Monthly Archives: April 2014

Here’s a roundup of games I played with my brief comments and the perspective of other commentators, designers, and reviewers I admire and respect. Also, check out the GOF Buy List in the panel on the right to buy some of the games that are available now.

Kashgar Review on Hiew’s Boardgame Blog

BGB Editorial Note

Perhaps my game of the convention was Kashgar, a terrific deckbuildy kind of euro that is only in German but is good enough to tempt me into paste-ups (haven’t done that since Agricola…) Kashgar’s central mechanism of three mini-decks is well explained here in a review on Hiew’s blog. Here’s hoping Kosmos brings this to the US with a partner or at least prints it in English and makes it available to a wider audience because it is not at all language-independent. Thanks to the Grand Poobah himself, Greg Schloesser for introducing it to me.

Plays: 4Px1. Many people will probably think of the queuing mechanism in Kashgar as a twist to the deck-building mechanism, but the designer actually came up with the mechanism before the first deck-building game, Dominion was published. Here’s how it works. Every player starts with three queues of workers.

More game info… at http://hiewandboardgames.blogspot.com/2014/04/kashgar.html

Castles of Mad King Ludwig

BGB Editorial Note

The Castles of Mad King Ludwig by Ted Alspach was one of the most played and best games of the show as well. I really enjoyed this clever game of price-setting and castle construction. Ted points out that you actually build castles room-to-room here rather than some of those other castle building games that are abstracted out. A good point; Ludwig lets you build rooms with special power, bonuses, and cool options to combo rooms by completing some and leaving other halls unfinished. It plays quickly and yet is a very satisfying hour for 2 to 5 players. It is due out at Spiel this autumn.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 3.30.54 PM

In the tile-laying game Castles of Mad King Ludwig, players are tasked with building an amazing, extravagant castle for King Ludwig II of Bavaria…one room at a time.

More game info… at http://www.beziergames.com/caofmadkilu.html

Review – Evolution from North Star Games – An Experience You Do Not Want To Miss! | Evolution | BoardGameGeek

BGB Editorial Note

I had the pleasure of playing Northstar Games’ foray into serious games, Evolution, during the Gathering. I enjoyed the game – partially due to getting to play with the terrific Erik Arneson, who was generous enough to feed the other players with his sickly species – and I look forward to it hitting Kickstarter soon. I expect to have a copy on-hand for Gamex 2014 next month and we’ll likely broadcast a play of it on the USStream channel for Strategicon Conventions. Check out the link below for a good review of the game posted on BGG.

After having played about a dozen games of Evolution – North Star’s first foray into the strategy games realm – I felt it was time to give this gem its own review so that others can learn about it and anticipate it’s release as much as I am.

More game info… at boardgamegeek.com

Five Tribes Designer Diary from Designer Bruno Cathala

BGB Editorial Note

One of the top games of GOF 2014 was Five Tribes. This Gen Con 2014 release represents a “Gamer Game” release for Days of Wonder and it’s a really good one. Bruno Cathala has contributed to many great games but the interesting central mechanism combined with the awesome might of Days of Wonder production and marketing should turn Five Tribes into quite an event. Check out this link for Bruno’s Designer Diary on BGG, which I think you’ll enjoy.

In Q4 2014, Five Tribes will start appearing on game store shelves worldwide, including Days of Wonder in the US.

More game info… at boardgamegeek.com

Subdivision from Bezier Games

BGB Editorial Note

Bezier has also come up with a game related to their hit title Suburbia. Subdivision has some of the building feels of Suburbia combined with Take It Easy style play. Played quickly, it’s a fun puzzle experience that takes under 45 minutes to complete (no AP players allowed!) It’s available for pre-order now at Bezier Games’ site for a Gen Con 2014 release.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 3.32.26 PM

Subdivision mimics the city-building feel of Bzier Games’ Suburbia, but differs in scope as now each player has been allocated a specific area in which to create the best possible subdivision, filling it with residential, commercial, industrial, civic, and luxury zones, while balancing various improvements to the area, including roads, schools, parks, sidewalks, and lakes.

