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!
I don’t really care what anyone says, I think that Clue is still one of the better deduction games around. This is my youngest daughter’s copy though, she asked for it a couple Christmas’ ago after an epic game she played with her Uncle who enjoyed cheating a bit too much. Look, Clue didn’t try to reinvent the wheel, probably because it was the wheel. It’s a family weight deduction game and that’s how we enjoy it, as a family. 3 plays since Jan 2019.
I reviewed Firenze in greater detail back in March of last year when the reprint finally hit our shores. There is just something about this very old school feeling Euro that I absolutely love. It’s in part that you are actively building something in front of you each and every turn that you can physically see. There is also the careful planning that goes into each and ever play. You have to keep building on those towers each turn or they get demolished, there is no urban decay going on here. Build it or someone else will. Firenze has its moments of interactivity, yes they are mostly negative interactions with your fellow players, but remember, they want their towers to outshine yours and we just can’t let them get away with that. Needs to be played far more often than it does. 8 plays since 2013.
So, I talked quite a bit about Finca yesterday in my full review. There are a couple things that seem to have changed over the years for the ruleset for Finca. Namely, the number of fruit that are in the game at the start is determined by the number of players, so this will increase the odds of someone picking a fruit up and having not enough being in the supply so others have to discard. We don’t play it that way, but it is how the designer originally intended according to a couple threads on BGG. Also, there is one small expansion that came in a Spielbox Magazine originally I believe, El Razul. This small expansion was also included in the 2019 reprint. I still have not picked up a copy of the expansion, I should probably do that before it disappears into the void. There is a new action tile for the players, Marionetta, which when used allows a player to use another player’s farmer on the windmill and gain the benefits. Also two new windmill tiles, two new Drought Tiles and the El Razul. Certainly sounds like it changes things up quite a bit, not sure that even if I had picked it up I would play it much with that anyway, but being the insane completionist that I am, I’ll probably go ahead and pick it up. 13 plays since 2013.
Freedom The Underground Railroad
Do you have one of those games in your collection that you really feel guilty about not playing? And when you go to sell it, you get those guilty feelings two fold and you just end up keeping it and telling yourself you’ll play it again and then it never happens? Freedom The Underground Railroad is that game for me. We’ve played this a couple times, although I only have one logged play I know we’ve played it more than that. Freedom manages to create a cooperative game that has a historical lesson involved, along with that, you have to do things in the game that ultimately will make you feel uncomfortable — at least it did us. Freedom is one of those games that probably should have a place in Junior High and High School History curriculum. It manages to create that tough cooperative experience, all the while teaching you a bit along the way. Once again I’ll say it, we should play this again, soon. 1 logged play since 2014.
I am going to do a full review of this one soon, I promise, I just need to get some more plays of it to see it again and refresh everything in my head. Flatline is another cooperative game, this one with real time game play. Normally I absolutely abhor anything that involves speed or a timer, but Flatline works and it works wonderfully. You see, while there is a real time element to the game, and it is the main portion of the game, there are times where things slow down, and you can plan and you have to resolve things that have happened. Also, the game can essentially be ran by an application that walks you through the steps of a round and acts as a time during the timed portion of a round. A newer twist on the system was recently released, Pandemic Rapid Response, and it sits on my shelf of games that are on the cusp, so maybe that aforementioned review will be a combination of both games. 5 plays since 2017.
Isle of Skye
You know, I thought I had reviewed Isle of Skye ages ago, but looking through things that I have written I have found out that sadly, I did not and I don’t know why. Another weird thing is that when I opened the box, I realized that I had bought none of the expansions for it and I swear I thought that I had. At one time, Isle of Skye was a Top 10 game for me. Probably no longer as I haven’t played it in ages, and while the app is a well put together version of the game, I don’t particularly enjoy playing it digitally. Still, this is the best Pfister game out there, in my opinion anyway. I absolutely love the drafting mechanism for tiles, where you secretly price them behind a screen, two get to stay, one gets the axe. You constantly have to be evaluating what is going on around you and what tiles have more value than others given the variable scoring each round and what others are working towards. Which also explains why I dislike the app so much as I don’t have everything out in front of me, easy to process and see, unlike on the table. Once again, a game that I should play again soon, and far more often than I have in the past. 9 plays since 2015.
This is a really good shelf of games if I do say so myself. Classic family games, really tough to win cooperative games and some wonderful Euros in the mix. But I should be saying that about all of my shelves at this point.