Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What type of gamer are you?

I would argue there a few more important types of gamers like me, "The Bad Rules Explainer", who always seems to miss a key rule somewhere.  But still, this list of 6 types of gamers is pretty funny.

I'm pretty sure Vince and I are always "The Old Couple"....

(Thanks for the tip, Phil!)

Monday, January 20, 2014

First plays - Qwixx

Really, Spiel des Jahres jury?

This little dice game (little in every sense) got the nom for game of the year in 2013, beaten out by the well-deserving Hanabi.  And after a couple rounds, I'm not entirely sure why Qwixx was picked in in the first place.  Politics, maybe?  (Yes, I'm sure politics even play into this awards ceremony.)

The game comes with 6 dice - 4 different colours and 2 white - and scorepads.  And that's it.  It's simple to play and everyone is involved throughout.  The active player tosses all the dice and calls out the sum of the two white dice after which every player including the active one has the option to mark off any of the 4 coloured rows with the number called.  After that the active player may instead or in addition mark off one of the coloured columns by using the corresponding colour of die added to a white die.  The catch is you can only mark off columns going left to right, reminiscent of Lost Cities/Keltis.  If the active player can't mark off a number at all due to this, they take a -5 penalty which should be kinda exciting but really only happened once over our entire 2 games.

And that's pretty much it.  Dice can be removed, but the game ended so quickly after that it didn't seem to make much of a difference to the play.  Scoring happens and the player who crossed the most off usually wins.  It's telling that I played totally different each game and still scored exactly 74 points both times...   hmmmm......

Okay, it's not terrible, not by a long shot.  It offers decisions throughout and keeps everyone involved during it's short play time.  But in the end  rolling six dice and then crossing off a number just isn't that interesting.  Honestly, Yahtzee provides more excitement than this one.  Or even much, much better, how about the suspense of the classic Can't Stop, which was just re-printed last year?

On the plus side, I was able to download and print off the scorepads from Boardgamegeek so I could try before I buy.  Just had to find the right-coloured dice.  Feel free to do the same and you'll know if this little pastime of a game is your thing.  It sure isn't mine.

Monday, January 13, 2014

First play: Nations....

Through The Ages was quite the hit last year with our group of friends.  As a deep and complex civ-building game, it may be the best.  But it's also a dry, EXTREMELY long game with tons of accounting and ridiculous amounts of downtime while you wait for other people to take their turns.  Which is probably why most of us now just play the online email version of the game - all the accounting is done for you and you can take as long as you need to figure out your turn.

Last night I was able to join in a 3-player game of Nations, a new civ game which many have likened to a quicker, simpler Through The Ages.  And the description is apt, although I would argue Nations is a different enough game to stand on its own merits.  It definitely feels different in terms of play as the rules are much simpler and the play is way more dynamic and interesting since players take one action at a time and then the next player gets to go.  Rarely was I stewing for more than a couple seconds on my choices and I still felt very involved throughout the duration and managed to win handily.

But what really stuck out with me about Nations compared to TTA had to do with the military aspects of both games.  In TTA, one of the positives and also one of the negatives are the wars that people can launch against each other.  They are a necessary and important part of the design to keep play balance and stop runaway leaders but they can also serve to pretty much eliminate someone in hour 4 of 5.  In Nations, there are wars and they can definitely damage opponents but they'll never knock you out completely and you can very easily mitigate the risk yourself, at a cost.  It's cleverly done and removes the brutality of a nasty game of TTA.

I've only had one play so far but I can see very easily Nations replacing Through The Ages, mainly thanks to game length (under 3 hours with rules last night) and teachability.  Okay, it has a bit more randomness and it's not as nasty, but it's more interactive and I'd say a more enjoyable experience.... except when the can of Coke spilled all over the event cards!

I suppose I'll always have my play-by-email TTA....

Friday, January 10, 2014

The cookbook of Catan. (Seriously.)

Well, I suppose it was bound to happen.   Check out this article about "Wood For Sheep:  The Unauthorized Settlers Cookbook" which is filled with tons of Catan inspired recipes.   

I wonder if there's a recipe for 'Teuber Tubers'......  

Deconstructed hexagonal salad nicoise
Honestly, I'm not really one to judge.  I've been wearing my Settlers socks for months now.

(Thanks for the tip, Momo...)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Best Games of 2013 (Eric)

Well.....   about time I write a blog post, eh?  Life kinda got away from me the end of last year - serious operations for our dog and work stress and everything else just made this here bloggy thing a little less of a priority.  But from prompting of my co-blogger, Daryl, I think it's time I get back in the swing of things.

