This is the July entry for my series where I post five games I enjoyed playing in past month that I didn’t have time to do full reviews of. As always, I limit it to five titles, of which there’s a combination of old and new games.
A few more games I enjoyed were mentioned in my Gen Con Most Anticipated list.
7 Wonders made its Board Game Arena debut this month, and I was so excited I stayed up and managed to play the first game on the site. This modern card-drafting classic is one of my favorite games of all time, and I played hundreds of games of it back in graduate school. The digital adaptation got 18 plays this month, making it my most played game of July.
We’ve been playing a lot of Reiner Knizia’s Ingenious in recent months, so a friend picked up a copy of Axio, which is Knizia’s redo of Ingenious. The tiles are square (as opposed to hexagonal), and when you create a blank space on the board, you drop a pyramid shape on it and score all of the colors around it. Otherwise, this feels like Ingenious, keeping the cool scoring mechanic and simple gameplay. I like Axio just as well as Ingenious, perhaps even a little better, since the mechanic for filling in the blank spaces added quite a bit of strategy.
Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters (with Expansion Pack)
I played six games of Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters yesterday, all with the expansion pack. We lost every time. Brian Yu’s creation is one of my favorite cooperative games: it is a great introduction to the genre. We’ve beat the basic game before, but we’ve never beat the expansion pack that came out last year. A full expansion coming at Gen Con, and if you win the game at Gen Con, you reportedly get a golden metal ghost figurine. We’ve been practicing for Gen Con, but the hauntings keep overwhelming us! I think I need to go read some strategy guides…
Update: We beat the expansion pack Saturday night after two more plays. A hard fought victory!
I learned Q.E. at Gulf Games (courtesy Joe Huber), and I immediately liked it. Then I was pleasantly surprised when I got back from the convention to see my copy waiting on my doorstep.
Q.E. is an auction and set collection game in which players take on the role of central banks bailing out 16 failing industries. The twist here, as opposed to other auction games, is that you have unlimited money: players may bid anything they want, but the player with the highest collective bids is eliminated at the end of the game. I didn’t think it would work, but the mechanics mesh together nicely. Gavin Birnbaum’s creation is one of the more innovative auction games I’ve tried in a while, and I love how the theme lines up with the monetary policy problems of recent years. I expect I’ll be playing this for years to come.
Cubiko Games tends to do releases in limited edition wooden editions, and they just launched a Kickstarter for a 10th Anniversary Edition of Cubiko.
The Shipwreck Arcana is a cooperative deduction game that recently shipped after being funded via Kickstarter. On a player’s turn, he or she draws two tiles (called “fates”) out of a bag, which contains three each of the numbers 1-7. There are four cards on the table, and the player must play one of these “fates” on a card of his choosing. The player is trying to give information to his fellow players about what his hidden tile (i.e. the one not played) is. For example, one of the cards says that if a player has a 1, 4, or 7, and the other card is not, the player can play the 1, 4, or 7 on the card. The others players could then induce that the other tile isn’t a 1, 4, 7… and also draw inferences based on what other cards the lead player didn’t play on. It’s clever, and we’ve played 8 times in the past couple of weeks, with two friends ordering copies of the game. We love deduction games more than most, and if you’re a fan of the genre, this is worth checking out.