My Favourite Boardgames [Caylus] A Quick Review

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The second game in My Favourite Boardgames series is Caylus, the BEST worker placement game of all the land.

I know that’s a pretty bold statement to make but I stand by it I’m a huge worker placement fan anyway so this is right up my street but even if that isn’t really your thing, you MUST at least play Caylus once, you may be surprised. While the rules seem complex at first, you get the hang of it and the game seems to fly by.

The actual gameplay is very straightforward, you place a worker, wait until it’s back to you, place another worker, etc. The complexity comes in the amount of choices available. Do you go for resources and try to get points by building lots of buildings and in the castle? Do you try to quickly build residences and aim for prestige buildings? Do you try to get as many Royal favours as possible and get the bonuses to help you build cheaper or get extra VPs? There are several possible strategies to try but most times you end up doing a bit of everything as the fact that each building can only contain one worker means you often have to change your plans.

This is also what makes it THE BEST WORKER PLACEMENT game in my opinion as it’s not just a case of picking a strategy and running through with it. Everyone has to adapt and change their plans and make the most of each situation. This also means it is daunting for beginners though but you could try Stone Age or The Pillars Of The Earth to still get that worker placement fix. 

I’d say Caylus is a medium-heavy weight game although I hear some people saying it’s really heavy. It’s all relative to what you play and what your interests are but if you like games like Agricola, Le Havre or Puerto Rico then Caylus is definitely worth checking out.  If you are somebody that loves a solid worker placement game and does not mind the idea of confrontation (or even enjoys it, like me) then I have no doubt that you will love this game as much as I do.

 

A little bit about Caylus

 

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Designer – William Attia
Publisher – Ystari Games/ Rio Grande Games
Players – 2-5
Game length – 60-150 mins

In Caylus, the players embody master builders. By building the King’s castle and developing the city around it, each olayer will earn prestige points and gain the King’s favor. When the castle is finished, the player who has earned the most prestige basically wins the game. 

Each turn, players pay to place their workers in various buildings in the village. These buildings allow players to gather resources or money, or to build or upgrade buildings with those resources. Players can also use their resources to help build the castle itself, earning points and favors from the king, which provide larger bonuses. Building a building provides some immediate points, and potentially income throughout the game, since players receive bonuses when others use their buildings. The buildings chosen by the players have a heavy impact on the course of the game, since they determine the actions that will be available to all the players.

As new buildings are built, they stretch along a road stretching away from the castle, and not all buildings can be used every turn. Players have some control over which buildings are active by paying to influence the movement of the Provost marker. The final position of the marker is the newest building that can be used that turn. The Provost marker also helps determine the movement of the Bailiff marker, which determines the end of the game. Generally, if players are building many buildings and the Provost is generous in allowing them to be used, the game ends more quickly.

Final Thoughts

So as I said earlier, if you’re someone that is into worker placement games and likes a little bit of conflict, you will enjoy this game. Also, if you are someone who can appreciate some smooth  combinations of buildings and actions, that just really work well together then this game really is for you. Now, this isn’t a recent game and the artwork may look dated, this doesn’t matter to me, I know it can to some people however it really doesn’t matter. It’s a fantastic game, solid game play, a great amount of thinking and strategy and the potential to screw over your friends (in a kind of nice way, maybe).

Caylus hits the table a lot with my gamegroup, it’s relatively quick compared to most of the games we play so it’s a nice game to start off the day with to get everyone warmed up and ready for a long day of gaming.  Caylus is a true classic and definitely deserves a place in My Favourite Boardgames pile.

Thanks for reading.

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My Favourite Boardgames [1846: The Race for the Midwest]

We’re kicking off my June favourites with one of the best games I’ve ever played 1846: The Race for the Midwest.

These blog posts are going to be slightly different to my usual kind of thing, I will give a brief overview of how to actually play the game but I really just want to give my thoughts and opinions on the game and why I like it. Let’s dive in…..

