My Favourite Gaming Themes

Another #BlogMas 2019 blog, another list of stuff.
This time it’s my favourite themes in games
Here goes:

5. Zombies

This might be higher if I get to play more zombie games, but they’re a hit with me so far.

4. Fantasy

If nothing else, fantasy games are usually really quite stunning to look at. Good thing they’re great to play too.

3. Cthulhu

The great old ones must be appeased or they’ll come and take all our meeples away.

2. Dinosaurs

Slap a dinosaur on it, I’m game for a game.
1 Space
Cosmic Encounter
This is the clear winner. Actually, it’s almost impossible for me to resist a space game.

My favourite 10 Games

Yesterday for #Blogmas I listed My 10 Least Favourite Games. For today’s Blogmas I thought I’d update my 2017 list of Top Ten Best Board Games as I’ve played a whole load of different games since then.
Again, this is my personal list for the games I enjoy the most. If you personally don’t like any of these games for any reason, you are fully allowed to feel that way. If there’s a game you feel is more deserving that should be on this list, there is a chance I haven’t played it.
Here goes.

10. Splendor by Space Cowboys

A delightful set-collecting game that’s simple and devious at the same time. One of the best filler games out there. The Cities expansion gives some good variety to it too.

9. Carpe Diem by Ravensburger

A game that proves you should never judge a game by its box. Combines the tile-laying strategies of Carcassonne with resource generation and planning to meet two objectives a round. Such a satisfying game.

8. Tiny Epic Galaxies by Gamelyn Games

I enjoy all the Tiny Epic games I’ve picked up (and have picked up most), but I’d still say that Galaxies is the best of the bunch. Careful resource management to build up a galactic empire that’s masterfully developed further with its Beyond the Black expansion.

7. Abyss by Bombyx

Some games are all style and no substance. Abyss looks incredible and plays out so well using push-your-luck mechanics to build a usable hand. The two expansions Leviathan and Behemoth provide so much more interest to the game too.

6. Everdell by Starling Games

Another fantastic-looking game with and impressive (if slightly pointless) 3D cardboard tree). However the cutesy theme and delightful components are mere condiments to a solid engine-building game. Need to get the expansion – heard good things about it.

5. Pulsar 2849 by CGE

You either love point salad games or you hate them. I get that. I’m a lover of this style of game. With so many options to choose from each turn even rubbish dice can be used to do great things.

4. Dinosaur Island by Pandasaurus Games

I love Jurassic Park. The book and the film. This is pretty much the game in all but name. Building your own dinosaur park has never been so much fun, even when the dinosaur break out and eat my paying customers. With an expansion that adds four extra aspects to the game, this games just gets bigger and better.

3. Star Realms by White Wizard Games

Deck-builders have been around for a while now, with different themes and styles. I’m a sucker for the deck-builder, me. Star Realms is, hands down, my personal favourite in the genre where players build up their decks of cards in order to annihilate each other. Complete with an attractive space theme, many complimentary expansions and one of the best digital versions of a game on Steam, this one just keeps on giving.

2. StarCraft: The Boardgame by Fantasy Flight Games

For the longest time this was my straight-up favourite game. Partially because I adore the computer game of which it is based, but also it’s a very satisfying combat and area control minutres game. However, with a game time of 30 minutes per player, a six-player game is more time commitment than can readily be given.

1. Terraforming Mars by Stronghold Games

Thematically, I don’t know of a stronger game than this masterpiece by Stronghold Games. Players play in a semi-cooperative way with the aim of terrforming Mars by increasing the temperature, oxygen content and liquid water levels. Individually, however, each player is trying to score more points than anyone else. With five excellent expansions that provide even more things to do, this engine-building game can be played over and over again.

There are also a host of other games I also really, really enjoy, but these are my current top ten.
Do any of these feature on your top (or bottom) ten?

