06/12/2024 – Berkshire Gamers Session Report #24-24

14 at the UNO Community Center in North Adams for a request night

Welcome to Ron & Kenja on their first visit and welcome back Zach
Our June 19 session will feature games about cats, dogs and other pets
Expect to play from among: Isle of Cats, Dog Lover, MLEM: Space Agency (Cats in Space), Race to the Raft, Snow Tails, Cat Lady, Seikatsu: A Pets Life, Exploding Kittens, Fort with Cats & Dogs expansion, Space Cats Fight Fascism, Good Puppers, Cat in the Box, Good Dog: Bad Zombies, 9 Lives, Agility…..and more
We have renewed our rental agreement with UNO Community Center from September 1, 2024 through August 31, 2025. We will start annual collections over the summer – same $60 per year via PayPal as last year. We made the decision to NOT have a Wednesday gamenite on Christmas Day 2024 and New Year’s Day 2025.
Our informal monthly program, at the Milne Public Library in Williamstown, resumes on Thursday June 20. From 2-5 PM we will be playing traditional games like SCRABBLE, Dominoes, Backgammon, Rummikub, Chess,Checkers…and introducing easy family eurogames. If you have the time, kindly join Sandy and Steve in introducing our hobby to newbies.  
June 26 will be our 3rd anniversary of Wednesday gaming together….not a single missed session. Expect a Crokinole tournament run by Ethan and Tony and plenty of activity and/or real-time games to celebrate.
The Spiel des Jahres finalists and recommended games were announced this week. The German Game of the Year award (since 1979,when Hare & Tortoise won the inaugural prize) are currently in 3 categories (I’ve omitted the Children’s game awards). The only copies within our group are Tim’s copies of Sky Team and Harmonies. Winners will be announced in July.
Spiel des Jahres 2024 (for casual gamers):
Captain Flip, from Remo Conzadori, Paolo Mori, and PlayPunk
In the Footsteps of Darwin, from Grégory Grard, Matthieu Verdier, and Sorry We Are French
SkyTeam, from Luc Rémond and Scorpion Masqué (and from KOSMOS in Germany)

Kennerspiel des Jahres 2024 (for “gamers’ games):
Daybreak, from Matt Leacock, Matteo Menapace, and CMYK 

The Guild of Merchant Explorers, from Matthew Dunstan, Brett J. Gilbert, and AEG 
Ticket to Ride Legacy: Legends of the West, from Alan R. Moon, Rob Daviau, Matt Leacock, and Days of Wonder
Aside from these finalist nominations, the SdJ jury recommended the following six titles: 


Passt nicht!

Phantom Ink

Schätz it if you can

Trekking Through History


6/12/2024 @ UNO Community Center
IN: Steve & Sandy, Sean, Tim, Armando, Matt, Ethan, Chris, Reimi, Rob O, Danny, Zach, Ron & Kenja
Charcuterie: the Board Game (led by Sean) 2024 I cut, you choose set collection and tile placement game game, where players take turns drafting delectable food tiles and arranging them on their board. Placements will be judged on final presentation with players scoring points for their arrangement and for meeting social criteria that elevate their display into a real crowd pleaser.
Project L (led by Ethan) 2020 charming combination of puzzle solving with engine building. Players start with 2 acrylic puzzle pieces and earn additional shapes by completing puzzles. Players select from among several actions – drafting puzzles, upgrading pieces, placing pieces and the important master building action. The game rewards efficiency in the drafting and in use of their 3 actions per turn. There are two recently released expansions to try, as well as a spin-off similar game in the works called Square One that recently completed a very successful crowdfunding campaign..
Knarr (led by Tim) 2023 race, set collection and drafting card game that was runner-up for Light Game of the Year as voted by BGG users (Thunder Road : Vendetta was the winner).  Players are leaders of a band of Vikings that are sent to new destinations. Manage the recruitment of your crew, and choose the best territories to explore. Depending on the destinations reached (for trading or influence) and the Vikings who accompany you, players can increase their reputation to gain even more wealth. On each turn players either place a new member in their Viking crew, activate the effects of all of them with the same icon, and get another one from those available under the matching color on the central board, or they can explore new destinations, with the opportunity to trade with those places and get more gains or reputation.
Faraway (led by K-ban) 2023 runner up Light Game of the Year as voted by BGG users. Players will play square cards as a row of 8 in front of them, from left to right. These cards represent the regions they will come across while exploring the lands. Characters on these cards will grant players victory points, but only score VPs if later cards fulfil the conditions they demand. At the end of the game, players walk back the same way, scoring cards in the opposite order you played them. There lies the heart of the gameplay. Throughout the game, the cards you play will serve both to set new objectives, and to meet the ones you played previously. On each turn, players select one region card from a hand of 3 and a clever priority system governs replenishment drafting. The first play in this 30-minute gem of a filler will likely make your head implode, as you wrap your brain around simultaneouslyng thinking both forward and backward on your journey to score VPs.


