Brandon Kempf – Surviving the Purge 7

Over the next few months, instead of going with my Three Games articles, I am going to take a look at my collection and try to discuss why certain titles survived the great purge of 2019. During this process I may take a look at some games that didn’t survive, but only as a measuring stick for what did survive. Since I am silly, like a lot of gamers, I use Ikea Kallax shelves to display the games that we own. This makes it pretty easy to break things down cube by cube, so that’s what we’re going to do, twenty-four cubes, plus a top shelf for games that don’t fit in the cubes, over the course of a few months. I hope you enjoy!


Qwirkle was a late bloomer for our family. Sure, we had played it a handful of times since we bought it in 2013, but something weird happened last year and Qwirkle ended up having the third most plays of any game last year at 11 plays. It’s partially because our youngest daughter showed an interest in it, and also just partially because we realized just how good of a game it is and that it was just sitting on the shelf collecting dust. A lot of people will point to games like Ticket to Ride or Carcassonne as wonderful Gateway games, and they are that, but for my money Qwirkle is hands down the easiest to teach of the bunch and has been a hit with everyone I have shown it to. I do need to get a copy of Qwirkle Cubes and throw it in the same box just to have around for a change of pace as it’s wonderful as well. 15 plays since 2012.


Another Spiel des Jahres winner on this shelf to go along with Qwirkle. Ours is a well worn copy where the box doesn’t even close properly, but that’s not because of us, it’s because this copy was owned by my wife’s Grandparents. Seems they saw Don Rickles on The Tonight Show talking about Rummikub, just like millions of other Americans. Propelling sales into the millions for the Romanian designer, Ephraim Hertzano, who came up with the idea to create a Rummy game using cubes instead of cards because cards weren’t allowed in Romania. Rummikub has to be one of the best selling board games of all time and it shows no sign of slowing down. We’ve played it countless times in the past, but since I started trying to log plays of every game we play, we’ve only played it once, but this copy and it’s sentimental reasons will always have a place in our collection. Countless unlogged plays since we got it from my wife’s Grandma and Grandpa’s basement.  


Back in October, I did a full review of Ragusa. Like a lot of games that I review though, almost as soon as the review is done, the game goes on the shelf for a long period of time. Which is a shame, as I really enjoy the heck out of Ragusa. Sure, it may have faults in the way of a first player advantage, that doesn’t detract in any way from the excellent game play here. It speaks to the nature of reviewing games when quality titles like these get shuffled to the back of the line just because we keep moving forward. I know that Capstone Games made their mark bringing in heavier titles, Arkwright, Lignum, et al, but I think they really have hit their stride working with this style of game and working with Braincrack Games to get them here. I am anxiously awaiting their next title, Venice. 4 plays since September 2019. 


Ra! Ra! Ra! Ra! Classic Knizia auction and set collection, so of course this had to stay in the collection. While it doesn’t get nearly as much play as Modern Art, this is probably my second favorite Knizia game. I’ve always loved the fact that you have your set items you could bid with and how they rotate through the game, making sure that you don’t overspend until absolutely necessary because it can be so damn crippling the next round. Hmmm, maybe this should be played soon. 2 plays since 2016, man I swear I have played this more often than that. 

Potion Explosion

Marbles are such a wonderful toy. They are so versatile in what they can do. I’ll confess to being one of those weird people who love marbles a bit too much, I mean one of my favorite Youtube channels of all time is Jelle’s Marble Runs. Don’t worry, no one will judge you for sitting and watching hours of that. Anyway, using marbles in board games is a genius idea, and Potion Explosion is an example of that genius. Ultimately the game is a simple matching game where you get to take whatever matches you make by removing other marbles, all in an attempt to collect the colors that you need to complete your potions. The marbles in Potion Explosion are ingredients and you are students learning the fine art of potion making. Creating the potions will give you further benefits in the game allowing you to make even more potions even more efficiently. It’s a simple premise and it’s a wonderful game, one that my youngest daughter absolutely loves, and luckily, so do I. 11 plays since 2016. 


See ya tomorrow for my thoughts on Sentient. 

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2 Responses to Brandon Kempf – Surviving the Purge 7

  1. Pingback: Surviving the Purge 7 – Herman Watts

  2. Cindy says:

    I love Ra, although I have only played it as an app on my iPad. I am new to board gaming, so I have tried out a lot of games via apps, which has kept me from falling into the newbie trap of amassing too many games too quickly.

    I’m not sure I will buy a physical copy, since I just play with my spouse, and the app gives a similar feeling for me, despite some glitches in the AI. The main advantage is that, unlike Brandon’s 2 plays since 2016, I have played Ra over a 100 times in the past 6 months.

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