29 March, 2020

GameNight: Blueprints

2020-03-29T11:00:07-05:00Game Night|Comments Off on GameNight: Blueprints

We’re 14 days into “stay-at-home”. How about you? Hanging in there? We pulled out this game the other night as an effort to get away from screentime and I had forgotten how fun it is. I have to admit I bought this one without knowing anything about it. My dad is an architect, so any game called “Blueprints” was automatically appealing to me.

Blueprints is a dice game where the dice represent building materials: glass, stone, wood or recycled materials. It is played over 3 rounds and each round you get the blueprint for a building you are trying to build.

You keep your blueprint behind a screen so it is secret from the other players. Every building is made from 6 dice; the card shows you a side view and a top view and the numbers tell you how many stories high the building is.

Everyone takes turns picking dice from a shared pool, placing one in their building and then rolling and replacing one. It seems really simple, but there are a bunch of things to think about when you pick your dice. A dice that is on the second or third story of the building must have a higher numbered face than the one below it. So if you put a 6 on the first floor, you won’t be able to build the second floor.

Each color of the dice also scores differently. Glass (clear) is worth whatever the number is showing on the top face. So there are 7 points in Glass showing in the photo above. Wood (orange) is worth more for every side of the dice that’s touching another one. This orange is only touching one face, so it’s only worth 2 points. Black (stone) are worth more the higher the floor they are on and Recycled (green) are worth more the more of them that you have in your building. It pays to be eco-friendly! I have 2 more dice to go before this building is finished.

The best building score gets an award, then you can score bonus points a whole lot of different ways. Following the blueprint gets you 6 bonus points. Having a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 in your building is a bonus. Having 4 dice all the same number is worth bonus points. Having 5 dice all the same color is worth bonus points. Even building extra stories on your building is worth more the higher it goes, but you will lose bonus points from not following your blueprint if you choose to go that route.

You also have to pay attention to what dice your opponents are choosing. You could see that someone is picking up all of the 4s and you could grab one to prevent them from getting the bonus points. You could grab a high numbered dice at the end of the game, leaving your opponents with only low numbers that might not be enough to go on the 2nd or 3rd story of their building.

At the end of each round, you score points and you play three rounds total. A whole game takes about 30 minutes and you can play with 2-4 people. It’s recommended for ages 14+, but I think that totally depends on how cut-throat you are playing. I wouldn’t hesitate to play this with my tween niece and nephew. There can be a lot of strategy, but it’s not necessary to make the game fun.

Here’s a link to my Game Night List on Amazon so you can find it easily and please also check out your favorite local game store who might be able to send you a copy.

16 March, 2020

Game Night: One Deck Dungeon

2020-03-16T14:18:06-05:00Game Night|Comments Off on Game Night: One Deck Dungeon

Many of you are stuck at home with bored kids by this point, but here at Chez Rahn, it’s just us and a labrador who thinks that work-from-home-week is the most amazing thing ever. So today I want to tell you about a 2 player game called One Deck Dungeon. My husband and I really like to play games, but most things are really designed to work best with 4 players, so it’s a challenge to find one that’s really fun with two.

In One Deck Dungeon, you and your partner are exploring a dungeon. It’s a collaborative game, which means either the players win or the game wins, you aren’t playing against each other (which can also be awesome if your partner is a competitive sort.) One each turn you explore a room by opening one of four doors (flipping over the card). You will either find a monster or a trap which you have to defeat (or dodge) in order to move on.

Each character has a pool of dice to roll in order to defeat your obstacle. The dice have one of 4 different colors and each character gets different ones. One quirky thing I like about this game is that the game designers decided to make all of the characters be girls. So the Paladin, Rogue, Warrior, Archer and Mage are all female. It doesn’t change anything about the way you play the game, but I love it.

The monster or trap has some specific dice rolls you need in order to defeat it. For this monster, you need to fill up each of the colored boxes with dice totalling or exceeding the number in the box. We’ve already placed a 6+4 of pink to make 10 (which was the number on this box) and I am about the place the blue 3 on the blue 3 box.

