Hello board gaming buds, this is the first week of June, so today’s Top 10 list is going to be a look-back at May to discuss some of the wonderful games that came to the table during my Birthday month!
May stats: I played 45 different games in May, of which 10 were first-time plays for me. From this group of games, my top 10 will not necessarily be a ranking of my “favorite games”, but focused more on the game play that occurred during the month.
Most played game of May: In April, my most played game was Looney Labs’ Aquarius with 5 plays. For May, it was a different Looney Labs title — Just Desserts with 5 plays as well. My wife and I went on vacation a few weeks ago and this was one of the small titles that we were able to pack and play while in “travel mode.”
#10 – Catan
On Memorial Day, we were able to get a 6-player game of Catan going — my first time with that high of a player count. It was interesting to see how tight the board (even though extended for 6 players) got with so many of us trying to build roads, settlements, and cities. We were able to keep the flow of the game moving at a good pace, so everyone was able to constantly be involved and “in the game.” Part of the fun was just how frustrating players were getting with each other — from routes being cut off, a particular good being swiped by the robber, and of course…lousy dice rolls. It was a pleasure to get this title back to the table.
#9 – Takenoko
Takenoko –> quick turns, simple actions, victory point accumulation. Many things I love about a game, plus its cute. What really stood out to me during my May plays of the game is how much momentum can shift. In game 1, my sister-in-law got out to a blistering start with 5 objectives completed and then stalled out, not getting any more the rest of the game, while I managed to start slow but sneak out a win at the end. Game 2 was the opposite, I felt good most of the game and was the first to trigger end-game (worked for me the time before) but I ended up finishing in last place out of 4.
#8 – The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth
This was one of the games I received as a birthday gift this year. My wife and I have only managed to play the introduction scenario, but I am definitely intrigued by this system. I love the way the app works and that it takes ‘dungeon management’ out of our hands. Our first play almost ended disastrously, but we managed to time things just right on our last turn to complete the scenario victoriously. I am looking forward to continuing the campaign as June progresses.
#7 – Century: Golem Edition
I really like Century and the artwork on the Golem cards is beautiful. Furthermore, I love the quick turns and the puzzle of building a strong engine each game. In our May play, my wife and I had to struggle with virtually no gem production cards entering the market –> the market was consistently filled with conversion cards. Sometimes, that’s the way the deck shuffles. Nevertheless, I managed to get three or four conversion cards that made my meager starting-hand production ability work beautifully. Another puzzling, fun tour of this great title.
#6 – Root
Root was my other major birthday gift this year. I have been drooling about this game for awhile and with my game group, we launched off with a 5-player game of woodland might. I was able to bring the expansion and thus took on the role of the Riverfolk Company. I love asymmetric games, but Root really does take it to a different level. Towards the end of the game, I feel like I finally figured out my faction and had a plan to get to 30 points, but it was too late — the Mice were too strong on this night and ran away with the victory. I can’t wait to play Root more and try other factions, techniques, and strategies.
#5 – Clank!
2nd straight month for Clank! to hit the top 5 in my monthly top 10. In May, I managed to get my first 4-player game in (all previous plays were 2-player duels). This was also my first time not to make it all the way out. My son decided to grab the 15-point artifact quickly and hustle to daylight. While I had a really good deck that I was building and amassing a bunch of points, I failed to pay attention to boots –> thus, when it came time to scurry out before the Dragon’s final attack, I just couldn’t quite escape. Another fun play of Clank! and another super-exciting finish.
#4 – Charterstone
In May, my group was able to play game number 10 of this campaign and it threw us all for a strategy-adjusting-loop. I managed to perform decently, while maintaining my focus on the end-campaign scoring. I have enjoyed all 10 sessions of Charterstone so far, loving it more and more each time and I am very excited to see how the final two plays turn out (hopefully in June and July).
#3 – Splendor
Before May, my only plays of Splendor were with my brother-in-law. I really enjoy this quick game and the engine-building. From my previous plays, I had learned that you need to focus the entire time you are playing if you want to inch out a victory.
So, this past month, I was able to introduce the game to my wife. On her very first play, she focused early on getting a variety of gems in her tableau, while I was very ‘mission-focused.’ Late in the game, her method propelled her forward and she managed to launch to the 15-point goal line a turn or two before I was prepared to. After that, I refined my strategy and was able to knock out several victories in a row (including two while on a layover in the Las Vegas airport). I realize that there are many gamers who are “burnt out” with Splendor, but I am still fresh to the table with this marvelous Marc André title and loving it every time.
#2 – 7 Wonders Duel
I really enjoy 7 Wonders and have access to it via family, so I know I can get it played often. Thus, at my house, I thought it would be nice to add 7 Wonders Duel to the closet. I received the game this month (yes, another birthday gift) and managed to get a trio of plays in before May departed. Even though I had heard comments stating Duel might be even better than the original title, I had to see it to believe it. And I do — I love the way the drafting occurs in this two-player duel and the interaction-level is perfect for my tastes. In our last game, my wife almost decapitated me with her military might, but I managed to use my “take another turn” Wonders to perfection to hold her off and grab a VP win.
#1 – Pulsar 2849
There are a lot of these long, crunchy space games on the market. I have yet to play any of them — partly because they have always seemed dull to me, visually. At game night, early in May, our host had picked this title to teach and play. Leading up to game time, I watched GamingVids’ tutorial for Pulsar 2849 (which I highly suggest). Not only did I feel like I knew how to play, but I was starting to get excited. The mechanisms sounded great and the color scheme was actually very appealing to me.
Come evening, the game lived up to its hype — I absolutely loved this game and kept thinking about it the rest of the weekend. I fared okay, but didn’t win — but…I would absolutely love more opportunities to perfect my strategy and play. Pulsar2849 –> my game of the month!
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