Games Expo 2019

It’s that special time of the year again, so off we trot to:

We only did the Friday where it’s supposed to be “quieter”, not so sure about that, but I digress.
The morning was spent shopping and just walking up and down the aisles looking at lots of game-related stuff (and some stuff that was not game-related). We were impressed by the greater variety of wares than seen in previous years. Many stalls had a good collection of items the other stalls didn’t stock.
Our first proper stop was at the always amazing GamesLore where I picked up a game for a friend (not saying what as it’s a surprise), one of the few copies of

at the show (and the main item on my shopping list).
Elsewhere (and I can’t recall all the places I bought stuff-sorry), I picked up another game on my shopping list, a game we tried at the TableTop Gaming Live event last September:

Here they were also demonstrating the Disney baddies game Villainous and its first expansion (due out this August). (Get Photos from Sabrina).
White Wizard Games were there with a wonderful stand, courtesy of Eclectic Games full of stuff and Rob Dougherty himself was there demonstrating his new game Sorcerer (which I already got via Kickstarter). There I picked up the fantasy version of Star Realms:

as well as the five character packs:

I also thought I’d picked up enough matching card sleeves to sleeve the lot, but I think I’m one pack short.
From there I also picked up this beauty:

As they didn’t have any for Star Realms or Hero Realms for some reason. This came a bunch of matching card sleeves and a promo card too. Oooooh!
They did have some very nice playing mats, and I caved in and got this one:

Very nice it is too.
Lunchtime called so I partook in a Beast Burger while Sabrina enjoyed a Hazelnut Latte and a bowl of chips.
Refreshed and refuelled we set forth once more with the view to playing something.
The first game we tried our hands at was Seekers of Asterod:

Despite the awful and cumbersome pizza-style box, this Cludo-style space game was actually not all that bad. Not much substance to it, but a fun little game of narrowing down clues to be the first to find the correct planet. As it’s remotely linked to Cludo, Sabrina won.
Providing further proof that you can’t judge a game by its cover or artwork we had a go at Fireworks:

A game where players construct a pretty fireworks display on their boards by chucking a big die at a pile of tiles and collecting the number rolled if any tiles flip over. A game designed to have players spending most of their time under the table retrieving game components. Also the pretty artwork is not easy to make out the two very similar styles of explosion (a non-jaggerdy one and a jaggerdy one). The obviously translated instructions are also not easy to read. Not so impressed with this one. Sabrina one.
Finally we had a go at Ghostbusters: The Card Game:

In this set-collecting game, players take turns playing cards to move the trap and then trapping the card it finishes at. Some cards are slimy and will deduct points to the player with the most, unless they also have Slimer.
Thematically, not really that Ghostbustery, but the artwork was fun, the game-play was easy to pick up and there was enough in it to keep it interesting. A good filler game. Had there been a copy of this for purchase, we might have picked it up.
Two games I was looking out for were Tiny Epic Mechs and Tiny Epic Tactics, but after consulting the good ol’ internet, I learned they’re not out yet.
One stall that surprised us was one sporting a load of Pillowfight Warriors goods. Not so much soft toys but more like actual pillows or cushions shaped like weapons and shields looked fantastic. Thinking of the boys we bought a pair of swords.

After subsequently hacking at family members over the course of the weekend, we may well invest in some more gear from here. They were hugely successful.
Two items that we’d seen earlier were calling to us, so we tracked down a copy of:

that Sabrina liked the look of. I’d bought her the original Herbaceous at last year’s Expo and she’d enjoyed that. This one seems to follow the latest trend of being redone as dice.
I’d previously acquired a few copies of Keyforge, but had yet to get a starter set with the extra bits and counters and stuff. Eventually, I managed to find one of the rapidly dwindling copies of:

from the good people at Zatu Games. Apparently, the UK have had their orders for this title reduced across the board, so there’s less copies about than expected.
This contains my first Age Of Ascension, but has the improvement of the original starter sets in that the 2 decks contained within are standard unique decks rather than specially constructed decks.
On the way out at the Expo Merch desk, we also picked up this nifty poster:

I did a vlog on this too, more of the same but more waving about at the camera:

Games Night 23rd October 2018

Four of us this time which saw us mixing up the DNA and getting visitors eaten with:

by Pandasaurus Games
In the opening random draw MC found himself in 4th place, turnwise. A position he wasn’t able to shake for the entire game. Very early on, KV make it clear his calvalier approach to the well-being of visitors.

