Games: Post-2017-Holiday Edition

Been a while since we've had a games post, and, like I'm assuming many (some?) of you, I recently had a chance to play some games with family. Holidays are good for that. Some quick rundowns:


Outfoxed - Someone 'round these parts recommended this one last year, but it was out of stock. I kept it in my Amazon wishlist for a year and we bought it for the kids this year. A good logic mystery solver game for kids. Almost like "Guess Who" but racing against a board and not quite so lame. Too easy for the 8 year old, but still fun for him, and right about perfect for the younger ones.

Memory - It's an old standby, but I've played so much of a PJ Masks version of it lately, and my kids enjoy it, so it gets a mention.

Pokemon - The 8-year-old has gotten really into Pokemon lately, and it's a perfectly fine card game for that age. Every game is different, the characters are fun, luck plays a big role, but not too big, and the amount of variables are enormous. I'm sure we'll be playing this for years, and Aquinas enjoys just collecting the cards too. He also got a DS with a Pokemon game from his godfather. At least it also came with Mario Kart so I'm entertained.


Dice City - My b-i-l's new game. Only played it one time, but it certainly seemed like it could stand a few replays. I think who you play against would probably make a lot of difference. Roll 1 die for each of 5 sections of the board, and the die determines which action you can take. Give up some actions to take other ones. Gain resources from the rolls, use those resources to buy things or build things or attack people. Use those things you bought or built or attacked to gain victory points. I kept to the straight-forward strategy and aimed for the highest value options and won handily while the others playing tried different approaches. If the game is really balanced, replay value could be high. If it's not... much less so.

Betrayal at House on the Hill - One of the more fun games I've played in a while. Starts as cooperative, with everyone picking a character and then exploring a haunted house while various events, items, and omens act upon you (either increasing or decreasing your character's base stats). Die rolls based on your character's stats affect your progress and performance (this sounds more dungeons and dragons-y than it is). All the while, you keep moving closer to the moment when someone in your group betrays you, and then the game becomes that person vs. the rest of the group, in one of 50 different scenarios (chosen based on what triggered the betrayal). You never know who will be the one betraying you, so that adds a nice surprise element. Plus, the betrayer usually gets to control monsters, and both sides have specific goals that are at odds with each other, with secret information that only their side possesses. I am amazed at the replay value here, and I can't wait to try it out again (we played 3 games of it, and I'd happily play all 3 of the specific scenarios again).

I Should Have Known That - Trivia game. As the name implies, general knowledge stuff that everyone *should* know. You get 1 point for each right answer and somewhere between -3 and -8 for each wrong answer. I finished in the positives 1 time out of the 4 we played (and at 0 another time), and I'm probably fair+ at trivia. A worth entry into trivia games, and it moves quickly (4 questions on a card, each person in the game takes 1 turn reading a card, and then you're done, and can move onto another game).

Linkee - Each card has 4 trivia questions. The 4 answers are all related in some way. It may be super obvious or more attenuated. Buzz in whenever you think you know the relationship, because that's the only answer that really matters, but if you get it wrong you don't get another shot at that round. It was okay, but I've played better.

One Night Werewolf - This was a blast. Would love to try it with more people than we had (7) and mix up the roles more than we did. Short version: lots of werewolf roles that you know and love and the others, all of which take night actions in order (as directed by the phone app that auto mods the game for you), and then you have to find a wolf the next day. If you succeed, village wins, if not, wolves win. Some players try to get themselves lynched, some players switch the roles of other players (so can accidentally switch who the wolves are, for example... you can end up being a wolf and not knowing it), etc. 5 minute rounds (plus ~1 minute for night actions), and huge replay-ability. Highly recommend. This would even be the thing that would get me to get a smart phone.

So what did you play over the holiday? What new games did you get? Who wants to come down here and have a game night with me?

14 thoughts on “Games: Post-2017-Holiday Edition”

  1. The last board game I played was Kingdom Death: Monster with a couple of friends. It's very cool, and very brutal. I don't think I'd pony up the cash for it (or spend hours gluing together miniatures), but I'm glad my friend did!

    I bought Photosynthesis based on Keith Law's review, and I'm hopefully going to get to play that this weekend.

    Mostly just playing Splatoon 2, of course.

    1. I looked briefly at Photosynthesis at the store the other day, but was running low on time. I'm excited to hear your feedback.

