One of the joys of boardgaming for me is playing a new game.

Whether it's a new game that somebody else brings and teaches me, or a game that I have bought and finally got to the table, both experiences are pure boardgaming heaven for me.

For that reason, I decided to keep track of the new games that I've played every month. These games aren't necessarily out in 2016/2017, but just new to me.

This month, I even played one from 2007!

So, in no particular order, here are the three games and one expansion I played in January that were new.

 

Penny Press (2015)

This game doesn't get a lot of buzz, but I actually really enjoyed it. I got it cheap off of Amazon and wasn't too sure about it.

But getting it out to the table, playing with three players, it was actually quite fun! I can see it being even more fun with 4 or 5 players.

Basically, you are a newspaper publisher in the "yellow journalism" era at the turn of the 20th century. There are five newsbeats that you're trying to get the best stories and scoop your opponents to get the most readership (i.e. victory points).

The game board, with the 5 news beats and the possible stories below them. And Tony's hand)


I love the five newspaper beats and how the point value of stories in each one can fluctuate based on how many of the stories actually have reporters on them. And how you can assign as many reporters as you want to a story, keeping in mind that you can only transfer one at a time from one story to another one.

It's kind of area control, in that when you decide to go to press, you get the stories that you have the most (or are tied for the most) reporters on.

It's also a slight bit of Tetris, as your newspaper front page is a 4X3 grid that you have to fit the stories into. At least one story from the most popular newsbeat (if you have a story from there when you go to press) must touch the top of the page. Also, after your first edition, there is a 1X1 ad that gets randomly placed on your front page, forcing you to work around it. If you don't fill up all the squares, you will lose some points.

(See that nasty ad on the bottom row? Really annoying!)


Lots of interesting choices, too. Do I go where everybody else is fighting, or sneak in to get a less popular story that may end up earning more points at the end of the game?

It will change every time, because the value of stories will change as different headline cards are drawn, forcing different beats to be worth more points at the end of the game.

Definitely a game I want to get to the table again.

 

World's Fair 1893 (2016)

Seen enough of this one yet?

I've already reviewed this game, so I will be brief.

This is a phenomenal game, both quick and yet kind of meaty.

Yeah, it's basic set collection, area control and all of that stuff, but it is just so fun. I played it 4 times this month with different groups of people, and it was a hit all 4 times.

I love the simplicity. You're basically placing a supporter into one of five areas and collecting the cards from there. During each scoring round, you get points for controlling areas, but that control also lets you get exhibits of that same colour approved, which allows you to turn those cards in for the appropriate coloured tile. You're collecting sets of different-coloured tiles for end-game scoring.

So there are some decisions.

Do I place a supporter in Electricity (Yellow) even though I already easily have control of that area, just because I want the cards there? Or what if I already have four or five yellow tiles. Getting another one or two or three during the next scoring round only gets me one point each because I don't have other colours to go with it.

But I really want the cards that are there because there are two blue cards, and I don't have any blue ones approved yet!

But then that means I need to fight for control of the blue area.

It can get quite intricate.

Not only that, but it's easy to teach to pretty much anybody, even non-gamers (who may take a round or two to really "get" it, but they will still know how to play). And even with teaching, it can be done in under an hour.

Excellent game.

 

Jamaica (2007)


Jamaica is a fun pirate-themed racing game where you're trying to race around the island, collecting booty as you go. You can land on an opponent's space and maybe loot their cargo hold if you have enough cannon (or roll luckily) to get even more points at the end of the game. But loot doesn't matter that much if you're dead last in the race, as finishing first will get you 15 points right off the bat.

I love the card-playing system where you play a card with a day action and a night action but don't reveal the card until everybody else has made their decision. The programmed movement is quite cool.

We played wrongly, but I actually prefer the way we played. We played it where everybody does their day action and then everybody does their night action, while the rules state that everybody does both actions on their card in turn order.

It's a fun game, with lots of laughs (at least when we played it)

 

Expansions:

Village Inn (2013)

I love the board game called Village. It's a really neat game that we jokingly called "strategically killing your family"

Basically, you're collecting resources to do things, but one resource that you can also use is Time. Yes, time. You can spend time to get one of your family members skilled in the making of Plows for your farm.

Then, you can spend a bit more time to build the plow. And as long as your family member still works there, you can spend a bit of time to get another plow if you need it.

Or you can spend a couple of resources.

Your farm, with the time track going around it, as time waits for no man

Once your time marker goes around your farm board, one of your oldest family member dies.

Why do I call it "strategically killing" family members? Because you are trying to get Prestige Points to win the game. There is a Village Chronicle with a certain number of spaces for each area of the board (crafts, travel, city hall, the church, the farm). If there is still space in the craft area when your family member who's building plows dies, you can place him in the chronicle. If all of the craft spaces are full, he/she goes into an anonymous grave, unremembered.

You get points at the end of the game for how many family members are in the Chronicle.

So you want to make sure that your family members are in the right place when they die!

Village Inn adds a new location, a new craft (beer! mmmmmmm beer) and villager cards that can help you.

The Inn, the Brewery, and a couple of the villager cards

You can spend time and send a family member to the Inn in order to hire one of the other villager cards who can help you in various ways. Some of them are immediate effects (discard this card to get a horse or an ox) and some are endgame effects (if you have 3 pink cubes at the end of the game, you get 6 points...but if you have 4 or more, you get none!)

This adds a bit of randomness but a lot more strategy and tactics to the game.

I've only played it once, but I do really like what it brings to the Village experience, and I definitely want to try it again.

The whole Village board - ain't it beautiful?

So there you have it!

Hopefully I'll get some more new games played this month. So far, none, but that will change!

I'd just better get moving.

What have you played this month? Anything new?

Let me know in the comments, and also let me know what you think of adding boardgames to the blog section.