The Five By: The Games of Episode 11

This episode is the first since launch that I didn’t record for as I was instead enjoying browsing game stores in Rome and Hannover in addition to you know, attending a wedding and seeing the sites. But just because I don’t appear in the episode, that doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions. So check out the podcast either on our site or in your favourite podcast app, and then come back and see what I think of the games my co-hosts discussed.

00:35 Sarah – A Fake Artist Goes to New York

I really don’t like this game, struggled to be constructive, and then gave up. So if you want to see my rant scroll down to the bottom past the cute animal photo. Otherwise, if you’d rather not be exposed to negativity, stop after Stephanie’s game.

05:52 Lindsay – Inis

I really wanted to like Inis, but in the end was just underwhelmed. The game is stunningly beautiful, and I’m glad Eric didn’t regret his purchase, but I basically left the table glad I hadn’t spent money on the game. The limited action deck is an interesting idea that had me excited to try the game, but in practice it just felt uninteresting and too samey,. And while the Epic Tale cards were a lot more fun, we didn’t seem to have enough opportunities to see and use them. Lindsay’s thought of an expansion to shake it up a bit with some additional cards seems like a necessity to me. In the end, I’m sure Inis is a game that rewards further play, but that first play didn’t leave me interested in taking to time to find out, and so, while I might end up playing again, it’s not likely to be among my preferred options for game night.

11:16 Mason – Archaeology

I love the idea of archaeology as a theme, just see my Episode 2 ravings about Thebes, but the only archaeology-themed card game I’ve played is Artifacts, Inc which I found kind of meh. Listening to Mason’s review, however, has me wondering if this game might be the ancient treasure-hunting game I was looking for all along. The push-your-luck aspect introduced by the sandstorms is perfect in a game based in this setting, and the fact that Mason has successfully played by both playing it safe and going all in on a risky set makes me happy. If it’s truly as easy to find on the secondary market as my co-host states, I might have to consider it should I end up with birthday money to spend next month.

16:29 Mike – Century: Spice Road

This game is the very definition of “the new hotness” with its recent triumphant release following a long, drawn-out development due to it’s getting caught up in the publisher-acquisition shuffle post-initial announcement. I was always intrigued by the game but turned off by the constant comparisons to Splendor which I wasn’t terrifically impressed with, and thus got rid off. I was also somewhat worried about the accessibility concerns I’d been hearing – I don’t have issues myself, but I’d rather my games accommodate everyone that might show up. The game is beautiful though, and I do like starting with the same lousy engine and then seeing everyone go in divergent paths as they build up their ability to obtain and convert resources. Thus, going into Mike’s review, I was torn. And then he mentioned the rest turns… I love games where you have to time when you reset your tableau or hand of cards, the extra strategy in determining how much of your hand to play before a rest just calls to me, and so now I actually really want to play the game after all. I’m even slightly regretting not jumping on the pre-order for the playmat, which is a bit much given I still don’t know if it’ll work for me. So I guess I’ll be looking out for the opportunity to play, and thanking Mike for making up my mind about trying it out.

That being said, anyone that calls cinnamon the “king of spices” needs to settle down… that’s right Mike, I’m saying you’re wrong (fight me).

21:08 Stephanie – And Then We Held Hands

I loved the sound of this abstract game when I first heard of it, mostly due to the amazingly unique theme and the perfect way they used that the theme of managing emotions and personal goals with the goals of a romantic partner in a game that’s mechanics require maintaining balance. I never did manage to actually play the game, and listening to Stephanie has me wanting to correct that. Especially when she mentioned the discussion rules; I hadn’t realized those restrictions existed, and the idea that you have to trust your partner to do what’s best for both of you and support you when needed just adds even more to the theme. I’m not a huge abstract fan, but this is one I’ll be keeping an eye on once more.

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A Fake Artist Goes to New York (The review written after I calmed down)

I’m just going to come out and say it – I really fucking HATE this game, oh so much. Being the fake artist basically means returning to some cruel primary school experience of everyone else having a great time together full of in-jokes while cruelly excluding you. It has to be the most miserable, horrible gaming experience of my life despite the fact I was playing with people I love. That’s right, this game was so awful to play, a fantastic group couldn’t even save it. It was so terrible an experience in fact that I still almost a year after playing get super angry and upset at the memory, and I seriously side-eye anyone who says this game doesn’t make for an anxiety-inducing, miserable experience for the Fake Artist even though I know logically it just shows the different ways people experience things. Clearly some people really enjoy it, but if you bring this out when I’m in the group, expect me to run screaming for the hills.

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