So without further ado, since I did still play some stellar games last year, here are some of my favourites which hopefully will receive a review or two in the future (maybe not a top 10 like Daryl, as he tends to play a breadth of games whereas I stick with what I like).  I preface my list with the usual warning that I have not played a 10th, a 100th even of the games that were released last year so I don't claim this list to be comprehensive.  At all.  But I know what I like, and here it is:

Favourite Board Game of 2013 - Relic Runners, designed by Matthew Dunstan

In the past few years, the board game industry and many designers seem to be re-hashing the same old mechanics in a lot of new games with some good and many mediocre results.  So when I played Relic Runners for the first time, it felt like a breath of very fresh air.  Sure there's a technology track and endgame bonuses and networks to be built but how everything is implemented and fits together feels wholly original and very, very, very developed by Days of Wonder.  But what makes the game so good to me is how simply and brilliantly it transforms from movement and exploration in the early and mid-game to a race for the relics in the end game that feels so wholly different but entirely appropriate.  For such a simple family strategy game, nothing I've played this year has provided such a thematic and narrative arc to its gameplay.

I could go on and on about the positives of RR (board and tile variation each game, hidden points till the end, long-term strategies, plays in under 60 minutes EVERY TIME!) but perhaps I should save it for a full and glowing review.  This may not be my most played game this year but, in my opinion, it is the most well-developed and original strategy game I've seen in the past 12 months.  It also happens to have the nicest damn pieces of any game I've seen in years, totally justifying the higher-than-usual price point.


Cinque Terre, designed by Chris Handy

Anyone who has read this blog previously knows that I enjoy the simple rummy-style card play and hidden goals of Ticket To Ride and the pick-up-and-deliver systems in a game like Age of Steam.  Cinque Terre simply and elegantly puts the two together in wonderfully colorful way. Collect fruit cards, trade in for fruits, deliver for points, complete contracts, rinse and repeat.  Although there are some quirks that should bug me about this game - action point AP in each turn, hidden contract rules slightly more complicated than they need to be, not too many strategies to explore - they all seem to be minor when balanced against the genuinely enjoyable and mildly puzzle-y gameplay.  This has probably been the most played game for us all year because it's fairly easy-to-teach and, well, we all just kept wanting to play it again and again.  Also, as a bonus, its scales really well from 2-5.  If you enjoy Ticket To Ride as much as I do, this game will be a hit with you.

Palaces of Carrara, designed by Kramer and Kiesling

It was clear to me after the lovely Asara in 2012 that Kramer and Kiesling are kind of an unstoppable duo (Kramer's been going for decades!)  Much like Asara, the mechanics in this Euro have all been done before but it still feels totally fresh.  Resources are bought, resources become buildings, and buildings score points.  Pretty standard stuff.  However, allowing people to decide when and what they score, the clever market mechanism, and the variety of endgame cards in the full game (the only way to play) elevate this game to greatness.  And while playing, the game is constantly giving you that same feeling that you get when you find that great deal at Ikea.  "Start the car.  START THE CAR!!!"

Tzolk'in:  The Mayan Calendar, designed by Simone Luciani and Daniele Tascini

This challenging and ingenious worker-placement game may have been a 2012 release but I didn't get my copy till 2013 so I'm counting it.  If you haven't seen the clever timing mechanism the gears create, check out my post here for a look.  This a tough game to play well that I am utterly terrible at.  But I'll always play it and I'll screw up the timing every time.  The expansion arrived 2 weeks ago at our place which should add a few, er, "wrenches in the gears" of a game that was already tricky enough.  Can't wait to try it.

Rondo, designed by Reiner Knizia

I was too eager to wait for the English edition to come out and asked a good friend pick this Spiel des Jahres-recommended title up for me while he was in Germany.  It's a simple, relaxing game that was just perfect for the cottage this past holiday.  You collect colored tiles and place them in sequence on numbered spaces to score points.  There are a few decisions, mainly whether to play right away or wait and draw more tiles in the hopes of a higher score, but nothing is ever too strenuous.  It's lighter than Qwirkle and kind of a perfect game to play in front of the fireplace with some Bailey's in hand.

Targi, designed by Andreas Steiger

I have to admit that I was terribly hungover while playing my first game of Targi at Origins this past summer (there are some great gay bars in Columbus!)  I suppose that coloured my initial opinion, despite having destroyed my opponent in the game.  On further plays, in a much more conscious healthy state, I realized that this was a great, dense little 2-player game.  It's kind of a worker-placement game but with a cool grid-like spatial element that keeps things very tense between the 2 opponents.  Fans of Kosmos 2-player games like Lost Cities and Balloon Cup will eat this one up.

