Chris Wray: What I Enjoyed Playing in May 2020

This is the May entry for my series where I post five games I enjoyed playing in the past month for which I didn’t have time to do full reviews.  As always, I limit it to five titles, of which there’s a combination of old and new games.

My most played game of the month was Agricola, which is my all-time favorite game. Part of the increased plays was the discovery of the fact that I could play Agricola online, but part of it was the discovery of the game by my dad. It has long been a family favorite — games between my mom, sister, and brother-in-law are always a fierce farming battle — but my Dad doesn’t normally play games this complex. But he gave it a play and became hooked. Maybe game tastes run in families?

Farmers of the Moor takes all of the tension of Agricola and ramps it up in a good way. Players now have asymmetric boards — there are forests and peat bogs to be cleared or embraced — and there are now new card-based actions beyond just placing workers. You have to not only feed your people, but heat your home too, but you get a discount for a clay or stone house, giving you an incentive to upgrade early. I love Agricola — as I said above, it is my favorite game — so it is no surprise that I adore Farmers of the Moor, which is its most notable expansion.

I had reviewed Cavena: Cave v. Cave a few years ago, but we started playing it again with Era II recently. This two-player game, which is vaguely similar to Caverna, is all about mining out your cave and furnishing rooms. As I said back then, “This might be Uwe Rosenberg’s best 2-player game.  It takes the flavor of Caverna and distills it into a quick 2-player game, emphasizing many of Uwe’s favorite mechanisms like resource conversion, spatial restrictions, and worker placement.  If you like his games, I bet you’ll like Cave vs Cave.” It is easy to see how this won the 2-player IGAs.

I’m a King of Tokyo fan, so I love this new collector’s Dark Edition, which features new art, the gameplay of this modern classic, plus a couple of new mechanical twists. The upgraded components are a plus too! I should have a review out of this soon.

The Quacks of Quedlinburg is an amazing press-your-luck game. I had played a German copy of it quite a bit when it first came out, but I recently picked up an English copy, along with the stunningly beautiful and practical GeekUp Bit set. This is a favorite of my game group and my family, and I expect this will get quite a few plays in June too.

We’ve been playing a lot of Silver lately, not only Amulet and Bullet, but the recently-released Silver Coin. I had done a review/preview of Silver Coin a few months ago, and it recently started shipping. But what has really rekindled our interest in Silver are the 2-vs-1 and team rules, which Bezier has posted for free on social media and a few other places. The rules work remarkably well, and it has added a new twist that has got us playing this oh-so-amazing card game series.

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