A Fool’s Errand: Board Game Quest 2021 Ends

Here we are, the end of Board Game Quest 2021. I’m writing most of this before the end of Board Game Quest, so I don’t know whether I’ll have made it at this point.

Where I’m at, there are three more board games left to play and eleven days left, but those include Christmas, New Year’s Eve. My beloved is away for Christmas to visit her family, providing things aren’t entirely locked down. Both she and my lodger are tired of this. There have been a lot of games to play, and we’ve barely looked back at any of our favourites. I’m already working out a list of games to take to our friends, The Milehams, once I’m done with this. We’re working on the motto of, “More plays of fewer games” for next year, to allow some system mastery of favourites like Root, Scythe and Oath. It’ll also mean going through some of the campaign games.

So, to go back to the start, let’s remind ourselves about the initial challenge.

I had to play every game in my collection in a year, with a few caveats.

* The game had to be playable, which meant that Survivor and Cards Against Humanity ended (more on that later).

  • The game had to be playable, which meant that Survivor and Cards Against Humanity weren’t playable (more on that later)
  • The game didn’t have to be a campaign game, which meant that Gen7, Betrayal Legacy and my many unfinished campaign games were out, as we’ve been locked down so long and weren’t likely to be able to get back to any campaigns anytime soon.
  • Anything in my ‘to sell’ pile was disqualified. Most of these were either played this year or put in the pile before 2021, like Brighton Monopoly and Heroclix. I’ve sold a few now, and hopefully will get more sold soon. I think I’ve had one game which went on this pile without being played this year. Again, more on that later.
  • Finally, if I found a game in the house, it would get added to the list. I had a lot more games than I thought. This meant that a lot of traditional games ended up on the pile. I didn’t include traditional card games, as a deck of cards can probably provide a year’s worth of cards by itself, but it meant Ludo, Scrabble, Tell Me, even Tic Tac Toe were all added to the pile.

CabinCon

After two years away, the peacocks now ruled CabinCon House.

My friends from the internet hold a mini-convention every year (barring 2020) where we meet up for a week and play tabletop games. It’s fantastic, and this year it felt a bit odd, having not seen each other in a while, having to get tested for Covid ahead of time and meeting in the cold of November instead of May.

Between us, I think there were 24 or 25 games from my list which were in attendance, so I knew I’d get a few done. I played more games than this (30 in total), but I’m only mentioning the ones from Board Game Quest here.

Hanabi

My first game was actually one I didn’t have on my list of games I thought were going to be at CabinCon. As we entered, I saw a game going on and managed to dive in after a round. This is a really tense game about making a lovely firework display. You play with your cards facing everyone else and get clues about what you’ve got. Hopefully you can use those to play the fireworks in order, without everything going awry. We were so close with this one, but while our display was pretty, it wasn’t perfect.

Such tension!

Two Rooms and a Boom

One of the biggest challenges for this year has been games with a large player count. This was the worst for that, needing at least six players. Even worse, it had some black marks on it after a couple of incidents. One CabinConner taught it in my stead years ago in a fashion so bad that it put a lot of people off. Also having it as a kick-off ritual was a nice idea, but some people chafed against the idea of not playing anything until we had enough players for Two Rooms and a Boom.

Despite all this, I managed to rustle up initially a group of six, then it expanded to more and more until I had enough for a full session instead of one with limited roles.

The game has two rooms with a connecting central area, and two teams. Blue team had a president and red team has a bomber. Blue Team want to end the five rounds with the bomb and president in different rooms. Red Team want them in the same room. Each round, someone will run the room and send out people, and there are no restrictions about sharing your card. Nice, simple, but it gets amazing when you add weird roles. We did a test run which was fine, but the game glowed when there were almost all weird roles like an angel and devil who could only tell the truth and lie, respectively. There was a medic who the president had to reveal himself to and an engineer for the bomber, to force them both to have to trust someone.

This was a tense thing to get going, but a real joy to play for the first time in several years.

Dom as The Seeker, trying to spot anyone’s cards

Love Letter Premium

The large version of Love Letter could have been played with two or more players, but the differences only appear at five or more. This is a really fun variant on the normal game, including a lot of other ways to score points, letting you nominate someone you reckon will win a point and sharing their victory. It’s a bit of a longer game, but the expanded rules and the large tarot-sized cards made it a joy. It was nice seeing another group playing it later in the con, too.

Giant Love Letter cards and big wooden hearts make this a truly premium version of Love Letter

Skull

A fantastic pub game, allegedly made by the Hell’s Angels back in the day. You have three flower cards and one skull card, then you use them to gamble on how many you can turn over before hitting a skull. There are some amazing bluffing moments and incredible tension for something so simple. The game’s beautiful, too, even though I do have to remind people not to use them as coasters.

