At the end of each month on BGG, user Kevin Shaud asks every member of the Guild which games they have played, and set a challenge for the forthcoming month. The challenger of this month was to play 6 of your games 3 times. These challenges are often a great incentive to stray away from "try out the next game and pass onto the next" so I happily fulfilled it (I cheated though, of course. I played mostly very short games.)
Image credit: all board game covers are from BGG, photos are my own.
I started to play Cascadia during the KS campaign in the last summer. They provided a free digital version that was, for once, convenient, not like the Tabletopia thing I seem to be allergic to. Since I was a bit short on money, I told myself: "Play it 10 times digitally. You don't have the right to keep your pledge otherwise. And you'll likely don't want to once you're through." Well, too bad, I still backed it.
I am still waiting for it, but I also still play the digital version once in a while. It is, actually, rather pleasant. It's pure tile-laying with BYOS, but somehow I get entertained with it. You must put animal tokens on the tiles and each animal score differently, hinting at different possible strategies and synergies. My own frustration with the game is that I got 100 points during my third game, and I have never been able to beat this ever since. I consistently score in the 90s though. So long for a learning curve.
I play Puzzle Dungeon every month. It's a very nice game, with excellent replayability, as each hero is truly different from one another, so that you cannot rely on any single strategy. This is something a lot of games try to achieve but few do so as smartly and efficiently as Puzzle Dungeon, despite the very simple rules and the super-fast set-up.
This month I played with the Pirate and Princess Carolyn. I still can't find how to play the latter correctly. She has an ability that seems to be very powerful, but leaves her too vulnerable. So it might be better to ignore it altogether, although it's tantalizing to spam it!
Intelle is, at its core, a 2 players abstract game, chess-like in the sense that there is perfect information, no luck, and I suck at it. You have hexes and you put cubes on it. If you fulfill a pattern, you claim the hex. Each hexes has seven locations you can out cubes on, and each matches a single hex. When you put a cube, that forces (or allows!) the next player to play on the matching hex. And that's about it.
Now there exists an expansion, Firewall, that introduces a solo mode. It runs very smoothly. You just draw a card that tells you where the AI puts a cube. Since the AI is dumb, you must control five out of the seven hexes, which might be tricky. There is nothing deep here, but it's fun, plays fast, and I feel less dumb than when playing with a human.
Before this month, I had played this game once, in December, and didn't finish the game as I was too bored. I didn't want to sell it before trying it again, but I couldn't resolve going through it once more. The March challenge seemed a good opportunity to get over with this.
Well, the game is not that bad, frankly. By the end of it, I might even be hooked. When you are on the verge of defeat and yet manages to stab that Giant with a Spear to snatch the win, it's quite gripping. But to go there, you have to go through a number of rounds that feel dull and useless. Sometimes, the cards align in such a way that there is nothing for you to do during your turn. Indeed, each round, the order of play is randomized. Threats happen, then it's your turn, then threats happen again. If you are unlucky, you end a round with your turn, and start the next round with your turn again. Very unpleasant.
Even though the rules are simple, it's more fiddly than it should, with weird little rules here and there that are easily forgotten or overlooked. The strategy to be followed is crystal-clear (defend as you much against the Dire enemies to stack on artifacts, then spam the boss with the Spear). Maybe this strategy won't work in higher difficulty levels, but I fear it will become more annoying than challenging.
In the box of Par Odin (a French game), you have only nine dice and a rulebook. Yet it's not a dice game. It's actually arguably a game, but it's on BGG so it counts for the challenge. It's a puzzle. In the rulebook, you have 50 puzzles to solve, each with a unique solution. The puzzle specifies on which side the dice are facing (so, no, you don't roll them). You must then sort out the dice into two groups of equal strength. And that's it. Yet believe me, it can be quite brain-burning. The value of some dice depends on how many other dice there are in the group, for instance. Some dice act simply as modifiers, doubling the value of the strongest die in the group.
You see how it can quickly becomes complicated. I find it very much enjoyable nonetheless.