Holiday Roundup

So the holidays have come and gone, and I’ve managed to add a few more games to my collection. Haven’t gotten to play them yet (you know, pandemic and new baby and all), but I wanted to talk about them a bit.

image by BGG user kmatejka

Cartographers (Jordy Adan, Thunderworks Games) is a flip-and-write game set in the Roll Player universe where you’re essentially building a map. There’s a deck of cards that you flip over one at a time. This will give you different polyomino shapes to draw on a map, as well as terrains to fill those shapes with. There are four scoring goals throughout the game, with two of these scored at the end of each of the four rounds. The winner is the player with the most points at the end, with a target score set by adding numbers on the goal cards for a solo game.

I’ve managed to play this once so far (the only one on this list with that distinction), and I enjoyed it. I did it solo and I did terribly, so clearly I have a lot of improvement to do. And I plan to do a review on it eventually after I get a few more plays under my belt.

image by BGG user fencedingates

Fort (Grant Rodiek, Leder Games) is a deck-building game that had its first life as SPQF, as published by Grant Rodiek’s own company Hyperbole Games. In Fort, you’re a kid, trying to collect the most stuff and use the assets of different friends to build the best fort in the neighborhood. You can use cards in your hand to boost the card you play, and you run the risk of losing any cards you didn’t use as other players can draft from those. Ultimately, you’re trying to outscore everyone else.

I like what they’re doing at Leder Games, and Grant Rodiek is a designer I’ve been following for a while. So this was one I had been looking at for a while. The ability to draft from other player’s decks is pretty interesting, and the game production is really cool. So this is one I’m looking forward to playing.

image by BGG user songbird

Netrunner (Richard Garfield, Wizards of the Coast) is also known as Garfield’s OTHER collectible card game (besides Magic: The Gathering). It’s an asymmetric cyberpunk themed game, with one player as the Corp and the other as a hacker known as the Runner. The Corp is trying to complete agendas, and the Runner is trying to foil those plans.

This game was reprinted in 2012 by Fantasy Flight as Android: Netrunner, one of their Living Card Games. But that’s not the version I got – I got the original. I actually won it in the BGG Support Drive Giveaway – a starter box plus a bunch of extra cards. I’m really excited to check it out because many people consider it to be the best CCG ever, so I want to see for myself. Not that I have a whole lot of experience with CCGs – I played a round of Magic once, but that was it.

image by BGG user KenH

Robin of Locksley (Uwe Rosenberg, Rio Grande Games) is a two-player abstract game where you’re competing to pick up the best loot and move their bard quickly around the track. Each player has a piece that moves like a chess knight (in an L pattern), and the loot that you grab can be sold for money or kept to try to fulfill different objectives around the board. The first player to make it around the track wins.

This game is very nice looking. The art on the tiles is nice, and the setup of having the track of objectives around this 5×5 grid is visually appealing. The theme doesn’t really seem to be there, but gameplay seems pretty solid, and I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

image by BGG user mgnade

Set a Watch (Mike Gnade/Todd Walsh, Rock Manor Games) is a cooperative adventure style game where players are trying to survive until the end. Each round, you move to a new location and different monsters show up. There are four heroes in play, but one of them can’t participate each round – they stay behind to tend the fire. Each character has different special abilities and rolls either three d6 or three d8 every round. These dice are allocated around to try to do as much damage as possible before your fire dies

This is a game I’ve been looking forward to for a while, and I’m really looking forward to playing. However, every time I’ve gotten it set up, something has called me away or required the use of the table. So I haven’t played. But someday.

image by BGG user mr_bink

Trekking the National Parks (Charlie Bink, Underdog Games) is a game where you’re bouncing around the country, visiting national parks and trying to turn in the right resources to score park cards. On your turn, you either move a number of spaces equal to the number on a played card, or draw a card, or turn in cards to score a park, or turn in cards to occupy a major park. When someone has scored five parks, the player with the most points wins.

This is a very simple game that I think will have pretty wide appeal with family. I know my dad in particular will love it, wildlife guy that he is. I don’t know that it will be something I haul to game nights, unless it’s with people who aren’t as familiar with hobby games – I think that will be its niche.

So that’s my haul for this year. As I get to play them, I’m sure I’ll talk more. But for now, stay safe out there and thanks for reading!

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