuilding with area majority. My masculinity is not threatened by dress making. I kinda of regret getting rid of my first printing, but grad school is expensive and I have kids to feed. I did pick up the deluxe version.

Carl Chudyk: I feel like every one of his designs attempts to be like #Glory To Rome. Glory to Rome was the first game after playing CCG/TCG that got me hooked. Every card in this game seems overpowered and the lead follow mechanism is brilliant.

John Clowdus: Known for his small card games, which often seem a bit too similar in my opinion. I will have pick #Omen: A Reign of War. Game is a tug of war race that feels close to a CCG/TCG.

John D. Clair: I’ve played two of his designs: #Mystic Vale and #Space Base. I played a lot of vale via app. I did think it was a gimmicky deck builder at first (card crafting), but the press your luck aspect of corruption is quite fun. I will say that Space Base fixes what I hated about Machi Koro.

Rüdiger Dorn: #Istanbul (not Constantinople). Pick up and deliver mixed with wheelbarrow racing. Favorite aspect is the family member that is constantly incarcerated.

Stefan Dorra: Probably best known #For Sale. For my pick I’ll go with the abstract #Medina (second edition). Basically the most interesting thing about this is how each player plays a game of chicken regarding claiming parts of the city.

Phil Eklund: Haven’t played a ton from him, but I do like #Pax Porfiriana. The Eklunds have a knack for building games that can make a historian swoon.

Steve Finn: King of the fillers. #Biblios is my favorite here. Mix drafting and an auction and you get this game. Will note that is the first game I played with my (now) wife before we started going out. This game also made me realize that I am terrible at teaching rules.

Stephan Feld: I am a stickler for multi-use card games like #Bruges, but for this I have to go with #The Castles of Burgundy. Probably my favorite dice placement game and the very definition of point salad. Genius of how every aspect is so integrated.

Friedemann Friese: To be honest, I was not a huge fan of #Power Grid. Maybe because I was tired the first time I played it, maybe it was the people I played with. Played #Friday quite a bit. Honestly, I don’t think I ever won a game.

Jacob Fryxelius: n/a

Mac Gerdts: #Concordia. Honestly when this pandemic is over with I can’t wait to play this and Ra.

Hisashi Hayashi: Only played a few, but will have to say #Yokohama is our favorite. It is kinda like worker placement mixed with a mancala.

Steve Jackson: #Munchkin. I haven’t played a game of it in years, but I will say that #Munchkin Cthulhu is the best because of its alternate win/end condition. Game does have the tendency to go on like a bad rash.

Wolfgang Kramer: #El Grande. Pound for pound the best area control game. Needs 4 people to be playable.

Reiner Knizia: #Ra. Such a clever auction game with press your luck and set collection. This is a hard one for me as Knizia has a bunch of great designs.

Michael Kiesling: One of my grail games is #The Palaces of Carrara btw. I haven’t played #Azul enough, so my pick would be #Vikings. Haven’t played it in a bit, but how the auction wheel will move as tiles/Vikings are bought.

Richard Launius: I’ve played #Elder Sign a lot, but nothing else from him. Part of the appeal is the Lovecraftian lore (I am from RI after all). Co-op #Yahtzee is what this is. Game does need either the omen expansions like #Elder Sign: Omens of the Pharaoh Expansion or the #Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham Expansion to shine. Probably the only games we house rule as well. Game is technically over when all of the investigators die. Yeah, not doing that…

Scott Lang: Haven’t played enough to pick here.

Vital Lacerda: I own #Vinhos Deluxe, but have yet to play it. Mainly bought one of his titles due to Portuguese pride to be honest.

Daniele Tascini & Simone Luciani: #Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar. I was ready to chalk up the gears as a gimmick, but they are really an ingenious way to plan when and what a worker will get.

Thomas Lehmann: Much like Chudyk, I feel like most of his games are tableau builders like #Race for the Galaxy. I will say that this game works best with 2 and requires a bit of a commitment to get good at (I’ve played this over a 1000 times and I still suck at it). Common complaint about this one is its iconography.

Paulo Mori: #Via Magica/ #Rise of Augustus. Bingo with a little extras. First game I was able to play with our 2.5 year old.

Corné van Moorsel: Will have to go with #Habitats. Probably his best known title to begin with. Honestly it is an easy tile laying game that requires a little planning. Who does like building their very own ecosystem? Also. If you have the 1st printing, you have those cute handmade ceramic animals as well… or you can do what I did and buy some Red Rose Tea figurines.

Shem Phillips: I own #Raiders of Scythia, but haven’t played it yet. Can’t pick a favorite here.

Alexander Pfister: #Port Royal since I haven’t played #Great Western Trail trail yet. Port Royal is a simple card game with press your luck.

Uwe Rosenberg: Hard choice here as well. #At the Gates of Loyang followed by #Caverna: The Cave Farmers / #Agricola (Revised Edition).

Vladimír Suchý: What I love about this designer is that he rarely designs expansions. I haven’t played #Underwater Cities enough to say that it is his best. I have played #Last Will will a few times and will say that the theme and gameplay are unlike anything else. The entire premise is to blow all of your money to win and the ways that you can part with that cash is outlandish.

Andreas Schmidt: Own #Heaven & Ale, but haven’t played it yet aside from solo. N/A

Reiner Stockhausen: #Orléans. Not sure if this was the first “bag builder”. Orleans is kinda point salad. Probably favorite aspect of this is the travel aspect that reminds me of another favorite, #Village. One expansion can also make this a solo or co-op game as well.

