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Our Ten "Highest Scoring" Games From 2015

SUBJECTS:

Well, we haven’t kept up with the blog as much as we wanted to… and January is already over. HOWEVER, I thought I’d talk about my favorite games from 2015.

A couple quick things to note:

  • We started getting into the “hobby” about Christmas time 2014, so this list includes games given to each other during Christmas that year. It’s close enough to 2015, right?
  • The games on this list are games we played/discovered in 2015 — not necessarily games released in 2015. We’ve spent the last year getting more into the hobby, so we’re discovering games released over 8 years ago.
  • This is MY list. I know Elisabeth likes most of these games, but her order or list might be a bit different... which will be at the end of this post. :)

NUMBER TEN!

Smash Up. There’s a lot of fantastically nerdy things in the world, so why choose one to be your favorite? Take two of them and… smash them together! Want to put the feud to rest and play as Plants & Zombies? DONE! Want to be a Time Traveler (Such as Dr. When) riding Dinosaurs (Dinosaurs… on a spaceship!!)? Go for it. Once you have your team, you can attack bases laid out on the table with Minion cards. Once a base breaks, you score points. First to 15 wins! I like this one a lot, but it can be quite chaotic. You can try to plan ahead, but chances are, someone will do something THEY think is awesome, and completely thwart your plans (I’m looking at you Jarred). Because of the chaos, and my lack of winning, this was the strongest debate with Pandemic, but ultimately, I always enjoy it. I mean, I can have Cats fighting alongside Giant Ants… and who wouldn’t want that?

NUMBER NINE!

Five Tribes. I actually like this game better than several on my list. In fact, I even did a full fledge review of it in my last blog post, so I’m not going to get into the game mechanics of it all. The reason it’s lower on my list is because I don’t love it as a two player game. Every other game on this list I’ve enjoyed just as much when it’s just me and Elisabeth. It could possibly be in the 3 or 4 spot, but as it stands, I LOVE this game, but have to deduct points for a weak two player variant.

NUMBER EIGHT!

Steam Park. Want to entice robots to come to your theme park that you build based off dice you roll and put on your mechanical pig? OK, then this is the game for you! This really doesn’t hit the table as much as I think it should. The artwork is beautiful & the gameplay is fun. I’ve discover the mechanics sometimes confuse new players, but once you get the rhythm of the game going… I’m always happy when I’m done, looking at my cute little amusement park.

NUMBER SEVEN!

7 Wonders. When we first got this game, we played it. A lot. I personally HATED the two person variant, so after one play of it, we came up with our own, where we played two cities each. THAT was fun. It’s a card drafting game, playing one from your hand and passing the rest to your neighbor, all the while trying to build your civilization. How much goods do you need to produce? Military? Science? As one of the first games we purchased and with lots of new games to try, it hasn't hit the table as often as we first got it, but I’ll always be willing to play it. One of Elisabeth’s gifts to me this Christmas was the Babel expansion, and I really look forward to getting that to the table.

NUMBER SIX!

Takenoko. Such a great gateway game. It’s simple to teach and relaxing the play. The goal is simple: get the most points by growing bamboo, eating bamboo, and laying down land. We’ve even recently added the Chibis expansion to this game, which adds just enough variety, without making it too complex. What’s wonderful is that I can have just as much fun playing it with two players as I can with four, which is not always the case.

NUMBER FIVE!

Lost Cities. Our friends the Angels gave us the two player card game. Then, the amazing Mishnes showed up in Ohio with the board game, and we were hooked. It’s a betting game. Can I get the cards that will send my explorer far enough along the track? Should I put my guy worth double the points here, knowing he could score me double negatives? It’s simple, it’s fun, there’s a little of a “HA! I got here first!” element.

NUMBER FOUR!

