Please, Carcassonne Was My Father's Name: The Board Game Thread


Splendor is one of the few games I have gotten better at, mostly because I play with some competent gamers and thus would get trounced 6 to 17 if I didn’t. I had a fairly naïve strategy of trying to get a big discount and pay almost nothing for the high-points cards later in the game, which failed since the setup is long and other players win before it gets any momentum.

Eventually I worked out what the better players’ the selection criteria was (get cards to earn an aristocrat, pay anything, use investments/gold coins to deny cards/pay for the ones you need)


We only played once but I gleaned pretty quickly that, especially since new cards are always coming up whose prices you can’t anticipate, you should just buy anything you can whenever you can, with a few exceptions. Your investment compounds. My dad and I did the same thing, buying broad instead of deep, and my wife and mom did the other thing, trying to buy deep instead of broad. My dad and I were far ahead by the end, he only beat me because I couldn’t get one last bonus to steal his noble.

But like… wouldn’t you do this… every time… both my wife and I were like, well, we played once and I think we got everything there is to get?

On the other hand we played Pandemic like 3 times together and couldn’t win even once so we clearly suck at boardgames


I got Photosynthesis for Christmas, a game I have been interested in for a while.

What a beautiful, clever, elegant game! Really love the tactics regarding where and when to grow trees, especially when taking shade and other people’s plans into consideration. And that shade mechanic really is super clever and fun. I think perhaps the game is just a liitttllleee too long, but it was our first game so may be shorter next time now that we know what we’re doing.

I was a bit worried because my brother’s girlfriend joined in who isn’t a gamer at all, but she picked this one up pretty well and seemed to really enjoy it. I think the theme helped it to be easy to understand.

Also it was hilarious because I was so certain I was going to win with my strategy, as did everyone else, only to realise in the third and final round that I had failed to plan adequately and had pretty much screwed myself, much to everyone else’s amusement.


I hadn’t touched Dominion in about a year until this week. Previously, I’d had the base set, Intrigue, and Prosperity. When I’d tried some of the other expansions in the past, I wasn’t entirely sold on their gimmicks. Especially when they introduced new components aside from cards. But on a friend’s recommendation, I picked up a newer set called Adventures that I think adds a lot to the game.

It turns out that there is a new version of the base set and of Intrigue with several of the less interesting cards replaced with ones that are reportedly better. There were also “upgrade packs” for people who already had the old versions, but I think I may have missed their window of availability.

One of the things that Adventures adds is “Event” cards. You have one or two available in a game, and you can pay to activate them any time you’d normally buy cards. For example, this is a pretty wild one that we played with. It upgrades Estate cards so that they have the attributes of another card in addition to their point values.

Also, a friend told me about a useful Android application for use with Dominion. It’s called Jack of all Dominion. It presents random sets of cards from the sets you own, provides a reference for setup with different player counts, etc. I will probably use it if I start playing Dominion more than once a year.


So Dropmix is… interesting.

Basically you have songs chopped up into their strongest component parts on the cards. There’s three actual “games” as well as the ability to just drop cards to remix songs like an okay DJ. It’s very hard to make something that sounds unpleasant.

There’s only something like 30 or so songs spread out over the game’s hundreds of cards; they start you out with 60 (though two of mine in the starter set do not work at all). I was keen on expanding this game until I kept seeing different parts to songs that had parts in the base set all the way out in the ‘season 4’ booster expansion. No thank you.

The board is very responsive in registering cards, and mixes you make can be saved and shared, so that’s nice.


I bought this for $20 from a cigarette and novelty store. Worth it. It’s basically charades but you use the doll as a prop, it was a huge hit at my last gathering.

I also bought and played NOT ALONE, a one VS. everyone game. I was the alien trying to hunt all the other players and lost pretty badly, but I really dig it and I’m keen to try again now that I understand the game more. Works great as a co-op game too, since you can communicate but the alien can hear everything so you have to be careful what you say.


i got this game Tzaar with like forbidden candy sprinkles checkers pieces it’s good


If you like TZAAR, the whole GIPF series is excellent. (Well, that one with the timers is not quite as elegant as the others. But I’d recommend anything else in the series without reservation.)

(Edit: I just remembered that I have not played LYNGK. It’s probably a good game but so far I’ve found it too colorful to take a chance on.)

I have played four sessions of Gloomhaven now with a couple family members. It’s not a game that was really on my radar, since I’ve never taken up real RPGs and it sounded like one. But it actually feels like a refined and expanded version of Hero Quest mixed with Final Fantasy Tactics, and I like it so far. It seems as if it might get a little samey if not for a ton of characters with different styles and abilities that you apparently unlock as you go along.

My latest board game purchase is the new campaign mode expansion for Scythe. I don’t yet know how soon or with whom I will play that, but I’ve heard good things about it and I’m looking forward to trying it.


