Patrick Brennan: Game Snapshots – June 2018 (Part 2)

Patrick Brennan: Game Snapshots – June 2018 (Part 2)

Mel has been known to stop by at Patrick’s game nights. He has a great trick to escape from a straightjacket.

I’ve been recently thinking about the preponderance of 7’s in my world. I started euro-gaming in 1999 when new-game junkies like myself just had to suck up whatever came, the good and the bad, to get their hit. There weren’t 100+ new good games each year (which is what I’ve averaged), so our ratings were more varied.

These days we know average ratings are rising because of selection bias. You can spend all your gaming time playing just those games you like and love without having to resort to  games that aren’t your thing for the sake of variety – which means that the low ratings for such that might have been generated in the past (when they were played for variety’s sake) aren’t being generated as much anymore. Hence the rising rating levels. Continue reading

Posted in Commentary | Leave a comment

UK Games Expo report – Alan How

UKGE Highlights – by Alan How

This was my third visit to UK games Expo in the last three years and I have seen the conference progressively grow as the exhibition uses more of the NEC halls. In now resembles a mini Spiel on mini GenCon and is such a change from the first ones held at the Clarendon hotel many years ago. The expo caters for board gamers, role players as well as having many competitions so in that respect is more like GenCon. One area where it falls short of the very large conventions is in the launch of brand new games. Nonetheless all areas of the show have expanded and now occupies the best part of two large halls. The convention guide book covers many of the events that are taking place with a good indexed guide where all the stands are. However the numbering policy is still a mystery to me though this is mitigated  somewhat as the stand numbers are highlighted on the floor.


The main entrance for me is of course, boardgames. While retailers managed to bring huge quantities of games to sell, the new ones that spark the most interest. Many of the games are in various stages of Kickstarter mode. Some underway, some will be launched in the coming two months and some aim to be launched but no one knows when yet. Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | 1 Comment

Nominated Games for the 2017 Meeples Choice Awards

The Spielfrieks user group has finished their first week of voting for the Meeples Choice Awards.  27 games have received nominations.  During the coming week, the voters will select their favorites from that group and the top three vote getters will be crowned as the MCA winners for 2017.

Here is the list of nominated games, in alphabetical order.

Clans of Caledonia
Codenames Duet
Dinosaur Island
Gaia Project
Heaven & Ale
Jump Drive
Magic Maze
Pulsar 2849
Rajas of the Ganges
Santa Maria
Sidereal Confluence
The 7th Continent
The Quest for El Dorado

Posted in Reviews | 3 Comments

Dale Yu: Quick Report from a Quick Trip to Origins

I feel that I am blessed to be so close to some of the major gaming conventions – the proximity allows me to get away, even if only for a few hours, to check out the sights and sounds of the newest games.  Normally, I try to get one or two days free to see the show, but this summer has proven to be spectacularly busy with some unexpected kids’ soccer success (which keeps us in season still!) as well as a planned move to a new house later this summer.  The result of all this is that I pretty much have no extra time to take off work, so I ended up having to squeeze in Origins in about half a day.


Continue reading

Posted in Convention Report | Leave a comment

Dan Blum: Review of Stumblewood


  • Designers: Charles Bossart and Sébastien Darras
  • Publisher: Gigamic
  • Players: 2-6
  • Age: 10+
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Times played: 2, with review copy provided by Gigamic


We can roughly divide games into “decision-making games” and “skill games,” with the latter group including dexterity games, speed recognition games, memory games, etc. – any sort of game where the primary focus is on a specific mental or physical skill. While there are certainly games that straddle the categories (Mamma Mia being a good example) most pretty clearly fall into one or the other.

Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Making of Lone Sevens

You can thank – or blame, take your pick – Dale for this article; he suggested that I write it up.

Lone Sevens is a solitaire game I designed recently.  Ever since Rattlebones was released, I’ve thought that there were other interesting designs possible based upon the changeable dice.  Finally having a reasonable idea about one I wanted to work on, I started designing it – only to come up with an entirely different idea, which doesn’t use changeable dice, but which is inspired by the dice faces from Rattlebones.  But while thinking about these designs – shortly after playtesting them for the first time – I got to thinking more about what might be done.

Continue reading

Posted in Game Modification | Leave a comment

Dale Yu: Preview of the Apocalypse escape room box (spoiler free)

Apocalypse escape room box (preview)

  • Publisher: Argyx Games
  • Players: 1-5
  • Times played: 1, with partial preview game, as provided by Argyx Games


I was approached by the guys at Argyx Games to look at their new Escape Room project, called Apocalypse.  As you are probably aware, the Opinionated Gamers have done a number of reviews of escape room games, so this is something that we

This preview is only done from a small portion of the game – I was essentially sent the first episode or chapter of the story, but it was enough to give a good feel for what the entire project will be like.  This preview will not include any spoilers, and I cannot publish any pictures of my own lest I give anything away.  I will, however, use pictures taken from their webpage/campaign page. Continue reading

Posted in Preview | Leave a comment

Dale Yu: Interview with Wolfgang Warsch

I had never really known about Wolfgang Warsch prior to the Gathering of Friends 2018.  I mean, I had actually already played The Mind, but I never knew who designed it… During that week of gaming, I found that there were three of his games at the show, and a fourth one which had some pretty rave reviews from the Europeans at the Gathering.  I decided to track down this new designer and see if he would like to chat a bit for an interview for our blog.


The following interview was done via email, over the course of about three weeks.  The timing wasn’t awesome – between my job, his job, his nomination for Spiel des Jahres, his nomination for Kennerspiel des Jahres and the birth of his child – but I think the following conversation gives a good picture of Herr Warsch and his games…




Dale Yu:

Wolfgang, thank you so much for agreeing to participate in an interview for the Opinionated Gamers.


The reason that I’m asking you for an interview is that you have exploded onto the scene this year with four games that people can’t stop talking about or playing!  I am aware that you also did Dream Team in 2015, but language issues prevented me from ever playing it. Continue reading

Posted in Interviews | 9 Comments

2017 Meeples Choice Award Voting Has Begun!

Just wanted to spread the word that the Spielfrieks user group has started the two-week process of conducting the Meeples Choice Awards, in which we select our three favorite games of the previous calendar year.  Right now, we’re choosing our 25 nominated games.  Next week, we’ll vote to weed those nominees down to the three winning designs.  If you’re a member of Spielfrieks, please help us out and head over to the Yahoo User Group to place your votes.  If you’re not a member, but would like to help us with this most awesome of responsibilities, all you have to do is send an email to and you will be signed up and ready to join us.  Keep an eye out for some Geeklists listing the nominated games and, eventually, the winning ones!  Thanks!

Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Review of Q.E.

Designed by Gavin Birnbaum and published by Cubiko Games

One of the central aspects of auction games is the limits on capital.  Which has many advantages, in terms of game play – but this also introduces a artificial limitation into many games, as spending beyond one’s means is common in practice.  So what would happen if capital was completely unlimited?
Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment