Brandon Kempf – Surviving the Purge 14

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!

If you are a BoardGameGeek user, you can also follow along on the Geeklist I created.

Sooooooo, this is the almost embarrassing shelf. I have a bit of an obsession with Modern Art and we’ll talk about that later, but I just wanted to be up front, I own too much Modern Art and plus I have two more copies ordered. Yeah, I know, I have a problem. 


I am sitting here asking my daughter why Nevermore stayed in the collection. She told me it’s because she won that copy at Geekway to the West in a tournament and it’s autographed by Curt Covert. When asked if she could describe the game to me, she said, “No, where is it? I’ll read the rules a bit and describe it to you later.” That’s about all I know about it as I have never played it. I believe it’s a social deduction game where you are trying to score points or be the last person standing. How you score those points, I really don’t know and I probably won’t know until she is done playing Overwatch for the evening. So there you go, Nevermore, it stayed in the collection because Gabby said it was staying. 0 plays since ever by me, but Gabby plays it every year at Geekway to the West. 


Man, I absolutely love this puzzle of a game. Dale has you covered here on The OG with the review, it was before my time or I would have happily rambled on for entirely too long about my love of this one. It’s a simple premise, tetromino pieces that are in the shapes of numbers are what you are playing with. Everyone has the same thing, two of each number zero through nine. Each turn a number card is drawn and everyone must place that number in their play area. Object is to build up because each level is the multiplier for the number you placed there, so if you have a two on the second level, it’s worth four points. Get that eight on the third level and that’s twenty four points. Rules are easy, if you build something on the same level it has to be adjacent to another piece and if you build up, the entirety of the piece must be supported by pieces below, no hanging over air. Game ends when all the cards have been drawn and folks have built all their pieces. Stupidly simple game to explain, but damn if the game doesn’t have some of the most innocuously aggravating moments of choice. It’s perfect and as you all know if you read two posts ago, I love Kingdomino, but if NMBR 9 would have won the SdJ that year, I would not have complained, as it is, it wasn’t even nominated or recommended which is a shame as it’s a perfect family weight game. As Chris Wray is likely to say if you play the game with him, it’s definitely all about that base (that you build). 20 plays since April 2017.


I am waaaay late to the Manhattan train. It won the Spiel des Jahres in 1994 and I first played it in October of 2017, on that old ugly copy that used to be around. Now it’s all pretty and while I think the opaque tower pieces make it easier to see how tall the buildings are, I think everything about the new edition is just better. Even though it seems rather tropical for Manhattan, but who cares about that. Chris, who introduced me to the game, has you covered here on The OG with the SDJ Re-Review. Manhattan was made for our group, and especially for me I think. It can be one of the nicest games to play, but if the game is played nicely, ya’ll are playing it wrong. You steal as many towers as you can, you sneak in and you take majorities away any chance you get, it’s just made to be played that way and we absolutely love it. I’ve gone for the tallest tower to my detriment more times than I care to admit, just because I didn’t want someone else to have it. It can make you make irrational choices because you just want to get even. By far, this is my favorite Seyfarth game. I mean honestly, it should have won the SdJ again the year it was re-released. 11 plays since October 2017.  

Star Realms

Primarily I play this on the app anymore, but I learned it and played it first on the table. Star Realms is a nearly perfect two player head to head deck builder that can play more, but I’ve rarely done so, although one of my favorite Star Realms experiences was a six player game. You are basically building your deck by buying new cards in hopes of reducing your opponent’s health to zero before they do the same to you. There are four different colors of cards, aka factions, and each of them has a distinct feel and works really well with other cards of the same factions. It’s rare though that you will be able to get all of the same color to play against your opponent, at least if they are paying attention it’ll be difficult. It’s fun, it plays quick, especially the app and I adore it, but here is my crowning moment for all to see. 

Mary has us covered on The OG with a thorough look at Star Realms. 11 logged plays on the table, but I think there are far more. Countless matches on the app, well over 200. 

Modern Art

Okay, so Modern Art is a Top 5 game for me and all it is, is a simple auction game about building the best art gallery, which means having the most money at the end of the game. Five different types of auctions, all sorts of bad art, or good art, just depends on which version we play. It can be mathed out almost completely by those who want to do that, but you know what, we don’t do that, well, at least not entirely. Our group almost treats this like it’s a role playing game, actively trying to persuade others to buy the art by naming the pieces and giving the meaning of the paintings. Sometimes with horrible accents, sometimes while talking trash against the other art pieces and other art museums. Knizia has made something that is so rules light it almost feels like you are just making it up as you go. What I mean by that is that some games are so bogged down by rules that you think that it’s the game that makes the fun, but that’s not what it is here. Modern Art is fun and exciting because of the people playing it and how they play it. IRRATIONAL EXUBERANCE is truly a thing in our group sometimes, with some people. Buying art just because they can, not why they can or whether they should. It’s a masterpiece and I don’t care what anyone says. The other genius thing that Dr. Knizia has done is that he has created a game that can be made and localized nearly everywhere. There are so many different versions of Modern Art it’s almost a collector’s dream. I don’t like the card game nearly as much, but I keep a copy of it around because it’s Modern Art and I’ll be buying that new version that I swear I saw something about on BGG, but now can’t locate so maybe I am just nuts. 9 plays of Modern Art since 2017 & 5 plays of Modern Art the Card Game since 2015. Plus, 2 plays of Duckomenta Art.

edit: I was wrong, it wasn’t on BGG that I saw it, it was on Twitter! Thanks for the help finding it, WEM.

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8 Responses to Brandon Kempf – Surviving the Purge 14

  1. Pingback: Brandon Kempf – Surviving the Purge 14 -

  2. Matt J Carlson says:

    Some nice play in that Star Realms game. Bases FTW.

    • Brandon Kempf says:

      I got a bit lucky early on with a couple of Raf’s choices. I didn’t see it then as it was happening, but I noticed it later on. But yeah, once again, it’s all about that base. :)

  3. Pingback: Brandon Kempf – Surviving the Purge 14 – Herman Watts

  4. I played Manhattan exactly once, but with a couple who had played a fair bit previously, and I decided that it was a game I didn’t want to play again. As I understood it, the focus of each player’s turn was to thwart the player to their left. The winner would be the first one for whom their right-hand neighbor failed to thwart properly. Perhaps the game was a victim of group-think for me, but I found it very frustrating and just … yuck.

    • Brandon Kempf says:

      There is a distinct advantage in going late in turn order in that last and final round, but it does sound like a bit of group think going on there. Yeah, it’s not a game for everyone, but it fit us to a T.

  5. ScrappySPJ says:

    I really need to get a nice version of Modern Art, the components in the one I have are so ugly it puts me off trying to suggest we play it

    • Brandon Kempf says:

      There are so many different versions out there, some with actual modern art and others that blend a bit with different styles. The Dice Tree version is spectacular and even comes with an actual gavel.

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