One Year On – May 2018

I thought I should take a look back at what I reviewed last year; do they still get played? Have I changed my opinion? Let’s find out…

Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Arkham Horror: The Card Game - Box Contents

This was my very first review, and looking back I think I did the game reasonable justice. My style of writing has changed a little, along with the way I present things, but other than that I do much the same then as I do now.

I recommended this game quite highly, and though I haven’t got it to the table very often in the last year, I stick by that recommendation.

My only real issue with the game is trying to keep up with the expansions – one small scenario a month doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re already playing catch up it seems never ending, and of course, it costs.

I’ve just brought the remaining expansion for the Dunwich Legacy campaign, so you can see I haven’t made a concerted effort in obtaining everything, even though this is one of my all time favourite solo games.

The reason I haven’t got it to the table much is because I haven’t had all the expansions for a whole campaign, but now that I have, I’m looking forward to building some decks and playing the it through from start to finish – I stopped playing after Blood on the Alter, as I really wanted to experience the campaign as a whole, without such a long time between plays!

Looking at the other campaigns now available there’s some exciting stuff there, but with so many other games to play, and so little time to play them, something has to give, and Arkham has become a game I’m prepared to wait on – waiting until I have a whole campaign then hit it hard and experience the thrilling story-telling and thematic immersion that this game has in spades.

As you gain more expansions the options for fine tuning your investigators grows, and becomes a more integral part of the game – with just the core box you’re very limited to what you can do – and spending experience points between scenarios starts to become much more involving, and time consuming.

Some of the scenarios romp along, whilst others require a slower, more thoughtful approach, and they all tell a damn good story. Decisions you make during the game – should I take a drink or two at the bar – often have after effects, which don’t always become apparent until much later.

But this isn’t just a game with a good story, there’s lots of thinking involved too – should you split your investigators up to explore – and there’s often more than one way to gain success.

Of all the living card games, this is still the one to have; offering thematic, driving story lines with unexpected plot twists, a good depth of co-operative strategy, along with the option to tinker away with your investigator decks until your heart’s content, make this a must try game, especially for fans of the Lovecraft setting.

One year on – Still highly recommended, and with all the expansions, its replayability is unquestionable.

Read the review here

Tokaido

This game on the other hand, sees a lot of table time. It’s the kind of game you want to play when you’re in a relaxed, serene kind of mood.

It’s easy and quick to set up, the rules are simple, and it’s very easy on the eye. And a game seems to last no time at all really, often 30 minutes from grabbing it off the shelf to putting it back in the box.

Tokaido Box Art

Tokaido is the game to played after a heavy meal, where you don’t want to consider deep strategy, argue over co-operative decisions, or even raise a weary hand to hold a bunch of cards.

This is a game to sit back and admire its presence; the beauty of it board and elegance of its simple game-play. No matter where you decide to throw your lot – collecting gifts from the shop; taking relaxing baths; meeting the many travellers on the road – and no matter that someone keeps taking the spaces you really want, you’ll always be in with a shout at winning, but with this game, who cares if you win or lose, it’s just such a nice experience.

We’ve played it a fair bit since I reviewed it, with just 2-players, something I originally didn’t enjoy, but my daughter insisted and so we played, and I have to say there is actually quite a good game for 2-players here.

It all comes down to that third ‘neutral’ traveller that gets added in a 2-player game, and is moved along by the player in the lead. Moving this traveller requires a little forethought, as you not only have to take in where to place it, but who will move it again next. This adds an extra level of strategy that’s missing from higher player counts, where you have no control on where other players will move.

A great game to play with the family, introduce new people to the hobby, or just to fill some time in a pleasant manner. If you’re looking for something with deep and meaningful game-play though, then this isn’t the one for you.

One year on – A good enjoyable gateway and family game, but look out for Namiji released later this year by the same designer and publisher. It’s set in the same world as Tokaido and shares some similar game-play elements.

Read the review here

This War of Mine: The Board Game

This War of Mine The Board Game Box Art

Unfortunately, this is one game I just haven’t enjoyed playing, and is now on my pile to move on.

I have re-visited it a couple of times in the last year but it has just confirmed how I feel about it. I guess I just don’t like playing games that take so much precious time to play, but no matter what you do, it all comes down to the luck of the cards, and in this way it is a punishing game.

When I play lengthy games – this one plays anywhere up to 4 or 5 hours – I like to feel that I have some sort of influence over whether I win or lose, but with this, it is sadly lacking.

It is a shame; the theme, although very dark, is something worthy of exploration, and there are some great ideas held within the game-play, but it is the games mechanisms, which for me really let the game down. They introduce far too much randomness into the game, and make it nigh on impossible to plan and strategize, and I like to feel at least a smidgen in control!

It never was going to be a game for everyone, and there is quite a strong following of the game, but I would seriously suggest you try before you.

One year on – Ejected from my collection; I just don’t get anything out of playing it other than frustration.

Read the review here

Coup

A firm family favourite – small enough to take out and about with you, simple enough to be set up and playing within minutes, and it creates moments of sheer joy.

Coup Box Art

I think this rates as the most highly played game in my collection, mainly because a game only lasts 10 to 15 minutes, that and it’s always in someone’s pocket when we go out.

We play it down the pub and it often draws comments from people who’s gaming experience begins and ends at a game of Monopoly at Christmas time, which is great, because it causes a spark of interest, and one of those people may just my be curious enough to go and buy it, and that’s what it’s all about – spreading the love!

There are better social deduction games than this on the market – The Resistance: Avalon spring to mind – but the majority of them all require a high player count, and this is where Coup comes into its own.

We regularly play it at 3-players, and it’s good fun, admittedly it is better with more, but it still works, even with just 2-players.

Okay, there are certain strategies that can be employed to increase your chances of winning, but to be honest we never think that hard about things; we tend to play by feel – is that person telling the truth, and do I want to risk the challenge?

One year on – Still a great game; ideal as a filler or to take on your travels, and if you like this type of game then you can’t go wrong, especially at the small price you can pick it up for.

Read the review here

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