Blog Archives

The List – Colonia, Discoveries, Francis Drake

More games have been crossed off The List and I have been delinquent in reporting our progress. Today’s update covers three games: Colonia, Discoveries, and Francis Drake.

Horizontal Rule


pic560068_tWe did not complete a full game of Colonia because it was taking too long with 6 new players. However, I think I mostly enjoyed the game. It is essentially a big chain reaction. Once turn order is set for the round players will:

  1. Get resources
  2. Spend resources to get goods tiles
  3. Spend goods tiles to get location specific money
  4. Spend location specific money on location specific cards
  5. Location specific cards are worth points at the end.

So there is a huge A-B-C-D-E type chain reaction in the game that forces players to manage their available worker pool. You don’t want to run out of available workers or you won’t be able to do the things you need.

I thought the most clever mechanic is the time-delay with workers spent in Round 1 not being available again until the appropriate time in Round 2.

Overall I think I’d like to play again with fewer players. The game has potential but I don’t think it’s a great game.

Horizontal Rule


pic2571301_tMy friend J and I had been working on a Lewis and Clark game design some years back before the game Lewis & Clark came out. When it was released we were both pretty excited to see what the designer came up with. One of the things that was absent from his game that we had planned on including in ours were all the Discoveries made along the trip. So I was pretty excited when I learned about this game, which is all about the discoveries.

In Discoveries players will manage a fleet of dice that will be used to take actions. Actions allow you to obtain Indians (which gives you special abilities or other action spaces), go exploring and complete exploration routes, change your dice, and more. The goal of the game is to gain as much knowledge as possible.

I thought the game was pretty good. It was a little fiddly with having to change dice as often as I did. I think it would work better with three or more players rather than just two. I’ll play it again so long as it would be with more than two players.

Horizontal Rule

Francis Drake

pic1616979_tI wanted to own Francis Drake since we demoed it at Gen Con 2013. I thought it was a really excellent game then but I couldn’t drop $80 for it. I found it last Gen Con at a nicely discounted price so I snagged a copy. We finally got it to the table during a game night and I still think it is excellent.

The game is divided into three Voyages. For each voyage there are two parts. The first part is a great worker placement goods procurement phase where players place their workers along the street as they approach the harbor. Only one player can claim any given spot. And you can never go “backwards” along the street, meaning once you have placed a worker somewhere you can only place subsequent workers closer to the harbor. I think this is a really fun way to obtain resources for the voyage.

The second part of a voyage is setting sail and completing missions in the four regions on the map portion of the board. These missions include attacking forts and towns, obtaining trade goods, and attacking Spanish Galleons. The tricky part about it is that players missions discs are numbered and they happen in numerical order. So someone may get to do an action before you because they have a smaller number on their disc.

Overall I really think Francis Drake is a fun game. There is a lot to think about in terms of the decisions you make throughout. And there are plenty of ways to score. I’m looking forward to playing again.


GameHole Con 2015 in Madison

Ladies and gentlemen. It is time for the 3rd Gamehole Con! Taking place this weekend in Madison, WI, Gamehole Con is in it’s third year and has moved to a larger venue. It is located at the Exhibition Hall of the Alliant Energy Center. Here’s some info from their website that I’ve copied and pasted here:

Gamehole Con is the largest tabletop gaming convention in the upper Midwest.

Tabletop gamers from around the country gather each November in Madison, WI for this carnival of gaming. Gamehole Con is all about tabletop gaming and all the fun that goes with it. The convention features role-playing games, board games, fantasy and historical miniature gaming, and collectible card games. Gamehole Con is for the fantasy and adventure tabletop gaming enthusiast. Gamehole Con features the best guests in the industry, an unbelievable Dealer Hall and of course, lots and lots of gaming! If you are a tabletop gaming fan, do not miss Gamehole Con!

What is a Gamehole?

I’ll leave it to the Gamehole Con team to explain. Visit this link or read their explanation:

Now, you may find yourself asking, “What is a Gamehole?” or saying to yourself, “Ew. A Gamehole sounds yucky.” Well ladies and gentlemen; a Gamehole is simply a hole for gaming. It is a nod to the author that single-handedly created the genre of modern fantasy literature and thereby fantasy gaming – J.R.R. Tolkien.

As Tolkien so beautifully wrote at the very start of the transcendent Hobbit: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

A Gamehole is a hole for gaming. Instead of Hobbits, it is filled with gamers, gaming, food, fellowship and fun. More specifically, the Gamehole is a longstanding group of Madison area gamers. We have been getting together for years playing our favorite games. We love virtually all tabletop games.

