Greg’s Top 10 New-To-Me in 2018

Despite feeling like I don’t get as much chance to play games now that I have two little ones at home, I still managed to play 111 games in 2018 that were new to me!

So I decided I would try come up with my top 10 New-To-Me games from 2018 – not an easy task as it turns out.

Without further ado, and in no particular order, here is my list, followed by a bunch of honourable mentions:

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Ganz Schön Clever: Easily my most played game of the year, due to the fact that it is so quick, easy, portable and, most importantly, playable solo. I just love playing this game to see if I can finally break the 300 point mark. I haven’t got tired of it yet, but I’m looking forward to the sequel ‘Doppelt so Clever’ that is coming out this year.

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Space Base: This was a surprise hit for me, that I hadn’t heard of until I tried it. I enjoy dice games, and games where you are involved every turn, so this scratched a good itch for me. It’s very satisfying when you have a great turn and activate multiple abilities!

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Reef: For me this follows in the footsteps of Azul, as a great short to medium length game with enough interesting decisions to appeal to heavier gamers, while still appealing to more casual players due to it’s simplicity, ease of learning and great looking components.

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Brass: Birmingham: I was a fan of the original game so was keen to try this version to see how the new map and rules would change things up. I actually prefer this version as I enjoy the addition of the Breweries and the map feels a little more open.

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Let’s Make a Bus Route: This Japanese game is a card-flip-and-write game where you are driving your bus around and picking up different passengers on the way to score points in a variety of ways. It’s light, quick and fun and was another surprise hit for me.

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Teotihuacan: City of Gods: I’m a big fan of Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar, both for the theme and the gameplay, and this is another similarly themed game by one of the designers of Tzolk’in, so I knew there was a good chance it would be my kind of game, and it totally is. I love the worker upgrade mechanism, and the way the strength of the action is tied to the power of the workers, as well as the number of workers. Lots of interesting decisions and strategies to try. Love it!

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Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra: This takes the same basic mechanism from Azul of drafting tiles from the factory spaces, but this time you are placing them into stained glass windows, attempting to fill them up to score them. There is a different mechanism for how you place the tiles, and how they score, and for me I find it to be a great spin on the ideas from the original Azul.

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Gizmos: I enjoy tableau-building games, and games with combos and this has both, along with a very cool looking energy dispenser for randomising the energy marbles. If you like games where you can build up and then have awesome turns where you combo off then you should check it out!

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The Quacks of Quedlinburg: This is a fun, push-your-luck, chit-pulling game, where each player is simultaneously pulling ingredients from their bag to try to fill their potion as much as possible, but if you draw too many white ingredients your pot explodes! The simultaneous play, along with the excitement of the random draw and the fact that there are four options for each type of ingredient make this a winner for me.

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Welcome To…: A second card-draw-and-write game, so you can probably tell I’m a fan of those, as well as the more traditional roll-and-write games. This one is great because if you have a copy of the score sheet and can see the cards then you can play. Simultaneous play again makes the game flow quickly, but there are still interesting decisions along the way.

 

The Honourable Mentions:

It was very tough to leave some of these out of the top 10 because there are a lot of great games, but some had to give way. Here are the ones that didn’t quite make the cut but that I enjoy a lot as well:

The Mind, The Grimm Forest, KeyForge, Dice Throne (Seasons 1 & 2), Cat Lady, Century: Eastern Wonders, Raiders of the North Sea, Altiplano, Just One, Dice Settlers, Cursed Court, the Legend of the Cherry Tree that Blossoms every 10 Years, Decrypto, Micropolis, Gloomhaven, Pulsar 2849, Noria, Wendake, Axio, Century: Golem Edition, Clans of Caledonia, Endeavor: Age of Sail, Everdell.

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What Have the Sentry Box Staff up to – Oct 8-14

This week  we get to see Amanda’s finished boat, more painting by Sue and as always, games! Unsurprisingly Greg started his week with more Ganz Schön Clever, “Still playing this pretty regularly and I’d say my scores are slowly improving. It’s just so quick, easy and addictive.” He played again later in the week with disappointing results, ” A bonehead move in the final round meant that despite going into the round with four re-rolls I ended up only being able to take one die and finished the game with a +1 I wasn’t able to use, giving me my lowest ever score at 139. Ouch.”

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What Have the Sentry Box Staff been up to – Sept 4-10

This week was a bit quieter for the folks at the store, but we still managed to get some gaming, painting and reading done.