Don’t Get Got!

Much earlier this year, Sam from the CabinConners offered up a copy of Don’t Get Got, a kind of meta game you play while playing other games or just having an amount of time with other people, like at a party. I asked him for it, and he delivered it here. We also played a game of Don’t Get Got, which at least evened it out on this list.

You have a wallet filled with tiny cards telling you to do things, like get someone to argue with you about the colour of something, or to say something. I scored nothing as people were way too accommodating with my constant attempts to mess up and get corrected during a long game of Tapestry. It was tense trying to predict what actions people were doing which might ‘get’ you and avoiding them, and hilarious hearing the noises when someone else got got elsewhere in the house.

Bärenpark

This was a game I was saving until late in the year as it’s one of my favourites. It’s a game about placing tiles with different types of bears, or general theme park elements like paths, toilets or snack shops. You fill in tiles with these bears and place statues when you complete one. It’s easy to teach, has a few extra elements like achievements that you can play with, and has an adorable theme.

It’s a game which takes half an hour or so as well, so it’s perfect if you’ve got a little time, but not enough for a full-sized board game.

My final park

Fog of Love

This is technically a two-player game, but we’ve been loving playing it as a team game with two pairs of people running the brains of a dysfunctional couple in a romantic comedy. You create a character with a job, various needs to be satisfied in life, and the opposite player picks what their character found attractive about your character.

You play through several acts of increasing intensity, so we had our butcher’s brutal directness soften over time, but our IT guy partner couldn’t quite adapt to that. We had several rapid changes of romantic destiny we were aiming for and ended up alone, unhappy and with a child.

Our characters, just before we made a LOT of bad relationship decisions.

A Game About Wee Whimsical Creatures and Trying to Identify Them After Someone Makes Noises

This was a Kickstarter arrival just in time for CabinCon. It felt like a perfect game for our “Talking Bullshit Night”.

In this game, you line up some monsters, all adorably drawn by Benz. One player picks which one they’re making the noise of and folks need to guess which one it is. Short, sweet and it got some people in the other game room concerned about the noises being made, which was an added bonus.

Some of the creatures, as well as our scores and a whisky & coke to help with the monster noises.

Tapestry

I’m going back and adding this in, as Emma bought me Tapestry for Christmas, but I’m counting this one as it was played here. By Stonemeier Gamesm who brought us Scythe, this is a civilisation builder, but it’s fairly quick and chilled. It made for a good morning game in CabinCon.

You have a civilisation with a specific ruleset and a capital city on a nine by nine grid with a few spots filled in. You advance science, technology, military or exploration, or if you can’t then you advance to the next age of your civilisation and generate your resources.

It’s deceptively simple for something with so many pieces and sub-systems. It also creates some interesting issues with different levels of progress, leading to a civilisation with credit cards and space travel but no concept of writing yet.

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game

Another big game which was going to be tricky to get to the table given the player count. Luckily it’s a CabinCon staple. We rustled up some folks and managed to get a game sorted.

Based on the reboot of the television show, you’re trying to get to Earth while keeping your populace alive, safe from killing each other and your ship free from explosions or hostile robots. The problem is that some of you will be traitors; hidden robots trying to do the opposite, even if it looks like they might be helpful to begin with. I’ve already played Unfathomable which might just beat it slightly, game-wise, but only barely.

Decrypto

This is a game I love the look of and have owned for a while, but for some reason I just bounce off the rulebook. Luckily Ben Hendy (formerly of Who Dares Rolls), was on hand and a good teacher. Emma and I teamed up with him, trying to guess a code from four different words, but doing our best to make sure the other team didn’t figure out the words we had. It led to some amazing and baffling word choices, and will definitely be one to bring out for future game nights.

Ladies & Gentlemen

We only had enough players for two teams, but this was still good fun. In Ladies & Gentlemen, players are paired up into groups of a lady and a gentlemen. Hence the name.

The ladies play a card and deck-manipulation game, trying to arrange items in a shop, then reserve cards before others can. If nothing’s bought from their own shop, they can get the item in their ‘window’ for half price, but they risk other players wanting that item, too.

The gentlemen play a tile flipping game where they frantically rummage around a bunch of tiles looking for items to trade shares in. It’s a frenzied mess and good fun watching the chaos ensue.

Emma was the gentleman and after some teaching problems with the lady side in a previous game, found that role way more enjoyable. Personally I’m good with either of the roles.

The lady’s side of the board.

The Resistance: Avalon

I’ve played Quest already, but this is the classic version. It’s still good fun and a bit of a longer game. You’re going on missions for King Arthur, but some of you are secretly evil. Our missions included things like taking recycling out and trying to get some chocolates for Guinevere after making too much loud noise with all the recycling.

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