We’re a little late with the December update, but it’s better late than never!
New board games, from best to worst:
- Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment – We played the one iteration of this escape room game that currently exists, and it was probably the best board game that emulates an actual escape room. There were enough puzzles to occupy all 5 of us playing, and there was a nice amount of real objects (locks, containers, etc) that were a nice break from just cards or pen and paper. This is our favorite escape room board game so far, and we’re hoping that there’s more to come since Mattel has bought the game.
- Qwixx Deluxe – We picked this game up recently because it was cheap, and it was an unexpected holiday hit with all of our family and friends. Everyone is familiar with the roll-and-write genre because of Yahtzee, but Yahtzee with strategy? That plays in the same time? No wonder everyone loved it.
- Monikers – We bought this after Shut Up and Sit Down’s promotion of it, and finally broke it out at our holiday parties. Our friends loved the slightly bizarre word choices and that it had the description of them if you weren’t familiar with it. It nicely filled the niche of charades. Plus, it can be played drunk. Our friends immediately requested to play it at subsequent parties.
- Azul – I didn’t expect much from this tile laying (literally) game, but it was a pretty half hour puzzle game that was easy to teach and didn’t tire after multiple games.
- Star Wars: Rebellion – Adam had played this before, but this was my first time with it. It’s hard to judge off of one play experience, as I didn’t fully comprehend the rules until the end of the game, but I love Star Wars and it certainly felt like Star-Wars-in-a-box. I’m looking forward to trying it again.
- Downforce – This racing and betting game was another surprise hit with our friends and family, where you could actually enjoy someone else beating you in the race. Our only real downside so far is that often the lead player still ended up running away with the game, but we are considering some house rules to stop that.
- Queendomino – I loved Kingdomino as a light game, and this is it’s slightly-heavier cousin, which adds buildings with variable powers. I’m undecided if it’s an improvement on the original, but still love this game.
- Ex Libris – A game about organization? Sounds great! The actual game is collecting and stacking “magical” textbooks, and while I enjoyed playing it, I didn’t find myself wanting to return to it. And while I usually enjoy a silly pun, I would have preferred a theme of classic literature, rather than yet another magic-themed game.
- Cat Lady – This is a small, easy drafting game, similar to Sushi Go. The theme was more appealing to my cat-loving family, but I wished it had more variety in the cards; it started feeling pretty same-y after a few plays.
- Bonk – I love Klask, but it’s largest problem for us is that it’s only 2 player. This 4 person team dexterity game by the same designer is a fun exercise for a few minutes, but I don’t think it has the staying power of Klask.
- Purrrlock Holmes: Furriarty’s Trail – I really wanted to like this animal themed deduction game, but there wasn’t enough substance for us to want to play again. Could be good with kids.
New board game expansions:
- TIME Stories: Estrella Drive – As a lover of Beatles, murder mysteries, and Hollywood, the latest TIME Stories expansion, which adapts its story from the Charles Manson murders, was likely to be my favorite. The fact that it added an interesting mechanic and time travel puzzle was the cherry on top. It is rated for mature audiences, so if that describes your TIME Stories play group, definitely check this one out. (Caveat to say that TIME Stories isn’t for everyone, and my group has enjoyed every one that we’ve played).
- Exit: The Game – The Forgotten Island – This is my favorite Exit the game scenario I have played thus far, based on both the vaguely-piratey theme and the quality of the puzzles.
- Exit: The Game – The Polar Station – Another solid entry from Exit the game, in which you are trapped in a Arctic research station. I also recommend (I don’t think we’ve played a bad one yet).
New video games:
- Deponia 2 – I enjoyed this sequel to the popular Deponia adventure game more than the original. This time, you are escaping the junk world with the help of your cyborg female companion who has been strangely separated into 3 personality modes, which led to some interesting mechanics. The story still wasn’t very compelling to me, but the characters are fun.
