Review: Champions of Midgard

One thing that my wife and I wanted to do this year was revisit some older ‘classic’ games that we really used to enjoy, but that have sort have been relegated to the corner of the game shelf as the new hotness arrives.  Sometimes, though, I find a game that revisits mechanics of these classics, and it can even replace the feelings I have for those classic games.  Champions of Midgard is one of those games.

Champions of Midgard is a worker placement/die rolling game designed by Ole Steiness and published by Grey Fox Games.  I would describe it best as a mix between Lords of Waterdeep and Stone Age, because the primary mechanic is worker placement, but there is also die rolling to determine if you defeat monsters or hunt successfully.

In Champions of Midgard, players are trying to vie for the Jarlship by recruiting 3 different types of adventurers and gathering resources that they can use to purchase or lease ships so that they can adventure to battle monsters.  Players can earn glory, but if they aren’t mindful to deal with the trolls that are rampaging outside the village then the villagers get angry with them and give them blame.  If no player defeats a troll each turn, they all take blame, which leads to increasing negative points at the end of the game.  If a player defeats the troll, then they get to give one blame to another player.  To fight monsters, you roll the adventurer dice you’ve assigned to the monster and have to roll enough symbols to meet the defense value of the monster.  You can also roll shields which block some of the damage you would have to take; for each damage you take, you lose a die.

The monsters you fight all have a different color, so there is an element of set collecting to this game as well.  You might try to fight a stronger monster because it’s the last color you need to complete your set (which means more end game victory points).  Each player also has a secret objective they are trying to complete (and a way to gain more throughout the game).

I really, really enjoyed my play of this game, and it’s one I’ve been itching to get to the table since.  It plays quick, is pretty simple to teach and pick up, and there is enough replayability that it would be pretty tough to play the same game twice.  The artwork is awesome and I do feel like it fits the theme really well.

I like the combination of mechanics in this game.  While I like Waterdeep, it can get a little bit samey to me (also because we played it a lot when it first came out) and I really like the dice mechanic in Stone Age.  By combining these two things, Champions is a fun game that provides some tense moments and some really meaningful decisions.

Gaming with a 4 Year Old

As I mentioned in my first post, we have 3 kids. My oldest is an adult (He turns 20 on Sunday.), and our middle child is 16.

Then we get to, as I often describe her, our little surprise. Don’t get me wrong, we are extremely happy having Aleksia join our family, but we were not expecting another child when she came along. She brings an incredible amount of joy to my life daily, but there are challenges being a 40+ year old with a preschooler, especially 12 years after your last child.

The one great thing we get to do is share my hobby with her. She can’t read a book (Although we read to her.), she can’t throw a disc golf disc (Although we let her try, and even have a small one for her to play with.), and she gets frustrated quickly when playing video games (Although again, she tries really hard. They don’t make a lot of small kid video games that aren’t mobile.). But we can play board games.

Do I break out Power Grid? Of course not, but we have a good group of games that she can play, and beats us frequently at.

We’ve never played games to just let the kids win. Will we always put our full effort out there? No. Do we stop them from making an obviously bad move? Yes. But we also don’t try to lose.

We might help her optimize her move in Monza. We do help her out some in Ticket to Ride: First Journey (The game is 7+, so she needs help, but loves the game.). We help her make some of her moves in a co-op game, but most of the time, we show her what would happen if she tried THIS move instead, although if she insists, she’ll probably get her way.

Part of the joy of playing this way is when you notice that she is making the best moves on her own. I’m never sure if it’s just her getting older and understanding better or just learning from how we helped her previously. Probably a little of both.

It’s amazing to see her outgrow a game she was playing only a year ago. The games get too easy very quickly at these ages. She might still want to play Go Away Monster, but she won’t want to play it 4 times in a row. She remembers it being fun, but realizes it’s not as much fun as it was before she could play more complicated games..

Although I will warn you, expect to play some games a lot. And I mean A LOT. They are still young kids, who will obsess about something. And don’t worry about picking up something in a thrift store used, especially if it’s really cheap. We’ve had some terrible games we’ve bought this way that she loved. They still had a little educational value, and we’d let her play those on her own if she liked. There wasn’t any need to worry about the pieces getting lost. And you can use them to teach how to properly pick up games.

We definitely play the games we enjoy more often, but sometimes you just have to bite your tongue and play whatever, because she’s 4, and she really wants to play this game, no matter how much you suggest we could play this other game.

The good news is there are a lot of good kids games. The bad news is, some of them still don’t get a US release, but thanks to Amazon.de & BoardGameGeek, they are easy to get and there are often rules translations. Although it seems like the majority of the best ones are either already being made by US companies, or are imported by someone else.

Haba Games are kind of the gold standard of kids games. They often make clever games with fantastic pieces. They do make quite a few games, and not all are winners, but even the worst of them have some value to teaching gaming and game mechanics to kids. Did I mention the pieces are usually amazing? The one issue is that some of them can be quite expensive.

img_20180612_214745_4225940209413100723568.jpg
Drachenturm from Haba. The Dragon pulls the string and the tower comes crashing down. You push the Princess token out of the tower, down the scaffold, and to the carriage, racing the dragon pulling.

GameWright here in the US is also a pretty good kids game maker. Haba might have better bits, but GameWright makes smaller, easier to afford games. I’m more likely to pay the $15 for Outfoxed, which is an fun young kids deduction game, than $50 for Drachenturm, which is a Haba game we picked up recently, but only paid half price. Beautiful, and a neat idea, but also a huge box, and a tad expensive. Had it not been 50% off, we probably wouldn’t have picked it up, knowing very little about it.

img_20180611_222735_4426051268810290647399.jpg
Outfoxed from Gamewright Games.

You’ll even notice some of the department stores are starting to carry more games, especially for kids. I’ve seen Magic Labyrinth at Target. Target also has an exclusive on the US map for Ticket to Ride: First Journey. So some of the bigger chains are realizing that there is more than just Candyland or Chutes & Ladders, although they are still there too.

I have been exploring some kids based RPG’s too, although we haven’t tried anything yet. She has a vivid imagination, and i think she’d like them. I have a couple of really good ones I have played, but they require writing. I’ll try to get into a couple and try them this summer maybe.

I think I’m going to cut this off now, I’ve rambled on long enough. I’ll re-address this eventually, maybe once she’s 5. I’ll be posting some kid game reviews, maybe every other review at first, but maybe more often, kids games are often easier to review.

img_20180612_2006153711184528450502883.jpg
Aleksia and I playing My First Stone Age, which I plan on reviewing next week.

 

Hello! A Not so Brief Introduction

Hello readers. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Ryan, Yollege on BGG.

A quick summary of me. I’m 44, a father of 3, and an avid reader (Mostly sci-fi and fantasy.), disc golfer, and gamer (Both board & video.). I also really enjoy craft beer and have recently been fermenting foods.

Now I’m going to tell my gaming history, so it will be a little long, and a little personal at times.

I’ve always loved games, but I grew up in a really small town where there weren’t others to play with. Most of my gaming memories as a kid were on my own. I could be impulsive with my purchases, I know I had Fireball Island and Conquest of the Empire, and played them on my own.

I looked into games when I was in college, but again I was buying and not playing. I also had some social anxiety about meeting people. I collected RPG books and CCG’s (I still have my original Netrunner cards.), but again was rarely playing. Dina and I got married in 1997. We had our first child Joseph in 1998.

Things changed once we moved to the Minneapolis/St Paul area after Dina got a job up there. I had some friends that lived in the area and we were looking for excuses to hang out. We started by playing the Wizards of the Coast Star Wars RPG, but we screwed around too much to get anywhere in a night, so we moved onto Heroclix.

Heroclix gave me a reason to go to the game store. I found Blokus. That led me to BGG. I’ve had an obsession ever since. This was probably around 2000-2001. We added a daughter, Katlyn, in 2002. We started getting a regular weekly group together, several people that are still close friends today. I was buying a lot of games, but the others were bringing some too. Most of us had kids or had to be to work early, so we tried to be done playing by 9-9:30 (Typically Thursday nights.). We had Saturday game days occasionally to get longer games played. We started going to the Con of the North, and were making friends there too.

But in 2009 that all changed. Dina’s job was leaving Minnesota. We were suddenly moving our family to Kansas. We found out the weekend of Con of the North, so we had a fun time there, knowing we were leaving soon (We had about a month/month and a half to get moved.). We had a final game day with our friends, and left for Topeka.

