Games I’m great at.

Greetings All,

Let me start off by saying that I did get the request for an author profile for myself since “The Husband” and “The Bartendar” did theirs. I will get to it, I promise.

For today, however, I’d like to discuss some games that I excel at. Three in particular. Five Tribes, Splendor, and Concept. Five Tribes and Splendor especially. I’ve actually had people turn down these games as suggestions for game nights because I seldom lose. Talk about frustrating. I love all three games and obviously the fact that I am what my husband call “supernaturally gifted” at these games makes me want to play, but in all honesty each game is fantastic and deserves more game play.

Please keep reading to find out more about these games and a bit of my strategy. Please keep in mind that this post isn’t going to be full-blown reviews, I will do separate reviews of these games in the future. Also note that not all of my strategy will be mentioned in this blog, I mean a great deal of my game groups have access to this and I enjoy winning too much. Haha.

five tribes

Five Tribes by Days of Wonder

Five Tribes takes place in Naqala after the death of the Sultan. Your job is to manuever the five tribes (represented by different colored meeples) to gain control over the land. This game is essentially advanced Mancala with meeples and camels. It is insanely fun. The biggest part about this game is being able to plan several moves in advance. It’s important to make back up plans as well, which I am pretty good at. I’ve noticed that most people I play with will be very obvious when they count with their eyes and sometimes you can hear them counting under their breath. This is by far the biggest downfall of the game. It is very easy to block someones moves when you know what they’re doing. There are days when I will count under my breath or follow the board with my eyes and I’ll do this in several directions to keep everyone on their toes and then when they try several times to take my lead and fail they just stop. After that it’s easy to just relax and focus on the real moves I want to make. By this time everyone is so ticked off that they keep guessing wrong, they don’t even try to take the move I’m making obvious. It’s a jerky underhanded move, but it is wildly effective. I will include an instructional video and the rules, but as I said I will do a review in the future.

splendor

Splendor by Days of Wonder and Space Cowboys

In Splendor you are a gem merchant. Your procure these lovely tokens representing gems, which helps you to procure permanent gems represented on cards that you buy with said gems. This all done in hopes of accruing enough points to win. Some cards have point values on them, but you can also accrue points by attracting nobles with your permanent gems. It’s very quick to learn and is a game that newbies will be able to keep up with table veterans easily. In this game I focus less on the nobles and more on slowly working towards large valued cards. While everyone else is focusing on getting the proper cards to pull nobles, I’m taking whatever I can get and waiting the that one slip up from another player that allows me to grab a high value card. I’ve actually tried going for nobles a few times and failed miserably. Please see the attached video and read the rules. 🙂

concept

Concept by Asmodee

Concept is a party game and is probably my favorite party game ever. It involves using your specific main subject marker and cubes to mark pictures on a board in order to convey something from the card you’ve drawn. It could be anything really. My least favorite are phrases… it is incredibly frustrating trying to convey a phrase with pictures. Some always adds an extra “s” to the sentence, or an “ing”. One subject that come up multiple times is Joan of Arc, so people usually mark “woman” as their main subject, followed by a cube on “history or real”, “conflict”, “death”, and “religion”. I don’t believe it has ever been incorrectly guessed at my table. Anyhow, you get points based on how much the subject was worth on the card and there is a cut off, but at my table things can get out of hand when we are all yelling at each other for not taking the “ing” off of the phrase, or thinking that “Shark Week” is the answer for what is clearly “Jaws”…idiots. Haha. Honestly, with this game everyone is just screaming answers loudly and I’ve almost always won by just keeping my mouth shut and waiting for the cue that we are close with our guesses. Not much else to it.  I will include a video and rules with this one as well.

To sum this up, I win because I stay quiet and my “metagame” is on point. No one focuses on the person not bringing attention to themselves. People get frustrated and confused when I start talking about “what I would do if I were them” or how “I’ve all but lost the game.” I plan ahead, I mislead… I would so far as to say I play rough. These are dirty ways to win, but when you’ve got a proven technique… you stay with it. It’s always good to have a back up plan though. I can say from experience that once your group catches on you will need to readjust. Sometimes I feel bad that these games don’t get played and I think about changing my strategy entirely, but if I’m being honest with myself I’m too competitive and I like winning too much. To quote It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia here… “When I’m doing good in the game, it’s like I’m doing good in life.” I laugh when people don’t want to play certain games with me, but it also sucks. I don’t want great games to be left out just because the level of skill or in my case sneakiness is so vast.

I love all of these games and I hope you enjoyed reading this. I’ll be doing a post about games that I absolutely suck at soon. Please follow us on WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook. Give us a like and a share if you are so inclined. Please remember to click on the attached hyperlinks for more information regarding these games and their publishers. Thank you all for being so wonderful and until next time… live by the board.

-Livingbytheboard

Meet The Bartender!

Hello Internets!

I figured I’d introduce myself to the blog fans, I’m J. I’ll likely be doing some behind the scenes stuff here, with an occasional article. I’d still like to introduce myself as part of the growing crew here, and as part of the board game table (you could call me The Bartender since I’m always bringing and making the drinks). I wanted to write an article about board gaming and a bit my history with it.

What a lot of people know about me is that I love video games, but they don’t really know that even younger I had a love of board games too. Friends of mine never cared for board games- so I was left playing video games alone or occasionally with family. I don’t have too many memories of my childhood (I blame that concussion I got in college) but one I do remember is playing Payday with my step dad.

If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a classic from the 1970s. You play on a month with 31 days, where bills and other things rack up. At the end of the month you get your salary and have to pay off all those bills that racked up that were unexpected or taken on in trying to earn more cash- by buying properties and the like. In retrospect it was similar to adult-life but without crying myself to sleep every night. The crushing reality was surprisingly still there though.

I didn’t play much else growing up. The occasional hated Monopoly game, the forgettable Yahtzee. The stuff they let you play in class with an educational twist (though I have to say, Spanish Scrabble is a lot more fun than regular English Scrabble). I got into trivia style games late in high school, but due to having a tendency of being able to guess the answer out of nowhere- no one wanted to play very often. In college there wasn’t many board games- mostly just Smash Bros, an N64, and the closest we got to board games in Cut-throat Uno and Euchre. I think maybe there was a Game of Life and a Family Feud the board game somewhere in there but nothing too exciting.

So when I reconnected with The Husband a few years ago and he asked if I wanted to play board games, there was interest for sure. He knew me as mostly a video gamer, but fast with rules and how things are played. And I’m glad we did. I never knew how much the industry had grown in such a short amount of time, and how much it’s still growing. I’m happy to play some of my faves with new and old friends alike. We’ve had some heated arguments on rules a few times, but there’s still love at the table.

If you’re just starting out like I was a couple years ago and all you know of is something like Payday- some of my faves are Ticket to Ride, Takenoko, Splendor, and my newest in Tiny Epic Galaxies. Don’t get me wrong- there’s plenty of other great titles I enjoy playing, but those are my personal faves for sure. Start slow, with a group one evening you’re free. Bring some drinks like I usually do. And the next thing you’ll know it’ll be 1 AM, and you’ll be asking yourself how many games you guys played that night.

When you stop counting, you know you’re having fun. When you start counting again because it’s not enough games in one night- you know you’re a fan. Until next time, cheers.

J, aka The Bartender