Life is starting to get real hectic and I am expecting that November will be a down month for me in the board gaming arena. Fortunately, I am coming off one amazing month! October 2019 included, not only game group plays and several family days, but also TokenCon — in which I was able to get a whole lot of new games to the table, 90% of which I’d like to get to play again.
Thus, as I look back at my favorite plays of October, just know that this list could easily be longer — there are some good games and great memories that got nudged out of this top 10. Before I get to #10, though, a few stats from the month:
I was able to play a total of 36 games in October. 21 of those titles were brand new plays for me. My most played game was Werewords at 7 plays and the most overall time was given to Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game. I managed to play games at 8 different locations in October with 14 different people. Stats in the bag, let’s get on to the list!
#10 – Draftosaurus
Draftosaurus is a very quick (10 minutes) game, but it is delightful! I enjoyed trying to maximize my pen placement each turn, while being annoyed to see my opponent hold on to the Triceratops I needed to come back my way. It is great that this game comes with two sides to play on and I would love to see some mini-expansions that include some more “parks.”
#9 – Werewords
Werewords has been sitting in the closet for awhile, but it finally came out and we had a blast with it. My kids and I really love One Night Ultimate Werewolf, but some of our family dislikes all the fibbing and randomness of what can happen during the night phase. Werewords is a great version of that “wolf game” style of play that allows for more open eyes interaction and 20-questions style guessing. It was a hit!
#8 – Space Base
During October, my wife and I were able to get in the last two plays of our ‘The Emergence of Shy Pluto’ campaign. We have had a blast seeing new cards and elements get added into the game. And now that we are finished, I don’t plan on playing the game again without the expansion content.
#7 – Innovation
While I generally enjoy games that can involve several players, victory points, worker placement, euro-goodness, etc… I also love a solid, strategic 2-player game and I was impressed with my first play of Innovation. In 2-player games, I don’t mind some good take-that and I love the way it mixed with a constantly changing engine. I smiled a lot during this game (and yes…some of those smiles were overly mischievous.)
#6 – Awkward Guests
I was able to get Awkward Guests to the table at monthly game night and played two games at a 6-player count. My only prior play was with just 2 players, so it was nice to see how the game operates with a larger group — there are definitely moments when players try to showoff their persuasive charm to get the active player to trade info with them. Knowledge is your lifeblood in this game and its important to try and get new nuggets as much as you can. Furthermore, at a higher player count, the clues you ask for on your own turn are much more critical. You really need to be gathering info that leads you down a specific path.
In our first play, I had garnered a lot of great info after just one round and I had a path towards the solution that I really liked. So, I gambled that being wrong on a first round guess wouldn’t hurt me too bad (we are playing with the app — so I wouldn’t be able to guess in round 2, but would be eligible again after round 3). So, I went for it and my hunch was correct!! [much to the dismay and annoyance of my peers]
#5 – Tiny Towns
Tiny Towns hits a lot of sweet spots for me. It is colorful, with fun building pieces, and a great first player marker. There are plenty of building options, allowing for variety and a fresh feel to every play. Variable player powers with your own special construction opportunity. And a nice puzzle to solve. How can you utilize the 8 available buildings (plus your own personal building) to quickly generate a town that will score you lots of points? Quick play and one I would love to come back to often!
#4 – Teotihuacan: City of Gods
Teotihuacan was my 2nd game to break out at TokenCon and man oh man, it is good. I believe this game also qualifies as my first ever game to play that includes a rondel (I’m so sophisticated now). So many great decisions to make, the fun temple to build, and plenty of paths to victory. I can definitely see why Teotihuacan has been getting so much praise.
#3 – Rajas of the Ganges
Day two of TokenCon started with my friend Brock and I playing Rajas of the Ganges and I was extremely smitten by the gameplay. This is a dice worker placement game, with dice in a few different colors. I really appreciated that every die number (1 through 6) had a useful action spot on the board. The key then became maximizing the usage of dice and putting together a solid gameplan. I also love the miniature city-building that takes place with the tile-laying portion of this game. Lots of small mechanisms in Rajas that come together enjoyably and in a very pretty package.
#2 – Chronicles of Crime
I have been hearing great things about Chronicles of Crime and have been very interested in giving it a try — and again, TokenCon gaming library to the rescue. My group played through the tutorial and the first case and I absolutely loved the experiences. Unlike many “detective” board games, Chronicles does a good job of letting you feel like you have an open sandbox and that your choices truly matter — that you really are an officer of the law trying to get to the bottom of the case. Good news: this was one of the event’s ‘Play-to-Win’ titles and my son was the winner — so now we have this wonderful game in our personal library!
#1 – Camel Up
My #1 game of the month has found its place at the top of this list out of the sheer FUN and JOY it provided to me. I got to play Camel Up twice in October and have fallen in love. There are times in my gaming life, that I want to take off the hat of deduction/strategy/engine-maximing…and just have some care-free fun. Camel Up is definitely a random game, but the randomness doesn’t directly dictate your performance. Instead, you are an observer of the crazy-camel-cup-chaos, and trying to make some smart guesses on how to profit from the racing mayhem. Our games included a lot of smiling, some groaning, and a whole bunch of cheering. Now…if I’m really lucky…maybe those cute, colorful camels will make their way under my Christmas tree next month. 😉
I’d love to hear what you have been playing recently. Any great games you would suggest?