Gaming has been on and off since moving. We found a good group of friends here, but none of us have been able to make a weekly gaming night stick, but we were getting together often. We even threw our own single day Con to help raise money for a friend who had a heart attack.

Then in September of 2011 everything changed for us. A mentally ill neighbor shot Dina in front of the older kids and me. She only spent a few days in hospital initially, but had to have spinal surgery due to bullet fragments lodging in her spine. Needless to say, gaming took a back seat, and I auctioned off a significant chunk of our games to local gamers and friends in MN. The Con this time was for Dina.

We never stopped gaming, but it slowed quite a bit. We gradually got it going again, although most of my plays were with the family, but we still saw our friends to play occasionally. The collection started growing again. In 2014, our family grew. We added another daughter, Aleksia. A bit of a surprise, but a wonderful surprise.

Dina lost her job in 2016. Again we sold off a chunk of the collection. This time as more of a panic sale.

But now, in 2018, I am gaming a lot again. The majority is with the family, but we try to get together with our friends when we can. Joe is absolutely a gamer. Katlyn has lost interest, although if that was due to the shooting, or just being a teenager, I’ll never be sure. Aleksia loves games, which means we have acquired a big bunch of small kids games again (For obvious reasons, we had passed on the games we had to friends when the other two outgrew them.). Dina tries to play with us when she’s feeling up to it, she still has a lot of pain due to the shooting. I have also started playing games solo on occasion, which was something I never did.

Our game group down here have become our friends and family. When we get together, we are just as likely to sit and chat than we are to play games. They helped us a lot after the shooting, and have helped us move twice. And we have helped them when we could with things. We try to get together at least once a month, but scheduling occasionally gets difficult.

Ok, I am sure I could have cut half of this, but I was on a roll and didn’t want to stop once I got going. Future posts should be shorter, but I’m not making any promises.

Here are a couple of pic, one of the family and the other being our current collection, except the kids games, which are mostly off camera to the left:

 

 

 

10 x 10 Update! New Contributor!! New Content!!!

Hey all!

It has been a little while; I’ve been getting tons of gaming in (Thanks, BGG.Spring) and have come to realize a few things about my 10 x 10 list:

There were some games that were unattainable.  I probably could have forced people to play them with me but that wouldn’t have been much fun.  So, I did what any cheating sane person would do and I tweaked my list.

I added Ganz schon clever, which is a roll and write game I played at BGG.Spring and absolutely loved as well as D-Day Dice, which my wife and I played tonight for the first time in about 4 years (It had left a bitter taste in my mouth due to some further Kickstarter issues from the publisher [and that’s putting it lightly]).  I have a much better chance to play games I enjoy instead of trying to fit longer games into our busy gaming schedule.

Speaking of busy gaming schedule, you probably have noticed that I don’t post very consistently.  Between a toddler, work, and actually playing games, sometimes it’s hard to write.  So I am enlisting the help of a friend, Ryan Olson.  Ryan is going to join me in writing here at Sword Board and Pen.  He has a different viewpoint on gaming than I do, so I think you’ll get a wider approach to content.  Look for an introductory post from him in the coming days.

We are also going to try to stick to a Wednesday/Friday posting schedule.  So you’ll get reviews, personal posts, month in review posts, as well as some special things we want to try out, just to give our thoughts on gaming.

If you’ve stuck with me for this long, thanks! I think you are going to enjoy what we have planned.  And if you are new here, welcome! I hope you stay a while.

BGG.Spring Recap

It’s been quite a while!! I have been pretty busy with new projects (and new deadlines) at work, but I was super excited to get to spend 4 days gaming in Dallas with a few friends of mine at BGG.Spring convention this year! It was my first BGG.Spring convention, and my second BGG con overall, and I had a great time.  I got to play some games I have been dying to play, got introduced to some new ones, and came home with a ton of new things to play as well.  I also ate some really great BBQ which is also one thing I always look forward to on these trips.

Instead of giving you a play by play of every single game played (because there were some nights where we just played party games, which while fun I don’t think make for very compelling reading), I figure I will talk about the games I played which I really enjoyed as well as some of the games I picked up I’m excited to play.  So first, games I played which I really enjoyed:

 Ganz schön clever (or Clever, as we call it)
This is a pretty simple roll and write game, and for me it was the game of the Con.  I really like the mechanics in it and it plays quick enough that even if you play suboptimally, you aren’t stuck for too long.  Lots of choices to make and if you play your dice right you can set up combos which become really powerful at the end of the game.  I added this to my 10 x 10 list, replacing Viticulture because while I love that game there is no way that we will get it played 10 times this year.

