The Re-Review: Back to Cosmic

Arcadia Quest

Arcadia Quest

This was the fifth game of our six game campaign and the end is near. This particular play was bittersweet as it was the last one where got to buy new loot. One thing to keep in mind with these campaigns is that the games seem to get longer and longer as the game goes one. We could once play two rounds in one evening and getting in one is tight. I’m looking forward to the last game in the campaign and starting another campaign later this year.

Recommended.

Through the Ages

Through the Ages

  • 1 play with 2 players
  • Played before

This was an online play with a friend of mine and my trajectory continues to be the same: weak at the beginning with a strong finish for the win, typically powered by science combined with excellent wonders to earn me vast amounts of points.

Highly recommended. Top 5

Viticulture

Viticulture

  • 1 play with 2 players
  • Played before

I somehow snuck in a new game with my wife and I figured she’d be interested in learning Viticulture. This game fits really nicely in the same spot as something like Stone Age, but it has it’s own unique spin on the genre as well. In addition, there’s plenty of additional content thanks to Tuscany having the different modular expansions. I’ve added the “Advanced” visitor cards to smooth things out, but we haven’t tried anything else. Next game, we’re definitely trying the Mamas and the Papas.

Recommended.

Monikers

Monikers

  • 1 play with 10 people
  • Played before

Ever since I actually read the rules to Monikers and played it as a team game, I like it even better than when I had been taught the game as an individual player game. In this particular game we started out as boys vs girls, but it ended up being boys vs all-of-the-girls-and-then-one-guy. As always, the game is the best when people get silly and the charades are always the best round as people struggle with the different clues they have to act out. This is the first game where I’ve happily had people make cards for the game because I love inserting my friends’ personality into the game we play together.

Highly recommended.

Mission: Red Planet

Mission: Red Planet

  • 1 play with 5 players
  • Played before

I’ve had a lot of luck with this game lately and decided to bring it to my friend’s birthday party. This is also the largest game of Mission: Red Planet that I’ve played and I hear it’s a bit too chaotic at 6. However, I have a hard time believing that given how much fun it was with 5 people versus 4. The board wasn’t too crowded, we weren’t killing each other off every round, and the points were relatively close. My gut says the game isn’t super balanced (sometimes it’s a struggle to get additional missions), but it’s still a lot of fun to play and the components are top notch.

Recommended.

Specter Ops

Specter Ops

  • 1 play with 4 players
  • Played before

I had played Specter Ops once a while back with two players and I wasn’t super impressed with it, but I ended up picking it up anyway at some point. It languished on my shelf and I finally got it to the table. I played as the agent and managed to accomplish three of my objectives while my friends couldn’t find me for much of that, but when I went to make my escape they found me and chased me down.

At the beginning of this particular game, it seemed hopeless for my friends, and once discovered it seemed hopeless for me. One of the hunters put it this way:

It felt like a chore.

While I did have some fun with it, I agree with him, a lot of the game felt like a chore and felt somewhat prescribed. This one’s going to the sell pile.

Not recommended.

Cosmic Encounter

Cosmic Encounter

This was the single strangest game of Cosmic Encounter that I’ve ever played. Here’s the setup:

  • Dane: Extortionist - Can take half of your cards or force you to lose a ship
  • Stacey: Bulwark - Can only lose one ship at most
  • JP: Lunatic - Can ally with both sides
  • Scott: Relic - Gets bonuses whenever someone has to draw new cards
  • Brian: Tourist - Can get foreign colonies using his cruise ship
  • Wes: Masochist - Wins if loses every ship

So the key part–in my mind–is that my goal was to lose every ship I had. This totally flipped the game on it’s head for me and turned it into a Brewster’s Millions sort of situation and I was all for that. I steadily lost ships, though never hurting my allies and always pushing them away if I knew I was going down. At the same time, I made sure to always take advantage of losing ships in whatever way I could muster. There were weird situations were my friends would figure out ways to get me to win so I had to lose my ships, but I still managed to get rid of them. Then, I was down to three ships and I had two negotiate cards in my hand. I played the negotiate card and my opponent did as well meaning we had a minute to make a deal, otherwise we lose three ships. At that point, I just said no thanks to any deal he could give me and won the game.

It was a touch anticlimactic, but man the game itself really made me think compared to other plays of Cosmic Encounter that I’ve played in the past.

Highly recommended. Top 1

Stockpile

Stockpile

  • 1 play with 5 players
  • Played before

Stockpile is a Ticket to Ride weight stock management game with fairly simple mechanics and a fun supply-and-demand system that encourages quick selling and smart buying. This was the first time that I played with the role cards that give you special player powers and it was a fun twist on the game, though I think there are some duds in the deck.

Recommended.