And..I’m back! As an accountant-by-day, the first couple months of the new year can be rough on time. Now, I’ve still been getting plenty of games played, but finding some review/writing time has been on the back-burner. I’ve been itching to get some posts out, though, so a report on some of my favorite plays from February 2020 sounds like a great place to start.
First, some statistics: In February, I managed to play 50 different games, of which thirteen were new to me. My most-played game in both # of plays and time was Marvel Champions: The Card Game (with 10 plays in February). Note: since I’m mentioning the game here, Marvel Champions will not be on my top 10 list — obviously, though, I really enjoy this living card game and have been having a blast.
In picking my February top 10, I focused on plays that really stood out to me as memorable — so this list is more focused on the value of those plays, than a reflection of where the game may or may not stand on my overall ranking list. That said, let’s get started —–
#10 – Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
In February, I decided to play a game focusing on some of the early characters (Base game and Dark City). I used the Golden Solo variant and went up against Mr. Sinister who was apparently leading a Secret Invasion of the Skrull Shapeshifters [oh, and he brought along some major Zombie villains, too]. As this game does so well, I fell behind the eight-ball pretty hard early in the game and was expecting to pull a quick L out of this try — especially once Zombie Thanos stepped up as a second Mastermind. My deck finally started getting to a good place (thanks to card draws from Wolverine and deck-culling from The Punisher) and I finished the game with some 20+ Attack turns, including an awesome 30+ Attack at the end.
I had a blast with this “old school” play of the game and was reminded of why I have 80 plays of this game overall. It is so good!
#9 – Edge of Darkness
Since acquiring Edge of Darkness early this past December, I have been falling more in love with it after each play. In February, my friend and I worked our way into the 2nd chapter of stories/set-ups provided by the Base game. The complexity starts to get high at this point and it was really fun to see more new locations hit the table and try to figure out how to put together an 8-round engine that will maximize points.
#8 – Raiders of the North Sea
I have been aware of the North Sea games for a few years now, but have never managed to get one to the table. Well, in February, it finally happened. At my local FLGS, it was available from the library and so I finally was able to give it a try. I like worker placement and this one provides a great twist to the mechanism. I can definitely see why the game is so popular. The highlight for me included a couple big rolls during battles that helped earn me tier 2 victory points — with a 6 point-win overall, those rolls made the difference!
#7 – Carcassonne
In February, I purchased the #1 expansion for Carcassonne, which includes the Inns, Cathedrals, large Meeples, and Pink meeple set. My wife and I played a game that included this expansion and it turned into a back-and-forth, very intense battle. Halfway through, we realized that a large, valuable farm was starting to build in the middle of the board. We each started figuring out ways to get farmers down…and connect their little farms to the main one to try and gain control. My wife linked together her farmer with her Large Meeple for a value of 3. I had two linked into the farm, with a 3rd in position. As the game progressed, I got distracted by trying to finish off a city near my 3rd farmer and ended up ruining my chance at getting him connected to the major farm territory. Thus, instead of sharing the points for that large farm — which ended up being worth 33 points — my wife won it outright.
That stings, since she ended up winning by 19 points total. I consistently enjoy my plays with this game and it is probably my favorite of the “classic” modern board games that are greater than 10 years old.
#6 – Tapestry
Tapestry made it to the table during my game group’s February game night. It was a long, 5-player game and during the 2nd half of the game, I felt like I had pulled ahead and pretty well had the win in the bag. I was playing the Militants and doing a great job of exploring and conquering. The player representing the Inventors, though, was the last to move into the 5th era and just before having to call it quits with his actions, he managed to completely fill his City board. It was spectacular! Those 18 completed columns and rows turned into a huge final income turn in which, to my surprise, I saw his VP cube race past mine, a la Quicksilver, “You didn’t see that coming?”
While I was saddened to see my victory flit away like chaff in the wind, it was awesome to watch him pull off such a strong income turn. I’m still having a blast with Tapestry every time I can get it out and played.
#5 – Cosmic Comics
Now, there’s a good chance that you’ve never heard of this game. And for good reason. This is my 15 year old son’s new creation. For over a year now, he has created a superhero comic world in his mind, developing characters, story lines, comic issues, etc. He has also been working on ways to bring these characters to board gaming.
Late February, these ideas were solid enough to print out some cards and pieces so that we could do our first playtest of his prototype game. I don’t want to go into many details, but if you are familiar with Sentinels of the Multiverse and Gloomhaven…well…Cosmic Comics is an interesting mix of those two games. And after our first playthrough, I am very impressed!
As my son continues working on this creation, I’ll try to provide some updates along the way…and who knows — maybe you’ll see this game getting published at some point.
#4 – Hero Realms
I acquired Hero Realms this past October at TokenCon, but just recently I was able to pick up the Ruins of Thandar campaign box. So, for my first run-through of the campaign, I chose the Ranger and started on “Easy” [just a little toe-dip into the Thandar pool].
I won all three encounters decisively and had an excellent time! I really enjoy deck-building and the thrill of being able to take what the Villain throws at you and then dish it back with increasingly strong Attacks is very satisfying. I look forward to running this campaign again with other characters [and yes…at higher difficulty levels — #Don’tJudgeMe]
#3 – Root
In February, the Kickstarter for the Underworld expansion fulfilled and I had a good time opening up the new boxes, figuring out what all I had just acquired and…just as important…how to get all my Root items organized into as little space as possible.
Then, I set out to try one of the new factions – The Underground Duchy – and one of the new A.I. bots – The Mechanical Marquise 2.0. Since this was my first solo play of Root, I decided to start on Easy mode [surprise, surprise, right!?] And I must say — the Bots really provide an enjoyable experience of playing Root solo. I had a really good time and am really hopeful to find more time to get this great game to the table, whether that be with a group or by my lonesome. And in case you’re wondering, I annihilated the Easy-mode Cats by a score of 30-12…the Underground Duchy is a very cool faction.
#2 – Space Base
After going through the Emergence of Shy Pluto expansion content last year, Space Base has become one of the go-to games for my wife and me. In February, we got the game back out again and I decided to try a new strategy (you know, to mix things up a bit). My goal: a) Buy cards with a focus on the lowest numbers, building up my 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s as much as possible and b) semi-spoiler alert — acquire some of the really cool ‘cubes’ from the expansion content.
This strategy started me slow, but really started chaining into big turns as the game progressed. In the end?! It almost paid off as I lost to my wife 41-39. More importantly, though — that was the most fun game of Space Base I have played yet (in what was my 17th total play of the game). You could say that I’m still having a Blast! with this board game. #DadPuns
#1 – Maracaibo
Last year, I had the chance to try Great Western Trail and was very impressed with the style of game that Alexander Pfister had created. Jump to the present –> and my friends and I discovered that one of his newest titles, Maracaibo, was available in the gaming library of our local FLGS. So, we met up one Friday, grabbed the box off the shelf, and setup for game 1 of the campaign.
Let me just say, Pfister has done it again! Maracaibo is so much fun. While one of my friends still prefers Great Western Trail, I think I like Maracaibo a bit better — the tableau building, the combat system, and the campaign element are all very-well designed. Our goal is to keep working through the campaign throughout 2020 — so expect more reports!
As you can probably tell, it was an outstanding month of gaming with lots of great moments and memories. But March has already started…and March Madness is right around the corner!!!! #GreatGamingAhead
I would love to hear about your favorite plays from recent gaming. Feel free to share in the comments or hit me up over on Twitter.