We won’t quite be able to defeat this “Shadow” on our own without consequences. We’ll be able to fill the other blue boxes with the two blue 5 dice, but we don’t have a yellow 5 to be able to fill that yellow box. That means one of us will take some damage unless we can find a way to make the yellow dice we need. There are lots of ways to do that. You can trade in two colored dice to make a black dice. Black is like a wild color. Each character also has special abilities to add to a dice roll, re-roll, change the color, or get an extra dice. You get those special abilities by defeating the obstacles; for every one you defeat you get either an extra dice to roll or a special power to use for the rest of the game.

You will play through three levels of the dungeon which gets harder and harder and then for your final battle you will face a boss monster, which can be different for each game you play. The whole game goes quickly; according to the box it’s 30 minutes per game. I think once you’ve learned it that could be true, but your first few will take a little longer. It is recommended for ages 14+, which I think is maybe a little high but that will depend a lot on the young person you are playing with. There are lots of things to look at, especially when you are trying to figure out how on earth you are going to make that last yellow 5 you need to defeat the monster, but it is cooperative, so you are working together for everything. The whole game fits in a box smaller than a paperback book, but it will be different every time and there is a sequel that you can combine with this one to make even more variations.

Links to One Deck Dungeon and One Deck Dungeon: Forest of Shadows are here in my Amazon List so you can find it easily. Please check your favorite local games store too and support a small business if you can. The Source in Minneapolis will pull and have things waiting for you so you can just pop in and pick it up.

There’s also a great iOS version and Android version so you can play solo on your ipad or tablet.

14 March, 2020

Game Night: Carcassonne and The Princess & The Dragon

2020-03-14T12:46:51-05:00Game Night|Comments Off on Game Night: Carcassonne and The Princess & The Dragon

Next up in my Game Night series is a game called Carcassonne. Carcassonne is a map-building game; players build the map collaboratively but your score is based on placing your “meeples” on features of the map that score points when they are completed. On your turn you draw and place a tile. Then you have the option of placing your meeple in a place where he can score. You only have a limited number of meeple tokens, and your guy is stuck there until the feature is complete, so there is a little strategy to knowing when to place and when to hold out.

For example, the blue player placed a meeple on this road when she placed the tile. When both ends of the road are connected to something, then the road is complete and the blue player gets the score and takes their token back. This completed road is worth 1 point for every tile with a road segment on it, so it would score 4 points.

Things start to get competitive when different parts of the map get joined up. Someone can place a tile so that two previously unconnected parts of a city are suddenly joined together. If there are different colored meeples now all in the same city, everyone gets the points. There are symbols that give you bonus points and rules for having a majority of meeples in one area and how that scores, but the rules are pretty simple and easy to learn.

The basic game is pretty straightforward. But if you like a little random twist in your game, there are a LOT of expansions that shake up the basic rules. My favorite of the expansions is The Princess and the Dragon. It works just like the basic game, but it introduces a dragon and a fairy character. Whenever you turn up a tile with a dragon icon on it, the dragon stomps around the board and eats meeples. Players take turns moving the dragon on his rampage around the board, so you can make him sidestep your own meeples, but only 1 step at a time.

The game works for 2-6 players and is recommended for ages 8 and up. This is another game that is really great with diverse groups of people; it’s fun to play as a family.

I’ve added links to my Amazon List so you can find it easily, along with a couple of my favorite expansions (There’s even a “big box” version that has the base game and 11 different expansions!) Also check it out at your local games store!

And here’s a link to an awesome YouTube video series that can teach you how to play: Watch It Played – Carcassonne

12 March, 2020

GameNight: Sushi Go & Sushi Go Party

2020-03-12T17:45:51-05:00Game Night|Comments Off on GameNight: Sushi Go & Sushi Go Party

I decided today that it was a great time to do some more board game posts. Many of us are looking at some quality time inside our own houses and I think board games can be a great way to pass the time. Some friends and I are talking about playing a virtual game night through Google Hangouts so we can have some virtual social interaction. In that spirit, I am testing out some new video recording space and so I made a little video to go along with this post.

