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Best of 2013 Part 4

 ‘Caverna’ is my most played game of the 2013 crop - if you did not like’ Agricola’ because ‘its no fun/you can’t’ specialize/its not got Dwarves/feeding is boring then’ fill your boots with this magnificent game.  ‘Caverna’ adds a lot to the ‘Agricola’ formula – more animals, more resources and both a farm to build and an underground chamber to carve out and fill with rooms. The addition of currency in the form of gold and rubies adds interesting timing and conversion possibilities and the expeditions a whole new way of getting all the stuff you need. The design (and difficult production) choice to make the game playable by seven dwarves gives some clue as to the best player count – the more the merrier. At lower numbers it is an enjoyable, but solitary, optimization exercise, with higher numbers you are bumping up against Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy et al for the spots you want and the tiles you need.  Magnificent yes, but after 20 plays I need an expansion - I am interested in exploring the game  with 5+ player , whereas I am still happy to explore the limitless possibilities of the E,I and K decks. Excellent game – but not as good as ‘Agricola’

20 plays. Rating 8 out of 10

Best of 2013 Part 3

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Last summer I role played for the first time in 30 years.  For a whole weekend. In a 14th century manor house. With five friends. I was bored rigid.

Somehow the magic of years ago has turned to dust. The process of role playing has become tedium; the imagination necessary to breath life into paper has gone. But a little boy inside would love to recreate the wonder of the first encounter with Gary Gygax's world. Well Pathfinder won’t peel back the years but I had five amazing evenings taking my cleric through the first adventure pack with a like minded board gamer. Pathfinder is an easy canvas to paint with role playing memories – none too taxing, tells a story and often goes to the wire.

Played 16 times. Rated 8/10

Best of 2013 Part 2


Quasi-deck builders were very much en vogue with the more trad.  euro designers in Euro 13 and the genius of this game is that the action cards selected also determine your victory points at the end. Otherwise the play of the game feels remarkably like Mac Gerdt’s ,other, rondel games – you are cycling through a lot of small actions with a sense that you are always one short of what you want to achieve – and whilst what you want to achieve is a bit generic and boring (Mediterranean, trade goods, houses, ….) how you do it is very entertaining. I still prefer ‘Navegador’ but I wonder if that will change after more plays.

Played 3 times - rated 7/10

Best of 2013 Part 1

I am going to post a few thoughts about the games I enjoyed most from 2013.

 Lewis and Clark

This is happening every evening in a gaming basement near you :-

 ‘The game ends – then the scoring begins. 15 minutes and a collective 1147 points later a leader is determined, after 17 categories are tallied and compared, resources behind screens divided by two and then Min maxed for majorities. 7 of the tracks are tied and need to go the 4th breaker, secret goals are revealed and the player in last comes first.… ‘

 How refreshing 1. A Complex Euro game that scores only one point. To the winner of a race. At the End.

 How refreshing 2. An abstract design was developed in to a thematically rich and thematically coherent game.

The game itself is a thunderously brain burning 120 minutes of optimization, hand management and resource conversion. But I know how why I am going up the river. Played 3 times (won all of them – I am not going to tell you that my approach is the only way to winning though), rated 8/10 Guru tip . Never play with the AP, Sweet spot 3 or 4 experienced players