Love Letter, designed by Seiji Kanai

This was definitely the darling of many gamers this past year and it's easy to see why.  For a game consisting of only 16 cards, this little 5-minute filler of bluff and deduction packs a bit of a punch.  Sure it's got a ton of luck but the end of every round always begs for just one more play.  And at 6 bucks, this game is a steal especially for the lunchtime gaming crowd.  You can check out my review here.

Hanabi, designed by Antoine Bauza

My final choice is an extremely clever cooperative card game, in which players hold their hands away from themselves and need to be given clues from the other players as to what they have.  It is a very much an exercise in group-think and communication, but considering it's nearly impossible to actually lose it's amazing how tense this game gets.  It's unlike any other cooperative games you may have played as it it doesn't suffer from 'follow the leader' syndrome.  A lot of fun with a lot of different groups and a must in every collection.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Best Game of 2013 (Daryl)

The year of 2013 has been a great year for games. So now that we are a week into 2014, we decided to reflect on the past year and make a top10 list. Here is my list of top10 games. Stay tuned for Eric's post on the same subject. To provide some context here is my top10 for last year.

Daryl's Top10 Games of 2012:

(1) Hanabi - I realize this was released sooner but I played it in 2012
(2) Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
(3) Lords of Waterdeep
(4) Rolling Freight
(5) Tammany Hall - reprint
(6) Village - again first time I played it was in 2012
(7) The Palaces of Carrara
(8) Coup (I liked better than Love Letter)
(9) Terra Mystica
(10) Pick-A-Pig

Daryl's Top10 Games of 2013:

1) Spyrium by William Attia (Asmodee/Ystari
This game is elegant on design and rich in strategy. It is an impressive accomplishment on design, to come up with a simple to explain mechanic, slim on components, yet generates great player interaction with various paths to victory. Also, I have a clear bias as I loved my interaction with the designer (inventor of the worker placement with his previous game Caylus). You can read about the experience HERE

2) Going, Going, Gone! by Scott Nicholson (Stronghold Games)
I will confess, I had chance to play this game in April. However, I only have myself to blame for needing to wait 8 months to try this game. I have had the privilege of meeting many famous actors, athletes, authors, etc - yet I have only experienced this once in my life and I was too embarrassed to admit it until now - I got shell shocked when I saw Scott Nicholson. It was like I was a teenage girl seeing Taylor Swift for the first time. I just couldn't work up the nerve to say hi to the man who has taught me (via videos of "Board Games with Scott") so many of my favourite games. I regret this because not only would I have gotten to speak with Scott but I would have experienced this amazing game 8 months sooner! This is now one of my favourite games! Just tons of laughs.

3) Le Fantome de l'Opera by Bruno Cathala & Ludovic Maublanc (Hurrican)
I am a BIG fan of the Mr. Jack series of games. In my opinion probably the best 2P game in the world. Atleast in the discussion. For anyone who has enjoyed the series, this is a must get because it not only feels like Mr. Jack but it fixes a major potential issue. When players of equal ability play Mr. Jack, it is fun. However, experienced players can dominate noobs. In this new re-invention of the game, you can now adjust the difficulty level for each player. Genius! If you don't own Mr. Jack you might want to buy both, but at least snag this one and find out.

4) Rialto by Stefan Feld (Tasty Minstrel Games)
This year featured 4 great Stefan Feld releases. All amazing games. However, unlike many others I thought Rialto was the best of the year (disclaimer - I have yet to try Amerigo but I hear great things). Before 2013, I was one of the Feld Fanatics. I think it was a phase. I blame Castles of Burgundy. However, in the time that has passed, I find myself less interested in point salads and more about the feel of a game. Rialto recaptured my love for one of my all-time favourite games, San Marco. Clearly I am bias but any game that makes me think of San Marco is a great game in my books.

5) Coal Baron by Michael Kiesling & Wolfgang Kramer (Eggertspiel/R&R Games)
I am a sucker for a little gimmick. It doesn't have to be much, but if I like it - I will like the game. The elevator lift into the mine shift of this game is just fun. This is a game that feels like an instant classic to me. Its overall a little dry (or may I say pure Euro style) and not very innovative, but it just does everything right. It reminds me of The Palaces of Carrara.

6) Blueprints by Yves Tourigny (Z-Man Games)
I will admit my extreme prejudice upfront and disclose that I had the privilege of playtesting/developing this game. Additionally, Yves is someone I would call a personal friend. With that said, I can proudly say this was one of the best games of 2013. I probably overreacted and bumped this game down my list just to appear fair. This might be the game I have played the most in 2013. Everyone I introduce the game to enjoys the experience of drafting and building with dice. Stay tuned for many upcoming games from this designer - he will be making some of the best games of 2014 and beyond.