The Colonists
I had been dying to get this one to the table as I’ve owned it for a couple years but never played it, and it didn’t disappoint.  It’s a heavier game that is rules light but the choices you get expand exponentially with each turn, meaning there is a lot to take in and do.  We played 2 out of 4 eras, and I definitely want to commit to playing a 4 era game some day.  Maybe next year to kick off the Con.  This was also on my 5 x 1 list, so it was nice to make some progress on that.

Memoir ’44: The D-Day Landings
Whoa buddy.  This was the whole enchilada.  I’ve posted about my love for Memoir before, but this really took the cake.  We had 8-10 players who played for a good 3.5-4 hours on 6 maps spanning the D-Day landings.  I feel as in this case a picture would help, so here you go.

IMG_20180526_003807_287

Everyone had a good time and we even had a few people who were learning the game for the first time.  This is definitely an experience to behold and I’m glad I set it up and transported all my Memoir stuff down there.

Mystic Vale
This is a unique deckbuilder where you are actually layering clear cards on top of one another to morph your cards into something different. I picked this up for my birthday back in February this year but didn’t have a chance to play.  Luckily my friend Chris also had wanted to try it again so we played through a game. It’s a mechanic that you see a lot of presented in a new way, and I can’t wait to explore it more.

Roads and Boats
This is a game about logistics.  There is no way around it.  It’s meaty, thinky, and a wrong play early in the game can totally screw you over in the late game (which is what happened to me).  I love playing this one about once a year, and it too was on my 5 x 1 list, so I’m glad I got to help teach it to a new player.

Space Base
This was a game I had never heard anything about but a new friend brought it to play the night before the convention actually started.  It reminds me of Machi Koro if you actually made meaningful decisions in Machi Koro; you roll dice, and depending on the roll and the cards you have, you get stuff.   The artwork was great and it was the perfect length for what it was.

And here are the games I picked up in various sales that I am super excited to play:

Bunny Kingdom
I actually played this on a recommendation from my friend who drove down with me, and it didn’t disappoint.  While it looks light, there are a lot of meaningful decisions to be made and the theme (and artwork, especially on the box) are a little silly.

V-Commandos
I bought this after hearing some really great things about it on BGG.  It’s a co-op game where you take a team of commandos on missions in WWII.  I think it will scratch the wargame-esque ameritrash itch if that is what I’m looking for.

Carrier
This is a super heavy, meaty game of WWII Pacific warfare from the 1990.  It’s long out of print, and so to find a copy that someone was willing to party with in reasonable condition was absolutely fantastic.  I am waiting for the right time to get this to the table when I can actually sit down and learn the rules.

Fire in the Lake
My second game in GMT COIN series (well, okay it’s actually like my third but this time I’m keeping it), this is a game about Vietnam, which is a subject I’m exploring more and more as I talk to my father (who served two tours there) about it.  I’m looking forward to trying this one out solo.

And there you have it.  A super fun time was had and I’m definitely glad I went and participated in the festivities.  Have you played any of these games? What were your thoughts.  Let me know in the comments below!

Review: Dice Forge

It’s been a while!! But I am glad to be back, writing.  I’ve had a rough adjustment period with some new medication I’ve been taking, but I’m back in the saddle and looking forward to writing.

With that being said, let’s get on to the review!!

It’s no surprise I love Dice Games.  I don’t know what it is about them, but I really like games that involve dice, especially when they are used in a non-standard way.

I recently saw a game on Instagram that was a “Dice Builder”.  I was immediately intrigued by it, so I did some research and dove in and picked up a copy.  That game is Dice Forge, designed by Régis Bonnessée and published by Asmodee as well as others.

In Dice Forge, players are heroes trying to impress the Gods.  On a players turn, they will roll their dice to gain resources, then they can either purchase faces that upgrade their current dice with more or better rewards or they can go on adventures where they spend resources to gain either one time or every turn abilities.  There are other rules that I won’t discuss, because this is the overall idea of it.

To upgrade your dice, you physically remove the die face you wish and snap the new die face onto it.   So when they say that this is a Dice Builder, they aren’t kidding…you really get to shape your dice to fit into the strategy you wish to follow.

