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2021 Game Plays #1-10

1. Patchwork(2014)-by Uwe Rosenberg(Agricola, Caverna) published by Lookout Games(Grand Austria Hotel, Agricola). 2P - Loss

While this isn't the original version, we bought the Christmas version which is just Christmas themed giftwrap artwork pasted onto the game. It had been a long time since I had played this 2-player only masterpiece. Its a polyomino game where you collect buttons to buy pieces(patches/presents) to place on your board(quilt/space under your tree) trying to fill every empty square. Each piece has 2 costs, buttons and time. The Time cost is spent by moving your player piece forward on the time track, once both players pieces have moved to the end of that track the game is over and whoever has the most buttons left minus the penalty for empty spaces is the winner.

Katie won 33-24, she is the master of this game


2. New York Zoo(2020)-by Uwe Rosenberg(Agricola, Caverna) published by Capstone Games(Pipeline, Maracaibo). 2P - Win

Another Uwe Rosenberg Polyomino game, instead of filling up a quilt with patches you are trying to populate your zoo with animal enclosures and attraction pieces. Attractions include a range of things from a roller coaster to concession stands, but the main highlight of your zoo is your kangaroos, flamingos, penguins, and white snow wolves. Each turn you move the giant elephant around the main board either adding a new enclosure or adding new animals to your zoo. At points around the main board you will also trigger a type of animal to breed, creating new animals in everyone's zoo enclosures if they have that animal type and at least two of them in the same enclosure. Once an enclosure is full you get to add an attraction piece to your board taking up space bringing you closer to winning. The first player to fill their entire board is the winner. This game is a pure race as there are no points, deciding when to add new enclosures over adding new animals is a tricky decision. When you add a new enclosure you must take an animal from one enclosure you have, to put into the new enclosure. Since you only get attraction pieces by filling enclosures adding new enclosures takes you further away from that objective but it also covers space as well. Once one type of animal is in an enclosure you cannot store another type in there. As the game goes on the enclosures get smaller and smaller and so do the attraction pieces.

I won this one, but barely


3. Unmatched: Battle of Legends(2019)- by Rob Daviau(Downforce, Ship Shape) published by Restoration Games(Fireball Island, Downforce) 3P- Last Place

Very Rarely do I forget to snap a picture, but alas, I did. This a combat based game where each person takes control of one character and a bunch of there side kicks and fights to the death. The characters we played for this game were Robin Hood(Me), Sherlock Holmes(JJ), and Alice *from wonderland*(Justin). There is a board with many spaces and regions and you take two actions a turn either moving, attacking, or performing a special action, using cards in your hand. Each playable character has a unique deck of cards to determine their actions. Some cards have attack values and some have defense values but all of them usually have a special ability that is trigged after combat or whenever played as an action. Its very clever and a lot of fun, they have characters such as Bruce Lee, big foot, Jurassic park raptors, and coming soon marvel characters such as Deadpool and daredevil. I'm not usually a fan of combat games but this one is a hit and I promise to take a picture next time

JJ won, Sherlock Holmes is busted!!


4. Brass: Birmingham(2018)- by Martin Wallace(AuZtralia, Steam) published by Roxley(Dice Throne, Santorini) 4P- 2nd place

Brass is a classic game that came out awhile ago, it was recently reworked and re-released along with a counterpart game that varies from the original, they were released as Brass: Lancashire and Brass: Birmingham. Birmingham is the variant one, and by popular belief the better one of the two but both remain very popular to heavy board game players. the goal of the game is to make the most money, we are all industry elites, making factories and trying any way to produce goods that we can ship off and make money. We start from scratch having to build transportation lines to connect our newly built production buildings to resources and to locations we can ship to otherwise we will not be able to sell our goods. You use cards in your hands to determine where on the board you can perform actions and try to cut other players off from getting resources and deliveries before you, this game is cut throat and heavy planning is required also backup planning doesn't hurt. It is one of the best heavy games I own, in my top 50 for sure

I came in second to JJ which I surprised myself, second third and fourth were all within 5 points of each other


5. Fireball Island(2018)- by Bruce Lund & Rob Daviau(Downforce, Unmatched) Published by Restoration Games(Downforce, Unmatched) 3P-Win

Restoration Games made a name for themselves in 2017 by launching a Kickstarter for Fireball Island which they were remaking(see Restoration*) from an 1982 Classic Milton Bradley game. This was and still is a very hot game(Pun not intended). It put Restoration games on the map as a Publisher. This game isn't great by modern gaming standards, Its great because of the nostalgia and quality of the game itself. It brings back all the things you loved about 80's and 90's MB games, Its silly and a lot of fun to dump marbles down the statue of vul-kar to hopefully wipe your opponents off there feet and steal their treasure. They added killer bees, massive spiders, a tiger and a cursed pirate ship full of mystical gems, to give players the maximum level of wild things that can happen to them.

