I am late to publishing this post due to a whirlwind of a week. We spent Easter with the in-laws, then as soon as we got home we got the keys to our new home (moving upstairs in the same building). I worked a 52 hour work week then started hauling stuff up the stairs.
Agricola or Misery Farm as it’s affectionately referred to was designed by Uwe Rosenburg, all the way back in 2007. In Agricola you’re a farmer with naught but a wooden shack for a home, a caring spouse and a plot of land on which to earn your riches. At the start of a game of Agricola you’ll receive 8 occupation cards and 8 minor improvements. Each of these cards need to be paid for, but once they do they’ll affect your actions and are the key to prosperity on your farm.
Agricola was one of my first Uwe Rosenburg game and remains to this day one of my favourites. It may be tough and punishing, but that’s just the way I like it. I enjoy being forced to make a decision between my long term goals and my short term needs. This most recent game was the first time I didn’t beeline to expand my family recklessly. While I was able to cover most of the farm with fences and sheep and corner the market on cows, I only came in second. The player who won more than doubled my score thanks to an incredible combo he was able to pull off.
Burgle Bros. was the second game by Tim Fowers I purchased (after Paperback) and has been one of our favourite cooperative games ever. In Burgle Bros. you and your teammates are trying to break open 3 safes, and escape out the ceiling with the loot. Standing in your way are the guards, who are woefully and charmingly inept at their jobs, even with alarms, deadbolts, and keypads assisting them.
Burgle Bros is a classic in our house for a reason; it feels very thematic. Paired with a great heist soundtrack it’s easy to get everyone at the table feeling the tension as we plot our way around the guards. The risky moves are made with baited breath and the victories elicit cheers.
There are some downsides however. Due to how the game plays, sometimes a characters best move is to do… nothing. And that’s simply not fun. On the flip side because this is a cooperative, every turn is more collaborative. We all discuss what we should do on each players turn, and how to navigate the challenges the game throws at us.
In this specific game of Burgle Bros. we came away with the victory. We were lucky in that the deadbolted doors were tucked away into corners, and the stairs to come up to the third floor and escape up to the roof were right next to each other, so some players just spent their time on the second floor dodging the guards and fled right up to the roof as soon it was accessable.
While at the in-laws place for Easter, we discovered they had a Crokinole board in their garage. Once that discovery was made we wasted no time plopping that device onto the table and started flicking disks at each other.
I ended up playing 6 games total, we played one vs. one games, first player to reach 100 points being the winner and the loser cycled out. This gave everyone a chance to play, and also gave us some downtime inbetween games. In one game my wife earned 90 points in the first round, then I slowly caught up to her, winning 10 or 15 points per round until I finally got to 95 points. Only then was she able to get the final 10 points she needed to net the victory. In another game I managed to sink 5x 20 point shots in a row, ending that round with nearly 120 points. That was a fast game.
Dutch Blitz is a classic and I always enjoy when we find someone else who also has a history. Being a real-time game players with experience have a significant advantage over those who are new to the game.
We always keep score when playing Dutch Blitz, but the score doesn’t matter. We generally just agree to stop playing when we collectively are tired of playing (or more realistically these days, when one of our kids demands our attention).
Anomia is a super fun party game. This usually doesn’t come out until the end of the night, which is how I prefer it. Anomia is a card game in which players are tasked with naming certain things faster than their opponent. Every card in Anomia has a symbol and a category. If the symbol on your card matches the symbol on someone else’s card you each need to shout a word that matches the category on your opponents card. The player who does so first claims their opponents card and the player with the most claimed cards when the deck runs runs out is the winner.
What makes Anomia such a great game when playing late at night is the phenomenon of anomia (which is a form of aphasia in which the patient is unable to recall the names of everyday objects) feels heightened when the mind is tired or otherwise inebriated. We also play with the rule that you can’t use the same word twice, so a word shouted by someone a moment too slow is now unavailable for anyone to use.
I love the moments where my brain seems to short out. All I need to do is cry out the name of a farm animal, ANY FARM ANIMAL will do. But the only noise that escapes my lips is a strangled and fusturated “Baaaaa”.
The Crew: Mission Deep Sea
The Crew: Mission Deep Sea is a cooperative trick taking game. In The Crew: Mission Deep Sea players will deal out a series of goal cards that match the current missions difficulty, then distribute them amongst themselves and then try to accomplish them. The trick is, communication is heavily limited.
I talked about The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine previously, and it continues to be a game that my main group enjoys playing a few hands of at the end of our game nights. We’re slowly making our way through the story and enjoying the way the challenges slowly ramp up. The sequel, The Crew: Mission Deep Sea‘s major difference is while there is still a logbook and a story to wok through, the missions are no longer designed. Instead, you draw objectives from a fat little stack of cards, meaning every mission you play will be different.
What I like about this approach instead is it turns Mission Deep Sea into a game I can play casually. I don’t need to worry about the story or flipping through the logbook to find our favourite missions to play when we have a guest at the table or if I’m visiting some family. We can just choose the level of difficulty we want, and start flipping cards until we get there. I particularly like this approach because there’s very little pre-amble to the game; I can get cards in peoples hands and start playing within minutes. The few times I’ve gone through the logbook with players who aren’t ‘dedicated gamers’, their eyes seem to glaze over and the story seems like more of a hinderance than a benefit. But then again, maybe it’s just the groups I’ve been introducing Mission Deep Sea to have been uncultured swine (hi mom!).