7) Eight Minute Empire by Ryan Laukat (Red Raven Games)
Last year seemed to burst the bubble for micro/mini games with Love Letter & Coup. Well for me, Eight Minute Empire is my favourite of them all. Its small, compact components and rule set, let me maximize my fun to time ratio. This is an easy game to get to the table. Not to mention the game utilizes one of my favourite game mechanics (area control). I can't wait to try the expansions.

8) Russian Railroads by Helmet Olney & Lonny Orgler (Hans im Gluck/ Z-Man Games)
I had the privilege of play testing the prototype for this game back in April. However, I finally got to play a finished copy of the game more recently. This is a pure euro style worker placement kind of game. This game seems heavy on the rules, but because of the high production quality, and very thorough play testing/development - this is a solid gamers game that will last the test of time. The theme is pasted on, but if you can get beyond that, and enjoy heavier euro strategy games - I think you will enjoy this game. I am thankful the game maxes out at 4P, but even with four players the game can feel a little long with the wrong players.

9) Francis Drake by Peter Hawes (Eagle Games & Gryphon Games)
This is another game I missed the opportunity to try awhile ago. The production quality alone makes this game amazing. The game is simply HUGE. The components are great. I don't think the game does anything innovative, but it does everything well. It is like two games. The first half of each round is a classic worker placement (but I like how they shuffle locations each new round) and the second half is a fun little battle game (with some nice bluffing mechanic with location selection) with not too much violence. If the price wasn't so high, I would gladly add this game to my collection.

10) The Capitals by Thiago Boaventura (Mercury Games)
If your looking for a meaty city building euro style strategy game - then you won't go wrong with The Capitals. I will admit some bias here for Mercury Games. I would call them friends. And again, I might be guilty of pushing the game down on my list because of that. But I just really enjoyed this game. The tiles and building combinations are great. I really enjoyed the different paths to victory. My one and only real complaint is I am not a fan of the main board (I don't like the diagonal stat tracks). Also, I will warn people, don't play this game with 5 people until all players have experience (and are not prone to analysis paralysis).

Ten Games on the Bubble: Rampage, Relic Runners, Brugge, Trains & Stations, 1775: Rebellion, Le Petit Prince, Bora Bora, Kings of Air & Steam, The Great Heartland Hauling Co., & Cinque Terre.

(Potentially could have made my top10 but I have yet to try include: Nothing Personal, Kemet, Caverna, Lewis & Clark, Glass Road, Rococo, Kohle & Kolonie, Bruxelles 1893, Rockwell, Amerigo, Steam Park, Yunnah, Bang! The Dice Game, Expedition: Northwest Passage, Nauticus, New Haven, Targi, Madeira, Longhorn)

Beyond all the games I still need to try, here are the games Im looking forward to being released in 2014: Urbatecture, Sails to Steam, Captains of Industry, Akrotiri, Abluxxen, Generation Hex, and many more Im either not allowed to mention or just don't know yet.

Stay tuned for Eric's top10 list…

Friday, January 3, 2014

Top20 board game site in the WORLD?

WOW! Great news folks. The Death of Monopoly is currently ranked the 23rd best board game site in the WORLD!!! We only have you to thank. So we THANK YOU for your support. Our goal is to make 2014 better than any year before. This means MORE content for you the reader. So keep reading and look forward to many more great posts. If you have ideas or suggestions for the 2014 season, please let us know.

Also, if you are willing, please consider going to:
and click the heart beside The Death of Monopoly. Our goal is to be a TOP 20 site.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Board Game Bash Sponsors

Due to the amazing support we have seen from our sponsors for the Board Game Bash - I plan to highlight each sponsor with a post, sometime before the Bash. So stay tuned for those posts. I will be writing about each publisher, and highlighting my favourite game(s) by each of them. And hopefully we will add a few more publishers to the list in the weeks to come.

zman logo

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Board Game Bash 2014

Coming up on Feb 17th, 2014 (aka "Family Day" in Ontario, Canada) the Kitchener-Waterloo region will be having its first ever board game convention. The event is called the BOARD GAME BASH. Emmanuel Bible College will be hosting the event (100 Fergus Ave., Kitchener, ON). The event will feature some fun tournaments (including a Android: Netrunner tournament at 5pm) and lots of open gaming. We will have a board game lending library free of charge to play games at the event. Also, we will be highlighting some amazing games from our sponsors with some scheduled demo's. FunGamesCafe.Com will have a retail booth setup from 12-6pm so you can purchase that amazing game you just tried in the lending library or demo. FunGamesCafe is offering free pickup for anyone who wants to purchase a specific game and pick it up at the event. Also, the BOARD GAME BASH will be giving away some amazing door prizes at different times throughout the day. And hopefully we will arrange a free math trade for the event too.


Poster below. Please help spread the word. Save the picture and post it on Facebook. Print it out and post it.