Escape the Danger of Suprise Bowling in the Shadows. Also, Unusual Animals on the Frontiers, having a Tea Party.
This was a huge week for getting games to the table – so big, there are a couple I had to defer to this week!
Let’s get straight into it.
An Alpal special she has been holding onto for a little while, Planet Surprise is incredibly well named! The premise is simple – each player is exploring a galaxy, and the player that finds the best planets overall wins.
Played over 10 rounds, the mechanics are fairly simple. In player order, the player decides what action to take, and then a planet on the card is scratched (like a lottery ticket). A score will be revealed – positive and negative! – and after 10 rounds highest score wins.
An interesting diversion, but not a game easily found.
Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger
Alpal, Rabbit and I started playing this last year, but it fell to the wayside.
As a pre-games night warmup, Alpal and I are doing a turbo run through the game to see how we fare – no looping back to see what we missed!
This will be fun to knock out, and I really want to see how it ends overall. Expect a full review in a few weeks – we are doing a chapter a week roughly, and I will probably replay it more cautiously before the final write up.
Similar to Istanbul The Dice Game, Shadows: Amsterdam has all the makings of making it instantly into my top games of all time.
It’s a game that suits so many situations, and potentially different kinds of players. While played in two teams, like Codenames it has that “Oooh that looks interesting, can I join?” that lets you instantly drop new players in.
Games of Shadows: Amsterdam rarely takes more than 15 minutes so far in my experience – if you haven’t had a chance to play it, please do!
Dinosaur Tea Party
Restoration Games continues their hot streak of tweaking old games and making them awesome again.
Technically, Dinosaur Tea Party is a reworking of a game called Whosit?, but that isn’t a game I am familiar with. So description wise, it’s Guess Who? for up to 5 people.
Randomly assigned a character with specific traits, you are invited to a morning of High Tea – except no one knows who anyone is. If you can correctly name a player after observing their traits, you are rewarded a sugar cube – first to three cubes wins. Simple!
A lot of fun, and able to be played with a wide range of people.
Keeping up the Guess Who? with a twist theme, Unusual Suspects hit the table this week.
One player is a clue giver sets up 12 pictures randomly selected from a fair sized deck of choices. They then draw the culprit (random picture from within the layout), and the game begins.
The rest of the group draws 2 question cards and selects one to ask. These are all fairly random, like “Is a coffee drinker?” or “Takes Public Transport?”, and the group must eliminate pictures based on the response. If they eliminate the culprit, it’s an instant loss. But if they eliminate everyone but the culprit, it’s a win!
It’s a game of stereotyping, but overall in a lighthearted way. Lots of fun and joking was had with Unusual Suspects, and I suspect it will be pulled out a few more times over time.
Concept Kids: Animals
Concept is a great game, but to me, it is one you have to be in a certain mindset to play. Formalising Charades, clues can only be given by placing coloured blocks linking ‘Concepts’ on board. And the answers can be very detailed – it’s not an easy game for younger players!
Enter Concept Kids – same theory, but simpler execution. We played Animals, which focuses on guessing different types of animals. The core of the game was the same, but the clues are all slanted to identifying animals.
Yes, it’s aimed at kids game, but it was still a fun game to play with the five of us in a relaxed chatty atmosphere.
Bowling Solitaire is a game I can see myself getting addicted to. Luckily it’s not only Alpal’s, but it’s a bonus game that comes in Elevenses for One!
The idea is pretty straightforward – set up the 10 pins, and ‘bowl’. You can clear up to 3 pins at a time, done by adding up the value of the cards and matching the last digit to a number on your ‘ball’.
So in the picture, if one of the piles had a 6 on it, I could take out the two 3 cards on the second row – 3+3=6. Or if I had a 5, I could take out the outside of the left hand side – 7+3+5=15, so the last digit is 5.
Once you can’t do this, that roll is over and you continue on in the frame. Scoring is traditional ten pin bowling scoring, so 300 maximum. But it’s a quick logic puzzle with a goal, and that’s what makes it a lot of fun!
Alien Frontiers is a game lots of people have told me I would enjoy, but somehow got knocked down my on my ‘to play’ and even my ‘to buy’ lists. That changed this week, with Alpal happy to show me one of her favourite games!
Similar to Roll Player, Alien Frontiers is a simple logic puzzle involving luck in rolling the right dice. It has that ‘itch’ that’s perfect for my brain – a puzzle that can be solved, with all the information in front of you, but against other people.
In some ways, I think I will prefer Alien Frontiers multiplayer and Roll Player solo, but I need to get more games in of both before I can declare that is the final call.
Escape the Dark Castle
The expanded Kickstarter has been shipping, and Alpal was lucky enough to get her copy first. So naturally, we had to get a couple of games in!
We only played with the initial expanded content – more story openers, some new end bosses, some more items, and cards that end your story.
It was as fun as always, and we had a blast doing this again. Maybe in the near future, we can do another playthrough with 3 players to show off some of the changes!