Why I’m Attending

I will be attending as a Game Master (GM). This year I have the great privilege to be running demos of my game, Scoville. I have seven demo sessions between Friday and Saturday. I’m really looking forward to meeting some great gamers and introducing them to Scoville.

If you are attending, come find my table and introduce yourself! It would be great to meet a bunch of you.

What does Gamehole Con Offer?

Gamehole Con offers an exhibitor hall with booths of game companies selling their games, fantasy RPG companies selling their wares, and more geeky goodness. The con also has a large gaming area with many GMs running games. Games are available the entire weekend! You can see what’s available on this listing.

The Con also has another embedded con called Crafter Con. This is hosted by The Game Crafter,  print-on-demand service for gamers and game designers. They are a local business who have a great product. If you are a game designer, stop by the Crafter Con stuff and enjoy a good time.

There is also a great lineup of guests and artists being featured at Gamehole Con.

Overall it will be a great weekend of gaming and I recommend you stop by and check it out!

Monday Brews: 9-23-13

Good Monday to all of you! I hope you had a great weekend. I had a very nice weekend. I got a few games in, attended a football game, and came up with a new game design that I’m pretty excited about and am hoping to get ready for Protospiel-Milwaukee, which is this coming weekend!

Let’s see what Boards & Barley I enjoyed this past week…

The Barley:

Barley and Boards are good on their own, but are unstoppable when combined!

Barley and Boards are good on their own, but are unstoppable when combined!

Leffe Bruin: I love Leffe. The Blond and the Brown are both really enjoyable. I think I prefer the blond during the spring and summer and the brown during autumn and winter. We were having a game night last week so I bought a 6 pack of this. Fortunately for me only one person took one, so I had plenty for myself! Side note: a friend of mine also likes Leffe and we once had fun making up Steampunk names. His chosen name: Leffe Steampunker.

New Glarus Staghorn: Yep, I enjoyed more of New Glarus’ Oktoberfest brew. It’s so good!

Lake Louie Dino’s Dark: I’ve had other beers from Lake Louie before, but never the Dino’s Dark. The other beers they offer have all been really enjoyable. This was no different. They have a pretty small operation, but they sure put out high quality beers! I’m hoping to tour their brewery some day.

Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest: I still had one on hand from the crate we bought a few weeks ago. I solved that problem by quickly downing this tasty beverage.

Paulaner Salvator Double Bock: Yum. I enjoyed this beer while on a date with my wife where we got three games to the table. Wife + Beer + Games = Great date night!

Tyranena Gemuctlichkeit Oktoberfest: Besides the goofy name, this was a pretty decent Oktoberfest brew. It should be noted that I will have to try another one since I drank this one from the bottle while I was also watching my kids, which ultimately lowered the overall experience with this beer. What a pity, having to re-try a beer.

The Boards:

X-Wing: Why did it take me so long to play this game? Maybe because I kept waiting to see if my local Target would drop the price to $12 like other people have mentioned. You lucky people. Fortunately my friend bought a copy (and has subsequently bought a bunch of add-ons). So I was able to get my first taste of the game. AHHH-mazing! It helps that I rolled hits on 90 percent of my rolls. It was total domination!

My first ever Galaxy Truck!

My first ever Galaxy Truck!

Galaxy Trucker: I received this game in a trade over a year ago. This past Wednesday I finally got to play it. That is unacceptable and I have offered my sincerest apologies to my copy of Galaxy Trucker. I may have to send a personal apology to Vlaada Chvatil. When we played it we realized that it was completely awesome! This is a really excellent game that I should not have waited so long to play.

Libertalia: Arrr Matey. We got Libertalia to the table on Wednesday and, as usual, thoroughly enjoyed it. Well, I enjoyed the first two rounds. I was playing my best game of Libertalia ever. Then I got Monkeyed. And the Monkey passed me 4 curses. And to add insult to injury, during dusk I had to take another curse token. Needless to say I did not win.

Tsuro: My friend’s $1.20 thrift find of Tsuro keeps making it to the table. We played a pretty fun game of it where nearly everyone was left until the last four tiles. This is such a good filler game, but I don’t think I’d pay $40 for it.

CoinAge: I got a free copy of CoinAge from the designer, Adam McIver, at GenCon. I hadn’t been able to play it until last Friday, when I taught it to my wife. For being a game of three cards, where two of them are rules, I’ve never realized how much strategy you can pack into a game that requires pocket change. This was really enjoyable and I’m looking forward to playing it with someone who likes games more than my wife.

