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May the month of just a few games.. 147 plays later!

Well somehow we’re in June already and May is over and done, and with it comes a monthly wrap up of what I played, what hit the table and ultimately those games of the month. And of course the worst of the month too, a title no game wants to hold claim to! May saw a total of 147 plays, across 44 different games, 12 of which were new to me!

May started with a board game day, that I ran for FREE, and weirdly struggled to get people to attend. But a smaller number of attendees, meant I could play games and get through a whole bunch of new titles, including Rauha, Genotype and Outlive. Rauha was the star of the day for me, it was fast, tableau like building, with card drafting, and thoroughly enjoyable as you build this points scoring engine, combined with majority control for the gods, which you guessed it bring you more points! Genotype was probably my least favourite of the day and largely felt kinda average (See full review for more details). Sunday that followed, was a weird day of revisting the traditional games like Chess, Checkers and Tic-Tac-Toe, with me throwing in a few solo plays of Roll Player in the evening once we were home to scratch a gaming itch. As much as I don’t mind and actually enjoy Chess, Tic-Tac-Toe was laborious, with my opponent debating pretty much every move. I completely get that games are games and we should celebrate them all, but tic-tac-toe is a few minutes at most, as soon as a turn takes a few minutes, you’re in for a rough time!

The week that followed, was our trip to Athens, so it was limited to largely app based games. I had learnt from our recent Cyprus trip, not to over pack and anything more than 2 or 3 games was generously overpacking. I should have packed Akropolis, to play on the Akropolis though, I missed an great photo opportunity there! Board Game arena, was the evening saviour and morning fixer. I found myself playing a few live games on Board Game Arena and enjoying myself, there was a rather intense game of Azul, where there was just 4 points between all of us! I’m not sure I’ll have another game come that close again. And Castles of Burgundy at four player is pretty rapid, because there isn’t all the fiddly set up and in-between rounds of administration, its still definitely better at 2 players, but as four player games go, under an hour wasn’t bad!

Evacuation made it to the table at game night, after planning to play Shipyard, the punchboards from Shipyard were incomplete due to duplicates of the same punchboard. So thankfully Delicious games are sending a replacement. So I knew next to nothing about Evacuation, apart from watching a rules video on 1.5x speed before game night to quickly get myself in a position to muddle through a teach as a midday game pivot meant my shipyard prep was somewhat meaningless. I’m hopeful the replacement parts for SHipyard will arrive soon. Evacuation was alot more enjoyable than I expected and the balancing of old and new and shipping resources from old to new, was satisfying to see one world crumble and another start from nothing. It reminded me a bit of Anachrony through the time travel, although in Evacuation you can’t ship resources back to the old world. I mean why would you, its crumbling and falling apart!

22nd of June, was when I discovered and began my Looot Obsession, a random announcement on the Boardgamearena news page, and that was it. I was in! I have a terrible habit of just jumping into games without reading rules and clicking, worringly, I have won games by doing this, so either everyone else was doing the same or just not very good! Needless to say, Looot had me and felt intutive, in that I didn’t read the rulebook until my 2nd or 3rd play as there was one or two points I wanted to check and clarify my understanding of e.g. the trophies otherwise it felt self-explantory and I think Boardgamearena is great for trialling new games or playing an old favourite. Because its rules and frameworks, mean you get rules clarifications, now it may annoy the other players if you play completely randomly, I apologise to the people I played Amafli renaissance with, as that was me, clicking and trying each action out... somehow I didn’t do that badly, but needless to say I didn’t win!

After a successful work event, I ran another board game lunch time and this time thematically linked Deep Sea Adventure and Rafter Five together, and had a group of colleagues playing through them both! Another round of positive feedback, means the event will be back again. This time I will remember to get a few more games in, and not rely on Deep Sea Adventure for the 4th time!

Somehow the end of May is already in sight, and with UKGE on the horizon, I took the weekend before as a rather quick get all the chores done, and prepare for the very long week ahead. Meaning no board gaming. But that’s okay, its not a requirement to game every day, right?

Now UKGE, I had planned, hoped and somewhat anticipated getting some evening gaming in, however, the rather long days and coming straight off work into UKGE mode, meant I wasn’t really in the mood. And plus the one day I was (Saturday), the halls were packed and I didn’t want a repeat of 2022 of walking to the Hilton, walking back to the NEC, being directed back to the Hilton and so on. It was a painful 90 minutes that year and I wasn’t prepared to go through that again!

So UKGE saw me play, a bunch of Board Game arena stuff, and then in person Vampire Village (full review incoming!) and a single game of Faraway. Although Technically the game of Faraway was on the Saturday (1st June) so I can’t include that here!

The most played games were:

Railroad Ink (21)

Akropolis (10)

Captain Flip (9)

Once again, Railroad ink, due to its short game length and speed of play, meant it features in the top 3. Its just so easy to get to the table and play again and again. Akropolis, is undergoing a bit of resurgence as a two player game for me, as there’s the “all tiles mode” on Boardgame arena, which I hadn’t considered before. And this makes the two player game, so much better. Admittedly, its just making the game longer, but its just being able to build this huge mega structure that is incredibly satisfying. Captain Flip squeezes in, with just one more play than Roll Player, as silly, fast, end of game night game, that meant it made it to every game night and I’m not sure if every player enjoyed it, but the variability in the setup, the quick play, pass and essentially go, meant its been an ease to get to the table.

The review games I played this month were:

Roll Player, Rauha, Vampire Village, Outlive, Genotype, High Season, Neon, Evacuation

Alot of new games, were featured this month, in part due to the board game day, but also a conscious effort to try and slim down the review pile before UK Games Expo. In case I left with games for review. My review pile is now 16 games..oops! And I’d got this down to 4 before UK Games expo, a few surprise deliveries (of games I was expecting in 2023!) mean, I’ve got to get my reviewing hat on for the next few weeks. I’m not sure I could manage 4 reviews a week, as I like to get every review game to the table 3 times, so I may have to try and plan them out. Although some companies are only wanting a preview, so 1 play is sufficient for them. Rauha and Vampire Village, probably take the review games of the month title for me. As much as I enjoyed Roll Player, my partner didn’t, which meant Roll Player won’t make it to the table or get the love it probably deserves. So I’ve got the Roll Player app, which I can play.

My top 3 games of the month:

Looot (3 plays)

Evacuation (1 play)

Akropolis (10 plays)

Can you tell I might love Looot, with it claiming top spot for the month? There’s just something about the Spacial Puzzle, that I love and it ticks alot of boxes for me. Despite the one play of Evacuation, I enjoyed the play alot and am eager to play it again, especially with the advance mode to explore the action cards in more detail! And Akropolis, maybe its the Athens effect?

The worst 3 games of the month:

Neon (2 plays)

Tic Tac Toe (1 play)

And I think I’m struggling for a third!

Neon was just a huge let down for me, pitched as a Battle Royale game, with a cyberpunk theme, it had a whole lot going for it. But ultimately, it doesn’t hold up for 2 players and I hate to think how long 6 players would take! And Tic-Tac-Toe, the classic, maybe this was more the player rather than the game?

Well that’s May over, and June is already here! I’ve a mountain of UKGE games to get through, but with Midcon (and maybe Handycon) around the corner, I’m hoping June, July and August will offer the opportunities to get games to the table!

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