Brandon Kempf – Surviving the Purge 16

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.

Santorini

This game is the answer to the age old question of “How do you sell a buttload of re-makes of an old, indy, abstract title?”. The answer is, you give it a theme, Kickstart the heck out of it with some plastic, stylistic graphic design, and fun player powers (A LOT OF THEM) and that’s how you sell a buttload of Santorini. Completely unnecessary as the basic game could be reproduced using Legos for crying out loud. Chris has you covered with the full review. Santorini was long one of my Grail Games as I wanted one of those older hand made wooden versions. That opportunity never presented itself and then Roxley Games appeared and gave us all a chance at the game designed by Gord Hamilton. One of my oldest daughter’s favorite two player games, we have racked up over fifty logged plays of Santorini since it arrived on an icy day. How do I remember it was icy? Well, I picked it up off my porch as I was going back to work and took it with me. That afternoon we had an ice storm roll in and by the time I went home, our sidewalk and stairs were sheets of ice. Me being me, I decided to gingerly make it to the house with the game in hand, and I nearly made it. I got to the top step and as soon as I stepped I knew it was over. After what seemed like minutes of trying to regain my balance I managed to fling myself away from the concrete steps to the ice covered grass hill and Santorini went flying, as did I. It fared better than I did as it landed on the grass and slid to a calm, peaceful stop, meanwhile I careened down the hill, into the trash can and came to rest against my car. Luckily no broken bones, only scrapes and bruises and a game that survived that day and my purge. 49 logged plays since December 2016.

Camel Up

From one of my older daughter’s favorites, to one of our youngest daughter’s favorites. We missed out on Camel Up when it first appeared. I think that I maybe got to play the original one time and then by the time I wanted to add it to the collection, it was out of print and hard to find. Eggerspiel came back with a new version, with much prettier art and better components, including a board that folds out and has palm trees, I mean come on, that’s just decadence right there. It’s a simple gambling game where you are betting on camels in a race. You don’t own any of the camels in the race, at some point you will probably move each of them and hoping that the camels that you have bet on come in first or second. It features stacking camels, where if one camel stops where another already is, it stacks on top, then if the bottom camel moves, all the camels on top go with it. Fun, silly and with the new edition you can play with the rogue camels who go backwards around the track and can wreak havoc on the race track, we never play without them. Chris and Dale have you covered with four different reviews on The OG. A well deserving Spiel des Jahres winner back in 2014. 4 plays of second edition since December 2018 and 1 play of the first edition. 

Seasons 

A bit of a departure for us really, but we absolutely love playing Seasons. I know when it came out folks were touting it as a Magic the Gathering styled card game, but that was never the draw for us as I never played Magic the Gathering. Dale has us covered on The OG. The thing that is always brought up when you mention Seasons is those big chonky dice that are the core of everything that happens. Roll the dice, draft the dice, gain resources, play some cards and hope to chain everything together into big monstrous turns that drive your opponents crazy. And that’s the part of the game we enjoy. Hunting down and finding the combinations in the cards and using them to score the most points. Also because of this combolicious nature of the game we tend to not play it with four players, preferably at two as downtime can be a thing and it is an AP inducing beast sometimes, but even with all of that, it’s an absolute delight to play. I believe there are two expansions for Seasons, we have one of them in the box and the other we never grabbed for some reason. But they are coming back with a reprint, so I’m sure we’ll add it in sooner than later. Now, how to track down all those promo cards. 27 plays since March 2013. Numerous unlogged online plays over on BGA. 

Santa Maria

Another one of those I “kept it because of one positive play and I hope for more” games. But as it is, Santa Maria is on the cusp of going away because I’m not sure that I want to get it to the table again. The theme is definitely of questionable taste and those happiness tokens are quite questionable, but the main reason is that I remember it being a bear to teach and I don’t know if I want to take the time to do it. I do recall enjoying the dice drafting quite a bit and how you use them. But for the life of me, even sitting here and looking at photos, I don’t recall how to play, at all. Thankfully Dale can save the day and has a review up on The OG1 play in May 2018.

Sticheln

A German trick taking game that I was late to discovering, but thanks to Chris, I got to play and learn to love it. It’s a game that has long deserved a North American printing, but until recently, there was no sign of that happening. But thanks to Clay over at Capstone Games, it will soon, well at least fairly soon as Stick ‘em. The game is fairly rules light, at the beginning of a hand, players will choose one card from their hand and that suit becomes their “pain” suit, meaning that they do not want to take cards from that suit. At the end of a hand, each card of their pain suit that a player takes is worth negative points, face value, and every other card they have taken is worth one point. A hand is played like normal trick taking with a player leading a suit, and if everyone follows suit, the highest card of that suit wins and the player who played it then takes the trick. Each card played during a hand that is not the lead suit is considered a trump, so if a hand is played with different suits being played, the highest trump suited card will win the trick. Play as many hands as there are players and the highest point total wins, and it probably won’t be that much. Sticheln has a reputation as a mean trick taker, and it’s a reputation that is well earned. But the meanness comes from a place of strategy, and of fun. This is probably the best trick taking game out there, and thankfully, a lot of other folks who hadn’t had the chance to try it before, will now get to. 4 plays since November 2017.

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6 Responses to Brandon Kempf – Surviving the Purge 16

  1. Brandon,

    I’ve really been enjoying your write-ups. I’ve agreed with most of your comments, had a different opinion on a couple, and learned a bit about a few games I haven’t tried. Thank you for taking the time to document the purge.

    • Brandon Kempf says:

      Thanks for reading! It’s good to know that folks are still following along and getting something out of the articles. I appreciate it!

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  4. Mikel says:

    Great Santorini story! :-)

    I keep agreeing with almost all of your assessments. My only play of Santa Maria wasn’t a great succes, but I would definitely give it a second shot.

  5. Greg says:

    Count me as one still following. It’s a favorite of mine and I’ll be sad when it’s done. So keep buying games.

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