I have already played this game 3 times, which for me is a pretty big statement. I really, really enjoy this game.  It’s a unique mechanic and the different faces that are present can give you a different way to go about planning your path to victory.  It is not a difficult game to pick up but trying to figure out on which dice to place a face provides a little more of a thinky opportunity, especially if you are terrible at probability and math like I am :D.

I would heartily recommend Dice Forge to just about anyone, unless you don’t like luck.  The main issue you can run into is that none of your cool new die faces aren’t being rolled, but it plays quick enough (at least to me) that it isn’t an issue.

This was an impulse purchase, and it’s probably been my best impulse purchase in a long time.  If you are into dice and deck builders, I definitely suggest you pick this one up.

What are some of your favorite “outside the box” games? Let me know in the comments below!

Radio Silence!!

Sorry for the Radio Silence, all.  Been dealing with a lot of project work at my regular job that has left me wiped, along with dealing with sickness in the family (nothing serious, but we’ve been passing around a cold between all of us, which makes us not want to do much other than curl up on the couch).  On top of that I’m starting a new med for my anxiety so while I adjust I am not sure how much I will be up for gaming.

I do think my next post will be another Top 10 List or Why I Play RPGs.  Hopefully I can get it up in the next week or so.

Until then, stay tuned!

Review: Azul

Ooooooooh boy.  I had been waiting for this game for quite some time after I saw a playthrough on Heavy Cardboard’s YouTube Channel.  Unfortunately it was quite hard to find, as it was extremely popular.

Luckily for me, I noticed that it was to be back in stock at Miniature Market, so I quickly jumped over to their corner of the internet, and managed to snag a preorder.  It shipped super quick, and since Samantha and I’s game of the week was “Play a New Game” we fired it up with some friends last Friday.

Azul is a tile placement game from Plan B Games/Next Move Games.  You are creating a wall inspired by azulejos that can be found across the southern Iberia peninsula.  While the theme is nice, to me it’s not vital to the gameplay (although it did make the game more appealing to Samantha).

On your turn you can take 1 color (from 5) of tiles from either a factory space or from the center of the board.  You then have to place those tiles on a row (containing 1-5 spaces) on your player board.  When you fill up a row, 1 tile goes over to your wall and you score points based upon how many existing tiles it touches.  The game is over when someone fills up a row on their wall.  The catch is that if you take more of one color than you can fit on a row, the excess falls to the floor, causing you to lose points.  There is also end game scoring for the number of rows, columns, and complete sets of colors you have on your wall.

This is a great game.  It’s thinky, but not so much that I don’t feel like I can play it after a day of heavy programming at work.  It has enough player interaction for us in that you can really screw up someone’s turn/plans if you stick them with enough tiles (at one point during our 1st game I lost 10 points [I think] because I didn’t have anywhere to put them) but if you play completely harsh you will likely won’t win.

The components are fantastic.  The player boards are chipboard along with the factory discs, but where the components really shine are the tiles.  They aren’t glass, but they feel like a heavier plastic.  I am not sure if it’s bakelite, but they are nice to touch and hold while you are thinking about where to play, and there isn’t a seam in them.  Additionally, the patterns for the tiles are printed on seamlessly, so I’m not too concerned about it wearing off anytime soon.  You also get a nice drawstring bag to keep all the tiles in.

For replayability, there is also a back side to the player board that is just a blank grid (the front side has specific tiles printed on each space in the wall). This is a much more thinky and ‘need to be more aware of what I’m doing’ way to play the game.  We haven’t tried it yet, but I am sure we will some day.

For me, Azul is a great gateway game for people interested in more puzzle type games.  The rules are not hard to pick up on, but to learn how to play the game optimally will take a few more plays, and can change due to how the tiles are distributed.  I really think there is a place for Azul in anyone’s collection, so if you can find a copy for a reasonable price, I’d recommend you grab it!

I actually enjoyed it enough that it displaced one of my 10 x 10 games that we hadn’t started playing yet, so I’m looking forward to playing it more.

Back From A Break

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I started this blog as a way to write about the hobby I love, but it’s also here to serve another purpose: to be a coping mechanism with my stress and anxiety.

I’ve talked about it before, but the TL;DR version of it is that I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and games and rpgs are one of my coping mechanisms that help me get out of my head for a bit.

