No Such Thing As Too Many Games…

…when you get to hang out with friends for a weekend.

A long weekend.

From Wednesday evening to mid-Sunday afternoon, I enjoyed the hospitality of Dale Yu (the grand poobah of the Opinionated Gamers) and enjoyed the company of two other OG writers, James Nathan and John Palagyi.

In roughly 90 hours, we managed to play 34 different games for a total of 40 plays. 25 of those games were completely new to me. Dale & I also managed to take in a MLS soccer game between our home teams (Nashville FC and FC Cincinnati) that ended in a 1-1 tie.

And now I’m going to spend some time giving you quick capsule reviews of all of them.

Rather than deal with the weekend chronologically, I’m going to sort them by our OG rating categories… and sort them alphabetically under each category.  Please note: these are MY ratings. Your mileage may vary – drastically. (Reviews linked are here from the OG… but not necessarily written by me.)

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Dale Yu – Review of Bag of Chips – The Salty & Tasty Game!

Bag of Chips – The Salty & Tasty Game!

  • Designers: Mathieu Aubert and Theo Riviere
  • Publisher: Blue Orange USA
  • Players: 2-5
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 15-20 min
  • Played with review copy provided by the publisher

bag of chips

Mixlore is a design house that has designs that you might be familiar with if you frequent the game aisle at Target or your other friendly local big-box store.  Titles such as The Shining, Top Gun, Queen’s Gambit, Ticket to Ride Track Switcher, Catan Logic Puzzle are all from this creative center.  I also know them for their quirky and sometimes trendy packaging – such as Ramen Fury, a game which came packaged like a package of instant noodles and Burger ASAP which comes in a cardboard box that looks like it could hold a sandwich that comes with two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun….

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Blackbrim 1876 – Escape Room Game (spoiler free)

Blackbrim 1876 – Escape Room Game (spoiler free)

  • Publisher: Puzzling Pursuits
  • Players: 1-6 (we had 2 solvers)
  • Time: no time limit – we took 43 minutes to solve part 1, 73 minutes to solve part 2
  • website: https://puzzlingpursuits.com/

blackbrim-box-min_720x

The Opinionated Gamers have long been a fan of escape room games and puzzle pastimes.  We have done plenty of physical escape rooms, online puzzle hunts, and lots and lots of escape room games, from well known franchises (Exit, Unlock, Escape The Room, Werewolf) to one-off challenges and even a few puzzle books.

We were recently contacted by a company new to us, Puzzling Pursuits.  They are based in California, and they now have 4 different game boxes (2 each in two different story lines).  We were sent a care package of two games to try out, and we have now had the chance to play both of them.

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Dale Yu: Review of Kinoko  

Kinoko

  • Designer: Tim Rogasch
  • Publisher: Helvetiq
  • Players: 2-4
  • Age: 7+
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Cards: 24
  • Dice: 3

Played with review copy provided by Helvetiq

kinoko

In Kinoko, you want to be the first player to reassemble your family of mushrooms!  Kinoko is the Japanese word for “mushroom” – it literally translates to “child of the trees”.  In any event, your job in Kinoko is to manipulate the cards to get your family of mushrooms together.

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Dale Yu: Review of Barrakuda  

Barrakuda

  • Designer: Isaac Pente
  • Publisher: Helvetiq
  • Players: 2-4
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 20
  • Cards: 44
  • Dice: 2
  • Chits: 36
  • Played with review copy provided by publisher

barrakuda

In this game, players find themselves in Cartagena, Colombia, and they will maneuver their way through a path of connected cards on the table trying to discover sunken Spanish treasure… Sound familiar?  In this mini-sized game, the ocean floor is constructed using six out of the twelve available shipwreck cards, set in a pattern so that each card is connected to at least one other card by an adjacent side.  There will always be 6 cards in the game, one of each number 1-6.  There is a second set of treasure cards numbered 1-6, and when you are more experienced, you can swap out some of the starting cards for a more varied board, though you’ll always have 6 cards, and one of each rank.  That being said, even using the same set of 6 cards, games can play out differently if they are arranged differently on the table.

Each player chooses a color, takes their barracuda card, deck of 5 movement cards, money bag card (with 2 gold on it to start) and vault card.  The Barracuda meeple is placed on the treasure card numbered 6.  The goal of the game is to be the first player to collect 8 gold pieces in their vault from the shipwrecks on the ocean floor.

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Dale Yu: Review of Aquamarine

  • Aquamarine
  • Designer: Matthew Dunstan
  • Publisher: Postmark Games
  • Players: 1+
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 20-30 minutes
  • played 6 times with preview Print-and-play copy provided by publisher

aquamarine

Well, the COVID Pandemic is into its third year (of who knows how many), and so many things have changed as a result.  One thing that has clearly affected our hobby is the nebulous “supply chain”.  Game releases are delayed constantly – sometimes due to production issues (can’t get the materials to make the game), sometimes due to shipping issues, etc. Continue reading

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