This week involved three different games… but many, many plays of two of them.
Two new games in the Boardgame Corner review queue are The Last Spike and Queen’s Necklace. One of the things I love most about reviewing new games is that sometimes you find a diamond in the rough. A publisher sends you a game to review, you’ve never heard of it, and then BAM it blows you away. Spoiler alert: That happened for one of these two games.
Other than that it was a special Halloween play of Mysterium, which seemed quite fitting for the holiday.
Read on for my thoughts on these three games, all of which are making their first appearance on the blog. Or check out the archive for previous weekly replays.
The Last Spike
The week before last, Mark handed me a game, still in shrink, to learn to play. When I opened the box, I was actually sorely disappointed. The box itself had this weird way of opening, not like your typical game box with a sleeve and a fold-over top. The game board was this super flimsy folding piece of cardboard and there was a sticker sheet of 40 stickers you had to put on the tiles yourself. Needless to say, I did not have high hopes for this game… as in, none at all.
Wednesday evening I stickered the game and read over the rules. Jacob and I gave it a test run on Thursday… and to my surprise and delight… I actually really liked the game!
In a weird way it reminded me of Monopoly + Dominos. Which doesn’t sound all that appealing, but when you play the game, all of the mechanics truly work well together.
The goal of the game is to have the most money at the end of the game, which ends when there is a continuous railroad between Saint Louis and Sacramento. You’re paying to lay down train tacks, purchasing land cards to take ownership over cities on the board, and collecting payouts when train tracks connect to the cities you have ownership in.
It sounds really simple, and it is, but it’s a ton of fun. Also, the turns go really quickly, so you’ve pretty much got constant player uptime – even in the 5-player game. There’s thinking and planning involved, but it’s not prone to analysis paralysis (AP) since you can’t plan too much in advance.
All in all, this one is a winner.
And, I heard a secret, that the publishers are working on some nicer components. Yay!
You might like The Last Spike…
- If you like games with a little strategy, but not too much planning ahead.
- If you like games where the turns move quickly but there’s some depth to what you’re doing.
- If you like buying deeds in Monopoly and/or holding tiles in your hand and then connecting them to already played tiles like in Dominos.
While I was working on learning the ropes for The Last Spike, Mark was working on Queen’s Necklace. I’d heard a little buzz about this game, but wasn’t too familiar with it.
It was produced by Cool Mini Or Not, who released The Grizzled at Gen Con. I fell in love with The Grizzled, so I was hoping for the same experience for Queen’s Necklace.
Unfortunately, I didn’t totally dig it. It wasn’t completely horrible, but there were several elements to the game that aren’t really my style.
For example, a lot of luck. It’s kind of one of those these are how the cards were dealt kind of games. Some cards are super powerful and can be used to screw over your opponents (so if you like Take That games, you might dig this one). In addtion to that, being able to card count works to your advantage in this game. There can be a huge swing in points, so just when you think you’re ahead, suddenly, you’re not.
Essentially what you’re doing it buying gems and character cards to help you build jewelry to sell to the queen. Depending on the necklaces you build, gems are scored for how fashionable and how rare they are. If you have the most a specific type of gem, then you win the right to sell your necklace to the queen and collection the fashion and rarity points. Whoever has the most points after three rounds of selling to the queen, wins the game.
You might like Queen’s Necklace…
- If you like games with lots of luck.
- If you like games where you can screw over your opponents.
- If you like games where card counting and predicting what others will play helps you win the game.
Oh, Halloween. Not my most favorite of the holidays, but one with several board games which certainly fit the theme.
Jacob and I were invited to Mo’s house for a board game Halloween party. Sound like my kind of party ;)
There was tons of delicious food and some super fun costumes. I went as a college hipster, because wearing a beanie, sweat pants, and moccasins sounded incredibly comfortable. And it was.
And then, there was a game of Mysterium, by candlelight, hosted by Mo. Literally, Mo was dressed up as ghost. It was perfect.
In Mysterium, a ghost is trying to give you clues through colorful cards about a murder that has taken place at the mansion. You’re trying to determine the suspect, room, and weapon. Think Dixit meets Clue.
There has been A TON of hype around this game. It was one of the most anticipated games of GenCon and I was curious if it would live up to the hype. This my first time playing, and I must say, it’s quite good. We lost at the very end, but it was so fun that I didn’t mind.
You might like Mysterium…
- If you like Dixit and/or Clue.
- If you like cooperative games where you’re working together all in all, but you’re each working on your own thing.
- If you like games where one person is hosting/leading (aka: the ghost).