Happy New Years! Hope you all had a ridiculously good night of gaming with your drinks at a safe distance from the table. It's been a good 7 years of the hobby so far, and so far only one game has seen the ill effects of alcohol. Empires Age of Discovery with 2 building tiles affected by a runaway beer. And some people think drinking isn't dangerous....
If you're wonder what beautiful game you're looking at above, it's Valeria: Card Kingdoms, my new favorite gateway game to introduce people to. Not to be confused with Quests of Valeria or Villages of Valeria, two totally different games in the same universe; Card Kingdoms takes a known formula from Catan, Machi Koro, Space Base etc, but speaking for myself, it's my favorite implementation yet. Catan is great, yet too long and complicated for what it is, which is essentially a statistics risk/reward session wrapped in 60-90 minutes of tinkering with other stuff along the way. Machi Koro took the core of that and left the extra behind, but thematically it never appealed to me, and never felt satisfying. Space Base was a step in the right direction, yet still lacked a real feeling of accomplishment. Plus the art wasn't my style. Along comes Card Kingdoms, and I thought it was amazing. It's a stupid simple fun 30-45 minute game, but so far everyone who has played it has enjoyed it.
You role dice, collect resources, take 2 actions, rinse and repeat, yet it's just plain fun. Do I double down on my Knight/Warlord combo? But that other guy keeps turning his dice into 1's, so maybe I should grab a Cleric and some other low numbers? Do I try to just build up the tableau, to constantly increase my resource collection? Or slash and burn the monsters which is where the points ultimately lie? Or perhaps the domains? Both points plus in game benefits, but they are expensive...if you're really lot just check out your Duke, his secret goals can help show you which of those paths is optimal for you.
This is no Brass, no Terraforming Mars...it's just fun. And we can all use a little more fun. Teaches in 5-10 minutes, plays in 30-45. Accessible, pretty, and you never feel like the game is screwing you, there's always something fun to do, so whether or not you're winning is up in the air, but you'll sure have fun along the way.
Here's wishing you all a 2019 filled with fun.