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March, the month of even more games! 131 plays later..

Updated: Apr 2

Well didn’t that go quickly? Somehow, March is over, and with it, 133 plays! 15 new games, and many, many hours of gaming, weirdly not spent on review games but rather games I've been loving and just wanting to hit repeat on.


In stats, I've apparently spent 87 hours playing games and managed games on 28 days of the month!


The most played?

Railroad Ink

Azul

Oxono


March started strong with games of After Us, Wingspan, and A Feast for Odin. And now that Boardgamearena has the Norwegians expansion, I can only see my plays of A Feast for Odin increasing even more. A Feast for Odin without the expansion feels almost like someone took your favourite sandwich and forgot 50%of the filling, the Norwegians expansion just adds so much more and makes every strategy feel viable, whilst the base game suffers from a few strategies being best. And those games were followed by another play of Three Sisters, which to me is an incredibly satisfying and succinct roll and write that's just about replaced every other roll and write in our collection.



Game night saw another outing of Ark Nova, which felt like it was pretty much game set and match early on. And I'm slowly coming to loathe Ark Nova a tiny bit for being a game that can have a runaway leader, and it seems to happen more often than not. And I'm beginning to have that inner debate of should I sell Ark Nova, unlike Terraforming Mars where often you don't know who's won and it can be close, I've had 3 or 4 games where one player has been so far ahead it simply wasn't fun for the other players. I say that as someone who was winning and apologising for playing cards that just gave me even more points.


I also finished off what felt like the longest game of blood rage ever, Boardgamearena doesn’t really do drafting. Well, it does, but it takes forever when it's one turn every two days! And games with drafting like Blood Rage suffer, although my worst experience on Boardgamearena is probably Catan, I've been playing the same game for almost 3 weeks, and we're still on a mere 41% progress.


I can't say I'll be rushing back to play Catan again, and Blood Rage has fallen for me from its lofty highs of my all-time favourite game.


And then, before we knew it, we were off to Cyprus! Unfortunately, it clashed with Airecon, but I still found myself on facebook group moderation duty. And I've already booked my hotel for 2025!


We packed about 8 games with us to Cyprus, all in the After Us box. Little did we know that well, Cyprus was kinda windy! And as we sat outside most of the time, that meant we couldn't really much anything, apart from Hive. And I don't mind Hive, but it wasn't the game I had pictured myself playing again and again several days in a row. But what it did mean is that we realised that Hive Pocket was probably the way to go, so we've downsized to Hive pocket. And I'm giving away my copy of Hive.



And what else do you do when laid or sat on holiday? Read (I did that), and embark on a mission to play lots and lots of games on Boardgamearena. I found myself playing live game after live game of Azul and Railroad ink, in part because they were fairly quick and easy to play in between the various bars and restaurants. I even entered a tournament or two. Yes, I did terribly, but it was nice to mix things up. I did sit and play through a couple of live plays of heavier games like Great Western Trail and but what I found with these real-time games folks typically used all the time allocated to them almost every round and games took almost as long if not longer than they would of done in person. So, after a couple of games, I tried the faster turn based speeds and found folks to be equally using all their allocated time. I'll stick to the regular 1 or 2 turns per day turn based modes I typically play.


What Boardgamearena did allow me to do was to try some new games and revisit old ones.


A few new standout games for me were Sky Team, River Valley Glassworks, Orion Duel, Lucky Numbers, and Captain Flip. Although I should apologise to the person who introduced Sky Team to me, we lost on the last turn because I placed my dice in the wrong order..oops! I've also been relearning maracaibo , which I'm not sure about.



To be fair, I didn't play that many games that were a once and never play again. Catan, as mentioned (whenever it finishes), Spots, MLEM, King of Tokyo and Yahtzee, although I didn't completely hate Yahtzee, it's just one I dont see myself rushing back to.


I also found March the time when I revisited Memoir 44, memoir 44 is a game I remember sitting at my parents kitchen table and playing round after round from the base box againdt my younger brother. And then on then as time moved on, it was an occasional Friday game with friends. Having access to all the scenarios is overwhelming though, and I wouldn't know what to pick, nor would I want to go through the process of setting them up, again the ease of Boardgamearena Boardgamearena made them a joy.


Oxono is a new release on Boardgamearena, and it had me a bit hooked at first, although I think thats been quickly replaced by Orion duel. Oxono feels like connect four plus, you either want to match four symbols or four of the same colour to win. On your turn you move one of the markers and then place one of your corresponding pieces, e.g. if you move the X marker, you place an x token after you've moved it.


And Sky Team has taken me by its wings and someone has had the misfortune of introducing me to Sky Team and losing, and then I've had the joy of teaching the ways of the sky to several other players since. Sky Team is a cooperative game in which you must pilot and co pilot a plane to a successful landing through careful dice placement, however, there's very limited communication between the players, so before dice are rolled you can talk through plans about what you might want to do this turn, but as soon as those dice are rolled its this tense feeling of if I place my dice there do I doom us? Or can my co-pilot/pilot mitigate my 4 on the axis or 3 on the engine.


Another game I've seen featured across a few social media accounts and on BGG was River Valley Glassworks. It feels a bit like Azul, and I would definitely rather play Azul, but it's a nice mix up, you're essentially collecting glass and wanting to out rarer treasures on the right of your board. It's enjoyable but not worth the asking price on Kickstarter, its a £30 game not a £45 + shipping for the standard edition or £55 + shipping for the deluxe. It's in the same sort of game category I'd put Azul and Sagrada, and neither of those are worth that either. However, I'll happily play it on Boardgamearena.



The last game night of the month, was a game of Concordia, which I don't get to the table nearly enough, it's an ease to teach and there's so much in what essentially is a resource management and area placement style game, plus hand management. And that scoring is on so engaging, it keeps everyone in the game, as you've no real idea who's won until the very end.


In terms of review games this month, I got to Trailblazers: The John Muir Trail, First in Flight. I definitely prefer the latter, however, I'm not sure I can justify keeping First in Flight when others at Game Night also own it. And I suspect that my partner wouldn't enjoy it. I've a slightly growing pile of review stuff that I need to try and get to. Hopefully, the games day on 4th May will help!



March feels like its flown by and with it so has a mass of gaming. I've been trying to get much better at recording games played. Knowing last year was a complete write-off in terms of games played, I missed so many! After 3 months in 2024, I'm at 278 plays across 95 games, 39 of which were new to me. Have we found game of the year already? Maybe, but only time will tell!




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