WHAT HAVE WE BEEN PLAYING – August 20th, 2020
Last week we looked at all of the logged plays on BoardGameGeek from the previous seven days. Let’s now expand that view to the top ten played games on BGG, looking at the full week dating August 9th through to August 15th:
The biggest bumps of the week go to Spirit Island, likely due to its wide digital release through publisher Handelabra, and Jaws of the Lion, which has just recently arrived on store shelves everywhere. Marvel Champions also had a big bump over last week’s 1595 plays, likely due to the release of the Hulk Hero Pack.
What about the DWP crew? Let’s find out what our team has been playing!
I spent last week camping in Algonquin Park. Of course I took games with me! I had a disastrous game of Azul (my wife nearly doubled my score), but made up for it by being undefeated at Reiner Knizia’s excellent tile placement game Ingenious.
I got to play a round of Saint Petersburg, one of my all time favourites with fellow writers Nicole and David. It was only on BGA, but it was still fun to connect with them over a game and catch up. One funny storyline was David’s acquisition of Warehouse Managers, leading to us insisting he get the Warehouse when it finally showed up to give them something to actually manage.
This weekend we reached the end of a just more than two-year long Dungeons and Dragons campaign, my first full campaign.We played in person at pubs and friend’s houses before the pandemic forced us to move online to Roll20. We started off with six players, dropped down to four, picked up two different players and, despite some close calls, none of the players died. It was an incredible learning experience and our dungeon master crafted a great story.
I played a couple of quick, fun games from FoxMind Games: ConeZilla and Figure It. I thought ConeZilla was a wonderful update on the classic game of memory with the addition of probability. You stack ice cream scoops on top of your cone from lowest number to highest (2-49). The first person to reach 10 scoops wins! Both kids and adults will appreciate this 15-minute game. Figure It was a straightforward game of deducing a hidden number code in front of you. You can see everyone else’s number, there are face-up numbers in the center, and there are hidden numbers that no one sees. Each turn, you ask someone at the table if you have a number (1-7) in front of you and if you do, they reveal it. Play continues until one person has guessed all their numbers. It’s clever and replayable.
I got to play the first four scenarios of Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion and I must say I think it’s a winner. It shows how much Childres has learned in terms of how to introduce the Gloomhaven experience and I wish it had been part of the original game. Concepts are introduced gradually and give players a chance to deal with them one by one instead of overwhelming them with the full-on experience from the get-go.
Also: the first thing you see when you open the box is a one-page guide to unpacking and storing the game–which again shows how much has been learned about making the user experience as smooth as possible. Doing away with tiles and having the maps pre-printed in booklets was also an obvious-but-stroke-of-genius move. I wish someone would do that for the original!
Over the weekend I played a virtual escape room game from Panic Room games, Sherlock Holmes themed. It was very similar to playing something like an Exit game – but I was able to play while on a Zoom call with friends and we were all looking at the same web interface. It wasn’t super challenging but a fun experience with nice production! I then taught those friends Cacao which they enjoyed a lot – it’s up there as a fave Phil Walker-Harding game of mine (which is no mean feat, considering his terrific slate of games).
I also got together with Sean and David and played some classic faves of mine, St. Petersburg and Glen More! Hot damn, those are great games. David mentioned a lot about how different Glen More 2 feels, so I really need to sit down to try that one out, now.
Move aside Quacks!
I finally got to play The Taverns of Tiefenthal and wow, Wolfgang Warsch has done it again. The game immediately spoke to me based on how cute the player boards are and the theme – managing a pub and trying to build your customer base. I just never really got around to playing it until this week, where I finally got to try it online. After three plays, I just have to say it is a delight. Deckbuilding, push your luck, a wonderfully integrated theme – this game has it all. It had the effect of immediately making me want to run it back and just play again, something that is quite rare for me. I want to play this game again and again and again. For those on the fence about trying it, it is like The Quacks of Quedlinburg except you have more control. Try this game. Play it. Be happy.
Thank you for joining us for another journey of our weekly plays. We also want to know what you’ve been playing too – let us know through your favourite social media platform!