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.

Why Back A Kickstarter Game?

So far I’ve backed 5 games on Kickstarter and will most like back more in the future.
If you don’t know, here’s a bit about what Kickstarter is (by the way, Kickstarter covers just about anything you can think of, not just games:
If you go to gaming conventions, or following gaming news on twitter and instagram there will be prototypes or announcements of upcoming games that, on the surface, look to be worth a closer look. Unfortunately, it’s not easy – or cheep – to produce a game in sufficient quantity and quality to make it worthwhile to put out a game that may not even be that well received. Many of the games makers nowadays are either independent smaller companies that don’t have the ready capital to mass produce a refined product that’s going to readily compete against big named games on the same shelf.
That’s where crowdfunding comes in, using platforms such as Kickstarter. After showing off the prototype or idea, or even being a company that has produced a solid game in the past, they can ask their customers to put money forward to see that game gets made. This can result in two things: Not enough money is given – unfortunate, but provides a useful insight into the game as it stood at that time and also saves the company from investing in producing a thousands of boxes of a game nobody wants. Or, the target funding is reached – this enables the company to hire the artists, buy the resources, and get the game made. Once those games go to the backers and are played, word of mouth and reviews will encourage others to go and buy the game themselves.
So, why do such a thing and just not wait for it to hit the shelves later?
Not meaning to sound like I’m in a job interview, I am passionate about board games. If I find a title or company that I like, I’m going to want to support it. Gamelyn Games and White Wizard games are two such companies and Terraforming Mars is a title that will almost guarantee my support because of the enjoyment I get out of their high quality games.
As an extra benefit, as a backer, I receive certain extra components for the game I’ve backed. If the backers provide a sum of money far surpassing the given goal, these extras can be quite plentiful. They can be as simple as extra cards and boards, special game components or even a mini expansion to the game not otherwise attainable.
For the curious, here are the games I have backed so far:

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 Night 25th September 2018

Four of us this week and

by Gamelyn Games was the game to play.

However DV turned up early so we played

by White Wizard Games
This turned out to be a real battle which eventually saw a winner. Interestingly, I can’t recall who won, but I think it was DV?

Good game, good game.

With everybody present we moved on to Tiny Epic Zombies.
We decided on a cooperative vs. A.I. game.

DA saw to our healthcare needs as the Doctor DV tried looking intelligent as the Scientist
MC tried to restore order as the Mallcop PH Despaired at the damage as the Janitor

The Zombie hoard was led by the plucky Teenager Zombie.

Our missions that we chose to accept were:

From their starting positions in the centre of the mall, the four rag-tag team of barely competent survivors did do merry bloody battle with the encroaching Zombie masses.
Amidst the cries of “BRRAAAIIINNS!” (and one instance of “TRRAAAAINNSSS!” in the Toy Store) Zombie viscera was blasted, knifed and bludgeoned across the ailing mall.
Tanks rode their way in, crushing all the Zombies in their paths and then running away again at the first sign of trouble.
The Doctor, who had seen way too many action movies, kitted himself out with a chainsaw and assault rifle and served living justice upon the undead.

In no time at all, the source was successfully investigated, and the army was soon brought in successfully.
Unfortunately, the Janitor, also doing well with the thing and the whatsit, was overridden and joined the Zombie collective.

A farmer was found hiding in a cupboard and threw in with the survivors.

However, the maniac Doctor took one chance to many and was torn apart just before the exit was reached, dooming the rest to a nasty end.
Failure!

After a quick game reset, we gave it another shot.
This time:

DA behaved like a spoiled Teenager DV looked mad as a Trucker who had somewhere to be
MC was no help at all documenting the chaos as the Photographer PH tried saving the world as a Scientist

The undead were organised rank and file by the Zombie Lawyer (insert your own lawyer joke here).

The missions:

In this hour our huddle of hapless heroes handled horrendous hungry hoards haphazardly, hewing heavy hand-tools heroically.
The plucky Photographer switched the chaos up a notch when she found the mall’s bazooka (free plushy with every purchase). Many a shop was exquisitely rearranged by the trigger-happy Photographer, doing herself as much damage as to the Zombies.
Too predictably, the Photographer’s reign of destruction was short lived and she was killed whilst knifing a Zombie who was busy exploring the bargain bin at the time.

A mechanic conveniently stepped in to take the Photographer’s place, but didn’t get to do that much.

Meanwhile, the Scientist, helpfully aided by the Teenager and Trucker (even the Photographer), wasted no time in successfully Quarantining the Infected, Saving the Stranded and even managed to Discover a Cure (take 2 aspirin and sleep it off).
Success!

Games Night 20th September 2018

We numbered three again this week were we gave a nice warm welcome to DV.
We started off the evening with the newly acquired expansion to Star Realms by White Wizard Games

We played the free-for-all variation of this competitive space-based deck-building game. We were all far too nice to each other and slowly whittled each other down to the single numbers.

It could have been anybody’s game, except it actually was MC’s who dealt a staggering 23 points of damage and healed himself for about that too.
Victory to MC!

HG decided to call it a night, leaving DV and MC to go all Timey-Wimey with

by Looney Labs
As expected the standard play of Draw 1 Card then Play 1 Card quickly deteriorated into drawing 5 and playing the entire hand.