- Deponia 3 – I didn’t enjoy the final chapter of the Deponia trilogy as much and the second one – the puzzles seemed more convoluted, the story got very strange, and the ending was terrible. I also didn’t enjoy the playing multiple characters as much as other games (see: Day of the Tentacle). Still, if you enjoyed the others in the trilogy, you should play this one.
Yesterday, we looked at how to organize Star Wars Imperial Assault. Today, we’ll look at how we are currently organizing another large game in our collection – Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition. Spoiler alert: it’s pretty similar.
Since Adam had a bunch of these Battlefoam boxes from his Warmachine days, we store our models in one of these, in 3 small foam trays, 2 medium foam trays, and 1 Warjack Warbeast tray. We also include the monster tokens with their appropriate models.
The rest of the pieces are stored in the core set box. First up, the Map Tiles are grouped by size and the set and placed in the box.
The majority of the remaining pieces are stored next to the tiles:
We store the Damage, Horror, and Insanity decks, and dice, in small bags, and the character cards in a larger bag. The Clue tokens are held in a small bin for all players to easily access. A Plano 3500 box holds the majority of the remaining tokens (Improvement, Fire/Darkness, Search/Interact, Explore/Sight, Doors and Walls, generic Person, ID and Keys, and Barricades and Secret Passages).
The Status cards are separated into 5 player decks and stored in small bags, which are distributed at the start of the game.
We hold most of the cards and the NPC tokens in a set of binder pockets, held together by some binder rings. We chose to store it this way, rather than in a binder, so that it would fit in the box. Most of the pages are pocket pages with 12 2-1/4 x 2-1/2″ pockets.
The first page holds the Spell and Elixir decks.
Followed by the Common Items, and then the Unique Items, sorted alphabetically.
Finally, we have the named Person tokens, also sorted alphabetically. Our rule books are stored in binder pockets at the end of the folder. Then the binder sits on top of the other items in the core set box.
In this post, I looked at how we normally store our games. But with so many components and expansions, we needed a better way to store Imperial Assault. Here’s how we are currently storing this game. (I expect this will change after the arrival of our Glowforge). I think we have all of the expansions for the campaign version, and we currently are storing it in the core box, a large expansion box, a model box, and a large zippered binder.
The remaining items are split between the core box and one of the big box expansions.
We hold most of the documentation and cards in a set of binder pockets, held together by some binder rings. We chose to store it this way, rather than in a binder, so that it would fit in the box. Our current campaign books and character sheets are stored in binder pockets at the front of this binder.
For larger campaigns, we would store the completed and available side mission cards next (but we are currently playing Twin Shadows, which doesn’t have side missions). The next page holds the status, item, and loot small cards in a pocket page with 12 2-1/4 x 2-1/2″ pockets.
We also store the mission rewards cards by name in the same size pockets.
Finally, we have the mission cards, followed by the enemies and NPC cards in 9 pocket pages. Because we have been playing with Redjak’s Automated Imperial variant, we have also been storing the AI cards for the missions and enemies with their respective regular cards.
This binder is stored at the bottom of the core set box. On top, we have our dice in a bag, the threat counter, and our (soon to be replaced) doors.
On top of that pile, we store smaller tiles in 2 Plano 3500 boxes with the lids removed, sorted by set and then numerically, in a tray made from the lid of a small box expansion. We also fit our 3D printed crates, doors, and terminals in the Plano boxes where there is extra room.
Finally, we store everything that we aren’t currently using (other tokens, class decks, skirmish components, etc) in a large box expansion.
It’s the last day of November, so we’re taking a look at some of the new to us games we’ve played. Thanks to the holiday, we had a chance to break out some extra dexterity and family-oriented board games. New board games, from best to worst:
- Rhino Hero Super Battle – this house building dexterity game takes Rhino Hero, adds multiple levels, battles, and hanging monkey mechanics, which really made the game shine. We are planning to pick up a second copy to let more people play.