A little about 1846

Designer – Tom Lehmann
Publisher – GMT games
Players – 3-5
Game length – 240mins

In 1846, 3-5 tycoons compete to earn money and build the best stock portfolio by investing in and operating railroads within the mid-western United States during 1846-1935.

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1846 is an 18xx game set in the Midwestern United States. Differences from other 18xx games include scaling the number of corporations, private companies, and bank size to the number of players, fewer restrictions on actions such as raising money and using private company powers, the initial distribution of private companies, and paying for virtually all track builds.

Five competing eastern railroads, in search of mid-western grain and markets, crossed the Appalachian mountains in the early 1850s: the New York Central, Erie, Pennsylvania, Baltimore & Ohio, and, via Canada, the Grand Trunk, backed by Boston merchants. In front of them were literally hundreds of failed local railroads, most existing only on paper, but a few of which had laid bits of track and acquired locomotives, before running out of capital and being sold to Eastern interests in 1846. Further west, the first land grant railroad, the Illinois Central, is being formed.

 

Initial thoughts

This is the first 18xx game that I have played and have been told by many people that this is a great entry level game into the world of 18xx. I have been constantly wanting to get it to the table since I first learned to play and I’ll be honest, even though it’s the only one I’ve played so far, I’ve got 1830 and 1853 sat on my shelf ready to go and I’m so excited to play them.

My first game wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it was going to be and after five or 6 plays, I feel like I thoroughly understand the game and how to play. I had heard about 18xx being pretty heavyweight on a number of occasions and trust me it was, but I had painted this picture in my head that it was going to be pretty overwhelming and scary. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it and got along with it from the very start. Yes, your brain wile have a lot of work to do and a hell of a lot of decisions to make but this game really does fascinate me and I’m really looking to playing more and more 18xx this year.

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Now, obviously this doesn’t just apply to these types of games but one of the things I really liked and thought was important to mention is that there’s pretty much no randomness in the game at all . I like that all of your choices matter and will definitely affect the game later down the line, in sometimes surprising and exciting ways. There’s nothing wrong with luck based games or games that easily forgive however I like more of a challenge and love that every single move I make would definitely affect what happened in the game and may come back to haunt me later on.  On that note though, there is no clear way of winning, which I also quite like. It’s really hard to judge who was going to win as things could change very quickly throughout the game. 

Something that’s pretty new to me is buying and selling stock and how the whole stock market works. It took the full first game for me to understand that well enough to be able to play again, it pretty much clicked when the game was about to end which was annoying but I feel like I got to understand it quite thoroughly which definitely helped my second game. Considering it was my first game though, I was quite happy that I came away understanding how to play at the end. I learned enough to be able to play again with a group of people that hadn’t played ANY 18xx at all.

To save me even trying to explain how the Stock rounds work, you can find it on page 5 Here.

So many thoughts …

Decisions about which companies to invest in was not obvious at all to me which was definitely a challenge, I feel like this will probably become a bit easier with experience however apparently with 1846 that is always the case. As I have played this game more, this has definitely improved but something I’m still working on!

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One thing that initially surprised me was the length of the game. It didn’t last as long as I thought it might, I had always been under the impression with 18xx that it was going to last forever however the games I’ve played have always been around the 4 hour mark which really isn’t  that bad. Game length is never an issue for me anyway, if I’m having fun then I’m happy to play a game for as long as it takes. I was a bit worried at the beginning in case I didn’t enjoy it and had to sit there for that long waiting for the game to end.

Something that did catch me out in my first couple of was buying trains, I was focusing so much on laying track (which I really enjoyed) and trying to understand how the stock rounds work that I completely forgot that my trains were going to phase out which definitely hurt towards the end of the game. Basically, trains become obsolete, and must be replaced by ever more expensive trains that also have greater capacity for earning revenue. Purchase of a new type of train usually triggers other events in the game, and that’s  when older trains become obsolete, meaning you cannot use the trains that you purchased earlier on in the game to run routes, this is really frustrating if you are not focusing on trains!