In the end, DV played the guaranteed randomly make someone a winner card that made him collect out all the creepers then deal them back out again (we needed 3 Daleks at this point to win and there were currently in play). DV managed to deal himself the 3rd Dalek and was victorious!

Finally, we set about learning how to play the also newly acquired

by Gamelyn Games
We decided on the Cooperative play and we found ourselves up against the Zombie Greaser (who advanced the Zombie hoard at a quicker rate than normal). Our objectives were to Investigate the Source, which we misread and did all 5 instead of only 3; Escort the Army, which we also misread and thought that Zombies spawning on the same space were automatically crushed; Call the C.D.C. which we did finally get the hang of.

In the end we did just manage it, literally with the final card having been revealed. We also know a lot better for next time.
Regardless, this was really great fun.

Games Night 21st December 2017

Five players this week and a very warm welcome to JM, thank you for joining us this evening.

HG didn’t want a late night so we kicked of with a shorter game:

by Repos Production.
We brought HG up to speed with the rules and play commenced.
Cards were played, resources were paid for, wonders were built, armies were raised and a good time was had by all.

At the game’s conclusion the final scores were:

Player DA HG JM KV Mc
Army VPs 15 1 0 -4 18
Money VPs 2 7 5 7 2
Monument VPs 10 10 10 10 2
Civic Building VPs 19 3 33 8 11
Commercial Building VPs 5 0 3 9 6
Guild VPs 14 9 0 0 8
Scientific Structure VPs 0 11 0 1 4
Total Score 65 41 51 31 52

DA for the win!

HG took her leave and JM was very decisive in choosing

by Gamelyn Games.
After going over the rules for JM those space dice started to roll.
DA was the first to acquire a planet, and the next, and the next.
JM unfortunately didn’t quite realise how planets worked until near the end of the game so it should be noted that she would have down much better had we picked up on that sooner.

In the end it was MC who passed the 21 VP mark first (also his secret mission was to end the game). Being the last player of the round, the game ended there and then.
Final Scores:
DA: 15
JM: 8
KV: 18
MC: 25
Kudos to MC!

Next up we played

by Calliope Games
We really enjoyed this last week playing with 2 ships each, so we did it again here.
We played two games.

Despite the death-wish the dragons had, eating each other and leaping of the board, KV lost both his ships very early on. MC was the last to have a single ship afloat.
The dragon’s self-destructive behaviour continued in the second game. However they were still voracious enough to eliminate JM then both of MC’s ships at once. DA and KV doggedly persevered for a goodly while until DA found he couldn’t steer and ended up in the belly of a dragon.
Horay for KV! It only took 5 games to see victory!

To round off the evening we played

by Flatlined Games
DA really has it in for that guy in the chicken suit.

KV and MC raced ahead and were neck and neck at the end of round 2 at 19 points apiece.
Unfortunately for MC it all fell apart when both his housemates were eliminated very early on gaining him only 2 more points. The final standing housemate belonged to no one, but KV was the first runner up.
Final scores:
DA: 23
JM: 14
KV: 28
MC: 21
Huzzah for KV!

Thanks to all our players for a fantastic year of playing games.
May you all have a very merry Christmas and hope to see you all again in the new year.

Games Night 28th September 2017

Four of us this week.
Kicked off with the DA’s copy of the infeasibly popular cooperative game of

by Zman Games.
DA was the Quarantine Specialist
KV was the Medic
MC was the Operations Expert
TS was the Dispatcher
MC started and quickly set to building Research Stations and flying off to Asia. DA also made his way to Eastern Europe where a large accumulation of the black disease was spreading. KV too found his way to Asia to stem the flow of the Red disease. TS followed suite.
By this time at least four epidemics had happened and a few outbreaks had … erm … broken out. Yellow, red and black were looking very threatening. Blue was doing not much at all.
After a clever bit of personnel management, DA held 5 red cards and was at a Research Station. KV very quickly eliminated the remainder of the Red while MC, DA and TS tried to tackle the Yellow and Black. Blue still wasn’t doing much but sat quietly in London.
With only one outbreak away from failure, we had the board under control. The London had an outbreak.

Game Over.

Next up we played

by Gamelyn Games.
DA played as the Merfolk
KV played as the Elves
MC played as the Dark Elves
TS played as the Humans.

KV utilised the Elves mana strength by going all-in on mana for his starting resources. This quickly paid off for him and he remained a powerful player throughout the game. DA also focused on building up a strong mana stockpile. MC and TS tried to do stuff in the game. There was only two brief scuffles, otherwise this was a largely peaceful game.
KV triggered the endgame by attaining level 5 magic. MC followed him with this achievement.
Final scores:
DA: 15
KV: 17
MC: 15
TS: 9
Well done KV!

With a bit o’ time left we had a go at KV’s newly acquired

by Repos Production.
We very quickly got the hang of this speedy and fun game and the bullets were soon metaphorically flying.

DA stood up to one bullet too many and died a death of being shot a lot.
TS was next to bite the bullet, but did wound MC before he did so.
KV and MC were left to face-off against one another with KV being unsuccesful in shooting MC at all.
MC was the victor with over $300,000.