More game info… at http://www.beziergames.com/subdivision.html

AbluXXen rules explanation and overview

BGB Editorial Note

Don’t we have enough trick-taking-like card games? No, no we don’t. This one comes from one of the Grand Masters of Gaming, Wolfgang Kramer, and it doesn’t disappoint. I really enjoyed playing it and I will be buying it soon. But I noticed it’s hard to explain. Thankfully, the gaming world is full of Awesome Erics and one of those is Eric Martin, who will explain it in this video.

AbluXXen game listing on BoardGameGeek: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/153065/abluxxen

More game info… at www.youtube.com

Concordia board game review

BGB Editorial Note

Concordia was my favorite game from BGG.con 2013 and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it this year as one of my 10 Games 10 Times resolution. I played it at GOF2014 as well and it was quite close even though my experiment with a different strategy didn’t work out as I planned.

Review of Concordia board game.

More game info… at www.youtube.com

For those that don’t know, the Gathering of Friends is legendary game designer Alan Moon’s private gaming convention, an invite-only affair that draws top game designers, publishers, game reviewers, and gamerati from all over the world. The event runs almost a fortnight if you add in the early arrivals and late departure common at the Gathering. Attendees are treated to many early protos, rare and coveted games from esteemed collections, and many fresh from Europe titles from the folks who come over for the con. Best of all, you get a great community of folks Alan has put together that are just fun to be around, whether it is enjoying a game with them, or an outing to nearby Niagara Falls, or even just dinner at the various hangouts in and around the hotel. 

After missing the convention last year due to a job change a week before it, I was back this year with some prototypes in hand and a deep interest in checking out the latest titles from the many designers on-hand. What follows are my notes about some great games, early looks at a few upcoming titles, and I’m also sharing a few links to other stories about GOF 2014. I hope you enjoy it. I also posted many pictures on my social accounts while I was there and you can see more from others on Twitter if you check out #gof2014 Watch also for some additional posts on individual items and our Amazon Widget for games mentioned that you can purchase now.

Driving home from the Gathering

Here is the list of games that I played this week. (Saturday) 7 wonders Babel Flizz & miez Gib gas Start frei Time Stories x 4 Black Fleet Leg los Concept Chimera (Sunday) Knock down barns Faulpelz Gib gas Spike Pandemic the cure Gib gas Flizz and miez Istanbul Abluxxen Qwixx kartenspiel Qwixx …

More game info… at opinionatedgamers.com

The Gathering of Friends game convention 2014 – part #1!

BGB’s Editorial Note:

Nicole’s enthusiastic summary of the Gathering of Friends is certainly a lot of fun to read. I had the pleasure of playing Bezier Games’ wonderful One Night Ultimate Werewolf with Nicole and her boyfriend Adam in the tournament and they were part of the great energy at the show. You’ll enjoy the effusive takes she has on various games played throughout the week.

This is my second year attending the invite-only Gathering, it’s so nice to be back! Familiar faces, lovely people, swathes of games. I can only attend weekends this year due to work & life commitments – but I’ll be damned if I won’t cram in as much in those weekends as humanly possible!

More game info… at https://thewholenicole.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/the-gathering-of-friends-game-convention-2014-part-1/

Gil Hova on being a First-Timer at GOF 2014

BGB’s Editorial Note:

Designer Gil Hova was a red-badger this time (you get one for your first time so people are extra welcoming and more likely to go out of their way to introduce themselves) and he wrote a great article about the experience. He had his own protos but I played his friend’s game, Wombat Rescue, with him and some others. Click the link to enjoy Gil’s thoughtful take on GOF.

Gil Hova designs and plays board games

More game info… at http://gil.hova.net/

The Gathering of Friends 2013 (Warmup for 2014)

BGB Editorial Note: Mary Prasad’s Great 2013 Roundup is worth a read if you missed it last year.

Note: I originally wrote this to be posted on Board Game Geek News but the editor was swamped with work thus this got pushed further and further behind. The company told me it would be for 5-20+ players, with a note that you could play with even more players if you had a big enough table and …

More game info… at opinionatedgamers.com