Seasons. I’ve been interested in this game for a long time, and finally received it as a gift from Elisabeth on Christmas! I was not disappointed. Rolling & drafting dice to help make you a powerful sorcerer, controlling the elements of nature. The ultimate goal is to play the cards in your hand which help get you victory points, but there's other ways to get victory points and things you need to do... there's no clear "Oh, that guy's winning." In fact, when we played with Jon, I swore he was killing us. But Elisabeth won and Jon came in last. After our first game, I was immediately ready to play again, and that's a sign of a fun game to me.

NUMBER THREE!

Mysterium. It's Dixit meets Clue. This is a co-op game where a murder has taken place in a manor, and a ghost is trying to tell us who killed him and have his/her soul put to rest. You must find the murderer, the location, and the weapon (sound familiar?) within seven "hours" by interpriting visions cast by the ghost. Elisabeth loves this game. I love this game. We fight over who gets to be the ghost. It plays up to 7, meaning we can pull it out with a larger group. The art is beautiful. I'm gonna say this probably about all the games here on out, but go buy this game.

NUMBER TWO

Dominion. I first saw this nearly 5 years ago on a friends Instagram post. I asked about it, and for some reason never bothered picking it up. So when Elisabeth and I wanted two player games to play together, I bought it for her for Christmas and it sat in the shrinkwrap for two months. When it finally hit the table... it kept hitting the table. It's a game about deck building, starting with 10 cards and building up. The base game is fantastic and allows for a vast amount of variety, but we've since aquired 3 other expansions. If you get another one, get Seaside. I LOVE this expansion, especially with the addition of Action-Duration. Thanks to Eric & Natalie for giving it to us!

NUMBER ONE!

Legendary. I like Marvel. I like Deck Building. What a perfect combination! I got this for myself, but man alive... Elisabeth just fell in love with it. When I took her to buy games for her birthday, we got nearly every expansion, and other than one out of print expansion, we have every Marvel additon. Another co-operative game, you recruit heroes to kick villian butt. You need to manage the city crime and take out the Mastermind. I love this game so much, I've played it multiple times solo.

BONUS: Elisabeth's Top Ten

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  1. Legendary
  2. Dominion
  3. Lost Cities
  4. Mysterium
  5. Takenoko
  6. Smash Up
  7. Pandemic
  8. 7 Wonders
  9. Kingdom Builders
  10. Carcassone

A few honorable mentions, aka, should Konrad have a top 15?

  1. Agricola: This is a heavy Eurogame. So much so, that reading through the instructions made my brain hurt. When Elisabeth and I tried to play it, we didn’t understand it that well, and Elisabeth, who has told me she will try it again someday, has not in the year that has passed. So why does it make my honorable mentions? I played it again with our friend Jon, who explained it a bit better… and I REALLY like it. It’s hard.There’s a lot you have to think about and keep track of to win, which makes me enjoy it. Plus, it was a Christmas gift from my wonderful bride, so of course it holds a special place in my heart.
  2. Kingdom Builder: It’s a simple and fun game. In it, you are building a little empire on various plots of land: Flowers, Grass, Woods, Dessert, & Cavern. A single card determines where you go, which is not my favorite mechanic, but can limit your options if you don’t think about every move you make. You can gain powers to enhance your turn, and those can make the difference depending on the goals. Not heavy in theme, but I feel it holds a lot of replayability between the different boards you can pick out, as well as the various goals. This one just barely misses for me, because I’ve had a LOT of fun playing it, particularly on our Disney Cruise with the amazing and wonderful Angel family.
  3. Pandemic: ARG!! If there’s a game I’ve gone back and forth on, its Pandemic. I kept fighting back and forth between this and a few that made my list, but ultimately decided to hold off, since we just started our Pandemic Legacy campaign. It’s a co-op game, meaning it’s all the players vs. the game. You’re a team traveling the world as it outbreaks with various diseases. You need to cure them, while at the same time doing your best to treat diseases so they don’t outbreak and overrun the cities they are in… oh, so much fun. We recently got an expansion which we have yet to bring to the table, but we know we’ll enjoy. Win or lose, we’ve always enjoyed this game.