Sushi Go and Sushi Go Party are two related games. They work the same, but the “Party” version just has an expansion with more cards. The theme is sushi and the game play is as simple as Pick, Play, Pass.

Sushi Go is a great game for nearly any group of people. It’s marked as ages 8+ but even non readers can play because there isn’t any text you need to read. Like I said in the video, the game play is as simple as Pick, Play, Pass, which means it’s fast to learn and you can just jump in and play. The “Party” version mixes it up a bit and adds some cards with more variations in the kinds of sets you need to make and a little more strategy you can use for messing up your neighbor if you can stick them with a card. For example, with tofu you can have too much of a good thing: one or two cards are worth points, but if you have three tofus they are worth zero. Here’s an example round worth 13 points: 10 for having a set of 3 sashimi, 1 for the dumpling and 2 for the salmon nigiri. To score a tempura, you have to have a pair so this one on its own is scores nothing.

The game play is really fast. We have learned through many many plays that it helps a LOT to wait and count “one…two…three… FLIP” when everyone is ready to play their cards and WAIT to pass until everyone has flipped. It is easy to be in your own world and get ahead or behind passing the hand of cards and suddenly they are all piled up with one person.

There are several versions of this game. Sushi Go is the original. Sushi Go Party has all of the original game but adds about double the number of cards with different kinds of sushi. Sushi Roll is a dice version a little like Yahtzee. I have put all of them in my Game Night Amazon list here (so you can order them without having to leave your house.) There are also iOS and Android versions so you can play on your phone or tablet.

11 January, 2020

Gamenight: Tiny Epic Quest

2020-01-11T12:51:12-06:00Game Night|Comments Off on Gamenight: Tiny Epic Quest

It’s time for another GameNight post to tell you about what we’ve been playing lately. This week we wanted something quick and easy, so we pulled out “Tiny Epic Quest” by Gamelyn Games. There are a whole series of “tiny epic” games: western, zombies, galaxies, kingdoms. They even have a dinosaur themed one coming out this summer that I am excited about. We also have Galaxies and Beyond the Black in this series.

They are all games that fit in a box about the size of a paperback book, hence the “tiny” in the name. One of the things I love about these games is that they can’t be very complicated, because there just isn’t space to do that. They have clever mechanics and ways of playing, but you don’t have to worry about reading an 89 page rulebook.

In Tiny Epic Quest, you have three “meeples” which are your little characters that go questing around a map. The map is built from a deck of map cards, so the arrangement changes a bit each time you play, making no two games the same. Each turn has two kinds of actions you can do. First you send your meeples off around the map to explore, and then in the second half of your turn, you roll the dice to try and fulfill the quest you’ve sent them off on.

One of the clever parts of this game is that moving your meeples is limited to only 1 kind of movement each turn (vertical, horizontal, diagonal, around the outside of the board, or a single step any direction) and players take turns choosing which one it will be. I had fun thwarting a move of my husband’s when we played last night by choosing the diagonal move card so he couldn’t get to the quest that would score him lots of points.

The goal is to score as many points as you can in 5 rounds. You can do many different kinds of things with your meeples that earn points: learn magic spells, explore treasure caves, fight goblins or fulfill quest cards. One kind of quest can only be finished by having your meeples arranged in a specific pattern on the map (like all in a diagonal line).

Once you’ve placed your pieces, then you take turns rolling the dice and trying to get enough of the quest symbol you need to finish the quest. It’s a “press-your-luck” strategy because if you roll too many times, you can become exhausted and then you lose all of your progress for that turn. Dice rolls are also shared between the players so you might roll symbols that help you or they might be exactly what another player needs to finish their quest so you have to decide to keep rolling or quit while you are ahead.

