To all you American gamers, Happy 4th of July!! I will be celebrating this Day of Independence with my family and friends, some yummy food, and most likely some board games as well.
It is a Thursday, though, so time for another Top 10 list and since this is the first week of the month, it is time to take a look back — to June — as I go over my top 10 games played during June 2019.
June stats: I played 33 different games in June, of which 9 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 June: The past two months, Looney Labs has owned my “most played” top slot with Aquarius (April) and Just Desserts (May). This month it is a Stronghold Games title, Ganz schön clever. I received this as a Father’s Day gift from my oldest son and managed to amass five plays during just the final half of the month. (hint: this game may get talked about again later in the blog post)
#10 – Welcome To…
In June, I was able to give Welcome To… a first couple tries in solo mode — and I was very impressed. I genuinely struggle wanting to come back to solo games that are based on “doing better than last time.” Welcome To… falls into that category, but the game play is just so much fun.
#9 – Wingspan
My sister-in-law was finally able to get a copy of this game and I had a chance to get a play in one weekend. I didn’t fare very well, but enjoyed the quality of the components (cards, artwork, eggs, dice tower) and the potential for creating neat combos with your tableau’s engine. I also am a pushover when it comes to games with personal objectives.
#8 – One Night Ultimate Werewolf
My family was able to get in a few games of Werewolf with my niece and her parents and once again, One Night provided some great moments. That evening was very fun and there was plenty of laughter! (Plus, I like being the troublemaker and switching the roles of my son and daughter, which I got to do during the evening’s first play)
#7 – Terraforming Mars
June 2019 will mark the month that I finally got to taste the fresh air of the terraformed Martian planet designed by Jacob Fryxelius. This game has a lot going on and I actually performed well in my 1st play (coming in 2nd out of 4). I would need several more plays to start understanding “good strategy” for this game, but I really enjoyed Terraforming Mars. The possible paths to success are a little mind-blowing, which makes this game a perfect candidate for replays.
#6 – My Little Scythe
My two sons and I found some time to break this Stonemaier Games title open (was received as a Christmas gift last year). Right off the bat, I was pleased with the quality of (well, everything in the box). I read through the rules (which my younger son did not enjoy) and then we started playing and immediately I knew that I was in love with this charming family friendly game. Overall, My Little Scythe’s complexity is light, but the play is just so much fun. I’m a bad dad for having only played this game once with my family so far!!
#5 – City of Iron: Second Edition
During June’s “Game Night” with my board game group, City of Iron was the 2nd pick of the evening — and a new game for me to get to try out. This game is hard and super brain-burny. Throughout the 3 hours of play, I could feel just how important every decision I made was and that I needed to put some good thought into every round’s plan. In the end, I must have done a good job, because I was able to take the victory — which I don’t say lightly. I have played a lot of games and won a decent share of plays along the way — but this City of Iron win felt really good, like I had truly earned it, which was a very satisfying experience that not every game necessarily provides at the level this Ryan Laukat title did.
#4 – Outlive
The first game we played at Game Night was Outlive by La Boîte de Jeu. (This company was on my radar, because I had recently backed their most recent Kickstarter, It’s A Wonderful World). Outlive has a Fallout-post-apocalyptic vibe without needing zombies, which I thought was a fun setting. It is a worker placement game, which I love, and the way your workers can/can’t move on the board created a very interesting and tight puzzle to negotiate each round. At the end of the game, all four of us felt like we had performed poorly (guess the theme was working!) but I had managed to keep my shelter’s radiation levels very low and fixed/equipped a large amount of items to squeak out with a win. Yes! Off to the safety of the sub-aquatic colony — good luck guys!!!
#3 – Root
My first play of Root was in May, but I managed to get two more games in during June — the first with my son, which turned out to be a spectacular 30-to-29 game of the Eyrie vs. the Marquise. That game was significant to me because it quelled the doubt I had regarding the level of enjoyment that would come from playing Root at 2 players. I also got in a 4-player game later in the month — it was my chance to try the Woodland Alliance and I finished (not the winner) realizing, after-the-fact, the strategy I probably should have been undertaking with my little mice, bunnies, and foxes. My wife (who is not a fan of learning lots of rules, nor complicated games) took on the role of the Vagabond and managed to sneak her way to victory (one round before her brother’s Eyrie would have claimed ‘The Top Roost!”)
#2 – Charterstone
Yep…if you are keeping track, Charterstone is the 3rd Stonemaier Games’ title on my list this month. Surprise? Not really, Jamey’s helping create and produce some great games.
And…Charterstone is right at the top of my list of favorite games overall. In June, my group completed the 11th play of our campaign (that’s right, only one more game to go). And the tension is getting high for a few of us as we fight not only to win the individual trophy for the current game, but continue to work towards an end-campaign final score worth 1st place. Game 11 once again proved that every time we play, the game feels fresh. Just when you think you have a plan figured out, it’s amazing how simple adjustments can throw you off into a different direction. Figuring out how to roll with those punches and quickly put together a solid 10-15 round strategy on the fly is critical — and man I love Charterstone for it! (The story line that was revealed at the end of game 11 took us all for a bit of a surprise as well)
#1 – Ganz schön clever
There has been a lot of hype for this Roll-and-Write and I can understand it. I love the decision-making of which die to use to successfully progress towards a path of combo maximization. In my first five plays, it has been fun to see how plans develop based on each round’s die rolls. I’m getting ‘better’ at my strategy and am pleased to report that in my 4th play, I broke 200 for the first time. I still have plenty more to learn about how to fully capitalize on this puzzle and look forward to many more attempts — that said, for June, Ganz schön clever earned its place as my top game of the month!
What was your favorite game to get to the table last month? Or something new you were excited to get to play?
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