The Five By: The Games of Episode 14

Recording for this episode was rough – last Sunday morning I had no idea what game to even talk about despite the audio being due to Mike that night and was starting to panic. Luckily my co-collaborators are patient and helpful in Slack and so helped me figure out a topic. And you know, once the decision was made, I had a script knocked out within 20 minutes, played the game once more with Eric, Chris Mitchell, and Kit, and then knocked out my recording in two takes between the guys heading home from gaming and Kit finishing dinner. So thank you to everyone else on the Five By for their last minute support and assistance.

We ended up with another really solid group of games this week, and I’m excited for everyone to listen to this week’s show. You can subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play, or just follow the links on our website which also includes more information about the show and the contributors. We are also now part of the Inside Voices Network which aims to create a shared community around analog, indoor hobbies … so currently board games, but things may grow. The network has us working with Ding & Dent and Greatway Games, both of which are great shows hosted by a pretty amazing group of people.

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And in a final update (before I get to the actual meat of the post), I also got our directory updated with all games covered, so check it out on BoardGameGeek if there’s a particular game you’re looking for an opinion on. And at last here’s what you really want: now that you’ve listened to the episode, read on for my opinions on the games everyone covered this week…

00:55 Ruth – Barenpark

With four plays in just over 2 weeks, it’s clear that I like Barenpark. I’ve played with serious gamers and with my mum, and it hasn’t flopped yet. So easy to teach, so pretty, and so quick; this game is a gem. Just ignore the idea of playing without using the Achievements, there’s just no reason not to and you’ll be so glad you left them in.

06:28 Stephanie – Imhotep

That’s right, more Phil Walker-Harding! Between my covering Cacao & Barenpark and Stephanie looking at Imhotep, it’s clear that PWH has found a sweet spot design-wise when it comes to us. I played this game three times at Origins 2016, teaching twice, and loved it more and more each time. It’s relatively simple to get going, but each time you play you see more and more ways to manipulate the build sites to your advantage. It can be pretty mean, but there can be an opportunity cost to being too mean so you have to be smart about sailing a boat that only hurts others and won’t help you. Overall, I adore the chunky bits, the ability to change things around in set-up, and how quickly it plays.

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11:29 Lindsay – The Bloody Inn

I love the art style and it works so well with the macabre theme, which I also love. I also adore the fact that there really was a “Bloody Inn”, L’auberge rouge, which I did not know about until Lindsay mentioned it. Like Lindsay my first play was missing “something’; I liked the game alright but it wasn’t amazing. But the pressure of having limited actions combined with the uncertainty of knowing when the law will show up, and whether they’ll survive to catch you, is super tense and fun. add in the multi-use cards, the need to use cards as currency, and the ability to bury people under other players’ inns and it’s a super satisfying package. I don’t own it, but it’s on my list to buy … along with a LOT of other games.

17: 08 Mason – Coloretto

I’ve only played this classic card game once, though I’ve played it’s bigger sibling Zooloretto a few times, including recently at RUTHCon. The interplay between players is super interesting, as they attempt to force other players to take cards that will end up hurting them while hoping to get a good group for themselves. In fact, as I type this, I wonder why I don’t own the game. It’s super quick, incredibly portable, and worth checking out … or if you want to build a zoo with the same central mechanic, try Zooloretto, as pictured below since my one play of the actual game discussed was so long ago that I couldn’t find a picture.

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22: 10 Mike – Best Treehouse Ever

This game is a (previously) secret source of shame. I backed it, received it, played a dummy two-player game to learn it, and then have never reopened the box. I love the charming art. I love the balance mechanic. But I never think to break it out, partly due to being concerned about playing a drafting game with just two people, since small games like this are often game I play with Kit post-dinner. But listening to Mike makes me think that I should throw it in my game bag next time I head out as this would be a good end-of-night game.

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