 

Gameplay

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Now, the game is way too complex to start going through all of the rules on here but here is an overview!

Each player begins with $400, spending some of this to purchase Private Companies, which provide varied advantages. Play then proceeds by alternating Stock Rounds with pairs of Operating Rounds.

In Stock Rounds, players launch, invest in, and trade shares in the railroads. During Operating Rounds, the President (majority stock holder) of each railroad directs it to build track, run routes with its trains, possibly pay dividends to its shareholders, and buy new trains. A railroad’s stock price depends on both investments and stock trades by players and the dividends it pays.

Trains are grouped in phases, representing technological advances. Once the first train in the next phase is purchased, the game phase advances, affecting various game aspects.

The game ends after the bank runs out of money.

At game end, players total their cash and the value of their stock shares. The player with the highest total wins.

Important: A railroad’s treasury does not count towards its President’s final score. Victory is determined by players’ personal stock portfolios and cash, and only indirectly by the railroads they build and operate.

Final thoughts

I’d like to thank GMT games for making 18xx accessible to many people. I may not own tons of 18xx games but I’ve definitely got the bug now and from experience of looking for and  trying to buy different games, they can generally be pretty expensive and hard to get hold of so I really feel like GMT have done a great job of this reprint and a great job of making the hobby a bit more accessible to people that want to play or have been interested in 18xx for while, like myself.

Second of all, they have done a great job on the reprint of the game. 18xx games aren’t supposed to be pretty,  it’s about the strategy and function of the game and I truly believe that but the component quality and the aesthetic of the game is inviting, there are lots of nice bright colours and a lovely take on the classic 18xx theme. It really does feel like a deluxe version of the game and it doe’s feel pretty special when you’re playing it, especially in relation to the price point.

I’m really happy that I discovered this game, its something that is still new to me but I’m getting into the swing of things and excited to keep playing.

I hope you enjoyed reading and I hope that if you do play, you enjoy this game as much as I do.

See you next time,

Katie.

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It’s my party and I’ll play games if I want to. 

It’s getting warmer outside, people are starting to plan barbecues and social gatherings and late nights of drinking, so I thought I’d go through some of the games that I love to take with me when going to such events. I also have friends that aren’t really into playing board games but are happy to play these kind of games, they are perfect if you are trying to introduce people to gaming or just want a bit of light hearted gaming fun!

Now, I don’t know if these are all specifically classed as ‘party games’ but here we go. 

*Disclaimer – you do not have to be drunk whilst playing these games but it does make it rather enjoyable. 

Seven Dragons 

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I’m going to start off with one of the first games that I actually played when I was getting into boardgaming, Seven Dragons.

This game is super fun, light and quick. Great once you’ve had a few too many or at the end of a game night when you want a quick game which doesn’t require too much effort. It’s 2-5 players and you can play a game in around 20 minutes, perfect for down the pub and super amusing! 

In Seven Dragons, players start with a secret goal color from the seven colored dragons and a hand of three cards. The Silver Dragon is laid on the table as the starting card; at this stage it is a wild card. The playing cards feature domino-like colored panels.

On a player’s turn, they draw one card and play one from their hand. Cards are laid so as to connect matching colored panels. The deck also includes Action Cards such as Move a Card, Zap a Card, Trade Hands, etc. The used Action Cards form a discard pile, and the top card of this pile dictates the color of the starting Silver Dragon; once the discard pile has started, the Silver Dragon is no longer wild.

The first player to create a connected territory of seven panels matching their specific dragon color wins.

You can find out more about Seven Dragons here – Looney Labs

Trick of the Rails

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I’ve mentioned Trick of the Rails before, it’s so good that I even did a blog post on it – which you can find here TRICK OF THE RAILShowever it’s so good that I had to mention it again!

You may not call it a party game but it’s one that I take to parties, so there you go.

