That's How I Roll Episode 034 - Snowmageddon! Vikings on Board!

That's How I Roll Episode 034 - Snowmageddon! Vikings on Board!

It's a Snowmageddon episode! Xavier and Cooper join Jeremiah on a snow day and chat about the games they've been playing and also do a Drive-By Review of Vikings on Board from Blue Orange Games!

Produced by Jeremiah Isley

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Hans Im Gluck Announces Expansions for Carcassonne and Bruges

One of the many toy fairs in Germany is the Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg, held in February. As you can imagine, there are many new games and expansions announced there--including new expansions for Stefan Feld's Bruges, and the latest Carcassonne expansion. Image from BGG user duchamp

While we'll be the first to admit that some of the Carcassonne expansions have jumped the shark *coughCatapultcough*, Carcassonne: Sheep and Hills actually looks pretty good. First, there are some hill tiles, and when you place one you immediately draw another tile and place it under the hill tile, creating a...hill. Now, if there's a tie, whoever is on a hill will break the tie. This is an easy and neat little addition that's simple enough to even add to the base game when playing with newbies.

In addition, there are sheep tiles that let you draw sheep chits from a bag if you place your shepherd (a new figure) there. But beware...there are also wolf chits, and they'll gobble up your sheep.

And finally, though it's not mentioned in the title, there are also a few new tiles with vineyards on them. If you place one of these vineyards next to a monastery, then when (and only when) that monastery scores, you score three extra points.

These all seem like sensible, easy to include, not-insane expansions. I might finally dive back into Carcassonne!

Image from BGG user duchamp

The other expansion is The City at the Zwin expansion for Stefan Feld's Bruges. According to the description on the Geek, this will include:

  • Components for a 5th player.
  • Additional character cards from a new guild.
  • New stock cards that each have a special power that modifies an existing action.
  • A new mechanic where, "whenever a 3 or 4 is rolled on a die at the start of a round, a ship of the same color is placed on the supplemental game board. As an extra action, a player can discard a worker of the appropriate color, reveal the matching ship, and take the action depicted, such as advancing on the influence track or reusing a one-time power on one of your character cards."
  • Some more statues of higher values to give people incentive to build canals.
  • A revised Engraver card to replace the one from the base game, as some people thought it was overpowered.

Each of these modules can be added to the game separately, or you can add all of them for utter Bruges madness... Apparently Z-Man will be printing an English version, but no word on when it will be available.

Thanks for reading, and make sure you're subscribed, as THIS WEEK we'll be giving away a copy of Relic Expedition to one lucky follower/subscriber/liker.

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Suburbia—A Review

suburbiacoverBy Firestone Confession time: I've never been a big fan of Civ games. Not board games. Not video games. Not any games. They're...boring. So Suburbia comes out, and lots of people call it a SimCity board game. This fills me with dread, and a desire to take a long nap... Could this be the first civ/city-building game I like? Or will I build a Landfill and then put this game into it? Let's find out!

The Overview

You're going to be taking, paying for, and placing tiles into your city. Doing so will affect your income and population. When the game ends, whoever has the most population wins.

suburbiaTilesThe Components

1 Population board

1 Stacks board

1 Supply board

1 Real Estate board

4 Burrough boards in the player colors (black, red, purple, yellow)

144 hexagonal City tiles

20 Goal tiles

4 Player aid cards

1 Start player marker

1 Giant pile of money tokens

4 Reputation markers

4 Population markers

4 Income markers

12 Investment markers

The Setup

The City tiles are divided into four groups: Basic tiles, A, B, and C tiles. Separate the A, B, and C tiles (they have the letter on the back side), and then you'll place a number of them on the Stack board. (This number varies depending on the number of players.) In the C pile you'll also be mixing in the One More Round tile, which will trigger the end of the game.

Place money on the Supply board, and give each player $15 million. Place the basic City tiles (Suburbs, Community Park, and Heavy Factory) onto their spaces on the Real Estate Market board. Then place the top seven tiles from the A stack out onto the Real Estate Market. These spaces range in price from $10 on the top end, and free on the bottom.

Then shuffle the Goal tiles, and place a number of them out, faceup, depending on the number of players in the game. Then give each player two Goal tiles facedown, and each player chooses one to keep and places the other back in the box with out showing the other players.

Each player takes a Borough Board, places the Income marker on the 0, and the Reputation marker on the 1. Each board is flat across the top and has three "notches" for tiles to fit (see the picture). Each player takes one Suburb, one Community Park, and one Heavy Factory from the basic City tiles, and places them in that order, from top to bottom, in the middle notch of the Borough Board.