One silly and fun component of this game is that your meeples can carry treasures, which are little objects they can hold that give that token extra powers or bonus points for certain kinds of tasks. You can see a meeple holding a spell book in the photo above. The card below lets you take the bow and it helps you fight goblins. There are about two dozen different little treasures that each do different things from swords and bombs for goblin fighting, to a shovel and a lantern that help you explore temples.

Because it works in only 5 rounds, the game goes pretty quickly. I think we usually finish a game in about 45 minutes. You can’t attack other players or steal anything from them, so it is not super confrontational, but it is interactive as you can definitely mess with other players by making it difficult for them to move around or by rolling really well and finishing a quest first.  The game manufacturer says ages 14+ and I think it depends on your kids. The mechanics of how you play are really easy to learn but the super varied strategy for scoring points would probably be more difficult for younger kids to grasp. (Maybe a good one for younger kids teamed up with an adult to help.) It has a solo mode so you can play by yourself (like a solitaire game) or with up to 4 players. For experienced gamers it might have a little too much randomness to make it really appealing, but I think it’s pretty perfect for people who just like to play some games to have fun.

I encourage you to find it at your local games store, but you can also get it directly from the game publisher: Tiny Epic Quest

Here’s also a link to find it on Amazon: Tiny Epic Quest

All the games in this blog post series will be featured on my Game Night “Idea List” on Amazon.

If you want to dig in to more in-depth reviews, video tutorials and more, you can check it out on Board Game Geek and here’s a link to my favorite game instructions video series: Watch It Played: Tiny Epic Quest

21 November, 2019

Game Night: Sagrada

2019-11-21T13:32:03-06:00Game Night|Comments Off on Game Night: Sagrada

For my next board game post I am going to talk about a new-to-me game called Sagrada. My husband and I help host a monthly game night at the co-working space where he works. We teach people how to play some of our favorite games and sometimes someone brings along something new that we get to learn. This week we got to try Sagrada, which is a sort of puzzle game with dice.


Each player’s game board looks like a stained glass window and players take turns rolling a handful of brightly colored dice and placing them in the window spaces. Each person chooses a pattern for their window from a deck of cards. This part of the game is clever because the card slides into the player board, so you get a new pattern to play each time you play the game.

The game play is really simple. Players take turns rolling dice, picking and placing them. The interesting part of the game is figuring out how to place them. There are a few rules: the same color or number value of dice can’t be next to each other. The pattern in your window has symbols that tell you what can be placed there. A white tile means it’s like a wild, but there are colored spaces where you can only place a dice of the same color and numbered spaces which can only hold the same number.

There are also a collection of patterns that you are trying to make that will score you extra points. I lost my first game because I totally wasn’t paying enough attention to that. In our game the goals were to have sets of all 5 colors (red, yellow, green, blue, purple), pairs of 3s and 4s, and sets of all 6 numbers. I didn’t have enough 1s to make sets in my game board, so I totally missed out on those points. You also get a very limited number of gemstones that let you use special bonus tools that give you the ability to flip a dice to another number or move one that you’ve already placed on the board.

I think this would be a great game for a family weekend, which is why I wanted to write about it before the Thanksgiving holiday. It would work for a wide range of ages and it is really quick to learn and fast to play. Officially the game says ages 14+, but you could absolutely do this with younger ones. The game play might not be as strategic, but they could totally keep up. Our group actually just sat and watched this quick video which taught us the game in about 5 minutes and we were ready to go. It’s designed for 4 players, but when I checked it out online, I found an expansion available for 5-6 players, so you can get a larger group involved too.

I encourage you to find it at your local games store, but here’s also a link to find it on Amazon: Sagrada

All the games in this blog post series will be featured on my Game Night “Idea List” on Amazon.

If you want to dig in to more in-depth reviews, video tutorials and more, you can check it out on Board Game Geek.

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