The game is played over a series of Tricks until the players have played all of the cards from their hands.

  1. The lead player can play any card from their hand to the middle of the table, this card will then be called the lead.
  2. In a clockwise order, each other player will play a card from their hand. If they have a card of the same company as the lead. If the player has no cards of the same company, they may lay another card.
  3. Whoever played the highest numbered card of the same company as the lead wins the trick.
  4. Then players will either gain company shares or lay track to railways. Which action the players will take is decided by the leftmost card in the Trick Lane.

The game ends after the final track has been played. Then, before a winner is declared, the value of each companies shares must be determined.

You can find out more about Trick of the Rails here – Terra Nova Games

 

Fuji Flush

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I picked this up at BGGcon last year from the Stronghold Games booth, and it’s been a favourite ever since. Everybody that I teach this game to absolutely loves it and the art work is fantastic which makes the game extra enticing to people that may not generally play games. It’s a great ‘party game’ as it actually plays 3-8 players. It’s best played with 6-8 players and only takes around 10-20 minutes. So perfect for big groups at a social gathering!

Fuji Flush is a card game, which consists of cards numbered 2 through 20, with higher numbers being rarer. Each player holds six cards at the beginning. In clockwise order, players play one card each. If it is higher than another card currently on the table, the lower card or cards are discarded and the players who had played the lower cards must draw a new card. However, if two or more players play the same number, the card values are added together. When it is a player’s turn and their card is still in front of them, they can discard it without redrawing. First player(s) to get rid of their cards wins!

You can find out more about Fuji Flush here – Stronghold Games

 

Snake Oil

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Now, this 2012 Mensa Select Winner is actually marketed as a party game so it belongs here! I once had to demo this game when I used to work for Esdevium and I quickly fell in love. It is branded as a family game and is perfect for that, but I feel like this one can get a bit more exciting after a few drinks. When people mention Cards Against Humanity and ask my opinion on it, I actually direct them to buy this game instead as I feel like it’s a lot more fun and much more imaginative. This one actually plays up to 10 people which is awesome for a party, and only takes around 30 minutes!

In the Old West, the wily snake oil salesman had a special talent, getting the most skeptical customers to buy the most dubious products. Now it’s your turn! Invent your own zany two-word products – Rumor Mirror! Burp Balloon! – and sell them to all types of wacky customers. If the round’s customer buys your product, you win!

To set up Snake Oil, each player takes six purple word cards. The customer for the round draws a customer card and announces it. Inventors quickly combine two purple word cards from their hand to form a crazy new product to sell to that customer. When ready, each inventor quickly pitches his or her product directly to the customer. The customer can end any pitch that goes longer than thirty seconds. The customer decides which product to buy and gives the inventor of that product the round’s customer card as the prize. Inventors discard all used word cards and take two new word cards each. The player to the left of the customer becomes the next round’s customer. Play repeats until each player has been the customer once.

Whoever collects the most customer cards wins.

So, there you have it, a few of my favourite ‘party games’.

Thank you for reading, and let me know what your favourite party games are in the comments!

Thanks,

Katie.

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TERRAFORMING MARS

In the 2400s, mankind begins to terraform the planet Mars. Giant corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage until the environment is habitable. In Terraforming Mars, you play one of those corporations and work together in the terraforming process, but compete for getting victory points that are awarded not only for your contribution to the terraforming, but also for advancing human infrastructure throughout the solar system, and doing other commendable things.

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  • 1–5 Players
  • 90–120 Min
  • Age: 12+
  • Designer – Jacob Fryxelius
  • Artist – Isaac Fryxelius
  • Publisher – Stronghold Games

Is there life on Mars?

IMG_6409Photo taken by Katie Aidley

My initial reaction to this game as I sat down at a friends house, ready to play was “Oh, not another space game”…… however this is probably one of my favourite games of 2016. I’d even go as far to say one of my favourite games, EVER. Yes, I said it and I am standing by it, this is one of my favourite games EVER.  At BGGCon last year, I played it three times within 24 hours and it has the perfect mix of tile placement, engine building and card drafting  that make for a very enjoyable game and a definitely worthy of being runner up in the Golden Geek awards.

