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.
I reviewed this one on the OG when it was called Rolnicy, and Dale reviewed it recently as Gloomy Graves. If we want to get technical, I would have Rolnicy on this shelf instead of Gloomy Graves if I could. But alas, that copy of Rolnicy that I played was not mine and it has since become impossible to play. So I picked up Gloomy Graves. The game is ultimately an offspring of Heartland and you could kind of tell it when playing Rolnicy as the farming theme came through nicely. This version, while I still absolutely adore the game play, is kind of unsettling to play. Instead of farming we are digging graves and burying various fantasy things like Unicorns or fairies and the art definitely shows this, and it’s kind of disturbing and more than a bit disappointing. But once again, this is a game that can overcome an awful theme and i can enjoy it. I just wonder how much I will reach for it, versus how much I would reach for it if I had Rolnicy. 5 plays since December 2018 of Rolnicy & 2 plays of Gloomy Graves since February 2020.
2016 at Geekway to the West, Tasty Minstrel Games had a booth setup there, it was really the first big year for vendors that I remember. Their hot ticket that year was this, the “Deluxified” version of the wonderful Euro, Orleans. It was expensive, so I didn’t buy it immediately, but friend Bill Corey Jr did and he sat down to play it with Gabby, Kerensa and a couple other folks I now consider friends. The best part of me not playing is that I didn’t have to sticker everything, they did, and that took a long time. But Gabby and Kerensa really liked the game so the next morning I went and picked up our copy. So, my wife and daughter are probably two of the few who have every stickered two sets of Orleans Deluxe. Dan has us covered here with the review and all the how to’s. It’s a wonderful point salad of a game and it brought us Bag Building. Much like Deck Building you are building what you can do in the future each turn by adding more choices. You can buy different “workers” that do different things, but the thing about Orleans is that you need a variety as each task normally will take at least two different workers. The game almost naturally moves you to diversifying your workers. I have not played with any of the expansions,as I don’t think that they were ever made in the “Deluxified” version. For a game this big, it’s really not overly complex, it falls firmly in that 60-90 minute Medium Weight Euro field which I absolutely love. 4 plays since 2016 and one play on the plebian regular version.
That same year at Geekway to the West, Split Second Games was also a vendor. I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Imboden a couple Geekway’s earlier during a rousing game of Quicksilver. Paul’s attitude toward gaming was infectious as he simply enjoyed watching and commenting while our group did everything we could to destroy each other’s chances, rather than focusing on our ultimate goal of winning a race. It was a wonderful experience. Naturally when I saw he was at Geekway again, I wanted to stop in and say Hi and play a game or two with him and Paradox was one of them, he was also in that Orleans game that I wasn’t in. I almost included Paradox in our Unheralded Game articles, but that year was ultimately dominated by another for me, but both of those games are utterly charming set collection games. Paradox just does it a little more uniquely. You see, you have this five by five grid of chips and ultimately, you creating three or more like colors drives what you can buy. It’s quite ingenious if you ask me.
I’ll have to ask Paul if they have any more copies out there floating around for sale, as I really should do a bigger review of it but I hate reviewing games that are impossible to get. It has wonderful art, each of the alien races that you are trying to collect have three cards and each race is done by a different artist. After you collect them they make this wonderful little panorama view of that Alien homeland. It should be played more, and damn it, it will be played more. I just think people see it and think that its going to be inelegant or convoluted, but it’s really not. It plays wonderfully. I should also mention that this was I believe the first design from designer Brian Suhre who has gone on to design a couple more games that have garnered some good praise, including Coldwater Crown which is probably the best fishing based board game out there, I’m not sure I’ve ever played a game that had a mechanism tie in so fluidly with the theme. 3 plays since 2016.
Pandemic Legacy Season 1
So, Legacy games, yeah….. We started this as a family game back in January of 2016. Picked it back up in January of 2017 and played May, but it has not seen the table again and now I’m kind of just stuck with it, as no one in their right mind wants to buy a half used copy of Pandemic Legacy Season 1. I’ve given up on others. Charterston gone after three plays, it was boring, but it could be reset so I passed it on to someone else. Betrayal Legacy was going well until half the group just realised that we didn’t like Betrayal and ultimately, this was just as random and awful, so I passed that on to the half of the group that enjoyed it. Machi Koro Legacy sits unplayed and that kind of all sums up how I feel about the Legacy genre of games. But….. I want to play Pandemic Legacy Season 1 and I want to finish it. Of all the Legacy titles I have tried, I think it’s the best use of that system, I think that it has interesting choices and interesting consequences that could happen even if it was ultimately just Advanced Pandemic, a game that while I think is a good game, it’s just not a game I ever really feel the need to play. But this one was telling a bigger story, the narrative was moving forward and we could see our characters growing and we worried if they would die, but apparently not too much. 8 plays since January 2016. And I have started a Pandemic Legacy Season 2 Session with friends that fell apart just due to responsibilities and time, 5 plays since January 2018.
The second Allers title on this shelf alone, although this one was co-designed with Bernd Eisenstein. Before we go too far here, Larry has the review up on The OG for everyone to peruse so that you can understand the game. Why is it so important to take a look at Larry’s review? Because I’ve only played this one once. It’s a bit meatier than my family will usually sit down and play. After one play I thought it felt like a beefed up fantasy Through the Desert with individualized powers and even the ability to change what you do, and how you do it a bit, and I really liked it. I did awful at it, enough to prompt one of the players to ask if I realized that the point of the game was to score points, but I really liked it. Rather, maybe I liked the idea of it. For me, the first play of a game is all about me messing about, pulling levers and getting rules straight in my head. It’s the second play of a game that really matters and cuts to the meat of it, even more so to me than the third, fourth, fifth on and on and on. Sure future plays are important, it shows that there is staying power, but that second play is usually where I decide whether it warrants more. So in my head, I loved it, but on the table, it still remains to be proven with a second play. Much like the weird person I am, my copy also has both expansions in it, still waiting to get played. I don’t know why I do that, it just happens. 1 play since 2018.
The name is just wonderful to yell in your best Nordic yell. Mark has you covered for the full overview here on The OG. This shelf of games has games from two of the best tile placement designers working right now, Jeff Allers and Scott Caputo the designer of Voluspa. Tile placement is probably my favorite or second favorite mechanism in a board game. Find me a good Auction/Tile Placement game and I’d probably just pass out from excitement, maybe that’s close to what Isle of Skye & Castles of Mad King Ludwig are, but that’s neither here nor there. Voluspa is dead simple, play a tile from your hand to the board in one of the available lines and score it, if you can. The tiles have different abilities and some need different things to happen for them to score, so it’s a very tactical game with you watching what your opponent is doing and trying to not let them score too much based on what you play. Genius little game that I have mostly played online via Yucata, although we have played the cardboard version a handful of times. A fun theme, matched with fun accessible gameplay that rewards clever play. 4 plays since 2014 in physical form, but countless online games.