I did win and liked beating Justin at his most beloved favorite Game!


6. Bonfire(2020)- by Stefan Feld(Castles of Burgundy, Trajan) published by Hall Games(Gates of Loyang, Oracle of Delphi) 2P- loss

Stefan Feld's newest game came out at the end of 2020, while I was suspect of the game due to the box art, this is one of his best games he has designed, its a top three Feld for sure. we are a tribe of Gnomes who are trying to relight the seven bonfires in our village. You send your people out to travel and complete tasks, if you are successful, one of your bonfires are lit. You also get the help of five guardians who can travel to your village and protect the bonfires you have lit. You can go to the great bonfire and ask the gnome council for assistance. You must build a pathway for the guardians to travel and connect portals for them so the can travel to your bonfires. In order to take any of these actions you place a 3-block piece on your action grid and receive action tokens which you turn in to take the actions. The person who completed the most of their bonfires and got guardians and gnomes to help will be the winner. It is a point salad which is Feld's signature design aspect. Lots of ways to earn points and many paths to victory. Top 3 game of 2020 quite possibly #1 the more i play my top 3 it will become more clear.

Katie beat me in this one as well by 4 points, she is 2-1 for the year


7. Pret-A-Porter(2010)- by Ignacy Trzewiczek(Robinson Crusoe, First Martians) published by Portal Games(Robinson Crusoe, Imperial Settlers) 2P -won

This was a reprinted copy that came out in 2018/2019 through a Kickstarter campaign. I loved the designer as he designed my favorite co-op of all time Robinson Crusoe, so i was interested in game even though the theme is fashion. We are new fashion designers in France trying to build a fashion empire from the ground up. You hire employees and lease building spaces, all while trying to avoid taking loans and still have enough money and time to draw designs and buy the materials for those designs. Winning the fashion shows with Trend, PR, Quality and Quantity of designs gets you a lot of money and fame. Whoever has the most combined money and fame at the end is the winner. This is a very economic game. trying to make designs for cheap and selling high after showing them off at fashion shows. You can hire several employees but the money you must pay them each round can make your money situation tight for the first couple rounds.

I beat Katie by 3 points it was very close!


8. Patchwork(2014)-by Uwe Rosenberg(Agricola, Caverna) published by Lookout Games(Grand Austria Hotel, Agricola). 2P - Won

Patchwork Rematch, Trying to get the balance of taking pieces for more income and usually more time used, or pieces with more squares covered and less time used is tricky. I managed it very well in this play winning 19 to -8 as Katie had way too many open spaces left to where it wiped out her income at the end!


9. Notre Dame(2007)- by Stefan Feld(Castles of Burgundy, Bonfire) published by alea games(Puerto Rico, Castles of Burgundy) 2P- Win

This is one of Feld's earliest Designs. this is an action selection, where you add a cube to a sector of your city each round by playing a card you drafted face up and taking that action. The strength of the action is determined by how many cubes you have in the selected actions sector of the city, at the end of each round you get to use the benefit of one of the three locals who are out and about, they are different ever round so the things you can do change often. the main way to score points is having control of the Notre Dame cathedral in the center of the board. I really enjoyed this one as the cube manipulation is a very interesting game mechanism, trying to get the action strength of the actions you want to take as powerful as possible. There is also a rat infestation that each player must take care of during the game, if the rats ever become too much, negative things will happen to you

I won, and Katie wanted a rematch, it will be in the 2021 game plays 11-20!


10. Beez(2020)- by Dan Halstad published by Next Move Games(Azul, Reef, Tuki)

Beez is the next abstract game from Next move Games, it has big shoes to fill following the likes of Azul, Reef, and Tuki. Beez is a game where you play as a bee and you are trying to collect different types of pollen, moving from one flower to the next trying to fill your hive and also have it match the pattern on your secret objective card. The movement is interesting, bees when flying cannot fly forward they have to fly backwards and the amount they move is determined by the angle you want to fly, on the hex below your bee figure has the movement points that you would fly in each direction helping you figure out what your options are. It is my least favorite of the 4 games but that doesn't mean its not good, it just isn't in my top 100 of all times and will get played less than the other three. It is quite possible that it is better at more than 2 players, while the movement mechanism is interesting it isnt exciting as i am a fan of unique mechanisms in games, this doesn't do it for me at least like the other 3 do.

I won, Katie had a hard time understanding the movement and how it works as it is not very intuitive, but makes sense thematically why a bee cant fly forward if they are on a flower they usually lift off backwards

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