Finally, (whew!), each player grabs his or her set of three Investment markers, and places their Population square on the 2 space of the Population board. You're finally ready to play! It seems like a lot of prep, but it's intuitive, and goes fairly quickly.

suburbiaThe Gameplay

Randomly choose a start player. You can do one of two things on your turn: take and place a tile into your Borough, or place an Investment marker.

If you choose a tile from the Real Estate Market, you pay the cost on the tile and the cost of the tile's "position" in the Market. So as tiles are in the Market longer, they become cheaper. But, of course, the tile might be gone by the time it rolls around to your turn. So do you pay more now, or wait and hope it's still there? That's one of the interesting decision-points in the game.

You can also choose to buy one of the basic City tiles, and you just pay the cost on the tile.

Once you have a tile, you place it into your Borough. The only real restriction on placement is that the new tile has to touch at least one side of an already placed tile. Then you'll often have some adjustments to make based on the tile. So it might increase or decrease Income, or Reputation, or just give you some quick cash. You placing a tile might also trigger someone else's tile already in play. So the Homeowner's Association tile, for instance, gives its owner $2 every time any player plays a green Residential tile.

One other option for placing a tile is to make a Lake. You have to pick a tile from the Real Estate Market, and you pay the position cost only. Then you place it in your Borough, and get $2 for each adjacent tile that's not another Lake. It's a way to get some quick cash—and swipe a tile from the Market that you know someone wants.

The other option is to place one of your three Investment Markers. Instead of taking and placing a tile, you pay the tile cost of your chosen tile again, and then place a Marker on it. Now the effects of the tile are doubled for the rest of the game.

At the end of your turn you'll now receive (or pay) money, based on the position of the Income Cylinder. If you can't pay when you need to, you have to move the Population Square down one spot for each dollar you can't pay.

Now you adjust the Population Square up or down based on the position of the Reputation Cube. As your Borough and Population grow, you'll have to pay more to maintain it. There are red lines on the population track, and whenever you cross one, you reduce your Income Cylinder and Reputation Cube down one spot. If you ever end up going back below a red line (due to negative Reputation, for instance), you'll put the Income and Reputation back up one spot.

If you bought a basic City tile, or placed an Investment Marker, you must remove any tile from the Real Estate Market—paying the position cost only. So one tile will be removed from the Market on each player's turn. Now you slide all of the remaining tiles down—making them cheaper—and place a new tile on the leftmost position.

When the "1 More Round" tile comes up, you finish the current round and then more round. Now you look at Goals, and then turn money into Population—you ignore the red lines from this point forward.

First you check the faceup Goal tiles, and award the points to one player. If there's a tie, no one gets any points. Now each player reveals his or her secret Goal, and scores the points if they've achieved the goal themselves. Again, if you've tied, you don't get the points, and only the owner of the secret Goal gets a chance to get those points. Finally, you'll turn money into Population at the rate of 1 point for every $5, rounded down. (Keep any leftover money, as that's the third-level tiebreaker.)

Some of the Goals include "+10 for the most airports," or "+20 for the fewest Residential tiles," or "+20 for the lowest Reputation."

Whichever player has the most Population wins. If there's a tie, it's the person with the highest Reputation, and then the highest Income, and finally most leftover money.

There's also a Solo Version, where you're playing the 2-player version against a "bot" player.

SuburbiaGoalsThe Verdict

I love this game. It hits all of the right buttons for me: It's thematic, full of interesting decisions, has an auction with more meaningful decisions, includes Goals you're working toward, and just...yeah!

Let's get this out of the way: There are a couple of things I don't like. First, with so many tile interactions going on each turn, it's easy to feel that someone at the table has missed a bonus somewhere—but that's a small complaint.

The larger issue is the Goal tiles. Those are a lot of points, and it's fairly easy for someone to unintentionally interfere with your Goal. For instance, in a recent 2-player game my opponent had a hidden Goal of "+20 for the most lakes." Unfortunately for him, I seemed to be constantly broke, so I kept buying lakes for some quick cash. So those were 20 points I "stole" from him, and I had no idea I was doing it. Even worse are tiles like "+15 for the fewest played Investor Markers." There is nothing you can do to control whether other players play their Investment Markers, so if even one person chooses not to play one, you're just out those points. It's kind of a big deal, but this is one of those games where the other parts are so good that I overlook this flaw.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, let's go back to the good stuff.

I've played this with every number of players, and it scales well. I especially like the 2-player game, because as you add players, you increase the chances of someone messing with your hidden Goals—although I do like having more people trying to win the public Goals. Okay, I like every number! I also like that it's on the lighter end of the spectrum, while still creating meaningful and interesting decisions. One reason I dislike Civ games is that there's just so much going on. This isn't a light game, but it also doesn't overwhelm you with minutia. I played with my 9-year-old, and he did just fine. It's a good next-level game for him. And though I have yet to test this, I think this would actually be a pretty good nongamer game.