Anybody that knows me or reads my blog will  know that I’m not usually a big lover of thematic games, it isn’t the first thing I think of when choosing a game, well apart from trains however this game got the theme SPOT ON and without sounding too obvious, you really ARE terraforming Mars during the game, I love the way you are working together to do this whilst also trying to win in your own right. This game doesn’t just feel like an engine builder with a theme stuck onto it at all, which was definitely one of my worries when first playing the game. 

Something that can be frustrating but can equally be what wins you the game, is the engine building involved. You could be doing really well for the first two thirds of the game, producing heat or ramping up the oxygen levels however sometimes you can just stall. I’ve found in a couple of the games that I’ve been doing pretty well then all of a sudden, just hit a brick wall and had to think on my feet and come up with a new strategy. For me, that’s something I find enjoyable in a game but it can be frustrating when you’ve spent the last hour or two working towards something.

One thing that initially put me off the game was the quality of the components and game pieces. Some people think the art is a bit tacky and dated but I actually really love the way it  looks unfortunately after only a couple of plays though, the cards and tiles started to become a bit shabby. The player mats are thin and flimsy and the once glistening resource cubes are already chipped and are looking a bit sorry for themselves. You know what though, it doesn’t matter.  It does not take away from how much I love the game and it certainly proves that looks don’t always count. I would highly recommend sleeving your cards straight away though and potentially forking out for the insert and game mat overlays. 

Gameplay

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The players acquire unique project cards (from over two hundred different ones) by buying them to their hand. The projects (cards) can represent anything from introducing plant life or animals, hurling asteroids at the surface, building cities, to mining the moons of Jupiter and establishing greenhouse gas industries to heat up the atmosphere. The cards can give you immediate bonuses, as well as increasing your production of different resources. Many cards also have requirements and they become playable when the temperature, oxygen, or ocean coverage increases enough. Buying cards is costly, so there is a balance between buying cards (3 megacredits per card) and actually playing them (which can cost anything between 0 to 41 megacredits, depending on the project). Standard Projects are always available to complement your cards.

Your basic income, as well as your basic score, is based on your Terraform Rating (starting at 20), which increases every time you raise one of the three global parameters. However, your income is complemented with your production, and you also get VPs from many other sources.

Each player keeps track of their production and resources on their player boards, and the game uses six types of resources: MegaCredits, Steel, Titanium, Plants, Energy, and Heat. On the game board, you compete for the best places for your city tiles, ocean tiles, and greenery tiles. You also compete for different Milestones and Awards worth many VPs. Each round is called a generation (guess why) and consists of the following phases:

1) Player order shifts clockwise.
2) Research phase: All players buy cards from four privately drawn.
3) Action phase: Players take turns doing 1-2 actions from these options: Playing a card, claiming a Milestone, funding an Award, using a Standard project, converting plant into greenery tiles (and raising oxygen), converting heat into a temperature raise, and using the action of a card in play. The turn continues around the table (sometimes several laps) until all players have passed.
4) Production phase: Players get resources according to their terraform rating and production parameters.

When the three global parameters (temperature, oxygen, ocean) have all reached their goal, the terraforming is complete, and the game ends after that generation. Count your Terraform Rating and other VPs to determine the winning corporation!

Taken from Boardgame Geek – Terraforming Mars

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, Terraforming Mars. Definitely a solid game in my opinion and definitely one to have in the game collection, if you can get your hands on a copy!

A few design and component flaws but as I said earlier, perfect gameplay and very enjoyable. 

I’ve played this game many times, and will continue to do so with all different group sizes however personally I thought that this game played the best with 3 or 4 players.

Thank you for reading, and hopefully see you again soon.