After playing one Gloomhaven campaign for a year plus with no character unlocks anywhere near done, we started a second campaign a month ago and three of us will probably wrap ours up in a couple more sessions. Finding out that those quests aren’t secret was kind of a game-changer. Other thing we just realized, you can carry pouch items equal to half your level rounded up.


For the longest time I always emphasized clean elegant design in Board Games over heavy games as I always thought that they were heavy for heavy’s sake. On a whim I tried Terra Mystica. Whelp, I guess I am a heavy board game fan because I think it is the best thing since sliced bread. Now I want to try other heavy games, I believe Tulpa was saying Brass is a must play.

I love the GIPF series. Tzaar is kinda the best one but I highly recommend Dvonn to anyone who dug Tzaar. I also think Yinsh got reprinted so it is no longer $100 to pick up.


TM just has so many poorly motivated mana pools and shit though

I love it but it’s like 10% too arbitrary


I understand the criticism of too much resource pools, the power bowls, all of it being arbitrary.

But I love it. I love all that arbitrary stuff. I love how you can have a general feeling of the amount of resources you will need/have in future rounds but it is almost impossible to determine exactly what those numbers will be. The game has a great way of making you prioritize immediate goals, and clouding long term ones with its crunch. Many games I have done exactly what I wanted in round 4 but only to find I was one worker away come round 6 to finish my final point grab.


Terra Mystica rules. I love a good long and heavy board game that requires long-term strategic planning but throws up a cloud of uncertainty that forces you to think about contingency plans and adapt to changing circumstances.

I always talk about this damn game, but Twilight Imperium is the best about this. You start with a secret objective that might take the full game to complete, and as the game goes on, additional public objectives appear that anyone can score points for. Because the game lasts like 10-12 hours, you can get a secret objective that takes like 8 hours to accomplish.

You form a plan right at the start of the game for how you’re going to pull this off, but you have to constantly adapt to changing circumstances. Your neighbor to your left may have created a giant militarized border that gets in the way of the wormhole you need to occupy, or all other players may have voted for a law at the galactic council that changes the rules so your massive army of dreadnauts is now slower to move around the board. Perhaps you planned to manipulate the player across the board from you into attacking your neighbor, giving you the chance to move to the crucial center hex. It’s total brain candy.

In contrast, I played Terraforming Mars for the first time recently and I wasn’t super impressed. I like the totally dry scientific terraforming theme. It hits the perfect so-serious-it’s-hilarious tone that is so unique to board games. Unfortunately, the gameplay itself felt dry too, but in the wrong way. It’s pretty much a combination of all the most common and basic board game play mechanics. You up your income of different resources and you use them to buy buildings and projects that give you victory points.

It seemed to me like the winning strategy was to just pick one of the game’s point scoring mechanics and really just constantly go hard on it. One guy was super focused on building balloons to float colonies on Venus (we were playing with a Venus expansion). I won by focusing relentlessly on heating up Mars’ atmosphere. The game never really threw up any surprises for me, and there really wasn’t enough player interaction.

It was fun enough to play once but it’s kind of a generic game imo.


I also understand what people don’t like in Terraforming Mars. I do like it a lot however as it gives me the same sealed magic play style like Race for the Galaxy does only with more interaction. Fighting over spots on the board is the main interaction in TM, the take that cards are just to put a wee bit o spice or delay some one’s engine. I think Race for the Galaxy is better but I think TM has a lot of heart. I also like games with a lot of focus and I feel that TM has that. (Venus expansion is trash though IMO. Unnecessary)

I totally get it feeling flat or not dynamic if TI is your personal fav though. It’s a game about who can min/max the best and doesn’t have an arc to it. Which is probably why SU&SD didn’t care for it either.


Maybe board games are Not For You? Or at least, the less-thematic, mechanics-heavy ones

Uh I played Architects of the Western Whatevers recently and this is exactly what about it made it not interesting for me.


Had a few games of Quartermaster General, which is a 6-player WW2 game that plays in an hour. It’s all about hand management, you only get 20 turns at playing a card.


I think in Terra Mystica’s case there’s a strong argument to be made that it’s a little too unaware of or unapologetic about its own artifice

like, it takes this fairly appealing premise about terraforming and different races and buries it in a mess of shovels and multi-tiered mana pools and a terrible rulebook and it’s still a great game but it would’ve been 100% better with 10% more editing/production work

it’s too dry to even be admirably bonkers


Nah, terra mystica does what it does. Its not too complicated for the experience you get.


I knew you were going to disagree, I was keenly aware I was producing such an anti-tulpa opinion

I just think it could be a lot better. I like that it’s weirder and tighter than it promises to be, I just wish it got out of its own way a little more


the map and the terrain types are so interesting and it makes you spend way too much time thinking about other stuff that isn’t nearly as interesting!