2017 Meeples Choice Award Voting Has Begun!

Just wanted to spread the word that the Spielfrieks user group has started the two-week process of conducting the Meeples Choice Awards, in which we select our three favorite games of the previous calendar year.  Right now, we’re choosing our 25 nominated games.  Next week, we’ll vote to weed those nominees down to the three winning designs.  If you’re a member of Spielfrieks, please help us out and head over to the Yahoo User Group to place your votes.  If you’re not a member, but would like to help us with this most awesome of responsibilities, all you have to do is send an email to spielfrieks-owner@yahoogroups.com and you will be signed up and ready to join us.  Keep an eye out for some Geeklists listing the nominated games and, eventually, the winning ones!  Thanks!

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Review of Q.E.

Designed by Gavin Birnbaum and published by Cubiko Games

One of the central aspects of auction games is the limits on capital.  Which has many advantages, in terms of game play – but this also introduces a artificial limitation into many games, as spending beyond one’s means is common in practice.  So what would happen if capital was completely unlimited?
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Dale Yu: Review of Huns



  • Designer: Fneup
  • Publisher: La Boite de Jeu
  • Players:
  • Ages:
  • Time: 30-40 minutes
  • Times played: 4, with review copy provided by publisher

In Huns, players each control a tribe of huns, looking to be the one who can take over from the great Khan – of course, by being the Hun with the most victory points at the end of the game!  In this game, each player gets his own board which represents his camp. At the start of the game, there are 2 randomly drawn wagon cards that start in camp. There are colored spaces on these cards representing the types of goods cubes needed to fill them.  There are five different decks of cards – they are each shuffled to start the game. Matching colored wooden cubes are placed beneath each deck as is a d3 in the same color.

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Patrick Brennan: Game Snapshots – June 2018 (Part 1)

Patrick Brennan: Game Snapshots – June 2018 (Part 1)

For recreation, Patrick loves to play a bit of footy…

The clear winner from our first batch of Yucata new games has been Mystic Vale, with daily outings for quite a while. Now that we’ve explored different strategies and we’re more experienced with our card valuations (the deck-thinners aka decay-killers are the usual winners, as you’d expect), the decisions are more focused on whether to take a lesser card or not – you don’t want the replacement card to be a deck-thinner that your opponent can grab. This has generated an evolving set of valuations. There’s no way we’d be playing this so much if we had to play with the physical components. Hooray for Yucata! Continue reading

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Empires of the Void II Review by Jeff L.

Review of Empires of the Void II

  • Designer: Ryan Laukat
  • Publisher: Red Raven Games
  • Players: 2 – 5
  • Ages: 13+
  • Time: 90-180 minutes
  • Times Played: 2

I’ve always been a big fan of the space opera genre—often sprawling 4x-style games with lots of theme and player interaction. Some of my best gaming memories are day-long Twilight Imperium mini-cons, making the perfect shot in Ascending Empires, and cleverly hiding a rebel base against my eight-year old son in Star Wars Rebellion. When I heard that Ryan Laukat was Kickstarting a second edition of Empires of the Void, I jumped in. I very rarely Kickstart games, and I had never played the first edition, but had respected many of Ryan’s other designs and was interested enough to take the plunge.

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James Nathan: Strasbourg


Designer: Stefan Feld
Publisher: Pegasus Spiele
Players: 3-5
Ages: 12+
Time: 60 minutes
Times Played: 9 times with purchased copies

In college, I had a math professor who liked to visit the college’s rare book room once a semester to pull out some significant texts, and the occasional novelty. One of the folios was a table of prime numbers from the late 1700s. More specifically, volume 2. As the story goes, volume 1 was such a best seller, they put together a sequel, and after it went to print, many errors were discovered in the original, so the second run was sold to the Turkish army for cannon target practice. This was the second volume.

Or at least that’s how I’ve been telling the story for years. I reached out to Prof. Reznick in an act of self-ombudsmanship for this review and he corrected my memory on some of that under a warranty his class came with 16 years ago. (Get you a professor that gives out class warranties; you never know when it’ll come in handy.). The story came from p. 349 of a 1919 book on the history of number theory. As it turned out, there was no second edition (and likely never a “bestselling” table of prime numbers anywhere ever), there were in fact “no purchasers of the part printed”, and all but a “few copies” were “used for cartridges in the Turkish war.”

Anyway, the point (and now the meta-point) is, getting the facts straight is important.

This wasn’t how I intended to start this review, but I’m going to save that anecdote for another occasion. We got here because I was trying to read up on the history of journalism corrections. I didn’t find much until I switched to reading about the history of typos, and things became much more interesting -including a conference you can attend to listen to scholarly lectures on such topics, but then I smelled a Turkish madeleine and here we are.

Anyway, the point is I just noticed that years ago in a ranking of Feld games, we listed Strasbourg below It Happens! and I wanted to issue a personal correction.


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Dale Yu: Review of Iquazu



  • Designer: Michael Feldkoetter
  • Publisher: HABA
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: ~60 minutes
  • Times played: 3, with review copy provided by HABA USA
  • Link: http://www.habausa.com/iquazu/

Iquazu (or “the Avatar Waterfall game” as it’s called around here), is the newest big-box game from HABA.  Over the past few years, HABA has been making a strong move into the family game arena, leaving the comfortable confines of the kiddie-game genre where they have been the king for quite some time now…

In this game, as the story goes, players are members of the Inox tribe and are competing against each other to recover gems which have been secreted away behind a massive waterfall.  The cover art shows a bright blue Inox girl, who looks eerily like the Na’vi from the movie Avatar – hence the nickname here of the “Avatar Waterfall” game. Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of Broadhorns


Broadhorns: Early Trade on the Mississippi

  • Designer: James Harmon
  • Publisher: Rio Grande Games
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages:  14+
  • Time: 75-90 minutes
  • Times played: 4, with review copy provided by Rio Grande Games

Broadhorns is one of the new Rio Grande releases from Spring 2018.  The designer’s name was new to me, but a quick review of his designer page on BGG shows that he has a number of game designs to his credit, including a Princess Bride game which I had previously played!  In this game, players act as merchants, picking up goods and passengers as far north as St Louis and traveling down the Mississippi river towards New Orleans. Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of Carta Impera Victoria

Carta Impera Victoria

  • Designer: Remi Amy
  • Publisher: Ludonaute
  • Players: 2-4
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Times played: 3, with preview copy provided by Asmodee USA

Carta Impera Victoria (or CIV) was a late arrival to the Gathering of Friends, and I didn’t get a chance to play it at the convention as it arrived literally as I was leaving.  I was given a preview copy on the way out, and we’ve played it a few times here at home.  The subtitle of the game is “The CIVilization Game in CIV cards” – and the goal here is to be the first to reach hegemony in one of the six domains of civilization.

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HeavyCon: Day Four

Here is a photo of a pink fungus I saw 3 years ago.

Largely the only criteria I used to pick a college years ago, was the diversity of courses offered, and when I took a class on Japanese tea ceremonies and Zen aesthetics, there were several ceramics majors in the class, taking it for research purposes. I simultaneously took three ceramics classes the next semester, and in one of them, when the professor lectured on certain topics, the slideshow always included images of plants, rocks, blight, or other experiences that he felt had undoubtedly directly inspired his creativity, even if unconsciously. Continue reading

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