Space Base (led by Sean) 2018 John D Clair strategic engine building game using a player board (your space base) and tableaus of ship cards that players can buy and add to their boards. It is a dice game using the core “I roll, everyone gets stuff” mechanism. Players can take their engine in a number of directions: long odds and explosive gains, low luck and steady income, big end-game combos to launch from last to first, or a mix-and-match approach. First to 40 VPs wins in this very approachable gateway game. It’s time to explore some of the expansions.
Look at the Stars (led by Armando) 2022 flip and write game where players draw constellations by connecting the dots to earn VPs.
Splendor (led by Ethan) 2014 award winning game of chip-collecting and card development. Players are merchants of the Renaissance trying to buy gem mines, means of transportation, shops—all in order to acquire the most prestige points. If wealthy enough, players might even receive a visit from a noble at some point, which will further increase their prestige. On turn, players may (1) collect chips (gems), or (2) buy and build a card, or (3) reserve one card. If you collect chips, you take either three different kinds of chips or two chips of the same kind. If you buy a card, you pay its price in chips and add it to your playing area. To reserve a card—in order to make sure you get it, or, why not, your opponents don’t get it—you place it in front of you face down for later building; this costs you a round, but you also get gold in the form of a joker chip, which you can use as any gem. All of the cards you buy increase your wealth as they give you a permanent gem bonus for later buys; some of the cards also give you prestige points. In order to win the game, you must reach 15 prestige points before your opponents do. Splendor should be in everyone’s game collection.
Tidal Blades: Heroes of the Reef (led by Matt) 2020 worker placement and drafting game set in a fantasy world where each player takes the role of a young hero competing to be named a Tidal Blade. The tournament takes place over 5 Days and Nights. By gathering the needed resources, signing up to compete in Challenges and timing their arrival at different islands, players can make the most of their Hero’s turns and rise in the ranks of the contestants. Each day players will send their hero to take actions on the different locations and to undertake Challenges. Each action will gain players the resource or effect listed on the action space as well as the location bonus. At the Arenas players may then attempt a Challenge that matches their location, and at the Fold they may battle a monster. Completing Challenges and fighting monsters will advance your character in the four traits of Focus, Spirit, Resilience and Synergy. Each Tidal Blade will be judged at the end of the 5 rounds based on the Challenges they have completed, the level of each of their Traits, their standing on the Champions Board, and the monsters they have fought.


Paperback (led by Tim) 2014 game where word-building meets deck-building. Players start with a deck of letter cards and wild cards. Each hand they form words, and purchase more powerful letters based on how well their word scored. Most letters have abilities that activate when they are used in a word, such as drawing more cards or double letter score. Players buy wilds to gain victory points. A 10th anniversary edition was released this spring.
Trailblazers (led by Sean) 2023 drafting and route building game where players compete to earn the most points by building biking, hiking, and kayaking loops from their campsites of the matching trail type. Each round, players are dealt eight trail cards where they’ll draft two cards, arrange those cards in their personal area, and pass their hand to the next player three times. Cards must either be placed adjacent to or overlapping other cards. While players can push their luck by aiming to construct long and elaborate trails, only closed loops that start and end at a matching campsite will score points. Players also compete to fulfill “First To” and “End Game” goal cards. After four rounds, the game ends and the player with the most points from closed loops and goal cards wins. 
Tangram City (led by Sean) 2023 Uwe Rosenberg city building puzzle game, where players place tangram-shaped tiles in a randomly determined order onto their square field, while trying to balance the amount of building (black) and park (green) tiles. Points are scored each round by forming their largest completed rectangles, with end game bonuses for a balanced city and for completely filling their board. We can only hope that the author can plumb the depths of tangram puzzles like he did with polyomino games (Patchwork, Indian Summer, Cottage Garden, Spring Meadow, New York Zoo)

14 at the UNO Community Center in North Adams for a request night Welcome to Ron & Kenja on their first visit and welcome back Zach Our June 19 session will feature games about cats, dogs and other pets.  Expect to play from among: Isle of Cats, Dog Lover, MLEM: Space Agency (Cats in Space),…

14 at the UNO Community Center in North Adams for a request night Welcome to Ron & Kenja on their first visit and welcome back Zach Our June 19 session will feature games about cats, dogs and other pets.  Expect to play from among: Isle of Cats, Dog Lover, MLEM: Space Agency (Cats in Space),…

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