Last Saturday I hosted a horror/Halloween themed game night at EZY Mode eSports Lounge where all kinds of spooky and scary board games got played.
The other thing that I did this week was try out my first escape room in a box style game with Exit The Game: The Secret Lab.
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Thanksgiving night Deanna and I tried our first Escape Room in a Box with Exit The Game: The Secret Lab
Last Monday was Thanksgiving here in Canada. We celebrated the big day with a feast on Sunday which left our Monday night open. So to do something at least a little special that night, I took Deanna out to a new coffee shop and I brought Exit The Game: The Secret Lab with me.
Despite the fact that the coffee shop closed early and we had to pack up the game and bring it home while we were only partway through, we had a pretty good time. This was our first time trying one of these escape room in a box games. I had heard very good things about the Exit series of games, they come highly recommended by other hobby board gamers, so I thought they would be the best place to start for trying these types of puzzle games.
Overall I thought that the system that Inka and Markus Brand have come up with here is pretty brilliant. The game uses card decks combined with a small booklet and a decoder wheel to lead the players through ten puzzles. I discuss the system, how it works, the different puzzle types and more in my review of Exit The Game The Secret Lab. Check that out if you would like to know more. Both Deanna and I thought it was a fun way to spend a couple of hours, though we did both have a hard time reading some of the cards and finding some of the clues due to ageing eyes.
At this point, I won’t be rushing out to buy more of these escape rooms in a box, but I’m not opposed to trying another one out sometime in the future. I’m especially curious to try out one of the other series, like the Unlock! games from Asmodee.
Saturday saw some of the best horror and Halloween themed board games played at EZY Mode.
I’ve always been a fan of themed game nights. In general, I would always rather host a themed game night over an open play game night. There are a few reasons for this. One of them being that it helps me filter down my game collection and limit what I have to choose from. I’ve got a lot of games and anything that helps me narrow down my focus when picking what games to play is helpful.
Another reason themed game night are great is that they make the game night special. It’s not just another game night, it’s Pirate Night or Super Hero night. This tends to help out with attendance. It has always been our themed Windsor Gaming Resource events that get the best attendance. Finally, I just think it’s more fun to play games that have a similar theme.
This past Saturday at EZY Mode all of these things were a factor. I had a lot of fun picking out spooky and horror themed games to play. We had some of the best attendance numbers so far and as far as I can tell everyone had a great time.
I started off the event teaching some gamers I had never met before, along with Sean Hamilton (not Sean from Hamilton) how to play Monster Factory. Monster Factory is an easy to learn and play tile laying game from Mayfair Games. It actually comes from my kids’ game collection but I’ve found that adults dig the game as much as kids do. In Monster factory you are drafting tiles to build a monster. The tiles represent all kinds of creepy, gross or goofy body parts. The edges of each tile are either open, or have a skinny green part, or a thick purple part. Players match up similar parts and try to build a complete monster.
Once players complete a monster they can then start building minion monsters. While players initial monsters score points for how big they are, minions score points for the number of eyes they have on them. It’s a simple silly game that actually has some skill required to play well, as each tile you draft you can add to your own monster or to one of the other players’ creatures. We were having so much fun with Monster Factory that we actually played three times in a row.
After the fun we had with Monster Factory I decided to stick to lighter games and broke out King of Tokyo. Our first game was with five players, again including some folk I had never seen out to one of our events before, which is awesome. These new folk were video gaming fans who frequent EZY Mode for their digital game selection. This was their first time trying hobby board games.
King of Tokyo is pretty much always a hit with new gamers and it didn’t fail for me on Saturday. Our mixed group of tabletop and video gamers had a great time playing. We ended up playing two rounds, the second of which I introduced the King of Tokyo Power Up Expansion to the mix, we also added another player to the group. The video gamers really liked this addition to the game and the evolution aspect that it added to the game. Had EZY Mode sold games I think I would have sold a copy of King of Tokyo and the expansion right then and there.
At this point, our group of six players split up into separate groups. A local gamer, Sebastian, took three of the players aside to teach them the brutally hard cooperative game Ghost Stories, while Sean and I decided to play a two-player game of Sorcerer from White Wizard Games.
It’s been a few weeks since Sorcerer hit the table and I’m happy to say that I still remembered how to play. Sean had played a couple of four-player games of Sorcerer with me before so he also knew how to play. That meant we were able to jump right into the game. It also meant that we knew the various deck combinations and we both actually strategically picked our three deck options, which I really enjoyed.
Our two-player game of Sorcerer was not only fun but very tight. The game came down to a final fight for the middle battleground which I was able to delay for one round due to a card ability that let me exhaust that battlefield until my turn. That gave me the first attack. Had Sean gone first he would have needed only one crit to win it. With me going first I just had to deal five total damage. The dice were with me and I managed to win the game. So far that has been my most enjoyable game of Sorcerer yet.
While playing Sorcerer we were joined by local gamer Quy, a name you may recognize from our Extra Life Board Game Blitz tournament a couple of weekends ago. With Quy joining and knowing that he liked strategic games, I borrowed a friend’s copy of Dungeons & Dragons – Tyrants of the Underdark. This was brought by Justin, who had only recently bought the game. It wasn’t even punched! Personally I love the lonely fun of punching games and hate when other people punch my games, thankfully Justin is less neurotic and was cool with us opening his game for him.
Tyrants of the Underdark continues to impress. We played a three-player game. I would have liked to have played with four players but everyone else was busy playing something. There was a game of Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein being played, the Ghost Stories game I mentioned still going strong and there was a large group playing some writing based party game I didn’t recognize, so it was just Quy, Sean and I. Quy had never played before but was already familiar with a variety of deck building and folk on a map games so the teach went well.
I thought for sure I was going to win Tyrants of the Underdark. I had a great promotion based strategy going but I failed to realize just how many troops Quy was sending out on the board. The game ended much earlier than I expected with Quy placing his last troop before even all of the sites on the board had any player presence. For me this hurt as I had only really promoted basic cards, not high point value cards. Sean, on the other hand, seemed to be doing poorly but ended up with a really solid final score due to some key territory control.
It’s not just me that’s really digging D&D Tyrants of the Underdark, Quy noted that he thinks it may just be the best deck-building game he’s ever played.
Up next I broke out another of my kid’s games: Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters. Now I broke this out with the same group of players who just played Tyrants of the Underdark and I have to laugh at how sceptical they were of this game. Yes it’s a kids’ game, yes it’s from Mattel, but it’s also one of the best cooperative games I’ve played.
Now I hadn’t played Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters for a while so I did have to do a quick refresh on the rules. This didn’t take long since they are only about four pages long. It was mostly the set up that I couldn’t remember. Once we got going the game played just as smoothly as I remembered. In Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters you play kids who are sneaking into a haunted house to steal eight gems.
I’m glad to say that both Sean and Quy really enjoyed this kids’ game. We played two times, the first with the basic game and the second time with the advanced rules that add the complication of having to find the gems in numeric order, locking doors and some nasty multiple ghost draw cards. We lost both times but had a great time. This just reaffirmed my assertion that Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters is one of the best kids’ games ever made.
After this game, Sean pointed out that it was already 10:30 at night and we headed home. What I liked to see is that some people were continuing to stay later and game some more. While our scheduled event ends at 10 pm, EZY Mode is open until 2 am and people are welcome to keep gaming until they close. This was the first week I had really seen people do that.
Overall it was a really fun game night. One of our best nights at EZY Mode yet. I hope the trend of getting more people out gaming and gaming later continues.
So this past week I escaped a lab only to end up at a spook filled game night and I really can’t complain. How did your last week of gaming go?