Robinson Crusoe

10 x 10 Tabletop Challenge: Mission Accomplished*

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Robinson Crusoe
Okay, it was after midnight when we finished, but I’m counting it for 2014. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Well, despite my doubts in my year-end reflections post, I actually did manage to finish* my 10×10 Tabletop challenge, just under the wire.

*Okay, maybe that asterisk means it was just over the wire–my last game of the challenge, Robinson Crusoe, technically didn’t finish until 2015, but since I started before midnight I’m going to count it.

So here’s my final count:

  • Yardmaster Express: 18
  • Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (Rise of the Runelords): 17
  • Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (Skull & Shackles): 16
  • Good Cop Bad Cop: 15
  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf: 12
  • Machi Koro: 10
  • 20 Express: 10
  • Eggs & Empires: 10
  • Robinson Crusoe: 10
  • Carcassonne: somethingish

In the last week of 2014, I played a couple of games with my kids, and had a couple of game nights, including a New Year’s Eve game night where I finished plays of the last 5 games on my list.

So here’s a closer look at the games on my list, including links to previous reviews where applicable:

Yardmaster Express
Yardmaster Express (prototype shown) Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Yardmaster Express: This is the quick card-drafting game inspired by Yardmaster, which is itself a nice, quick game. I wrote about both games when they were on Kickstarter (Yardmaster, Yardmaster Express), and they’ve both delivered since. So some of my plays were from the prototype, and some when the finished game arrived. It turned out nicely and is a great game for a few rounds when you don’t have time for a long game.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Yep, you’ve heard about this one plenty of times–after first playing it at Gen Con in 2013, it made my Game of the Year for 2013, and my group continued to meet almost weekly in 2014 to play through all of the adventure decks. We completed the entire Rise of the Runelords set this fall, and dove right into the next set, Skull & Shackles, which has a pirate theme. The new scenarios are a bit tougher than the first, and there are also more scenarios that aren’t the usual hunt-the-villain type, which makes for some more variety. It was hard going back down to brand-new characters after being fully leveled-up, but it’s been fun learning how to use our new abilities as a team. I haven’t given Skull & Shackles a proper review yet, but expect it soon. Really, I’m tempted to pick Skull & Shackles as my game of the year for 2014 (that post will come next week, I hope) but I think I’ll spread the love.

Good Cop Bad Cop
Which ones are honest cops and which are crooked? Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Good Cop Bad Cop: I wrote about the Kickstarter project last spring, but unfortunately I barely got my post done before the campaign ended. It’s a really great game, and is now available. In fact, Overworld Games is getting ready to Kickstarter the first expansion for it, Bombers and Traitors. It’s a fantastic, quick-playing, hidden-role game that uses three Integrity cards per player to determine which team each player is on, and makes for some fascinating strategy. And since it can accommodate up to 8 players, it’s great for parties.

Werewolf cards

One Night Ultimate Werewolf: Regular Werewolf still gets a lot of love, but this is by far my preferred way to play it. Instead of long games with players getting eliminated each “day,” this game takes place in one busy night, and then you jump right into accusations, a simultaneous vote, and the game is over. You can see my original review here. There was an expansion, Daybreak, that was Kickstarted this fall, but I haven’t gotten to play it yet. If you do play this, I highly recommend using the free app that goes along with it.

Machi Koro
My town (at bottom center) finished all four landmarks, winning the game. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Machi Koro: This little card game continues to delight me every time I play it. My kids have started to settle in on the same strategy now, leaving it up to me to mix things up. I’m looking forward to the expansion, which should be out any time now. It’s all about building up your economic engine so you can buy the four major landmarks for your town. Read my original review here.

20 Express

20 Express: I reviewed this one in 2013, but it still hits the table. This one has been a fun one for really big groups, before everyone splits up to play other games. I call it “strategic Bingo” because it feels a little like Bingo–somebody pulls numbers out of a bag, one at a time–but it’s strategic because you get to decide where to put those numbers. And, like Bingo, it can handle any number of players, as long as you have enough pencils to go around. My original review was here.

Eggs & Empires

Eggs & Empires: I loved this one when I reviewed it in prototype form, and was really excited to get my copy in December. It got several plays the first time around, and several more with the nice, finished artwork. A nice game of simultaneous choices and out-thinking your opponents, with a good balance of luck and strategy. Plus, it’s a small-box game that can handle up to 6 players, so it’s great to take along for gaming on the go.

Robinson Crusoe
Our specimen sheet, from the Voyage of the Beagle expansion. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Robinson Crusoe: I never actually did a proper review of Robinson Crusoe, because it was one that I purchased for myself after playing a demo at Gen Con in 2013. I didn’t end up getting it until January 2014 because it was totally sold out at Gen Con (in three hours!) and it took a while to get them back in stock, but I was eager to give it another shot. It’s a brilliantly-designed game (even though the rulebook can be confusing) and it’s probably the most fun you’ll have losing a brutal cooperative game because the story is so fun. This week I bought the Voyage of the Beagle expansion, which is actually a series of scenarios that follow Darwin’s journey. You collect specimens, help repair the ship, and make a perilous voyage across the ocean. The best part: I’ve only played a couple of the included scenarios from the base game, so I know I’m going to continue getting a lot of replay value from it.

Carcassonnne app

Carcassonne: This is the only game on my list that I play primarily on the iPad, and I don’t have an exact count because I forget to log plays. However, I’ve always got one or two games going at any time. Carcassonne was one of my gateway games, and it’s still one of my favorites. Whether it’s an old set, the new 2.0 version, or the iPad app, it’s a game I’ll gladly play any time you ask.

So, that’s my 10×10 for 2014. I barely squeaked by, and many of the games on my list were short games, so I’m still not diving in as deeply to some of my heftier games. This year I’m definitely going to be playing through Skull & Shackles, and I hope to make it through Darwin’s entire journey in Robinson Crusoe. Other games I want to play (because, hey, I spent a lot on the Kickstarter so I need to make it worth it) are Tuscany, the expansion to Viticulture, and Shadows of Brimstone, for which I’m attempting to paint some miniatures for the first time. As for any others? Well, that remains to be seen; I’m sure 2015 will bring piles of new games to try. Let’s play some games!

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