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.
A Christmas addition to the shelves and one that quickly stayed put. I reviewed this one back in January for the OG. Really clever card games are a weakness of mine, but that being said, I hadn’t even really given Mandala a look until my wife got it as a gift for Christmas. One play and I was instantly hooked. It really does share a lot of DNA with Hats, another card game that I adore, especially in the scoring. You control what cards will score throughout the game, or at least you attempt to control them by taking the cards you want to score in the order you want to score them. Absolute delight of a two player game, one that goes quite nicely with the other two player games that my wife and I really enjoy playing together. Also, that cloth board is a really nice touch. 7 plays since December 2019.
The Colonists may seem like the most out of place game in my collection. A majority of the titles we’ve been talking about are 60 minute games or less, and I could get my family to join in and play them. The Colonists is not that, although my wife has played this with me three times now. This is the modern day, epic, Eurocentric board game. It’s all planning, and resource churning and tile placement and more planning over a time frame that has averaged for us over three plays of about seven hours. Yes, you read that correctly, seven hours. Here’s the rub though, while I greatly enjoy playing The Colonists as I am playing it, but after playing it, I kind of realize that it’s a whole lot of work for three quarters of the game, just to let the game basically run itself the last quarter. What I mean by that is that you spend the first three eras building your machine to run how you want it to run. That fourth era, it’s going to be running whether you like it or not, there is no changing things in that last era, so it’s basically just a matter of hoping that you did everything correctly the previous four to five hours. I still love it, I just always have that bit of malaise after playing it. It doesn’t take too long to want to play it again though, but for that moment, it’s kind of feels like a bit of a let down. Oh! Dale has you covered with the review here on the OG. Oh, and next to the games, kind of hidden behind Elmo is the expansion, Ante Portas, which still needs to be punched and played, but I have no idea how it’s going to fit in that box. Three plays since October 2017.
Wouldn’t you know it, Dale has us covered with the review here on the OG. I love this Cathala title, it honestly may be my favorite game that he has designed. BUT! We’ll never play this one at four players, nope, not gonna do it. This is a really fun, and strategic take on Mancala. But oh my word, playing with four players has everything change so much in between turns that it’s ultimately way too hard to plan your actions ahead of time, so you are stuck with analysis that has to be done right before your turn and that can cause some serious paralysis among players. Plus the fact that you see everything on the board makes some players think that they need to examine each and every thing before taking a turn. Making this game last longer than it has any real right to be. At two players though, or even three some times, the game is an absolute gem. Two players I like that you are essentially taking two turns per round and you bid on them thusly, you can set up some really powerful turns where you get to act multiple times in a row and that is really satisfying. Five Tribes is also kind of a headier game than most of the titles from Days of Wonder, which may be partially why I like it so much. I love Ticket to Ride with my family, and I have really enjoyed Quadropolis and Smallworld, but Five Tribes may be my favorite Days of Wonder title of them all. 11 plays since October 2014.
Glen More II Chronicles
First, let’s touch on the last time I played Glen More II Chronicles, Chris had the honors there. Glen More has long been one of my favorite games. I’m a sucker for tile placement and a sucker for that rondel mechanism that works here, but doesn’t work for me in other places (I’m looking at you Tokaido). For years, I had an old, ugly Alea copy of Glen More, with the tiles so thin that you thought they may not really be tiles, they may just be super thick cards. But the game play always prevailed and in spite of being a distinctly stuck in the past styled game, it was always loved. Now, bring in the new version, meticulously put together by Matthias Kramer and Funtails. It has the old game, with a new feel. It has polish, it has table presence, and most of all, it has new twists and turns that have turned that old Glen More, into something a lot more. This version, is really close to an heirloom styled game, I just need Funtails to get me a new box as everything was so heavy in the box, that it all shifted during shipping and blew out an edge, as you can kind of see in the photo. That aside, I love Glen More, and I look forward to many more plays of it. 11 plays, both old and new combined.