The Five By: The Games of Episodes 17 and 18

Episode 17 of the show dropped on the first day of TBGT, a five day gaming event held locally that pretty much meant I was offline for a week or so. So I’m combining my thoughts on that episode’s games with my thoughts on the game covered in episode 18 which was released this week. To listen to either of these episodes just go to our website, or find the show on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher, then wander back over here to see my thoughts on the ten games featured over the last couple of weeks.

Episode 17

00:52 Lindsay – Samara

I’ve been interested in this game for a while and had narrowly missed grabbing it in a couple of math trades or auctions, so was glad to see Tasty Minstrel Games pick it up. I really like the calendar’s use as a time track, and the way players can have their workers pool their strength to access higher tiles. I was a little worried about the game getting stagnant, or at the very least starting to feel samey, but after listening to Lindsay I’m thinking this would be okay for two reasons: I don’t tend to play the same games over and over without a break anyway, and if the game is a good one for chilling with a glass of wine without being too taxing, then who cares? I’m not running out to buy a copy yet, but Lindsay’s definitely pushed me further in that direction.

06:13 Kathryn – NMBR 9

I imported this puzzle game back in July and am so happy that it’s now easily available in the US. It’s a super fast, easy teach (as in, 30 seconds are all you need) and yet the game is really quite tricky and so, it feels really satisfying when you do well. I’ve played it at various player counts, and am in fact considering buying a second copy in order to be able to play with up to eight people at a time. The game could use a scoresheet to help people keep track of each level, but it’s not the end of the world and I can see this puzzly filler continuing to be played for some time.

10:39 Ruth – Caverna: Cave vs. Cave

This is rapidly becoming one of my favourite two-player games, partly due to the fact that it’s a relatively quick teach for a game that still manages to have a good amount going on. The randomness of the action and room reveals keeps the game fresh from play to play, and once you’ve played a few times, it’s an excellent game to play over a meal or accompanied by beer and conversation.

15:44 Stephanie – World’s Fair 1893

I wanted to like World’s Fair more than I did. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a really good game, but it just doesn’t grab me as much as I thought it would given the theme. I’ve read a few books about the World’s Fair and so was thrilled to see a game coming out that paid so much heed to the setting. but somehow, the game just keeps getting passed over when i browse my shelves in favour of other games. It’s well worth checking out if you haven’t played, but I think I’ll be sticking with Gold West as my elegant, light Euro of choice.

20:57 Sarah – Bring Your Own Book

I haven’t played this game but it does intrigue me far more than this type of game typically does, so perhaps that will change in the future. In fact, I actually ordered a copy shortly after listening to Sarah’s segment, so all that’s left is to find an opportunity to play, and find the right book of course. I love the idea of providing your own source material, and could see it going over with a lot of different groups. I myself have a lot of books to offer up, so perhaps next game night I’ll be sending my friends up to my office to grab something interesting to use for the game.

Episode 18

00: 37 Mike -Codenames Duet

I like Codenames, and own both it and Codenames Pictures, but hadn’t bothered to check out the differences that Codenames Duet brings to the concept. Listening to Mike has me wanting to give it a shot with my husband to see how well we can do, so I’ll likely be looking to beg, borrow, or steal a copy from someone local. I don’t know that it’d be my two-player game of choice given that I have plenty of games like Odin’s Ravens, Hanamikoji, and Caverna: Cave vs. Cave, among others, but it certainly sounds different enough to be worth a shot.

05:25 Ruth – Hanamikoji

As I said on the episode, this is a simply stunning game, both in terms of design and art. It’s guaranteed to draw the attention of others when played in public, which is pretty easy given the small footprint required to play the game. If you’re a fan of small abstract games or just of beautiful art then this is a game well worth looking into, and with a 20 min or so playtime, it has to be worth a shot. After all, I’m not asking you to spend 1000 hours trying to break a curse…


10:28 Stephanie – Great Western Trail

I played Great Western Trail at PrezCon earlier this year thanks to Chris Kirkman’s excellent teach. It’s a really interesting game of hand management as players attempt to reach Kansas City with a valuable herd, but that can also be approached with a focus on building outposts and other buildings to slow down your opponents, on traversing hazards in such a way as to help you earn valuable contracts, or as a combination of all of the above. I really need to play again in order to explore the possibilities in this excellently designed game, and since I’m currently fostering a friend’s copy, I guess I have no excuse.

15:11 Sarah – 7th Continent

This game is fascinating to me – I can’t bring myself to back the current Kickstarter due to the time and money commitment involved, but it’s so epic in it’s ambitions that I’d love to get my hands on it.

And… since writing the above, my husband has backed the campaign as my Christmas present so I guess I’ll be exploring this mysterious new land after all. I’m looking forward to delving into the wealth of content included, and hope that by enjoying it in smallish chunks and saving often, I can avoid burning out. Perhaps I’ll have to chronicle my experiences here once it arrives.

20:40 Lindsay – Scythe

This game has generated some of the biggest Euro-gaming hype I can recall recently, and continues to be played months after its initial release. That being said, I’ve never played it. I’m very hit or miss on Stonemaier Games’ releases, and this one just never seemed worth the investment to try out. I’ve had a few opportunities to play the game but it’s just such a time commitment also that I haven’t bothered. That being said, listening to Lindsay makes me wonder if I should reconsider. There are at least a few copies in our local circle, so it may be time to set up a gameday and try this beast out.


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