This is going to be a big two week spectacular because I was unable to post my usual time last week. So here’s a big recap covering the last two weeks.
Apr 16: I played a game of SETUP on Board Game Arena with someone from our Discord. I had just looked at a video on how to play it when they posted an opening. It was pretty neat. I enjoyed playing it and the strategy of how to set up moves for the next round. I don’t think I’d buy it. The MSRP is about 30 bucks and that’s a bit too much for the gameplay. But I would certainly play it again if asked.
Apr 18: I finished another BGA game of Hadara with my former roommate. We played a pretty quick game of it and even though our scores were both lower than the first game, the scores were much closer. He still won, but I did find a used copy for sale locally for $25, so I feel like I’m the real winner here. I also played a game of Aquamarine with my wife that day. We had learned it over the weekend while visiting family but didn’t get the chance to play it. After the first kind of round of the game when we both started a new boat, she realized she played a chunk of it wrong with the placements. So she went back and fixed them using the value of whatever she had used just making the movements legal placement. This one was an upset with me scoring over 2x the points she did. I think she wants a rematch soon. I also played Silver and Gold with her. I was leaving for the Cardboard Edison Judging and we needed a quick game just to fill in the evening before I left. We both really like this one and it was a quick game with her beating me by 10 points. It came down for me to a 50/50 draw on the shape of the last card whether I could finish my card or not. I didn’t get it. But almost more frustratingly, that would have given me 101 points which I think I would’ve hated more.
Apr 19: I had about 5 games on BGA running at the same time and we wrapped up two more of them. I finished a game of Railroad Ink: Blue edition. I did really well with this one and felt pretty good about my choices. I still think the Yellow and Green sets are much better than the Red and Blue sets, at least for dice choices. But I’ll still play any version you put in front of me. I also lost a game of Onitama on BGA. It was kind of close, then I made a misplay forgetting how the UI works for the game and I think that lost me the game. I was constantly down a piece or two from that point on and could never really be as aggressive as I needed to be.
Apr 21: After the first day of judging for the Cardboard Edison Award, we got together and played Cat in the Box. I’m not a huge fan of trick takers. But this one did have some neat elements. None of the cards have a suit normally. You declare the suit when you play it. But once a card has been called this way, no one else is able to do so. It’s a pretty neat system. I don’t think I’d buy it because I just don’t enjoy the genre that much. But it was one of the better ones out there.
Apr 22: I finished a BGA game of Codex Naturalis and for the first time won the game. I’ve never won this before, but everything lined up and I think I made some smart decisions with it. I’m now curious to play it again at the table and see if I’m just incapable of winning against my wife or if I’ve turned a strategic corner.
Apr 29: I played a quick solo game of Naturopolis to wrap up my 12×12 for April. I haven’t played it since the beta tests and I can see it’s still just as hard. Though I had a bad set of scoring conditions, several of which poorly overlapped if not acted against each other meaning I didn’t score very well.
Cardboard Edison Judging
On Friday we began our three day judging for the second round finalists of the Cardboard Edison award. This was my first time doing this in person and it was a lot of fun. It wasn’t what I expected, but I think that’s because I never asked about the logistics of the event, just about the games. We all stay in one house, order food for meals, hang out and play games. In the evenings it switched more to a published/judge prototype vibe as we’re generally all tired of looking critically at games and just want to relax. I brought along my Switch because the new Advance Wars 1+2 Reboot came out and I wanted to play that. More on that below. Over the weekend I managed to judge 9 games, some of which needed some work but had something good going for them to a couple of games I would buy right now if I could. There’s another round of judging coming up and after that the feedback will be tallied and we’ll have a winner. Look forward to further thoughts on my favorites once the awards have been finished.
I did get to watch Chevalier in the theater this week. I really liked it. Period dramas don’t tend to be my usual genre but I enjoyed the story of the first black classical composer as he is abandoned by his father, gains prominence in the eyes of the Queen and his peers, becomes an important figure in the musical world, only to be torn down and left with nothing right on the cusp of the French Revolution and how he decides to play his part in that event. There’s one scene in particular that shows the passage of time particularly well as they shift from one scene to the next in a very fluid method.
We also watched Lupin III: The First which was fantastic. I watched the anime of this back in High School and I was intrigued by this. I heard it was good but I didn’t expect how good. I would say the animation in this easily rivals Pixar for a fully CGI movie. My wife watched it with me having no context for the characters but had a lot of fun too. They easily wrapped in a lot of the tropes of the anime into the movie without having to explain the nature of everyone’s interactions.
Due to a variety of reasons I didn’t get time to see The Covenant, Sisu, or Polite Society all of which came out over the last couple weeks. Hopefully I can make it to the movies a few times this week to catch up on a few of those.
As I mentioned, I’ve started playing Advance Wars 1+2 Reboot on the Switch. I loved Advance Wars as a kid. I never finished it because I think I only finished like 2 games as a kid. But this time I’m going to work through it. I love the tactical combat of the game and the map look. I learned years later that a lot of the Fire Emblem games follow this pattern and I enjoyed Awakening from that line. Once again never finished that one but I attribute that more to being in college than anything else at the time. I should pick that back up again.
I’m passing on Jedi: Fallen Order for now. I’ll get that later in the year when it goes on sale. But I’d like to try and get a good chunk of Advance Wars finished before the 12th when Tears of the Kingdom comes out. I’ve got that one preordered so I imagine that will be my primary gaming interest for the next few months. I never finished Breath of the Wild and I’ve debated going back to do so. But I played over 100 hours in it hunting shrines and stuff and I’ve seen the ending played on a variety of videos so I think I’m good with my current standings on it. Unless there’s some unannounced bonus to TotK if you finished BotW, I don’t think I need to go back for the ending.