Tuesday, January 30

Winter gaming 2018

Whose Turn is a local semi-invitation gaming con that happens every year in the winter (late January/early February)

As a warning - this post is image intense.

This year, I managed to play 24 total games and of those
  • 17 were unique
  • 11 were new to me
Games played were:
  • Sagrada (4 times)
  • Innovation (new)
  • Age of War (new)
  • Tyrants of the Underdark (new)
  • Azul (3 times)
  • Terra Mystica
  • King Domino (2 times)
  • Lanterns (new)
  • Codenames Duet (new, 2 times)
  • Century Spice Road
  • Whistle Stop (new)
  • Dimension
  • Queen Domino (new)
  • Cottage Garden (new)
  • 6Nimmt
  • NBMR9 (new)
  • Bunny Kingdom (new)
This year's con was held in the Durham convention center, which I admit, I had some major reservations about (even though I adore Durham), but I think it was a great success.  Being able to walk to my favorite restaurants for dinner and also having  plenty of elbow room was pretty sweet.   

So here are some pictures (with brief reviews, and I won't post multiples of the same game this time around ;) )

 We started off the game with Innovation.  I know some people who really like this game, and I've seen it on many, many shelves, but I've just never gotten around to playing/learning it.   The guy who was teaching was kind of cute in that he apparently has a hard time finding people to play with (his usual group isn't a fan?), but I thought it was really cute.   There is a lot of random involved, and the play/score can swing wildly, so I can see why "serious"/eurogamers wouldn't be a huge fan.   I ended up winning after being really behind because of a weird/fortuitous combo that I pulled out.   It was fun, though.  I quite liked it, but I don't know if I'd want to play it a whole lot or own it.

Age of War
 Easy dice/card/set collection game.   You can "steal" cards from other players and fight over sets.   It was alright.  I'd rather play other games.  The guy teaching seemed to really like it, though

Tyrants of the Underdark
 Deck building/area control Ameritrash Dungeons & Dragons themed game.  You play a faction/color and you collect/buy cards and defeat monsters to get their powers (cards).  You also spread around the board and are trying to control cities/territories for points and/or income.   You can kill other players (but not so easily that it becomes a drag on the game).   To be honest, I absolutely enjoyed this game and I'm contemplating purchasing it.   It's way fun, but not too terribly combative.

Azul (4 player game)

Azul (after 2 player game)
This is Azul, which is probably one of the most popular games at the con.  I don't think you could swing a cat without hitting a table playing this (well, this and Scythe).   It's currently sold out most places, but it looks like a reprint should be available in February or so.
It's a fun tile drafting/laying game (fun fact: they designed the game using starburst pieces, so that's the size of the tiles, haha), and I was really amazed at how different it was as a two player game than a four player game (I also played it as a three player).  I have to say, while I really enjoyed it with any number of players, my favorite was as a two player game.  I'm pretty sure I'll be purchasing this one.   I will also say that I liked it a lot better with four than three players.

Terra Mystica
Terra Mystica - probably one of my top favorite games of all time;  I was actually a little disappointed because this copy didn't have the expansion with it; and while I really don't like the additional races in the expansion, I do really like the extra map.

King Domino
King Domino is a fairly popular (and fun) tile laying game.   If you've played, you'll see that I draw a crap tile for the final round.   It is a very simple, very fun game.  I don't need to own it, but I quite like it and I would be happy to play it at any time.

Lanterns is an older tile laying/set collection game that my friends really wanted to play.  This was my first time playing it and someone suggested the app (when I get a tablet, I'd probably do that).  It was fun, I can see why people like it, though it's not my favorite set collection game.

I bought Sagrada right after the last con I went to in September, I really, really like it.  It's a fun, short game that's pretty easy to teach.    We actually went to a friend's Friday night to take care of Mona and we went back to their place and played Sagrada with them (well, we played Sagrada a lot, but these were the only non-gamers), and it was pretty easy to teach.   I checked my notes, and I actually played Sagrada every day of the con - haha!

Codenames: Duet
O.M.G.  I really like Codenames for a party game.    If you don't know it, you play on two teams.  Each team has a 'codemaster' who looks at a 5x5 grid of cards (they have names/words on them).   You have a mapped card that tells you the words your team has to guess.   It's a hilarious, difficult, and infuriating game.   You give a hint and then you listen to 2, 5, 8... however many people on your team try to figure out what your guess means and you have to keep a straight face.  Hilarious.