But what happens when the escape I use becomes a bane instead of a boon? That’s what this post is about, and why I took a break from posting and from board games for a little while.

It all started on Feb. 16.  I finally was able to start playing DnD (5th Ed.) with my normal game group after we all reorganized our schedules and shifted to a twice monthly thing instead of once a week.  I was super excited because DnD really helps with some of the feelings I have towards myself in regards to imposter syndrome and the fact that at times I feel like I’m not good enough (more on this in a later post.  It’s one I’ve wanted to write for a very long time but haven’t felt in the right headspace to do it justice).

We are playing and my character and another are faced with a decision to make regarding taking care of the baddies and saving another PC (player character).  I’m sitting there thinking about what my character would do, when the character I was with chimed in and, at the time, I felt extremely pressured as a player (not as a character) to do what they said, even if it wasn’t what my character would have done.  My heart immediately started racing, I started getting tingly in my arms and the back of my neck, all signs of an impending anxiety episode (maybe not full blown panic attack, but on high alert at every. single. thing that is said and done.  It all starts to get analyzed in my brain at superspeed, usually with a negative filter).  I failed the check to stabilize the character who needed saved, and on his turn, his character died.

At the end of the session, the player who was urging me to take action made a statement that essentially boiled down to “I hold you responsible for this death”, which totally fits in with the archetype that this player is going for.  But, at the time, I couldn’t separate that out.  I internalized it, let it fester, and it really bothered me the rest of the weekend, because it felt like that player was holding ME, personally responsible, which is silly because it’s a pretend game but anxiety makes literally 0 sense most of the time.

I was shaken up enough about this that I thought about avoiding the next session (which is this Friday).  But writing about it now, and looking back on it, I understand this isn’t a personal thing, it’s a game thing.  One that I’ll probably have to deal with in some way, shape, or form.  While I have interpersonal anxiety issues, Aldunn (my character) doesn’t (at least I don’t think he does…), so I should use this as an opportunity to roleplay and work through the personal issues I had that night.

BUUUUT anyway, that Sunday I had a few friends over to play a wargame; Liberty or Death (my first 5 x 1 game of the year).  None of us had played it before, and only two of us were really familiar with the COIN system, so it was a learning game, and I was in charge of teaching it.

My 13 month old daughter decided, at that point, that she would begin having issues with going down to take a nap.  So, as I’m trying to teach/play this new game (for my birthday, I might add), I am also dealing with the frustration/exhaustion of my daughter not sleeping, my wife being the one to have to work with her to get her to sleep, and me trying to juggle the two things.

I felt I didn’t teach the game well.  I overlooked some key parts of what my faction should be doing to win the game, which in turn affected another player’s faction and ability to score.  I’ve been reassured by one of the players that they had a good time and that I didn’t teach the game any worse than anyone else would have (since we were all new to the system) but the events of that Friday night and the goings on with my daughter really soured the experience, even with all of the players explaining to me they understood what I was going through (they all have children).  One of them did make a comment after the fact that sort of confirmed that my misplaying really did have an impact on their score, and to be honest I felt super shitty based upon that.  I was frustrated that this fun event had been tainted by my anxiety, and I even commented to one of the players that the next time I play this it will likely be solo.

These experiences really pushed me away from boardgames.  I am a huge videogamer too, so it’s not uncommon for me to go through swings where I focus on one or the other in my free time, but this time it felt different.  It felt as though because of my anxiety, I didn’t want to repeat that and taint the hobby that I love, so I pushed it away entirely.  This is why I didn’t want to write, because I didn’t feel like I had anything to contribute, so I didn’t, which I think is probably for the best.

My wife and I played some games last week which were really fun and started to get me to peek out of the hole again, so I’m sure I’ll get back in the habit of posting more regularly, and more importantly playing more regularly, but I wanted to at least talk about these experiences I had and how my anxiety colored them.  I’m working on coping mechanisms, including medication and therapy, every day.  There are good days, and bad days but I’m thankful I have this hobby, even if it gets ‘tainted from time to time’.

I know some of the people I alluded to do read my posts from time to time, so I do want to say that I am completely over everything, there is no ill will, and my feelings about it in the moment were colored by my anxiety in the moment.

I am thinking my next post will be either a review of a new game I hope to play on Saturday or a session report of one of my 10 x 10 games that I’ve been getting to the table.  Do you have a preference? Let me know!