The theme is really strong here, and it comes through in small touches. For instance, if you build a Landfill, you'll increase your Income, but for every building you build it next to, your Reputation will decrease. And every single tile has these thematic touches that make sense and make the game fun and interesting. And because you're not using every tile in every game—and there are different Goals in every game—no two games will feel the same.

I like laying tiles. This might be because one of my first Euros was Carcassonne, but I just like laying tiles, and deciding where the best place to put a tile is. But it's not just laying tiles, because there's also that wonderful Market. "That's a great tile, but it's expensive. Will it still be there when it gets to my turn again—and when it's cheaper?" "Should I turn that tile into a lake to keep it away from her?" Every turn has these sorts of decisions to make, and I enjoy doing that.

Another good thing? Combos!!

The game plays quickly, even with the full complement of players. And a 2-player game can be played in 30-45 minutes, so it's really a meaty filler. I love that.

The Final Verdict

I know I seem to be gushing over this, but I'm completely taken with it. I LIKE playing this game. There are a lot of great games that I wouldn't personally say are "fun" (Dominion springs to mind), but this one is fun for me. It's hasn't even come close to getting old, and I don't think I'd ever turn down a game. Bezier Games just came out with a expansion, and I can't wait to see what they do to expand this. It's one of my favorite games I played this year. Put this on the table!!

Theology Of Games would like to thank Bezier Games for providing a review copy of Suburbia. This in no way affected our opinion of the game.

Thanks for reading! Have you played Suburbia? Did you agree with my review, or do you think I should build a lake and then jump in it...? Let us know in the comments.

Carcassonne Around the World!

SudseeImpossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools. - Napoleon Bonaparte

Some may say that it's impossible to catch up with the popularity of the likes of Monopoly and Settlers of Catan, but Carcassonne is doing its best to pump out fresh versions, expansions, and editions of the game until the market is oversaturated. Hans im Gluck, publisher of Carcassonne, announced the franchise's next step toward that end.

Carcassonne: Sudsee will be released on October 21 of this year, as the franchise continues its trip around the world. Some would say it's impossible to build the French city in such places as North America, or...I don't know...a tropical island? But those are the words of fools!

Sudsee tilesSudsee will keep "the familiar tile-laying gameplay of the original Carcassonne, with players adding a tile to the playing area each round and optionally placing a token on the tile to claim ownership of...something. Instead of the familiar cities, roads and farms, however, players in Carcassonne: Südsee use their meeples to gather bananas, shellfish and fish, then ship those goods to traders in exchange for points."

Can't get enough Carcassonne? Want to see it in more places? You're in luck, because this is being touted as the first in a series dubbed "Carcassonne Around the World".

What do you think? Will you pick up the newest iteration of the tile placing classic? Is it necessary?

Winter Is Coming... Winter Carcassonne, That Is

carc winterAbout a year ago Z-Man Games ended up with the distribution rights to the Carcassonne franchise in the US. There's been a few expansions to come out since then, including a set of 6 mini expansions that each include a tile to a 7th expansion.

Today Z-Man announced the upcoming release of Carcassonne: Winter Edition. The announcement came through their Facebook page; very few details were given except that there will be an included Gingerbread Man expansion.

This appears to be another stand-alone version of the classic tile-laying game—this time around with a wintery, dare I say "Christmasy," theme... This is the first stand alone edition (aside from the base version) that has caught my eye, and will definitely be making its way onto my Christmas list! You can check out the post from Z-Man here.

Thanks so much for reading, and don't forget to subscribe over on the right for a chance to win free stuff!

And look for us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube!

It's Our 1-Year Blogiversary!

HeartlandBy Firestone Jeremiah and I met nearly two years ago. He was at my company to attend a mini conference with some youth ministry luminaries. I can't even remember how it came up that we were gamers, but it did. Then, a few months later we met up again at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference, where Jeremiah and his wife introduced me to Quarriors. Once they went home, his wife said, off-handedly, "You guys should write a blog together..."

We thought that was a great idea.

So on July 1, 2012, we started Theology Of Games—with a review of Carcassonne. Over the next few months we started to find our "voice" a little more. And we started some of our more-popular features, such as interviews with people in the gaming world, and our favorite thing: Double-Take Reviews.

But we wouldn't be here if there weren't people reading the blog, so we'd like to sincerely thank you for reading, following, and contributing.