      1. It's quite good. The theme and art are really fantastic. It was fairly easy to learn, and we played a pretty low-stress game, so we discussed our strategy between each other quite a bit which helped us learn. I could see it being frustrating in the wrong setting, or if you're intensely competitive (which I can be), but I recommend it.

  2. On the day after Thanksgiving a bunch of our friends get together for “The Annual,” now in its 23rd year. My buddy Greg & I played Days of Ire: Budapest 1956, which we had both backed on Kickstarter, for the first time. If you’re interested in history and/or the Warsaw Pact, it’s a pretty cool game that can be played collaboratively (as Greg & I did) against the or in competition, with one player as General Zhukov and the rest as the Hungarian patriots.

    Greg & I also played (with several other folks) Scythe, which is a flat-out modern masterpiece. I can’t wait to play it again.

      1. I hear you. I’d love to buy the game, but I can’t justify it based on the number of times I’m likely to be able to get a group of people large enough interested in playing to actually get together and, well, play it.

      2. Yeah, it's up there compared to most games. I actually bought it retail, which I NEVER do with board games. However, I'm a big fan of the game and the designer. My first play was at Geekway to the West in May of 2016, 2 months before it was delivered to Kickstarter backers. (I did not back it though, much to my chagrin. I had to wait until November). I was hooked and created my own print and play of the game. I also have the first two expansions and the extended board so that you can play on the bigger side. I've gotten 12 plays in so far since I've bought it. Hope to get more when the third expansion comes out later this year.

        If either of you guys are in my neck of the woods (the OTHER twins cities - Bloomington Normal), let me know, I'd love to get it to the table.

  3. My brother and I were always a fan of Strat-o-Matic type baseball dice games as a kid, and while I enjoy the modern computer simulations, my brother still prefers playing the long game with the dice. But he didn't want to pay for Strat-o-Matic or whatever, so he literally designed an entire dice simulation baseball game from scratch. It's incredible and accurate, down to fielding range, pitcher's ability to hold runners, and bunting ability. He even has set up a program to pull stats he needs from online databases to create teams. He gave all this as a gift to his 12 year old son for Christmas.

      1. I think they have a computer version, but don't know about it's on-line capacity. It's not as popular as Out of the Park, that's for sure.

  4. I was forced into playing clue this break, and had a pretty okay time trying to let the nephew win. I was also forced into playing Smart Ass with my brother in law's future parents in law. These folks were, uh, for lack of better, not nice. I enjoyed crushing their heads at this stupid game.

  5. Man... I'm slacking...

    My kids and I just finished a campaign of the new Stonemaier release Charterstone. Absolutely loved this game. Fairly simple worker placement game to start, but grows to incorporate more elements through as 12 game legacy campaign. Unlike Pandemic Legacy, you don't destroy components as much as you put down stickers, write on cards to name characters, and build up a game from scratch. Once you're done, you have your very own custom worker placement game with buildings put on the board by you and your game group. I played with my 14 year old and 9 year old, and they had a great time as well. In fact, the other kids want in on the Recharge Pack. Great family game, okay strategy game, but if your family enjoys gaming, check this one out.

    Also recently played Ethnos - decent little area control / set collection type game. Would like to play it again to get more familiar with the different types of cards in the game.
    Caylus - another great worker placement game, and one that helped inspire Charterstone. Really loved playing this one live (as opposed to
    Queendomino/Kingdomino - Kingdomino is a great simple game that kids will easily latch onto. Queendomino is a bit more complicated (but not terribly so) that will give the adults something more to think about.

    CarterHayes, I'm happy that you liked Scythe. One of my favorites as well. I picked up the latest expansion: The Wind Gambit. And Stonemaier just announced a third and final expansion out later in 2018 called The Rise of Fenris.

  6. I think I was the one who recommended Outfoxed. We still enjoy it, although it is a bit easy for the 8 year old, too. It's pretty much perfect for the 4 year old, and the 2 year old and 6 year old do well with it, too.

    Patchwork has continued to be a favorite in our household, with both the 6 and 8 year old being able to hold their own, even against the adults in the family. It's a great, short game with decent long term strategy and spacial reasoning.

    We've played more Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert again, with the older two being the primary benefactors.

    My sister and I also got Pandemic Legacy, Season 2, and played the first month with pretty great success.

    Splendor, Agricola, and Cottage Garden have been played to some extent, too.

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