Saturday, December 6, 2014

Happy St. Nick!

It was a very Happy St. Nick's morning here in the AGG household. Our stockings were stuffed with a mixture of cute holiday goodness and Tabletop GAMES!

I'm going to be honest here for a moment. . . the game ideas for my husband came almost solely from the Dice Tower Stocking Stuffers episode. I loved that they were tiny and compact and that they were 2 player. Additionally I thought some of the themes were absolutely perfect for being meaningful gifts. Their recommendations were honestly right on and perfect

Now it's time to revamp my December Game-a-Day Challenge to include some of these awesome games!

BraveRats (2011)

What sold me on this game was the fact that the rats were Scottish. My husband and I have such an affinity for Scotland after having lived there for 3 years that this felt like the perfect little special game for my husband's stocking.

Designed by Seiji Kanai, who is also responsible for bringing us Love Letters, BraveRats is a 2 player only game of dueling cards. The winner is the first person to win 4 rounds. Quick, fast, and fun!

Council of Verona (2013)

Based on Shakespeare's Verona, you play council members who need to mediate the Montagues and Capulets quarrel. This 2-5 player game focuses on hand management and influence token placement to gain Victory Points. The most Victory Points wins the game.

Diamonds (2014)

My husband got this game for me after he saw I recommended it during my Thanksgiving Games article. Besides, it was a way to buy me diamonds, without spending an arm and a leg. Diamonds really are a girl's (or an elf's) best friend.

Diamonds plays 2-6 players ages 8+ and lasts around 30 minutes. Diamonds is a brand new trick-taking game in the vein of Hearts or Spades from Stronghold Games and noted designer of Mystery Rummy games and the classic CCG Wyvern, Mike Fitzgerald. Diamonds shares the same foundation as its elder cousins where each round one player leads the trick and the rest of the table is supposed to follow suit. What makes Diamonds a stand out in its class are the little acrylic diamond tokens players collect as they play and the fact that any player that wins the trick or cannot follow suit gets to take a "suit action" with the card they played. These suit actions move diamonds on the table around, either stealing from opponents, taking from the central pool, or moving it from your "showroom" into your "vault' behind a little cardboard screen. Players are out to collect the most diamonds. If you love trick-taking games, this is a phenomenal reinventing of the wheel and the game is a perfect choice for the family table.

Ninja Dice (2013)

Ninjas as a soft spot for me. Tell me ninja and I'm immediately hooked. That doesn't mean I champion all things ninja, but I do enjoy things utilize the concept. So when I saw Ninja Dice, I knew we needed to acquire it. Not only was it a dice game, which is something my daughter has been enjoying immensely, but it seemed to be something that would incite a few laughs.

 2-5 players compete to be the greatest ninja warrior. . . without an obstacle course. Players roll house dice to find out what the task is that they have to complete. Then they'll roll skill dice to find out how their ninja is going to complete the task. And, of they're lucky, they might even get to roll fortune dice to give them a little extra "luck." After three rounds, the player with the most points wins. Gain points by defeating the obstacle house. There are many outcomes that could occur, so beware as you embark on your mission.

Also. . . the packaging is about as adorable as it gets. Who wouldn't want a ninja "bag" to store their ninja awesomeness in!

Romans Go Home (2013)

Another game that channeled our combined love of Scotland. . . the clans of Caledonia are trying to get treasure from Hadrian's Wall, which was part of the original Scottish lowlands for a while, because they Scottish moved higher up to build another wall closer to Edinburgh and the Forth of the Fifth.  The wall very roughly marks about the border between Scotland and England and the Caledonian are the people just north of the British border into Scotland.

As well all know, the Romans tried to make a go at settling in Britain and contributed to arcitecture and other things. The Hadrian's Wall was part of the Roman's defense near Carlisle and across to the Tyne.

The game itself has you using warriors to battle against each other for control of forts. You have your own warrior decks and you set down your warriors and then reveal as each battle unfolds. You total up who wins and that person gets the fort card. Do this over the course of 3 rounds.

It plays 1-4 players and the artwork is quite humorous. A adorable little addition to our game collection which also represents of love of the Scottish!

Star Realms (2014)

My husband has been really excited about this game. He's brought it up so many times and when I also saw in on the Stocking Stuffer list, I knew it would be perfect for his stocking this year.

Star Realms is a deck building game where you fight against the other players. Each player can use the cards from any of the four factions, which are signified by a ship or a base. There are some cards that reward you for using the same faction, but it might also not be beneficial to do so. I do, whole-heartedly, recommend this game to anyone who loves classic deck-building or collectable card games, because you get all the amazing feeling of being collectable without dropping hundreds of dollars. And did I mention. . .it's Sci-Fi? If you followed me last month, you'd know I have a bit of affinity for Sci-Fi games.

Steam Park (2013)

Steam Park had caught my eye a while ago. It might have to do with reading Something Wicked This Way Comes, but I added it to my want list. Then we went to GenCon 2014 and I saw it set up and I was just awed by how gorgeous and magical it looked. So once again, I mentioned it to my husband.

Finally! It is in my possession. Too big for a stocking, so my husband put the diamonds from Diamonds in the black bag that comes with Steam Park. I opened the bag like Rosaleta from Goonies, declaring "AY DIOS MIO!" Mmmmmm.... 80's geek references.

Essentially Steam Park takes Roller coaster Tycoon and puts it into boardgame form. You have to create your own coal-powered roller coasters and then you have to market and run the park! You want your park to be the best, cleanest, and the fastest. It's a tactile game of building, as well as hand management. I'm very excited to play it.


From a non-gaming stocking perspective. . . I got my husband the Bear Necessities ornament that actually plays the song! It was a song I always thought of regarding my husband, because it's on his playlist and he would always sing it when it came on. And then they had the Delorian from Back to the Future and it lights up! So I had to get him both of those ornaments, since I didn't go the ornament route for myself this year. Still working to geek out my Christmas though and it's going to be great!

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