A Tabletop Marriage

Welcome back! We're gonna try to get this thing going again. When we first started this blog, We had some different interests, including Vinylmation. That has changed a lot, and I decided to change that category to "Tabletop" so we can talk about one of our favorite things: games!

For Elisabeth and I, 2015 has been the year of strategy board games.

Back in college, nearly 10 years ago, one of my friends came back from a break with a board game called "Settlers of Catan." It wasn't quite like anything I had played before. First, the board was different every time, meaning no two games ever felt quite the same. Second, unlike most board games where the game mechanics is how you roll the dice, spin the wheel, or draw the cards, there seemed to be a great deal of strategy involved. You haggled and traded resources with each other, as well as strategically blocked others from getting resources, all while figuring out what the next best move was for you. Needless to say, I was hooked. I spent many a night with friends playing this game and it is highly addictive, but be warned ... never, and I repeat, NEVER play with Dennis Lunt. That guy is pure evil.

In 2010, one of the first things Elisabeth and I first did together when we started seeing each other was play Catan in her garage with some friends. Soon after, we sat down to play a round of one of my other college-discovered strategy board games: Heroscape. I learned she had a love of "Sneaky" Dinosaurs, and truly enjoyed strategic game-play. However, since then, we haven't really played. Heroscape can be a beast to set up, take down, and buy your armies, while Settlers really requires at least 3 people to play.

Then, last fall, a couple of friends invited us over and we ended up playing "Munchkin" with them. While not a board game, it is a highly strategic card game, requiring a lot of teaming-up and backstabbing that, if played with your wife, could end up leaving you sleeping on the couch. We thought it was FANTASTIC and ended up buying a version of it. However, this again required 3 people. On our anniversary, we bought a 2-person, much simpler game called "Fluxx" and remembered Oh, yeah! We really like doing this together! Plus, ever since we got kids we've been looking for ways to have time together at home, or at-home-date-nights, that didn't include sitting on the couch watching TV or a movie.

So began the quest for strategy games we could play together with just 2 players. During December 2014 and the months that have followed, through sales and a gift from the Mishne, we've added more than two dozen games to our collection, including several expansions. Some are easier then others (King of Tokyo), some we still can't play by ourselves, some have become absolute favorites (Dominion & its expansions) and some are meant to be played by me and a friend because Elisabeth was not a fan (Agricola).

It has become one of our favorite things to do, both by ourselves, and with friends. We hope to share some reviews & opinions to encourage you to, in the words of Wil Wheaton, "play more games!"

7-Eleven's Free Slurpee Day

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7-Eleven convenience stores are giving away free slurpees today from 11 AM - 7 PM! Supposedly you should get an actual small size this year, but we still got the 7.11 oz. cup where we went. So grab your husband/wife, and head our for a quick (kid-friendly, if you so choose) date before it's too late!

As shocking as this may be, this was my first time ever having a slurpee. I tried orange and it was pretty good! :) Did you participate in free slurpee day? What flavor did you get, and what size was your 7-Eleven giving away?

SONIC's Summer of Shakes

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Sunday night I was craving a milkshake, so Konrad suggested going to SONIC. When we pulled in, I saw this sign and freaked out! In fact, our friend "Emergency Konrad" can attest to that as they were on the phone at the time and all they both heard was a bunch of high pitched squeals as I read it really fast and squeaky-like.

While this might not be a doable date idea for you if you have young children at home, I highly recommend you make it a point to head to your nearest SONIC after 8 PM for half price shakes. I'm not saying to leave the babies while they're sleeping or anything, but if you can get a sitter/relative, or if you have children old enough to leave home alone, GO TO SONIC!

We got one small (which looked like most mediums) and one medium (which, you guessed it, looked like most larges) milkshake in amazing flavors (coconut creme pie and peanut butter & jelly) for only $2.98 including tax! I know what we'll be doing more often this month! :)