Morels: This is a game that my wife really enjoys. I enjoy it for that fact. You can check out my review of Morels to see what I thought. But the fact that my wife will play it with me means it gets a shiny little star.

The Little Prince: This is another game that my wife enjoys. So with Morels from GenCon 2012 and The Little Prince from GenCon 2013 I’ve been able to prove to my wife that my visiting of GenCon has been worth it both years. While I don’t enjoy the 2 player version of The Little Prince as much, it is still a really fun game.


So those are the Boards and Barley I enjoyed last week. What did you enjoy???

Tuesday Brews: 9-3-13

Yesterday was Labor Day. That meant I was at home doing anything besides labor. (I actually got quite a bit done). But it also means that I didn’t post a Monday Brews article. Well, today is the Tuesday after Labor Day and I am calling it “Redemption Day,” as I attempt to redeem for the lack of a Monday Brews article.

So let’s get down to the Boards and Barley coverage, where you will find a couple of surprising beverages…

The Barley:

Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest: Tis the season when the weather changes and Oktoberfests become my go-to brew of choice.

New Glarus Staghorn: This is one of the best, if not the best, Oktoberfests out there. Just plain awesomeness in a bottle!

Ben Franklin’s Honey: I think there are only three bottles of my second homebrew remaining. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Redd’s Strawberry Ale: The first entry that doesn’t quite seem right here. Over the weekend I saw one of these in my parent’s fridge and figured I should try it. It was VERY sweet and VERY strawberry. It didn’t taste alcoholic at all (and probably wasn’t very alcoholic). If nothing else, it was an interesting taste experiment for my tongue.

Bud Light Lime: Another intriguing outcast that makes the list this week is Bud Light Lime. I’m not sure what happened. One moment I was enjoying a nicer beverage while partaking in a fantasy football draft and then all of a sudden a Bud Light Lime shows up for consumption. I’ll blame the Bud Light Lime if my fantasy football season goes awry.

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy: I couldn’t let that list end with an Anheuser-Busch InBev product. So I finished the weekend strong with a nice refreshing summer brew. The Summer Shandy has had a good run. Unfortunately with the weather cooling down and the leaves thinking about changing colors, this product probably won’t be making this list again for a few months. See you next summer, Summer Shandy!

The Boards:

The Little Prince: For future reference, this will likely make this list often over the next few months. So good!

Dungeon Roll: This one will also likely make this list often over the next few months. I played it with my 4yo daughter and let her pull all the treasure tokens out when I earned them. Then at dinner later in the week she was playing with her food and having me “roll” it. Then she would decide whether it was a treasure chest or a monster. There were many more treasure chests than monsters.

Prototype components for The City Beneath.

Prototype components for The City Beneath.

The City Beneath: This is my friend Adam Buckingham‘s game based on his novel by the same name. It is a steampunk heist game that very much revolves around the different abilities of the characters. In the game you are trying to get away with the heist while making other people take the blame. It’s still a prototype but it is really enjoyable and I hope he keeps developing it. It definitely has legs!

Mars Needs Mechanics: I’m interested in learning about the original theme of the game. I wanna say it was an African black market or something along those lines. We had a good time playing the game, though we stretched it to handle 5 players instead of the box-recommended limit of 4. The economics of the game are very interesting and the art is very enjoyable. Nicely done Ben Rosset and Bryan Fischer!

Skyline: This could be the go-to filler du jour for a while. It comes in a small box, has awesome dice, and plays relatively quickly. And I think the gameplay is pretty interesting as well. There is a high reward factor when you can top off one of the sky scrapers!

Tsuro: It seems my list is populated with filler material lately. This game is fun and plays very fast.

Scoville: I was able to teach the game to two different groups at my FLGS on Saturday. Two people in the second group said they loved it and would have bought it if it had been on the shelf. At that point I let them know that it will likely be on Kickstarter in November (so keep your eyes open for that!). They also received the buttons that Ken Grazier produced for me!

MarsPost: This was an unpublished prototype that I had the chance to play. It’s a very interesting take on worker placement. The concept is you are mining asteroids from the asteroid belt and utilizing a post on Mars to turn the resources into buildings and thus points. While it is a little rough around the edges I very much enjoyed it!


That’s the weekly Boards & Barley. What was your favorite beverage or board game this past week??

%d bloggers like this: