Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Secret Game Night recap - 6/28
We play board games every Tuesday night at Ashland Fun and Games at 7:30pm. We call it Secret Game Night because it’s outside of the store’s regular hours, but anyone is welcome to come down and play some games with us.
We had 11 people play this week, including Davis and Shiloh who both happened to be in town and Caleb who played with us for the first time.
We started off with a big game of 2016 Spiel Des Jahres nominee, Codenames. This is a really nice game and definitely deserves it’s place as one of the top games of the year, but it fell kind of flat tonight. I personally had fun, we all laughed and joked a lot, and everyone was pretty involved, yet I was ready to move on after playing just three rounds of it. Maybe it was because of the game’s problem with analysis paralysis, or maybe we had too many people playing. Party games like these are best when you can start to think like, and get on the same “wave length” as your friends around the table. If I had to pick, I would probably go with Dixit or the upcoming Hive Mind game to achieve that “get inside someone’ else’s head” kind of fun. I’m still going to recommend this game as one of the best party games on the market, but I think it serves better for a more icebreaker/cerebral party game experience than a social one.
I played a 5-player game of Machi Koro next. After playing Machi Koro a ton when it first came out, this was actually the first time I got it to the table in 2016. It really does it’s job well as a light gateway game that is just satisfying enough to keep someone with a mid-weight preference engaged. This game is great for families with kids 8+, or casual gamers who are looking for their first foray into board game collecting. The most obvious comparison is Settlers of Catan, and I could definitely see someone going with Machi Koro because of the theme and quirky artwork.
We had a little time to wait for the next game to get setup so I took the opportunity to break out Tem-Purr-A again as a filler game. Tem-Purr-A is very cute push your luck/faux trick taking game with a theme of cats eating sushi. This was actually my favorite experience with the game and I think it’s earned a place among the micro games we stock. The theme alone will be a big enough selling point for some people.
I wrapped up the night with a few games of Escape from the Aliens in Outerspace. This game has been a hit lately. It’s certainly not perfect, but when the game works it is excellent. Our first game was a bit of a clunker as we just had an unusual run of white cards being drawn and very little information for the aliens to go off of. Game two we had a hilarious ending where both humans coincidentally entered the same unsafe area and both drew red cards. Both were immediately eaten by the aliens from the same attack. Game three was the best. It was a cat and mouse game before the aliens finally got Jackson, leaving Luke as the only human. Luke turtled around the bottom of the map, waiting to make his move. Jackson, now an alien, made a guess as to where Luke was hiding and found…another alien, eliminating him from the game. Luke had almost gotten away, but was sadly eaten just one space away from his escape pod. There’s a lot to like with this game. Unlike most hidden movement games, everyone gets to have fun secretly moving around the map. Also, games like Fury of Dracula and Letters from Whitechapel take about 2-4 hours to play, you can get several games in of Escape from the Aliens in Outerspace in one hour, depending on player count.
Other players got in a game of Puerto Rico, and closed out the night with a rambunctious game of Happy Salmon. This was probably the game of the night, judging by the laughter and by how many people immediately asked if we had any copies in stock. I think I had almost as much fun watching them play as I would have if I played myself. Almost. Next time I will be the happiest salmon.
Posted by joe at 12:20 PM