Jamey Stegmaier: #Viticulture: Essential Edition w/  #Tuscany: Essential Edition. Very simple and streamlined worker placement. I used to help my grandpa (Avo) make wine so this always reminds me of him and that time. Lovely production quality.

Ignacy Trzewiczek: I would pick the #51st State: Master Set over #Imperial Settlers. They are similar, mainly because both were modeled after the original #51st State. I think where state has the edge is how the game will end at a set point value. Almost every game of Settlers ends with a blowout and has a set amount of turns.

Justin De Witt: The only game I really played from him is #Castle Panic. The game is akin to those tower defensive games. Simple co-op that is a great entry point into the genre. The game does feel like the #Castle Panic: The Wizard's Tower expansion should have been included from the start. Was curious about the failed kickstarter that was going to be a deluxe version.

Martin Wallace: Only played a few from him, but I would pick #London Second Edition.

Cole Wehrle: N/a

Some of my favorite lighter games are:

  • #Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale: A great flip-n-write game where you are trying to draw a map based on cards played.
  • #Century: Spice Road: similar to Century: Golem Edition mentioned by someone else here, but the orginal with different artwork.  I don't know if there are any variations in the games
  • #Sagrada: A dice drafting game that does take some strategy to place dice within the placement restrictions.
  • #Downforce: A betting and racing game where you can still win even if your car isn't in first place.  It can depend on how you play your own cards.
  • #Azul: A tile drafting game where you place your tiles to fill up your board for points. Lighter cousin to it's follow-ups.
  • And I'm going to plug #Disney: The Haunted Mansion - Call of the Spirits Game becuase it's so much fun, even for non-gamers and gamers alike.  You're trying to collect ghost cards to earn points while avoiding the hitchhiking ghosts.  You only have three actions per round, but your strategy is going to change based on the cards available each round. Everyone I've played this with enjoys it.

I see other people have suggested it already, but my first thought was #Marvel United. We picked it up for my father in law for Christmas this past year and had a blast playing it. It's got a pretty simple ruleset - essentially just play a card from your hand and do the action from your card and the card of the person who played before you.

Another very easy one that I've played is #5-Minute Marvel. That might be even more fun at his age because you're racing to defeat the bad guys in 5 minutes or less.

1. Best beginning: #Scythe - you start out building toward doing both a top and bottom action and generally get there in two turns.  I love those first few objectives and the maneuvering around the board with various faction abilities and trying to edge toward the factory to land that first card.  

2. Best middle: #Heaven & Ale - has a great middle with the tension of trying to determine when to trigger the collection on your board and particularly holding out for that big X trigger hoping for 5-6 tiles to trigger.  Getting those trigger tokens is key toward end-game scoring but tough to pull the plug in the middle of the game.

3. Best ending: #Firefly: The Game - especially if you managed to secure your cargo and win the game by slipping past Alliance and Reavers like an eel and grab the victory condition at the end of the game ahead of your fellow pilots, it just feels great.  Even losing out is fun with the tension of keeping your crew in order and racing to the finish and sometimes doing something tricky or daring to try and pull it off.  One of the underrated games imo with well-designed gameplay that mimics the feel of being in the show.

Best overall: #Gloomhaven - best in the beginning because the city and road event enhance the story and choosing which cards to take into the dungeon and what equipment to prepare almost as fun as jumping in and getting into the fray trying to trigger elements for your partner to use and using elements and environment to your advantage.  Best in the middle because things get hairy in many scenarios and you start feeling the tension of impending loss and wondering if your cards are going to get you through the scenario or if you'll exhaust.  Best in the end (and I can't recall how many times this happened) but things are looking dire and it comes down to one last card you pull and end up getting that one hit or push or pull or element needed to stun, damage, heal, or loot and win the scenario in the final hours.

Runner-up: #PARKS - Everything in PARKS feels zen-like.  Beginning to end its a fun game.

Last week was a great week of gaming! Got in some new hotness and old classics, too. 

#Red Rising - I've now played at 3p & 4p counts, and I think this game is going to shine with higher player counts. Hoping to get a 5p soon.  Red Rising definitely rewards multiple plays, as getting to know the cards and the flow of the game is key. 

#Star Wars: Dark Side Rising -  this is a euro only version of the popular "Rising" series ( #Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War etc.)  A looming Darth Vader tries to stop you from stopping the emperor from building the Death Star. Wow, this was a lot tougher than I thought. Vader dispatched us pretty easily.  AMA if you have questions!

#Bristol 1350 - my first play of this charming (?) little competitive game about avoiding The Bubonic Plague. I loved the production (Facade Games knocks their deluxe editions out the park -- the entire Book series is great at that) and loved the push your luck / social deduction twists. I'd definitely play it again. 

Got in two games of #Beyond the Sun on BGA.  Didn't win either but came very very close. Hit me up on BGA if you want to get in a game, I love this game! 

As more people play the current obviously beta version of the game a.concensus seems to be that this is more a racing game than it is an adventuring game as it was described to be. Fortunately lots of house rules and variants are being worked on by players to save the game. It really seems like the developers slacked off badly during post KS development, I really wonder if they did much of anything regarding play testing, optimizing, and error checking. They certainly didn't work on the app adequately. This will definitely wait till my birthday to open, it definitely needs a few more months to work things out. I really hope (but doubt) guildhall will do the right thing and send every backer an updated rulebooks and corrected game components when the beta testing wraps up. If they don't I will certainly never back then or order from them again.


I really like #Steam Park, the wooden dice are very satisfying and the fact that there is a racing/speed element to the rolling is very enjoyable.

I also live the dice rolling in #878: Vikings - Invasions of England, the dice are nice and weighty and each roll feels exciting but there are enough of them that one bad roll isn't the end of the world.