A Fool’s Errand: Board Game Quest 2021 Ends

The Rest of November

CabinCon was over and while I was still busy with NaNoWriMo, I had a few days off work to help balance things.

Mysterium

Mysterium’s a game where everyone’s trying to interpret the weird visions of a ghost to find out who murdered them. The ghost player has a hand of abstract cards and the true details of who each player is looking for, although there never seem to be enough as you end up having to make vague comparisons for people to latch onto. I always find the human players will hook onto something incredibly specific which you never think of. It’s tense, but really good fun and doesn’t outstay its welcome.

Emma and the Milehams peer at the different suspects, trying to see if the vague clues I gave them would help (they mostly didn’t)

Codenames

A team game where two groups of spies are trying to identify people in the field by the words they have. The red and blue teams both have spymasters who give out a word and a number for how many of their agent words it relates to. You’ve got to connect as many as possible to outrace the enemy team, but also not score their agents or the ‘assassin’ who means instant death for your team. It’s tricky, both as the guessers and the spymasters. Too many times I’ve said something like, “Hospital three” and didn’t see the word “needle” on the tableau. If you have enough people for a party game, this is great. For this play, we had two teams of two with a single spymaster and spy on each side. That changed the dynamic a bit, but in an interesting way, as the spymaster didn’t have the safety net of telling a large group and hoping someone gets it.

Codenames Pictures

See above, but with pictures instead of words.

The different pictures in Codenames: Pictures, ready for a mission to begin.

Final Girl

I love Hostage Negotiator, and when I saw a horror movie version on Kickstarter, I had to back it. Final Girl is a solo board game where you play a ‘final girl’ trying to rescue people from a murderer. There are several boxed sets which have a killer and location which you can mix and match, as well as a couple of different characters. I’ve been mixing them to make different scenarios as they’re quick lunch break fillers.

You have a hand of cards which allow you to run, search and try to defend yourself against the killer. Depending on how things go, you can buy better cards and the more people you rescue allows you to gain one-off bonuses. The thing is, the killer’s also evolving as things go on, unlocking new powers as they murder people.

I wish I could rave about this more online and on Who Dares Rolls, but the company have got big into NFTs, which took all the wind out of my sails for that.

Maple Lane’s got a murderer who’s entered the neighbourhood, and on the Fourth of July, when everyone’s outside and distracted by fireworks!

Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game

I was a massive fan of the Legend of the Five Rings back in the day, more for the story and the soap opera of it all than the tournament scene. It got too competitive and the story fell apart as every tournament made new decisions to a micro-managed level. This reboot is gorgeous, more interesting and in fixed packs so you don’t have to buy booster boxes, then hope for the best.

You play a clan of samurai in a fictional Asian fantasy world, each trying to vie for power over one another. Each player gets four provinces and a stronghold which your opponent’s trying to ‘break’ either politically or militarily. I like that there’s a balance between them, and there’s an expiry date on all characters, meaning that you’re not going to be able to keep doing the same thing all the time. The game’s not perfect, but it’s still a lot of fun.

My samurai, with their fates ticking down.

The Detective Society

Emma’s family got into one of those boxed mystery games, like Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective. Apparently they didn’t get all the way through the season of ‘The Detective Society’, but after we enjoyed the first one, they bought us the whole thing. We’ve only gone a couple of parts through. It uses paperwork including letters, posters and a USB stick, as well as various fake websites to help with research.

I think it floats around the same level of frustration as SHCD, by being more tricky in some places but not having that cheating bastard Holmes to deal with at the end.

Tic-Tac-Toe

I hadn’t cared to add this to the list, but it was in the house, so Emma insisted it counted.

Sentinel Tactics: The Flame of Freedom

I wanted to like this one. I’ve tried it a couple of times, and it just didn’t gel.

This was one of the challenging games to play in 2021, as the miniatures for the game have been with Jacob, a good friend of mine, for years now. I arranged a drop off and roped Lee into a game.

This is a miniatures game in a timeline spinning out from Sentinels of the Multiverse and for a time there was a split future between this and the RPG. I think they’re ignoring this future timeline now. There’s a story mode and we tried the skirmish, but there didn’t feel like we had a lot of balance and the map looked pretty ugly. I managed to sell it the next day, luckily.

My villains turned out to be woefully underpowered compared to the heroes.

A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition)

This is a good game which I managed to mess up by hacking. Game of Thrones is a type of game I always called a ‘Better Risk’. It’s got dudes on a map and scheming between empires. You’re all secretly deciding on your actions and probably lying about them to your neighbours. Then you advance on territories, build influence, defend yourself or burn enemy actions.

The game’s good, but I wrecked it. We had less time than usual, so I found a quick setup thread on BoardGameGeek with a version to start you off in the middle of things. It turned out to be more three quarters of the way through things. I can see it as a way to start fighting rather than build, which led to Emma rushing the endgame within a couple of turns.

Westeros, ready for the conquering.
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