Top 10 Dice Games

I love dice.  I probably have an unhealthy obsession with dice, to be honest.  For a while, in my DnD group, when we would start a new campaign or a new character, I would go out and buy a new set of polyhedral dice.

The draw from the “What Should We Play” deck was Quarriors, which got me thinking…dice are probably one of my favorite components, so what better way to come back from an unintentional hiatus than writing about my top 10 dice games.

Castles of BurgundyRavensburger

Dice Laying, Tile Placement and ‘Worker Placement’ are probably my favorite mechanics, and CoB has them both.  I have enjoyed every play of this game.  There are numerous player boards that you can play with that require you to adopt different strategies (even if I haven’t played most of them).  This is one that many, many people in my game group enjoy even if we don’t play it that often.

KingsburgFantasy Flight Games

This is probably my wife’s favorite game on this list.  This is one game that combines Dice rolling and worker placement and requires a surprising amount of planning and mitigating your plan if an opposing player takes your spot.  I think this is a game that is better if you play with the expansion, but any time we’ve played it it’s been enjoyable.

St MaloRavensburger

This is a roll and write city building game that was a bit of a surprise. I bought it on a whim at a convention and ended up playing it 2 or 3 times that weekend.  It’s quick and easy to teach and the boards are coated so you use a whiteboard style marker, which for some reason is really entertaining to me.

QuarriorsWizKids

When Quarriors first came out it seemed as though they had struck gold with a confrontational but not too confrontational “dicebuilding” game.  We had to make some adjustments to make it work for 2 players (we play to the 4 player point limit) but we enjoyed the custom dice, the art, and the way the game works: it felt to us like a dice version of Magic the Gathering.

D-Day DiceValley Games

I hesitated to put this on my list.  I was a Line for Life Kickstarter backer of the first edition which has been marred by some terrible dealings with the now defunct Valley Games, but this is actually being reprinted by Word Forge Games, who along with the designer, is going above and beyond to atone for the sins of the previous publisher.

When it was released this was a really unique mechanic along with a theme that I loved.  The D-Day landings are by far my favorite military operation to study and read about, and it’s co-op and solo capable.  Custom dice are always awesome, and this comes with tons of them.  I really need to get it to the table more.

DicemastersWizKids

I’ve talked about this in previous posts, but this really made me feel like I was playing Magic: The Dice Gathering.  With all the IPs offered, I really like the limited deck building aspect of it and the gameplay is pretty straightforward.  They took Quarriors and kept the streamlined feel of it while making it feel like you could actually get your engine going.  Just beware if you are a completionist.

SagradaFloodgate Games

I’ve given a review of Sagrada and mentioned it in previous posts, so I’ll give my abbreviated thoughts:

If you can find a copy, buy it.  You won’t be disappointed.  It’s a puzzly dice placement game that looks gorgeous.

Roll PlayerThunderworks Games

My favorite part of DnD is rolling characters, and that’s what you are doing in Roll Player.  It’s a clever dice manipulation game that is a lot deeper under the surface.  The first time I played this, I did terribly, and immediately wanted to get a copy so I could keep playing it to try to get better.  Not many games do that to me.

Elder SignFantasy Flight Games

I’ve probably played the app version of this more than the board game version, but Elder Sign is a quickish Yahtzee style game (for lack of any other way to describe it) set in the Arkham universe.  It does a good job of integrating the theme of it’s bigger brothers Arkham and Eldritch Horror and there are a good selection of expansions to integrate as well.

Carson CityEagle-Gryphon Games (my copy)

I love Westerns.  Carson City puts you in charge of developing a western city complete with gunfights, prospecting, and staking claims.  The first time I played this I was warned that it is completely possible that your opponents might be able to lock you out of doing anything, and while that didn’t happen to me it’s definitely a more in your face worker placement game than I normally play.  The dice are used to seed the board with buildings, landmarks, etc and for a few action spaces, but it’s the use of them to determine coordinates that stuck with me, as this was the first game that I had played to do so (see also Flash Point: Fire Rescue).

Well, there you have it.  A quick look at my top 10 Dice games.  Honorable mentions would probably be Dungeons and Dragons and wargames, but I’m glad I could come up with 10 game that I enjoy, some of which I think are overlooked at times.  What dice games do you enjoy? Let me know in the comments!