Katie.

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GET ADLER!

London, 1937 — Intelligence has discovered that Top-Secret documents are missing. So, too, is MI6 Agent Adler. The only clue is an intercepted message: “Trafalgar at seven.” MI5 Agent Gold, Inspector Sharpe of Scotland Yard, and Constable Townsend have been thrown this task: “Find and eliminate Adler.” They’ve got seven hours.

Get Adler! is a social deduction card game in which secret characters investigate each other to unmask Adler. Once the traitor is revealed, the game transforms into an action-packed race against time to eliminate Adler and to recover Top-Secret documents.

  • 4–8 Players
  • 20–40 Min
  • Age: 10+
  • Designer – Randy Thompson
  • Publisher – Caper Games

Thoughts

I was contacted by Caper games and asked if I would like to play Get ADLER! and give a few thoughts on the game, all I can say is that I’m very happy that they did. First of all, my game group absolutely loved this, we played it mostly as a drinking game but there really is no need for booze. It’s a very exciting social deduction games and definitely top of the list when looking for something light and fun to play with a big group. I often find social deduction games to be a lot of fun with a big group so I would definitely recommend this with 5 or 6 players but it did work just as well with 4. Playing with more players gives you access to some exciting cards which I will talk about a bit later on. 

I’ve got a quite a few conventions this year, and I am really looking forward to taking Get ADLER! along with me. I love how portable the game is, it’s very easy to pack when travelling and again, great fun with lots of people. I also love the theme, I’m not usually big on theme and I know I’ve said this in another post too but the art and theme is so different compared to what I would usually play,  it grabbed my attention pretty early on. 

Another thing I loved about this game is how simple and easy it was to follow the rules, I do play a lot of different games, mostly heavier games but I have always been a bit rubbish when it comes to reading rules.Meaning I was so happy when I received the game and saw how easy it was to follow.

This also makes it a perfect game to introduce to new gamers, or as a gift for somebody that might not usually be into games at all. I can definitely think of a few people that would really appreciate this as a gift and this is definitely a family friendly game. My family know that I am obsessed with games and are always trying to get me to teach them some ‘light’ games so this would be absolutely perfect for that too.

Gameplay 

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Get Adler! is a two part game. In the early rounds, the players will be asking each other questions and studying each others cards to try and identify who Agent Adler is. Part two of the game will consist of player’s trying to apprehend Agent Adler as he tries to escape.

Players will draw one card each turn & play one card for an action. In the first three rounds players will not be allowed to use the “Arrest” card. Starting in round four players will be allowed to attempt to arrest Agent Adler.

As the game continues, players will commit to playing actions during their turn to help try to identify who Agent Adler is. If a player plays a Question Mark card they will be allowed to ask one question. If a Magnifying Glass is played then a player may look at another player’s entire hand. The Binoculars card allows a player to exchange one card in one player’s hand with one card from their hand. And then there is the all important Arrest action.

When attempting an arrest a player will place their Arrest card in front of the player they believe is Agent Adler. If that player correctly identifies who Agent Adler is then all identity cards are revealed. If the guess is incorrect both the player guessing & the player that was falsely accused lose their next turn.

However, if Agent Adler is revealed during an arrest, that player will have a chance to respond with an Escape card. Escape cards will consist of a boat, bicycle, car, bus, or underground, bomb, disguise, & pistol.

When it comes to game end, the heroes win if Adler or all the villains or eliminated before the seventh hour. 

Agent Adler or the villains win if he or any of the villains are still alive at the seventh hour or possess a top secret document. Or, if all Heroes are eliminated. 

Here is a full list of the rules by the wonderful Father Geek: Father Geek – Get ADLER!

Final Thoughts

 

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A truly solid card game, it’s quite light and plays in about 30 minutes which is perfect as a filler or a family game. I thoroughly enjoyed this game and it’s certainly one I’m going to keep on playing in the future and take with me when I’m travelling. The theme is very exciting and definitely adds a lot to the game, I got really into it and definitely did feel a little bit like a villain. I would highly recommend checking this one out.