Codenames Duet is designed for two players where we each have a side of the map (you can see it above) and we try to make each other guess the correct words (we have different maps) until we have a collective 15 correct words.   I thought it was even more fun than I thought it would be, and even more fun than the "regular" Codenames game.  I'm totally buying this.  It was hilarious.   We lost every game we tried.

Century Spice Road
I bought this game after the September con as well and really like it.  Trading resources up to purchase cards to try to get the most points.  Sweet and simple, but with enough competition/strategy to be interesting.

Whistle Stop
I have a hate for train-themed games, but this one was alright ;)    It was a more euro-y game than most of the others we'd played.  Strategy, planning ahead, minimal player conflict/competition.  I thought it was a lot of fun, but I didn't feel the need to purchase it or anything.  I wouldn't mind playing it again.

Dimension is a game that I bought a while ago and always forget how fun it is to play.   It's a great filler game.

Queen Domino

Queen Domino - final board

Queen Domino is the next game to come after King Domino.   It is essentially King Domino with some extra stuff to add to the complexity of the game, which I appreciate.  I'm sure if you love King, you'll want more?  Maybe?  I like King Domino for what it is (which is not overly complex).  I'd rather play a better game for the amount of time that this one took.

Cottage Garden

Cottage Garden
Listen, I love me some Uwe Rosenberg.  And I really like Patchwork.    This game is just like Patchwork, but annoying.   I can't quite put my finger on it, but none of us enjoyed this game.    A friend came by the table and she was shocked, SHOCKED! that we didn't like it because it's one of her favorites.  So there's that.  It's not a bad game, per se, I just have better games to play.

This is a fun card game that gets broken out quite a bit at the con for filler, and I really need to buy a copy.  It's a fun, competitive card game that gets a little silly and out of control without being obnoxious.   I'm not sure what the official rules are, but you can just play as many rounds/games as you want and keep score (which is what we did).

NMBR9 is a fairly new game (I think it was one of the play-to-win games at the last con - game publishers send new games that people play for entries to win in a drawing).   You draw cards, and place the numbers - pretty simple!   It uses a single draw pile for everyone, so everyone gets the same numbers in the same order, and you place based on rules.  It's interesting to see how the towers/piles (and scores!) differ.

Bunny Kingdom

Bunnies of Bunny Kingdom
The very last game I played at the con was BunnyKingdom.  It wasn't on any of our "to play" lists that we'd come up with ahead of time, but I saw some people playing it and it looked so silly/cute that I spent a day just hunting a free copy.

It's a silly/cute theme pasted on an area control/placement/card drafting game.   I really liked it, but I'm not sure how much replayability there really is to it.   But it's so silly/cute that I just want to buy it any way (luckily, my to-buy list is long enough that I can manage to resist, I'm sure).

So that's all of the games of this particular con.  If you follow my IG, you've seen all of these already (I kind of keep track of what I'm playing with IG so I don't have to enter it into a spreadsheet/list right away), and some of them are repeat IG-offenders :)    Hopefully, we'll finish up the majority of the house things we wanted to get done (living room is almost complete!) and we can get to some local gaming soon.  


  1. I won Codenames at a workshop I attended (Gaming in Libraries!), but don't have anyone to play with. :(
    We're working on introducing our 7 year old to games - for Christmas she got Ravensburger's "Labyrinth" game, which is wonderful for small people and the big people they ask to play with them. Also, it is amazing to see how quickly she understood the strategy and started seeing patterns! (We also have "Dr. Eureka" and "You've Been Framed" - patterns are her jam.)

    1. That's awesome that your little one is getting those games so well :)
      I need to make local friends so I can play (regular) codenames again. Heck, I need to make local friends just so I can get more gaming in.

  2. Great recap, thank you! I have friends that host game night and I'm wondering if I should get Codenames for them. Or maybe for me and invite them and a few others.

    1. Thank you for your kind words! And I really like Codenames - it's available at Target and online retailers, so it's pretty easy to get (and relatively inexpensive!). I hope you and your friends try it and like it!

  3. I enjoyed seeing your photos on IG but hearing more about the games was very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm glad you liked the write up! :)

  4. Your gaming convention always looks like a lot of fun. I'm very excited to see a 2 player version of Code Names! I love that game, but don't have people to play with often. We tried giving it to Felix' mum for her birthday since she likes games and usually gets everyone to join in, but for some reason she doesn't really 'get' Code Names.

    1. The 2 player version was so good! even the partner wants me to buy a copy so we can play at home together :)

      I know there's a love/hate with Codenames in my old gaming group, but I always enjoyed it.


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