Today I’m going to take a look at and give a short review of four board games. These games are: Teotihuacan, Legendary Forests, Gentes: Deluxified Edition and Tiny Towns.
Between home games and a game night at the FLGS and a rare Sunday night two player game session with my wife, it was a busy week for me gaming. There was one other game I got to play, a review copy of a deck-builder, but I can’t talk about that yet.
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My thoughts on the board game Teotihuacan: City of Gods after a second play:
Last Monday four of us got together at my place and I broke out Teotihuacan. This was my first time playing my copy of the game and the first time I’d read the actual rules. Surprisingly I don’t think we did anything wrong when I played that demo game at The CG Realm a couple weeks back.
Because I was teaching the game to three new players I stuck with the basic board set up. Due to the fact all three of these players were experienced board gamers we did do the starting resource draft at the beginning of the game. Right off the bat I have to say I really like this game set up mechanism. It’s lifted directly from Tzolk’in and it works great here too.
This play was much longer than my last one. Seems my home group is much more AP prone than the people I gamed with at the FLGS. The game took us about three and a half hours which included set up and teaching. Everyone seemed to have a lot more questions on how things worked this time and we spent more time referencing the rulebook.
As for the gameplay, for me, it was even better than my first play. Teotihuacan is the kind of game you have to play once to really get it, and because of that it plays much better the second time around. I did notice a few minor issues with the game now that I’ve played it twice.
While the board looks great, it’s really busy and not as functional as it could be. The iconography is far too small to read from across the table, and even when you can read it, it’s not very clear what it all means, even when you know all the rules. It’s also very odd to me that there’s no actual spot to put your dice. You are just supposed to put them on the board so that they don’t cover up any important information. A couple times during this game we had people mistake locked dice for dice that were just placed on a spot.
Overall these visual complaints are pretty minor. I’m happy to say that all three of the people I taught really enjoyed the game and all of us are looking forward to more plays in the future.
It ends up Legendary Forests is a re-theme of a Japanese tile-laying game called 8Bit MockUp.
When Ian contacted me in the middle of the week to tell me that the game they would be featuring at game night on Saturday was Legendary Forests, I had no idea what game he was talking about. I have heard zero buzz about this game. I don’t think I’ve heard it mentioned on a single podcast nor have I heard anyone local talking about it.
While setting up a Facebook event page for the game night I checked out the BGG page for Legendary Forests and learned it was a remake of a Japanese game called 8bit MockUp. The remake changes the theme of the game from building a digital RPG map to building a forest. Well at least I guess it’s supposed to be a forest based on the name, looks to me more like a flower garden. As far as I can tell the gameplay is the same.
Everyone starts with an identical set of tiles. One of the players shuffles their tiles and removes five from the game. Then each turn they flip over one tile and everyone else finds the same tile from their set and all players play their tiles simultaneously onto their own growing garden. All tile sides have to match and there are four different colours represented on the tiles. Three of the four colours can score points.
Some of the tiles have the numbers on them highlighted, these are scoring tiles. When these come up, players each pick a wooden tree token and put it onto their garden into an area that matches the colour of tree. These tree tokens are very limited and there’s a marker that shows who gets to pick first that moves around clockwise after each scoring round.
Once the lead player draws their last tile and everyone places their matching tile, the game ends. Players only score areas on their personal board that have trees in them. They get one point per “stone” in areas that are open and 2 points per “stone” in areas that are closed off. The stones are on the edges of the tiles and are formed when two tiles are placed adjacent.
That’s pretty much it. Legendary Forests is super quick to teach and very quick to play with each game taking about 15-20 minutes.
It seems I have something for games where all players are presented with the exact same things to work with. Games like Railroad Ink and NMBR 9 and now Legendary Forests. I really liked the fact that everyone was using the exact same tiles yet every single player had a very different board and score by the end of the game.
This is one I may end up picking up in the future. I was very impressed.
This past week I got to play Gentes: Deluxified Edition twice!
Unlike Legendary Forests I’ve heard a ton of good things about Gentes from Tasty Minstrel Games. So much good stuff that I backed the Kickstarter for the new Deluxified Edition without ever having tried the original game. I’m pleased to say that after playing the game this week, I’m not at all disappointed with that purchase.
Right off the bat I’ve got to say that Gentes: Deluxified Edition is one of the best looking games in my collection. The production quality is pretty much top notch. This game has some of the best board game components I’ve ever played with. Oddly, along with that I had a bunch of stickers to put on wooden rectangles. I found that really odd. The game comes with all of these amazing full colour wood components yet requires you to put stickers on all of the action cubes for the base game and all of the components for the included expansion. This isn’t horrible, it’s just an odd choice. I have to say, when buying something that’s supposedly deluxe I don’t expect to spend 45 minutes stickering the components.
The other great thing about this edition is that it comes with a box insert from Folded Space. This was my first time building a Folded Space insert and I was very impressed. It went together much quicker and smoother than any of the wooden box inserts I’ve built over the last few years. The actual insert is good but not great. It works but there are a few minor things I would change like making the cubes easier to access and having some better way to store the metal coins.
The best part about Gentes is that the gameplay holds up to the standard of the component quality. This is an ancient civilization building game that is all about developing your population so you have the right types of citizens and the right types of buildings built so that you can play improvement cards in the forms of new technologies and monuments.
The really neat bit in this game is that the main resource you are worrying about is time. Each action you choose takes from one to three units of time. At the top of each players individual board there is a track where actions are tracked. You pick an action, then put the action token (if there is one) for that action onto your track, then you take one to three time counters as indicated by the action. These also get put onto the same track each taking up one spot (you also have the option of stacking two together, but then one of those tokens stays into the next round). Players continue to take actions until their own personal action track is full.
The closest I’ve seen to this mechanic is the time system in The Dragon & Flagon but that is only somewhat similar. I found this time track system really brilliant. It’s really the highlight of the game (okay maybe the component quality outshines it just a little bit). I wouldn’t be surprised to see more games coming out in the future using this system.
Overall I really liked my first play of Gentes. My second play was even better and also proved that the game is just as fun with two players as it is with four. I did find it somewhat more cutthroat with two but I didn’t find that this was a bad thing.
So it seems I’m really terrible at the game Tiny Towns.
The final game I fit in this week was a quick play of Tiny Towns. This is another game where everyone is building off of the same things, like Legendary Forests. In this case it’s the same resources and the same buildings you can build with them. At least that was the case the last time I played. This time we added in the Monuments rules.
Monuments makes Tiny Towns an asymmetric game as each player has a unique building that only they can build. This is determined randomly and is hidden from the other players until built. Each monument not only has its own unique building pattern, each also has a different effect on the game. Some of the ones I saw gave various end game scoring abilities. Mine let me build some buildings for free, but only as long as my opponents built those buildings first. All of them seemed to be relatively hard to build and didn’t follow any of the patterns of the regular buildings.
The big thing I learned about Tiny Towns this time was how much more thought it requires than I remembered. It required more mental capacity than I had after my first game of Gentes, which is a relatively heavy game. I think I would have been better off with another round of Legendary Forests than playing Tiny Towns after Gentes.
I’m not saying Tiny Towns is bad, just that it looks like a quick, light, simple game, but there’s way more thinking required to play well than first appears. While I did terrible and was eliminated from the game early, it was still fun.
So those are the games for my #WhatDidYouPlayMondays list. What did you get to the table this past week?