And, of course, we celebrate anniversaries with gifts, right? I think the traditional 1-year gift! (I think every anniversary gift should be games, but my wife completely disagrees with me on that.) Some generous people have kindly donated games for us to give away.

150px-Carcassonne-gameWhat do you have to do to win? Just subscribe to the blog. That's it. Everyone who is already subscribed is automatically entered to win.

And that's not all, the past year has been great, and we're excited to have recently launched our YouTube channel featuring coverage from the Origins Game Fair, and we'll be rolling out more video previews of new and exciting games!

But wait! There's more! Be on the lookout later this month as we'll be launching our very own podcast, which will feature both of your friendly TOG writers, as well as special guests from the gaming world and beyond! Stay tuned for more details and our official release date!

Again we want to thank you, the readers, and all of the warm friendly folks from the gaming world who have welcomed us into this community—we hope to stick around for quite some time!

So make sure you subscribe over on the right. -------> We're giving away some cool stuff, including a copy of The Great Heartland Hauling Company from Jason Kotarski and Dice Hate Me Games!


Get Your Game On! June 21-2013

Come play games with us at the Root! This Friday, June 21st from 7-11 will be a night of tabletop gaming at the Root Cafe, hosted by me: Jeremiah Isley.

This will be our second monthly meeting and I'm working away in the background for a few special surprises, so stay tuned for more information there!

The Root Cafe, is a great little coffee shop in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. My wife and I go there often to relax, chat, and write, and through our frequent visits we've gotten to know the manager, Karolyn, fairly well. The Root is packed with great atmosphere, delicious beverages, and some great tables for gaming! I pitched the idea of a game night to Karolyn and she was all for it!

What we're hoping to accomplish with these gatherings is to introduce the hobby to folks who may think of Monopoly when you mention board games, and also give folks who are into the hobby a fun, relaxed, welcoming atmosphere to enjoy their gaming and the chance to meet other folks in the area who share the same interests.

We'll be playing -

Plus a few prototypes of unreleased games! (More info on this coming soon!)

I would love to meet you, and game with you; if you're nearby please come on out!

The Root is located at - 852 W Bath Rd, Cuyahoga Falls, OH.

You can find out more about the Root Cafe here. 

Thanks so much for reading, check back soon for more coverage from Origins Game Fair—or better yet subscribe over on the right for our emails! And don't forget, we're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Board Game Night—At the Root!

Come play games with us at the Root!

We're super excited to be able to announce that Jeremiah is hosting our first ever Board Game Night, at the Root Cafe in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. (Click here for directions)

Join us Friday, May 17 from 7:00-11:00 PM. Jeremiah will be there with a nice collection of games, some old favorites, some new prototypes, and a few fun party games. There will be games for newbies curious about the games we play, as well as the seasoned gamers.

Here's a few games that will be on hand:

Carcassonne—A fun tile-placement game; this is a staple for any gamer's collection!

The Great Heartland Hauling Company—A fun quick-playing game of cards and cubes!

Kingdom Builder—Easy to learn, but ever-changing!

DC Comics Deck Building Game—Use your cards to gain other cards and defeat the super villains!

The Resistance—There are no words!

The Agents—A prototype card game.

Princes of the Dragon Throne—Another prototype game from our friends at Game Salute.

Looking forward to see you all there! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more details!!

What You Missed...

quartifactcoverIt's been a busy week for us here at TOG! Here's a quick look at what you missed—or what you may want to take a look at again! We took a quick look at some news about the newest Kingdom Builder Expansion.

Z-Man Games also released information regarding reprints of Carcassonne, and the new edition of Pandemic.

Firestone reviewed the new and very cool board/gear game Tzolk'in.

And don't forget the news about a new Quarriors expsansion!

We're still getting warmed up! Thursday we unveiled our awards for the Best Games of 2012!

dragonAnd today's Kickstarter Weekly featured Dragon Whisperer, a very cool trick-taking card game.

Believe it or not, we've got another week's worth of excitement coming on Monday that is just as awesome as this week! So check back in, tell your friends about us, and as always...don't forget to like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!

Thanks so much for reading and have a great weekend!

Some Z-Man News: Pandemic and Carcassonne

carccoverOn Z-Man's Facebook page, they've announced that: 1) The new version of Pandemic should be in stores now.


2) we'll see three reprints of Carcassonne expansions this month.

"In February, we will be releasing three Carcassonne titles:

Expansion 1: Inns & Cathedrals Expansion 2: Traders & Builders Expansion 3: The Princess & the Dragon"

If for some reason you've never played this great tile-laying game, be on the lookout for these expansions. It's a terrific nongamer game.

Thanks for reading, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter...