Top ten new games we played over Summer!

Our run down of our top ten new games we’ve played over the summer

In between working on Lab Wars we ensured that we had time to do one of our favourite hobbies in the world: play board games! Here’s a run down of our top 10 new games we’ve played over the summer.

10. Carrotia

We found this game while we were taking a break from demoing Lab Wars at the UK Games Expo this year. It was being sold at the Mage Company stand and both of us love cute little animals being cat lovers ourselves. So when we saw this game at the £15 price tag we thought what’s not to lose! We read the blurb and said it was a tile laying game and it had a decent amount of components for the price we were really happy, plus throw in the fact that we could play with our niece, it was a no brainer.

How wrong could we be.

The game is aimed at families, I’ll give it that and we don’t have any children. However, there seemed to be a major disparity between the rules and the age range. For instance, the rules almost certainly required an adult to be present to explain the rules and judge the tile laying. I guess this is common in family games, sure. The game runs over 3 rounds of two phases. The first phase is timed using a sand timer requiring turn based cooperative tile laying ensuring that a route is set out so that your rabbit can grab carrots. The second phase requires dice rolling for the birds that are in the maze trying to help or hinder your task of moving the rabbit around. And that’s literally it. After having to download the rules from BGG (the publisher released the game on a quote: “Small print run to generate a buzz”) because the printed rules with the game were literally incomprehensible – the new version will have the new rules which are a lot better – and played the game, we both agreed that we would never play the game again. We don’t even think our niece would enjoy it, but maybe we should try that out too.

Overall, nice components and a cheap price but an absolute travesty of a game.

It's got 4 days left on kickstarter

9. Diamonsters

We bought diamonsters because a) it was designed and published by the same guys who made Machi Koro and b) I bought it second hand for real cheap.

The game play is really straight forward but surprisingly strategic. It involves a bluffing mechanic whereby players pick and choose characters in a blind reveal mechanism. The player with the “strongest” monster steals the available monster on the table and if you collect 3 matching monsters or monsters that gift you a total of 5 diamonds (one monster eats your diamonds!) you get a plastic diamond token which is really nice. The player with the most diamond tokens wins.

As a game it’s never going to be a brain burner but it’s a really nice quick filler to get warmed up for those strategic battles during your board game night. It’s also light enough for children to play and our niece loved it and the artwork.

It's currently £11 on amazon

8. 7 Wonders

I might get a bit of stick for putting it in at 8 from the medium-heavy weight gamers but I think it’s

because I only played it once and Kuly was not a huge fan. I personally thought this should be higher up at maybe 3/4. The game is set in ancient times as you go through the ages, and essentially you use a card drafting system to pick a card to put into your city. As the city builds up and a new “age” comes along your city becomes more valuable. The player with the highest value city wins.

I really need to play this again as we only played it because our co-designer and friend Andy taught us how to play (it’s been sat on our shelf waiting for someone to teach it to us haha) and we don’t often get to play with 3 or more players.

I’ll reserve further judgement until I play it again but I am very much looking forward to it as Lab Wars has similar mechanics and I love placing stuff down in front of me that gives me more stuff or points :D

It's currently £26 on amazon

7. Manhattan Project: Chain reaction

So technically this was my first ever Kickstarter that materialized! I opted for the deluxe version and was really pleased with the results. It came with a really nice box, well made cards and awesome radiation style wooden tokens. It was marked as a stand alone, stripped down version of its original bigger brother/sister: The Manhattan Project. It didn’t disappoint and did exactly what it said on the tin. Essentially you take turns to use your workers (by placing cards sideways), to work on cards to produce resources (placing cards underneath workers but upwards). I loved the fact that cards were multi-use and the artwork and graphics design to do this were really simple yet beautiful. I don’t know if other people had the same feeling about it but I felt that this was a really nice, quick, and “sciency” version of Dominion. While I feel it doesn’t have the strategic depth of Dominion or even Star Realms, two very popular deck-builders, you certainly get that same “buzz” of creating a “chain reaction” of killer card combos to build a bomb.

Overall a great game with awesome artwork and fantastic way to start off your gaming night.

Currently on sale at the Minion Games Website for $15

6. In a Bind

In a Bind is a really unique party game. Think Twister (OK don’t then) but more simple and hilarious. We picked up the game at the UK Games Expo and even gave it a go. You simply pick up a card and do what it says. Essentially you’ve got to place the cards you pick up on your body. That’s it. However, it gets hilarious because the more cards you pick up, the more contorted and strange your body positions become! Players are eliminated when they cannot pick up a card or the fail to continue what their picked up cards said. For me every time I go to a party where most of the people are not board gamers (or even if they are) I take this with me. It is a great way to break the ice and just get silly! I even took it to my uni buddy’s stag do and worked out great with an improvised drinking game variant.

It’s simplicity and hold in your hand weight means this little game packs a lot punch at parties!

You can currently buy In a Bind from Leisure Games for £9

5. Fungi

While trying to get our board game “fix” at our awesome and friendly local board gaming store in Stevenage, UK (Lost Ark Games) we came across this little beauty in their cheap games section. We were instantly drawn to the beautiful artwork, the small size of the box and its £10 price. Since we were looking for a lightweight game to go with our purchase of 7 Wonders this ticked all the boxes especially

considering we were designing a food based game at the time anyway.

Essentially both players (it’s a 2 player game) forage in the forests for wild mushrooms and cook them to score points. The strategy comes in deciding which sets to collect (rarer mushrooms = more points) and watching your opponent’s card collecting too – and changing appropriately. There are also “sticks” in the game which allow you to collect mushrooms that are “further away” if you are unable to reach them.

We found this game a real delight with the only annoying thing being to always move up mushrooms towards the players’ feet card every single time a player had their turn. For the price of £10 we felt like it was really good value for money considering the repayability. Its also simple enough for children to play too. I would say that players who are card counters may find this game a bit too easy, but its still a great game!

It's currently on sale for only £9.40 from Amazon

4. Splendor

We’d known about this game for a while but never took the plunge. The opportunity arose to play it when I was helping a friend out with his pop-up board game café. A family decided to play and kindly invited me to play it.

The game is great from top to bottom. The £20 price tag was well worth it considering the components and quality. This is especially of the really thick gem tokens which are really weighty