Board Game Journal – January 16 2023

Welcome back! The first gaming journal of 2023. It’s been a nice couple of weeks taking some time off from site duties. It allowed me to get some more games in, which is always a fun time!

You will notice the title for the journal is no longer made up of the games played, and also only says Board Game Journal. Making the titles was getting more and more confusing, so I am sticking to the safe ‘when it goes up’ format.

Also, Mondays are for Board Games, and Wednesdays are now for Video Games! Easier to keep tabs on, and not as marathon a read. Hopefully, you like the new format. Let’s see how it goes!

But now, let’s have a look at what games I played over the break.

7 Wonders: Architects

I had a blast starting up Board Game Arena again with Alpal and Rabbit. After a little time away, we knew it was either going to be 7 Wonders: Architects or Isle of Cats for our first game.

7 Wonders: Architects, my go-to game of 2022 (followed closely by Cartographers Digital!), came first.

We all had a blast playing, and I wasn’t even stuck with the Colossus of Rhodes the whole time! It didn’t take long for the playful banter and friendly competition over the cat to begin. But it was all in good fun.

The bottom line is that we had a great time playing a fantastic game. It will take a lot to knock 7 Wonders: Architects out of our play rotation. We’re hooked!

20230116 - 7 Wonders Architects - Back to an old favourite
It was great starting again on an old favourite. 7 Wonders: Architects that is – Not the Colossus!

The Goonies: Escape with One-Eyed Willy's Rich Stuff

Today’s journal entry is all about my recent experience playing The Goonies: Escape with One-Eyed Willy’s Rich Stuff. A couple of years ago, I picked up Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion by mistake. I thought I was getting the Scooby-Doo-themed Betrayal at House on the Hill game.

But it turns out, it was the first of a new series of Escape Room games called Coded Chronicles. I played it twice with two different groups of people and I enjoyed myself a lot. So, when I heard that The Goonies were getting their own version, I knew I had to grab it.

20230116 - Goonies Coded Chronicles - Game Components
You get to build the game ‘board’ as you progress to new sections

Over the break, Rabbit and I sat down over a couple of sessions and played The Goonies: Escape with One-Eyed Willys Rich Stuff. The Goonies is a great premise for an Escape Room and being of a certain age, The Goonies has a great deal of nostalgia for us. The chance to play through the movie was bound to be great!

The short version of the story is that The Goonies: Escape with One-Eyed Willys Rich Stuff was a heap of fun. It is split into three acts, with a save-type feature at the end of each act to come back to. The first act took us a couple of hours, but we flew through the second act and just finished the game in the second session.

20230116 - Goonies Coded Chronicles - Game Components 2
The group decides which character acts each turn – no one is left out of play

I know it’s hard to describe an escape room without spoiling things, but it’s the same with the Coded Chronicles games. As a series, I should say I have skipped the second Coded Chronicles game based on The Shining. It’s probably an enjoyable experience, as Scooby-Doo and The Goonies are fun. But The Shining: Escape from the Overlook Hotel as a theme doesn’t do much for me. I would play it if asked, but I am not going out of my way to buy it.

The Coded Chronicles games are generally single-playthrough games. There aren’t multiple story paths or anything extra to find. If you play the second time, it’s to try and beat a score. But because you already know the answers, it can be a bit of a chore. None of the puzzles requires destroying components, so packing the games back up and gifting them to a new group is a great idea!

20230116 - Goonies Coded Chronicles - Starting Setup
You even need to work out how to get to the ‘start’ of the game!

I am also going to do my best to have a proper review of The Goonies: Escape with One-Eyed Willys Rich Stuff within the next couple of weeks, so if this has piqued some interest, look out for that as well!

Isle of Cats

Today’s entry is all about our second round of Board Game Arena, where we played Isle of Cats. It took all of us a couple of rounds to get back into the swing of how to play, but once we did, we all got to spend time rescuing cats!