It is currently on Kick starter, and has funded so go check it out here:  Get ADLER on Kickstarter! and I look forward to playing this game more in the very near future. 

Also make sure to check out Caper Games here: Caper Games

Thanks for reading, and hopefully see you again soon.

Katie. 

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HOW TO SURVIVE A BOARDGAME CONVENTION

You’re going to a convention, it might be your first time ever or you could be going somewhere new. Maybe you REALLY don’t know what to pack or you may just be feeling a little anxious or nervous about going, hopefully I can help.

As somebody that suffers from social anxiety, I can often find the initial planning or the first day or two of a convention very stressful so I like to be as prepared as possible. I thought it may be useful to create a list of tips and tricks to help you when you attend a convention, some of these might seem obvious but it can be easy to forget the little things.

I hope you will find some of these useful!

1. Create an Instagram and Twitter account.

Yeah, most people are already on these sites I know but if you aren’t, do it now. Create an account, follow people that have the same interests as you and start getting to know people. If you’re going to a convention alone, or would like to make new friends before you go, this is one of the best ways of doing so. I have met most of my boardgaming friends and people that share the same interests as me on these two websites.

I’ve attended a lot of conventions in my time and knowing that I have friends there already has definitely helped. The boardgame community on the whole is a very friendly, inclusive place and will definitely welcome you with open arms. 

2. Make a ‘want to buy and where to buy’ list.

From experience, if there are games you know that you definitely want to buy at the convention, create a list and find out where the vendors are going to be. You might just want to browse and see if there is anything you fancy buying which is fine, but if you know of something that you definitely want, know where to find it because it could very well sell out. I had this problem at BGGCON last year, I wasn’t very prepared and two of the games I wanted sold out in 15 minutes. I eventually got them after the con but it would have been nice to get them at the time.

With conventions like Essen Spiel or conventions that are mainly trading halls, it is essential that you do this. It’s a huge convention and can be very overwhelming so being as organised as possible with the games you want to purchase is a must. You can usually find a map on the convention’s website which will tell you where each trader is going to be which is really useful.

Also, if you are on a budget or want to watch how much you buy, it’s always worth browsing all of the halls before you start buying games. Then you can decide what you want to buy, if anything.

3. Plan what you are going to eat when you are there.

Now, I’m not saying plan every meal but you will probably want to find out what there is going to be food wise there. Some conventions have a lot of food stands, which can sometimes be overpriced and will definitely be really busy which isn’t ideal when you want to be playing games and enjoying the convention as much as possible. I usually try to locate a supermarket near to the convention and on the first day go load up on snacks and food that will see me through the convention. 

It’s also worth finding out which restaurants are near, if any and how to get to them. It can be very easy to skips meals and forget to eat at conventions but this is definitely no good when you are trying to concentrate whilst playing games. You’re probably going to have some late nights too so you make sure to look after yourself and keep yourself well fed and watered.

4. Sleep IS your friend. 

Of course, you are going to want to spend as much time gaming and hanging out with your friends as possible and it’s not realistic to say that you’re going to get a full night’s sleep every night but do try to get a normal nights sleep at least one or two nights if you can. I get so stressed and grumpy if I don’t have enough sleep, so this is a must for me but you will definitely feel better for it and you will be more focused when playing games. 

5. Mental health breaks are a must!

A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five minute pause from hanging with friends or a half hour break inbetween games but it’s really important to give yourself a little break. Conventions can be very overwhelming, there is a lot going on and it can get stressful for some people so if you need to take a bit of time out then that is fine and you absolutely should!

6. Always make sure you take some cash with you.

While some of the bigger booths will usually have card payments systems, many smaller companies won’t so the only way to get their games is with cold hard cash. Setting a budget and only bringing that much money is also helpful so you can  watch how much are spending. Always keep some emergency cash too, you never know what could happen.

