Boardgame Reviews

Brief thoughts on a few different Boardgames (and maybe some that are technically card games).

Viticulture: Essential Edition 🍇

Make wine from your grapes, sell it for money and points.

Fun, quick and gentle game. There isn’t too much to keep track of, but this is still a serious boardgame with a lot of choices to make and different strategies to try - and sometimes you can just get lucky with the cards you draw. This game starts as a race to 20 points, but if more than one player reaches 20+ points in the same year, then the winner is whoever accumulates the most points by the end of that year. It feels very rewarding to sneak over the 20 mark before the other players are ready. Competing over the turn-order after each in-game year really makes this game.

This is always a good choice of game to play as a group of three or four, but it works equally well (though it is a very different experience!) with two players.

Brass: Birmingham 🚂

Be the industrial revolution! Set up factories, coal mines, ironworks, canals and later railroads.

Turns in Brass are limited to two actions, but they can still take A LOT of thinking: analysis-paralysis is inevitable! Juggling the different mechanics mentally feels like an exam you haven’t prepared for. There is a turn limit set by the deck (after which the winner is the one with most points), so the endgame comes pretty quickly and tends to catch players off-guard. Successfully actualising plans in the last few turns feels really, really good. The ‘Manufacturing’ route is absolutely wild and seemingly random, I’ve not gone far into that yet. The transport, research, resources and market systems are really, really cool.

If it weren’t such a mentally-intense game to play - or if I weren’t such a wimp - then I would play this more often. But I wouldn’t ever change it, it’s a really elegant boardgame and an awesome experience.

Scythe 🤖

Build-up your economy, expand your territory and battle with dieselpunk machines.

I absolutely love the art. Rushing to finish this game isn’t necessarily for the best: there are a lot of points to be gained just from map control and producing resources (if you reach a high popularity score). The combat and especially the recruiting mechanics keep you paying attention to others and avoiding getting too absorbed in your own engine. The player-boards pieces are extremely fancy! Each faction has it’s own mech and hero miniatures and differently-shaped wooden worker-pieces.

Looks heavy but it is a surprisingly short, fast and easy game to play. I love it!

7 Wonders: Duel ⚔️

Grow a powerful ancient civilisation, construct wonders, go to war. Simple!

3 ways to win and each feel very different. Unlike most other highly-rated games you realllly pay attention to what your opponent is doing in this one, you cannot afford to be too absorbed in your own plans. It’s also open-handed. This keeps it as a sociable shared-experience!

Great 2 player game, clever but very fast and easy to play.

Terraforming Mars 🚀

Make mars hospitable - and get rich as you do so!

In a way, this is the antithesis of 7 Wonders: Duel. In this game it’s easy to get entirely absorbed in your own engine - as the engine-building is so deep and a lot of points come from cards off the board - and it can feel a little like a solo-experience during some phases. The fast turns mean that there is very little time spent waiting for your next turn, which adds to the solo-feel. However, there are still plenty of opportunities for direct conflict on the cards - meteors, predators, viruses, etc. - and there is always competition over board-space, depleting terraforming opportunities and awards in the late game.

Presentation-wise, this is the anti-Scythe. Whereas Scythe has a large board, luxurious miniatures, etc., Mars has smaller thin-and-strictly-flat boards. And everything, from the currency, the planets temperature, oxygen, to your plants and animals, to your resources, income rates, research, land-ownership, awards, and so on are indicated by little coloured cubes placed on boards or cards. It’s not fancy to look at, but I think that is really clever and cool.

Easy to play, really deep, you’ll be constantly doing things and never bored, but it can be a very long game (depending on how you and others play) so leave plenty of time for it. Even more so than in Scythe, rushing to finish the game is not always to your advantage.

By the way

I’ve culled my site of some more philosothunking 🤔🤔🤔 posts because I want my site to be a fun place mm’kay. Thinking too much is bad. Also those posts make me look too opinionated - in my opinion. You will play boardgames and you will be happy.

My New Idle Game