Saturday at the Gathering 

Started the day out with a new game, Codenames Duet.  Played 3 games, lost each time…

The game is in the early stages of the prototype still – so things will change. In fact, the game has changed since yesterday.  It’s a 2 team  coop game. There is a double sided clue card, with correct answers and assassins on each side – and it’s possible that they overlap.  The assassins could be the same or different – it all depends on who is guessing.  Anyways, I can see my side, Dan sees his side – and you score cards based on what you can see.

(man, that donut from Frankie’s is awesome)

Currenly played on a 5×5 grid – that likely won’t change this week unless they find a color printer to make new clue cards.  Word cards look like the original cards but the CGE guys tell me that it’s a new word bank.  It feels to be the same distribution of common and specific words with many of them having multiple meanings or connotations.

As it stands now, there are 15 total answers (correct spy cards)– but 9 on each clue card.  3 assassins on each side, but again they may or may not match on both sides.  A word could be an assassin on one side but a correct answer on the other side.

There is a timing mechanism that will be in play – I’ve been asked to not go into much detail as this is a serious work in progress.  As the rules were explained to us this morning, we had essentially 12 clues between us – but for each miss (i.e. where you would play a neutral marker), you lost one of your clues – i.e. you spent one to give the clue but then you lose an additional one for making an incorrect guess.  There is no specific turn order, clues can be given by either player whenever they think that they have a good clue.

It’s a neat idea, and provides yet another entry point to the Codenames family. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a 2p game, it could be two teams, but from where I sit, if I had 4, I’d just play Codenames I think.

Got a nice game of Mistkaefer in. We’re dung beetles trying to collect the most poop. I think we have informally renamed the game “Shitballs!” A full review of this will be posted in the coming weeks.

Then I finally got to play games with Steph. Omg woot.

We played one of the Unlock! puzzles from Space Cowboys and we probably would have won if Steph had seen the two all important clues on the cards that we entrusted to her safekeeping.  Oh well. It’s a one-time puzzle game, so I’ll never recover from this heinous oversight.  A full review of this puzzle game as well as recent releases in the genre from dv Giochi (Deckscape) and Kosmos (Exit) to come soon.

We then got a chance to have Steph teach us Sagrada – a really clever dice rolling/allocating game designed by Daryl Andrews.  It looks beautiful and there is a lot going on in this short 30-40 minute game.  I’d like to play it a few more times before writing more about it.  For now, here’s my player board near the start…


Dinner was a great time with the BGG Admin crew at Savor – the local restaurant run by students of the culinary school here in Niagara Falls.  They had an amazing appetizer of smoked bone marrow – probably a 6-inch femur bone split in two – for only $7.  So worth it. (wine cork for scale)


Sure, I ate other things.  And then because it was so good, Aldie and I split another order of the bone marrow.

Upon my return to the game room, Martin from Plan B games quickly got me into Century Spice Road


The soft launch is occuring at GoF.  Plan B Games a case or two shipped in for sale/play.  In short, it’s a lightning fast trading game – kinda like Bazaar meets Splendor. The 4p game talks about 30-40 min.  Each individual turn might take 15 seconds – sure, you could think about it, but some turns move so fast because you only get to do one thing.


There is a board. Top half are scoring cards – turn in appropriate cubes to score VPs.  Bottom half are action cards – these might produce cubes outright, others might help you convert cubes in different ways (i.e. 2 reds become a green and 2 yellows)


On your turn, you do one of four things – score a card, play an action card from your hand, pick up an action card from the board, rest and pick up all your played action cards from the table and return them to your hand.

When you score, the two left most cards offer a +3 and +1 bonus coin as long as the supply of them doesn’t run out. The game ends when someone has scored their fifth card. You score VP from your cards, VP from your coins, and then every non-yellow cube is worth 1 vp.

Total time for my first game was about 35 minutes including rules and having to explain the game ten times to other people who were watching as it is one of the hot games of the show right now.

Final scores were 73, 73, 72, and Steph played too.

I then immediately sat down to play a 2p version with Joe Huber.  I was able to teach all the rules correctly after only being taught (I never read the rules), and we finished in about 12 minutes start to finish.  Joe thinks it was 4 minutes for the rules and 8 minutes for the game.

This was then followed by a nice 5p game which ran about 40 minutes – the game was won by Dan who opted for a strategy of fewer but higher scoring VP cards, edging out Craig who went for finishing with five cards but lowered valued.

The game has played well with all three player counts thus far, and I can see this being one of the big hits of the summer. Full release is going to be somewhere between June and GenCon.

Of note, this is also the first game of a planned trilogy with each part being fully playable as a standalone, but also able to combine with any/all parts into a larger game.  There will be one release a year for 2017-2019.  I’m definitely excited to learn more about it.  Or maybe I mean, I’m excited about what I’ve heard about it, and I can’t wait to be able to write about it.

In any event, time for bed. These fourteen hour days of gaming and eating are hard on the body.  I did take a copy of Yamatai up to the room to read up on it – i’m hoping to play this tomorrow.  I’ve been looking forward to that one since I read about it this winter.

Until your next appointment

The Gaming Doctor

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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1 Response to Saturday at the Gathering 

  1. Jacob Lee says:

    Did you see yourself loving Century Spice Road? I’m pretty meh on Splendour and CSR sure reminds me of it. Really enjoy the food pics and descriptions!

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