Test of Honour Samurai Women

Sue painted up the Onna-bugeisha box set from the fun skirmish game, Test of Honour,  “I started by priming them with Citadel white primer. I wanted to go all out with the standard bearer since she’s a special edition model (free with purchase while supplies last) so I gave her some white, noblewoman makeup. I wanted to add some diversity between the models, so I painted 3 different hair colors. I used Russ Grey & Dryad Bark with a black wash, for the blue/black and brown/black hair, and Gorthor Brown with a brown wash for the lighter hair. I used Mechanicus Standard Grey or Eshin Grey with a black wash overtop for the black clothing & the banner. I used Mechanicus Standard Grey for the pants because it is more of a matte paint, and Eshin Grey for the armour because the layer paints are shinier than the base paints. I liked how Chris based his ninjas, so I also used Stirland Battlemire on the base. Then I added some Jungle Tufts.”

Greg got some gaming in during the week with Gulo Gulo: “A little dexterity game of pulling coloured eggs out of a pot to advance your wolverine along the track. Alex can manage to play with a bit of help, although she has a habit of picking the eggs out no matter whose turn it is :-)” and Signorie: “Another dice drafting game that requires planning ahead. Some luck involved with the dice and tile draws but it didn’t feel too chaotic. Possibly not the best choice of game to teach Tracy after a busy day today but I enjoyed it.”

Roshni played her weekly game of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, “Due to luck of the draw, we won quickly. Next week is year 7, and I anticipate a challenge.” She also played some Ticket to Ride and Jaipur.

Friday’s livestream (Part 1) featured Richard Garfield’s Bunny Kingdom, which Greg describes as “A card drafting game where you try to form connected areas on the board to score points. The drafting is fun, the math of the scoring isn’t difficult but the board gets a bit busy so you have to be careful when figuring out the fiefs.” Renee: “During the card drafting phases at the beginning of the game, I found trying to balance how many – and which – territories to acquire vs obtaining cards that gave you additional towers and resources an interesting task. While resources and towers give you better multipliers, you need territories to use them – ideally in the same area. At one point I got a camp which I used to join 2 territories, but only later realized during the scoring that they had duplicate resources. Overall, I liked the game.  I’m also happy to hear that they have increased the board size.”

On the livestream (Part 2) we played Greg and Renee’s current favourite roll & write game, Ganz Schön Clever. Renee, “I loved having the opportunity to play this with 4 people; it feels quite different from a 2 player game because you get 2 less turns, but get to draft more from other players. While I do prefer having more agency in the 2 player game, I liked the challenge of making the most out of the dice in the offerings.” Greg had another opportunity to play it this week, “Played again, this time with Tracy. She complained about how I was crushing her all the way through, right up until I counted the scores and she beat me 210 – 165.” It should be noted that he won Friday’s game and he has video evidence to prove it.

Renee played another game of Village, “I’m still trying to figure out the correct timing of killing off my villagers earlier so I can get points for their location and using them effectively in their locations as long as possible. This game wasn’t nearly as close as the last one, so I’ve clearly got some more figuring out to do.”  She also played Clank: A Deck-Building Adventure again, “This time I wondered into an area of the dungeon with only the lowest scoring artifact so I focused on collecting secrets, purchasing in the market and getting all three Monkey Idols before making my way towards the higher scoring artifacts.  So when Jenn died – above ground safely with an artifact – I only had 4 turns to grab an artifact and get back above ground whilst the dragon pursued me. It got me and I lost, but I still loved the game.”

Gord played Space Empires with the Replicators Expansion (3 player):

We were just testing this one out with a very imperfect grasp of the capabilities of the replicators. We kept it simple with no Aliens or rules from Expansion 1. They seem very scary to the non-replicators but they have their own later issues. With no production to calculate, they are probably a good choice for a novice player.

There’s nothing like having a Doomsday Machine show up in the first deep space tile you search out with a scout. I had no fleet on board so quickly build a couple of cruisers hoping that this would do the job since it was all I could do. It ate one of my planets before I could get to it. I needed three hits to take it out and needed to roll 1’s or 2’s on a d10. It was like the Miracle on the Marne in WW 1. I rolled a 1 and a 2 on the first round and another 2 in the second while he needed 2 hits to take out a cruiser (needing a 6 to hit me with two shots). He only hit once. The funny thing is that I am playing the Terran player and the ships remind one of Star Trek. Captain Kirk must have been in charge of one of the cruisers.

Kris finished reading the Empire trilogy (Servant of the Empire & Mistresses of the Empire are the last two books), “Still as good a read as ever on the third or fourth reading. The character development is really well done and the shifting of focus as different allies and enemies reveal themselves keeps you turning the pages.”

Well that was our week.  Hope you all got some gaming, painting and reading done this week as well!