- Sushi Go! – We finally played this drafting classic. It’s cute and simple enough to easily recommend it to beginner gamers, although I’m pretty sure we’ll acquire Sushi Go Party so that we can add a little variety.
- Clank! In! Space! – We haven’t played Clank yet, but we tried this press-your-luck deckbuilder out – my understanding is that it’s similar to Clank, but a bit more variable with a few more transit options. It seemed fun, although I need to try it with more beginner gamers since it wasn’t really heavy enough for us to stand out on its own.
- Flip Ships – our first totally coop dexterity game. I had fun for the 2 games we played, but it was quite difficult for us to hit the mother ship, and there’s more setup time than we would normally spend on a dexterity game, so I’m not sure how much we’ll play it.
- First Martians – We only played the tutorial game so far, and it was pretty boring. However, I’m still interested in trying one of the “real” scenarios, as well as the campaign. We’ll see how far we get.
- Isabiri – This pick up-and-deliver game looked gorgeous, and it worked well as a easy-weight game. I don’t think there’s enough variety to see playing it much, however.
- Meeple Circus – I really wanted to like this: the crazy circus-themed meeples, the accompanying soundtrack, the silly point scoring mechanisms for the final performance. But to compare it to our other building game, Junk Art, it focuses less on the fun build and more on the point scoring, so it felt a bit like a let down.
- Ethnos – The mechanics of this set collection/area control game are solid, but the production quality (both the graphic design and the frustrating not-quite-stacking tokens) really let this one down. I’d be willing to play it again – and try a retheme – but I don’t think I’d suggest it on its own.
- Nmbr 9 – This looked like a fun slow Tetris puzzle, but I found myself frequently frustrated with being able to place the pieces during the games I played of it. I wouldn’t not play it, but I’m not sure I’d suggest it.
- Island Hopper – Another pick up-and-deliver game, but combined with blind dexterity and auctions. This one felt like a mess, and not in a fun way for me.
And new video games:
- Deponia – This was my second attempt to play the junk world escape adventure game, after failing to connect with the characters and story the first time. The game ended up being funny, and cute, with some good puzzles (and only a few confusing ones). I’m looking forward to playing the sequels.
- Don’t Starve Together – We tried this supernatural multiplayer desert island simulator with our brothers. We’ve played it twice, and managed to improve from 1 day to 1 week on the second play through. I’m looking forward to trying it again, but I think we may burn out on it quicker than the last similar game we tried, Monaco.
- Hatoful Boyfriend – A Japanese dating simulator for humans and pigeons? Pigeon biker gangs? A twist ending? Well, we had to try it. I initially stayed away from spoilers for this one, but the game was super slow and boring. Since after a quick review of the plot description on Wikipedia it looks like it changes after the first play through, we might go back to it, but skip through all of the dialogue at first.
This is a topic that comes up frequently in board game discussions: how do you organize and store your games?
We keep our games in a set of Ikea Kallax units: we have 3 4×4 units, plus we have stacked 1×4 units on top (in white, because that most matches our house décor). We removed the middle sections of these units to store larger games.
Then, they are organized left to right by color. Games with multiple colors due to expansions are in a column on the right, where they are less visible, along with games we plan to sell and no longer play.
From top to bottom, they are then organized roughly by size and length (smaller, shorter games on the top, longer games on the bottom).
Finally, we store the majority of them vertically, to make them easy to pull in and out. In order to do so, we have to store our components properly.
In general, most of our game components are stored in a combination of bags and small bins. The bags we use are 4×4″ or 4×6″ 4 Mil bag which we buy on Amazon. The bins we use are these ones from the Dollar Tree.
Each player’s starting components are in their own bag, and any components that are set out at the start of the game (decks, tiles, etc) are stored in their own bags. Resources that are used throughout the game are stored in the bins so that players can access them easily throughout the game.
We find that this works well for about 95% of our games. We’ll take a look at a few of the outliers later.