This is the May and June entry for my series where I post five games I enjoyed playing in the 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. I didn’t get the chance to write the May entry, so I’ve combined the months.
Overall, May and June were down in terms of number of plays for me. Whereas April broke my personal record for most plays in a month (165), May and June have both been on the low end (89 and 64, respectively), in part because I’ve been playing longer games, but also because there hasn’t been as much time for gaming as there should be.
Claim & Claim 2 (3 Plays)
Claim is a two-player trick taking game, and Claim 2 is the sequel. They are both getting US releases at Gen Con.
There are five factions in the game, and the player to win three of the factions by the end prevails. The game is played over two phases: the first involves collecting your cards for the second phase (and maybe adding a few to your score pile), and the second involves earning the support of the factions. Each faction has its own special power, and the difference between Claim and Claim 2 is which factions are in the game.
The cleverness of both games has been growing on me. If you’re fan of trick taking, these are worth checking out. In the mean time, I’m trying to get my game groups up to speed, because I know both games can be combined, and I’m eager to try that out.
Gunkimono (3 Plays)
Gunkimono has been a group favorite in recent months, and it got 3 plays last month. I’ve been experimenting with different strategies (mostly to my detriment). I wrote a full review last year, but in short, this is a medium weight tile placement game from designer Jeff Allers and publisher Renegade Game Studios. Players take on the role of Japanese daimyo, plotting their military advances across the countryside.
I just love how engaging and clever the tile placement mechanism is, but it is the strongholds (which pay dividends each round) that have inspired me to try playing in different ways at different player counts. I’ve tried eschewing the strongholds, and I’ve also seen others focus solely on them, but the best approach seems to be a balance.
I didn’t do a “Top 10 of 2018” last year, but I should have, and this would have been towards the top of the list.
Limes (2 Plays)
Limes won the International Gamers Awards a few years ago, and that inspired me to buy a copy. I thought it was out of print, but I believe it seemingly recently came back in print.
This is a 2-player card placement game, but you can play with as many players as you have copies of the game. Players place out 16 cards — and both players are working with identical copies of those cards — with the opportunity to place a meeple on a landscape feature after the card is placed. The 7 meeples score at the end of the game.
It’s simple, its fast-paced, and it is fun. Each time I play Limes I vow to get it to the table more often.
Treasure Island (4 Plays)
I bought a copy of Treasure Island last month. I was looking forward to it at Essen last year, but I didn’t have room to bring it back, so I waited a few months. In retrospect, that was an error, as this is one of the finest 2018 titles I’ve played.
The theme carries through spectacularly in this ode to Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel. One player is in prison and being interrogated about the location of the treasure he has hidden. The other players are working together to try to find it, but there can only be one winner, so they have to be careful to not reveal too much to the others on their side. The players can draw on the map — almost everything in the box is dry erase — and there are cool mechanisms for how the interrogated must give out clues.
Treasure Island is a cool mix of bluffing, deduction, and cooperative-until-its-not gameplay. This will likely be a permanent fixture in my collection.
Tuki (2 Plays)
Tuki is an Origins release from Next Move games. Though the game looks like a dexterity game, it is really more of a puzzle game. As described in BGG: “During each turn in Tuki, you attempt to construct an inukshuk based on the die face rolled using your stones and blocks of snow. Players have only a limited number of pieces with which to construct the inukshuk, so you’ll need to be creative and use the three-dimensional pieces in multiple ways, such as to counterbalance other pieces or even build on top of existing pieces. A solution always exists — you just need to discover it!”
I liked this much more than I thought I would — I normally avoid play-the-fastest games — and I intend to buy a copy. The puzzles are clever, and the gameplay is extremely simple. I wish there was a better four-player game (this is really for 2-3 players) but overall I’m impressed.
It is decently original, the production value is stellar, and just about anybody could play it, so Tuki fits nicely in a lot of game collections.