A lot of conventions will have ATM machines but if it is a huge convention, they can easily run out of money or again have massive queues which is annoying.

7. Don’t forget to pack the essentials. 

It can be easy to forget certain things when packing for a convention, luckily @overthehillier has written the perfect Convention Preparation list. Click here to check that out for more tips.

These REALLY are essential, not every convention will be near a mall or a store so it’s really important that you are taking the things that you will definitely need with you!

8. Have fun!

The most important thing to remember at a convention is to have as much fun as possible, meet new people, create new memories and do the things that make you happy. 

I have been lucky enough to travel around the world for different conventions, I have met so many amazing people and have had so many opportunities to do things I never thought I’d get to do. Try something new, talk to people you wouldn’t usually talk to, play new games and enjoy yourself.

So there you have it, I hope this will be useful to some of you.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed and see you next time. 

Katie. 

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BOARDGAME LOVER’S GIFT GUIDE 2017

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What do you buy a boardgame lover? Apart from the obvious.

Scroll on to find out.

Here you will find some of the perfect gifts I’ve chosen whether it’s someone’s Birthday, Christmas, you want to surprise a special someone or you just want to go ahead and treat yourself.

Yeah, receiving a boardgame is pretty awesome but so is receiving a useful. fun boardgame related gift.

Number one – Felt trays by Nettersplay on Etsy

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First up are these adorable Felt trays from Nettersplays on Etsy

Any boardgame fan will tell you how much things like this help, having trays to hold game pieces is vital. These are really cute too and you can buy a set of four starting from £16.53 which is a bargain. I would definitely be happy if somebody bought me a set of these. Such a lovely and thoughtful gift! 

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Number two – Boardgame Tshirts & Gifts from Geeky Goodiesc4plg6iwqaafpni

Geeky Goodies do a range of awesome t-shirts, as well as cards and  gifts for any boardgame lover. I absolutely love their t-shirt designs and it’s quite an easy simple gift to buy for somebody when you’re not too sure what to get. I don’t know any boardgame fan that wouldn’t be happy to be gifted one of these shirts!

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I also love the cake toppers they sell, these would look great at your birthday party or even your wedding. I would definitely have these on my wedding cake, I’m obsessed with them!

They also do greeting cards, thank you cards and posters too. They pretty much have you covered when it comes to boardgame merchandise. Go check them out.

Number three – Boardgame inserts by Meeple Realty18

Meeple Realty make the most amazing boardgame inserts.

Boardgames can contain a lot of components, and yeah it can be very annoying having to organise all of these components every time you want to play that game. Meeple Realty have the perfect solution, they also look amazing too which definitely helps. I would highly recommend these guys and their inserts to anybody looking to buy someone a useful gift, I promise you it will be very happily received. 

If you’re unsure about which one to buy, you can always buy a gift card and have it sent to their email address. I have done this a couple of times and it has always gone down really well.

Number four – Meeple Pillows by Infinite Sinn on Etsy.il_570xn-1138964613_7qyx

These pillows are gorgeous. I like the non boardgame related fabric too, makes them extra geeky and extra fun. I always like the idea of supporting Etsy stores too, it’s great to support people that are being creative and making super cool stuff within the boardgame community. She also makes the most amazing dice trays that would compliment any boardgame collection.

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Number five – Niche greetings cards and epic art prints by The Noble Artist on Etsyil_570xn-1095835425_8r9u

Now, these cards will go down especially well if you’re buying one for an RPG lover. The Noble Artist has an amazing range of cards for any occasion, I wish I had found these sooner and will definitely be buying my greeting cards here from now on. I’ve inserted a few of my personal favourites below for you to check out. You can also check out his facebook page here www.facebook.com/jamienobleartist

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So there you have it, a mini guide to some gifts that I think would go down pretty well.

Be sure to check out the links, and always support the boardgame community!

Thanks for reading, Katie.

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