Despite the huge fatality count, visitors kept flocking to the parks.
In a final push and deliberate oversight of health a safety, the final unclaimed objectives were claimed and more visitors were eaten.

The final scores:
DA: 41 with a park score of 30 = 71
KV: 36 and 3 Objectives adding 24 and a park score of 44 = 104
MC: 53 and 3 Objectives adding 24 and a park score of 34 = 111
PH: 54 and 3 Objectives adding 24 and a park score of 36 = 114
Well done PH!

To wrap up the evening we finished off with a game of

by Space Cowboys
Gems were acquired and cards were reserved and attained.

MC was the first to reach 15 points.
Final scores:
DA: 3
KV: 3
MC: 17
PH: 10
That was pretty decisive…well done MC!

Games Night 14th June 2018

We had two games nights this week.
This time LP and MC had a quick game of

by White Wizard Games
Where LP managed to build his forces up early and pummel MC into submission.

By that time HG had made an appearance and so we played:

by Pandasaurus Games
Again we played the medium game with no Plot Twists.
More patrons were fed to escaping dinosaurs and purple hooligans had fists shaken at.

After all that excitement, the final scores were:
HG: 46
LP: 92
MC: 103
It took four attempts, but MC finally won at his new game!!!

UK Games Expo 2018


On Friday 1st of June 2018, I returned to the UK Games Expo at the NEC in Birmingham.

I had a very specific list of things to get.

First up, I managed to get ahold of the Terraforming Mars expansion

which provides two alternative boards on which to play to increase game diversity.

Next up, I picked to the two Abyss expansions
and
making Abyss a 5-player game with more stuff to do.

One particular item I really was hoping for was

thankfully I did find a copy, which I believe was the last one available in the entire Expo! Even one of the guys at the stall I purchased it from thought they’d already sold out of it (they only brought 4 copies). I then spotted it and didn’t let go.

Another expansion was for King Of Tokyo

so that all my monsters now have power cards, not just the ones from the expansions I’ve already picked up.

I then picked up a second expansion for Terraforming Mars:

which also allows the terraforming of Venus by using another terraforming tracker (this one’s not mandatory so shouldn’t extend the game time too much).

At the Dice Tower booth I picked up two promo cards:

Which was very nice. I even saw Tom Vasel in one of his hats.

After a little more wandering we stopped for lunch.

Then made our way to the DogEared Games booth, where I spotted the guy who sold me the StakBots decks last year. This year he got me interested in playing Colour Chess against his colleague.

After completely destroying him, we picked up a copy:

Back to awandering we spotted the Catan Sheep

Giant version games, including 7 Wonders, Ticket To Ride, Colt Express and Takenoko

We visited the good people at GeekNSon and picked up a couple of items.

The Wargaming section was most impressive, all those sets are amazing, particularly the Battle Of Hoth

During the wanderings I also picked up

and

The we once again passed this stand

and bought a copy.

In the Catan section we had a sit down to play

with two chaps called Gavin and Garath.


During the game we used our newly acquired GeekNSon Dice Tower

So many people came over to ask where we got it from.
Gavin won.

We did some more wandering and saw some stuff:
The family zone with games to be played on nearby tables.

The GeekNSon Crew:

And just a few games stalls:

The last game we picked up was

Shortly before it closed, we made our way out.

That was a lot of fun!

For a closer look at the things we picked up check up the video I did on the subject: