Dale Yu: Review of Mycelia


  • Designer: Daniel Greiner
  • Publisher: Ravensburger
  • Players: 1-4
  • Age: 9+
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Played with copy provided by Ravensburger

Mycelia is one of a number of mushroom themed games that is coming to the market in the near future.  In this deck-building game, you need the support of mysterious forest dwellers to improve your deck, develop new and better skills, and bring the sacred dewdrops from your forest to the Shrine of Life in order to receive the forest goddess’ support.

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Dale Yu: Review of Ito


  • Designer: Mitsuru Nakamura
  • Publisher: Arclight Games
  • Players: 2-8
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by publisher

ito is a cooperative game where you and your friends will each get your own secret number you then have to try to put in order as a group based on the clues you give related to the chosen theme. At the start of the game, each player gets a secret number card that can have a value between 1 and 100. Remember, it’s a SECRET, so of course the other players can’t tell you directly what number they have, and neither can you! The trick is for everyone to understand their intentions just by hearing theme-based clues. Do you and your friends see eye to eye in how you view the world? Have fun finding out in this exciting party game!

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Dale Yu: Review of Waterfall Park

Waterfall Park

  • Designer: Karsten Hartwig
  • Publisher: Repos
  • Players: 3-5
  • Age: 14+
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by publisher

Welcome to Waterfall Park. The goal of the game is to trade and exchange attractions to build the biggest amusement park in the world. The particularity of this park is that it is built vertically on huge towers in the middle of the ocean.

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Talia Rosen: Thankful for Games

Thanksgiving is a time for gathering family together, being thankful for what we have, and playing board games, right?  That’s my approach at least.  I had the very good fortune of getting to play 22 games over Thanksgiving week with family, and it was a blast with a lot of good games hitting the table!

Thanksgiving is Coming | Sunday – Monday, Nov. 19-20

With Thanksgiving planning well underway and 12 family members imminently descending upon us, my partner and I took a little time out on the Sunday before Thanksgiving to relax and play a couple new-to-us board games.

First, we stopped by the local public library and checked out Cascadia, which I’d been meaning to try for over a year now.  Then we swung by the local game store Labyrinth to pick up my pre-order of Tokaido Duo, which had just arrived.

Cascadia was a really pleasant surprise.  I had heard at a convention last year that it was very light, but it had more interesting and engaging decisions than I expected.  I enjoyed the thought process of picking a tile/animal combination each turn, and I liked seeing the different ways that my and my partner’s areas developed over the course of the game.  I also liked the different feel of each animal’s scoring conditions, which clearly had thematic connections baked in (like the salmon runs, bear cubs, and solitary hawks).

Tokaido Duo was not quite as interesting as Cascadia, but it was an unexpected twist on the roll-and-move genre that involves dice drafting via a two-player snake draft.  I am intrigued by the variety of scoring paths and the various end game triggers, so I am looking forward to playing more and seeing how those unfold.  It’s a gorgeous game, so I’m hoping that the underlying decisions hold my interest through repeated plays.

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Larry Levy:  First Impressions of Expeditions

  • Designer:  Jamey Stegmaier
  • Solo Designer:  Morten Pedersen
  • Artist:  Jakub Rozalski
  • Publisher:  Stonemaier Games
  • Players:  1-5
  • Age:  12+
  • Duration:  90 minutes
  • Times Played:  1

Expeditions, Stonemaier Games, 2023 — front cover (image provided by the publisher)

My experience with Stonemaier games has been pretty uneven over the years.  A number of their designs have had some severe balance issues, at least when they were first released.  I’ve heard reports that some of those problems were resolved through newer editions and official rulings, but that doesn’t particularly sway me—I have the quaint notion that games should work from the very beginning.  However, that was never a problem with Jamey Stegmaier’s most successful game, Scythe.  While I don’t love it quite as much as others in my group, it’s a genuinely good and well designed title and one that I’m happy to play anytime.  So I had some hope for the game that was billed as Scythe’s sequel, Expeditions.  Even though I was aware that, mechanically, it was quite different from Scythe, I thought that maybe Jamey would be inspired by working in the same setting as his best game.

And, somewhat to my surprise, that’s exactly what I found.  I’ve only played the game once, but right now, I’d say that Expeditions is easily my second favorite Stonemaier title.  I’d even venture to say that it accomplishes what it sets out to do just as well as Scythe does, which is fairly high praise.

Expeditions has the same dieselpunk setting that Scythe does, this time in Siberia.  A massive meteorite has crashed there, “awakening ancient corruption”.  Naturally, this is great news for the players, who immediately flock to the area, hoping to find monsters, gadgets, and, most importantly, victory points!

The play area is randomly determined each game.  It consists of 20 large hex tiles, laid out in three rows, with the bottom row face up.  They are arranged so that there are five hex-sized gaps and each one gets a face-up card from the deck.  Each player gets a mat, to track their progress, and their first two cards:  their character and their loyal companion.  Each character and companion have unique abilities (although they have to be played to be used), and each mat is associated with a mech miniature, which also has a rules-altering power.  The players mechs all start adjacent to the bottom row.  There are essentially two “currencies” in the game—Power and Guile—with a track for each on your player mat, and each player begins with none of them.

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ReJuvenating Gamer Con or RJGCon or How to create your own Board Game Convention

There are a gazillion different conventions for almost any variety of interests that span the globe for anything and everyone on the planet. Board game conventions are no exception. There’s Germany’s Essen Spiel which drew over 193,000 visitors this year, and GenCon in Indianapolis, IN which hosted over 70,000 gamers. Those are two of the largest conventions in the world whose focus is board gaming.

And I love going to conventions. I like to see the new stuff, play, demo, browse for deals on the older stuff, and grab free CoolStuffInc. bags to carry my haul. However, these massive game festivals can be overwhelming.

Then I was introduced to AdamCon. AdamCon, held in Cincinnati, OH over MLK day weekend in January is (according to the guy that came up with AdamCon… Adam) “a free board gaming convention that aims to create a family-friendly, casual environment for anyone to enjoy board games, RPGs, and more, while raising money for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.”

Read more: ReJuvenating Gamer Con or RJGCon or How to create your own Board Game Convention

While living in Cincinnati, I attended this awesome free convention and enjoyed getting together with old friends, making new friends, and board gaming for hours upon hours. Adam Bartoszek would bring his fairly substantial game collection for people to use, and gamers would bring their favorites. AdamCon had a non-profit partner that allowed him to use their building space, tables, kitchen, etc. for the 3-days of gaming. It was amazing. When I attended in 2018 and 2019 (pre-COVID years), his numbers were increasing and he broken 100 visitors to his convention in his 6th year. He had sponsors, free giveaways, food, drinks, all provided for his participants. And AdamCon has continued to grow and create community.

I moved away from Cincinnati, and the board game community is something I really miss about living there.

Which brings me to RJGCon. (It’s a working title, and I’m an attention wh*re) I moved from Cincinnati to Germany to work with the US Military Hospital (I’m a pediatric RN), and I’ve found it difficult for people to reconnect in post-COVID society. There are two different ways to get people connecting, socializing and recreating that I really enjoy: Theatre and Board Games. I want get my community (American Airmen, Soldiers, their families, local Germans) connecting and socializing.

So, with some like-minded friends and board game enthusiasts, we started a journey to do our own local FREE board game convention, creating community with an outlet so many of us love.

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