I’ve talked about Isle of Cats a lot before, and I understand that it might seem complex, but it’s not as overwhelming as it first appears. Once you get into the groove of having baskets and fish to lure Cats onto your boat, all the other interactions make more sense.

In the first game, I thought I was going to get wrecked, but I managed to get a new personal best score of 73 and won the game. Alpal seems to be an Oshax (wild card cat) magnet, but I was pretty happy with how things turned out!

20230116 - Isle of Cats - Setting up my boat
It looks like a lot is going on, but the process is simpler than it first looks

But then Alpal basically said “Hold my Beer” and nabbed every Oshax and almost every Lesson (scoring) card to come out with a new group high score of 81!

Looks like Rabbit and I may need to practice to keep up with Alpal. Maybe Isle of Cats: Explore & Draw will help with that offline! Either way, it was a great day of gaming and I’m looking forward to playing Isle of Cats again soon.

The Quacks of Quedlinburg

Today was a surprise in my gaming journey. It had been so long since Rabbit and I played Quacks of Quedlinburg, it wasn’t even on my mind. But I’m happy to say that we rectified that and had a blast playing it again.

Quacks of Quedlinburg is such a fun and addictive game. The concept is simple: every year, the town of Quedlinburg holds a competition to find the best potion maker (the “Quacks”). There are different ingredients each year, and a fortune teller predicts the whims of fate.

It might sound like a lot to keep track of, but the bottom line is that you pull ingredients out of your bag to add to your potion. If you pull too many of one component, your potion is ruined for the day! I often find myself getting caught up in the game, wondering if I should pull out one more component or not!

20230116 - Quacks of Quedlinburg - Table hog of a game though
Beautiful, contained, but quite the table hog!

Quacks of Quedlinburg is one of Rabbit’s favourite games and I can see why. It’s easy to get lost in the game and I love it when she’s in the mood to play. I enjoy it so much that I even bought the deluxe components from Geek Bits so the cardboard tokens wouldn’t wear out!

Since it had been a while since we last played and it was just the two of us, we mostly stuck to the base rules for Quacks of Quedlinburg. I own the first expansion, The Herb Witches and I’m already thinking of getting the Alchemists expansion. The gameplay combinations are almost endless!

Overall, it was a great day of gaming and I’m looking forward to playing Quacks of Quedlinburg again.

20230116 - Quacks of Quedlinburg - Different rules for the components each game keeps things interesting
Changing the scoring of the components with multiple booklets changes the game every time

Ticket to Ride

I had the pleasure of playing Ticket to Ride with Rabbit and Alpal on Board Game Arena. It had been a while since I played, so the new addition on Board Game Arena was welcome. Rabbit had only ever seen me play on the Xbox before, but the constant train whistle had annoyed her so much that she never wanted to play. But I’m happy to say that she agreed to give it a try!

Ticket to Ride made a massive splash a few years ago, and for good reason. The concept is familiar to many people – build train lines that connect cities on your tickets. The further apart the cities, the higher your score. But you need to be careful – if you can’t complete the ticket, you lose that many points instead!

20230116 - Ticket to Ride - A great mix of adding the digital version to BGA
It’s easy to forget Tickets can cost you points

You build train lines by collecting coloured cards that match the tracks and handing in one card per square on the section you want to claim. It sounds so simple, but in Ticket to Ride, you will constantly be getting in someone’s way or blocked by another player. But that’s what makes it so much fun! It’s a great balance of fun and frustration.

I was happy to get into a couple of games of Ticket to Ride on Board Game Arena, and the implementation is great. It did make me want to pull out my 10th Anniversary game though and play on the table. It’s a pity the base game for 2 players isn’t quite as much fun. There are smaller versions like Ticket to Ride London that is great for 2 players if that’s what you are looking for though.

20230116 - Ticket to Ride - Its been a while
Every now and then, I will likely put my hand up for another game

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know! 

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Until next time,