The Re-Review: Build 'em Up and Tear 'em Down

Flick ‘em Up!

Flick ‘em Up!

  • 1 play with 3 players
  • New to me

I’ve always wanted to enjoy a dexterity game, but both of the previous games that I tried I really didn’t enjoy: Catacombs and Ascending Empires. Both were too long and fiddly with lots of little rule problems caused by the odd flick here or there. However, I didn’t like the idea of playing what I felt should have been a light game for over an hour, it just felt dragged out.

Flick ‘em Up on the other hand plays in a about a half hour (not including setup) and that feels about spot on. In addition, team play works perfectly for two reasons:

  1. You can balance a poor player with a good player
  2. You can commiserate and celebrate with your teammates instead of plotting by yourself or working against the overlord (as in Catacombs)

Now, I’ve only played once and it was only the first scenario, but I really enjoyed how this game played and I’d love to try it again.

Codenames

Codenames

  • 2 plays with 9 players and 8 plays with 4 players
  • Played before

Ten more plays. I think that really says a lot right there, this game is probably one of my most played games of the year right behind Android: Netrunner. Those eight games with four players was a multi-hour batch of games with my in-laws in one night during a recent weekend trip. They loved the game and were asking where they could buy it.

There’s something really smart about Codenames and how elegantly it’s designed and how it gets people thinking and talking. Playing eight times in one night might be a bit much, but I don’t see this leaving my collection.

Medieval Academy

Medieval Academy

  • 1 play with 4 players
  • Played before

Some of my fears started to show in my second play of Medieval Academy, namely that there aren’t a ton of decisions to be made. When drafting you want to go for the bigger cards, that’s pretty clear from the start, but when playing your choices feel artificial: do I play this card here for a point or over here to avoid a negative point? Who cares? It’s the same thing in the end.

That’s what it’s like to play Medieval Academy: your choices largely don’t matter unless you are playing sub-optimally. I really liked the drafting first and playing later, I’d love to see a 7 Wonders variant that plays this way, but the rest of the game I have no interest in.

Monikers

Monikers

  • 2 plays with 4 players
  • Played before

I bought this with the intent of playing it in cases where Cards Against Humanity would normally be played. I’m okay with CAH, but there are some times where I actually feel horrible afterwards and I don’t want that feeling after playing a game. Monikers gives me the same number of laughs in a game with a clear ending and clear conscience afterwards.

Oh, and it’s back and print, so go buy it.

Eclipse

Eclipse

  • 1 play with 4 players
  • Played before

I wish I could play more Eclipse so I could continue to explore everything it has to offer. So many different races and combinations to play out and different strategies to try. In this particular game I was the Rho Indi Syndicate and I did not do my research. I totally missed that I didn’t get a Dreadnought and I let that hobble me for the entire game. Instead, I should have been far more aggressive early on and played into my faction’s strengths.

Oh well, I’ll just have to play again.

Chaos in the Old World

Chaos in the Old World

I’m pretty good with Slanesh in this game and I managed to win by dials in this particular match, though the game would have ended with a victory point ending in the same round due to the number of ruined regions in that round. What’s stranger still is this was a short game due to one fewer Chaos card.

This game really does get better over time and I’ve only ever enjoyed my plays of this game.

Between Two Cities

Between Two Cities

  • 1 play with 7 players
  • New to me

Here’s how I’ve been describing this game: 7 Wonders + Suburbia with a bit of cooperation, all in under 20 minutes. My description is by no means unique, but people have been excited to play this one due to it’s unique game play.

I’m always on the lookout for a good filler, and for my group our fillers tend to come at the end of the night and play as many people as possible, so a 7 player filler is the sweet spot. Combine that with mechanics we know and love, but done in a new way, and you have a game that my group really took to (several players were figuring out how they could buy the game).

In case you haven’t played, your goal is to build a city with the neighbors to your left and right. Your score is the lower score of your two cities and the person with the highest score wins (ties are broken using the other city’s score). Your city will be composed of a 4x4 grid of single square tiles and duplex (2x1 rectangle) tiles. In the first round you’ll draft 3 tiles per city (so each city will have 6 tiles at the end of the round. In the second round you’ll draft 1 duplex tile per city (so each city will have 6 tiles and 2 duplex tiles). In the third round, you’ll draft another 3 tiles per city, which finishes things up. You’ll then score each city based upon the sets you created using the different buildings.

This is one of those games that you could teach to any gamer and most non-gamers. It’s easy enough and different enough to draw in new gamers while keeping people who have seen everything entertained. I really enjoyed this one.

Roll for the Galaxy

 Roll for the Galaxy

  • 1 play with 4 players
  • Played before

My rules explanation was a bit shakier than normal, but I still had a good time with this play. Our winner managed to score almost twice as many points as the next player and then I was in third with half as many points as the winner. My strategy never quite panned out, so it was mostly an exercise in getting planets and developments out as fast as possible.

Hanabi

Hanabi

  • 2 plays with 4 players
  • Played before

Hanabi is another one of those great filler-ish games that play nicely with new and old gamers alike. My only tip is make sure the players in the group always draw with the card away from them as old habits die hard! These two games were my highest scoring games ever at 20 points.