Second Season – Our Second Impressions of Board Games (Week of 5/12/2019)

Too often we find that the first play of a game is centered on learning the rules and mechanics of the game, so it is hard to give coherent thoughts on what we like or dislike about that game. We are going to give our second impressions, a “Second Season” if you will, to those games we have just played for the second time. First up:

Covert

Covert Cover

Covert was published in 2016 by Renegade Game Studios. The game was designed by Kane Klenko. The artists for the game were Luis Francisco, Hokunin, Scott Nicely, and Chris Ostrowski. In Covert, the players are controlling 3 spies, trying to complete missions, using dice placement mechanics. Each player has a special ability that can be used the entire game. Here are our thoughts on the game.

Pros:

  • Theme – who doesn’t want to be a spy?;
  • The component quality is all-around nice – I get a kick out of the “spy” meeples;
  • Dice placement mechanism, which both Beth and I like;
  • The puzzly nature of the game;
  • The implementation of the two player set up is easy to do and there is no maintenance required during the game.  You just set it up and play;
  • The game plays very well with two.  Since we pretty much play exclusively 2-player, this is definitely a plus for us.

Cons:

  • Analysis paralysis is definitely a problem for players who are prone to it;
  • There should be a rules summary on the back of the rule book. This is major issue as far as I am concerned;
  • The game can run long.

Bottom Line: Both Beth and I really enjoy this game. Make no mistake – this game can be cutthroat, especially with 2 players as the dice that each player rolls are open information. You can deliberately block a player. Beth and I find ourselves concentrating so hard on what we are doing that we pay little attention to what the other player is doing. If this is sub optimal play, then so be it. There are times that we inadvertently block each other, but we do not go out of our way to do so.

Dragonsgate College

Dragonsgate College

Dragonsgate College was published in 2017 by NSKN. The game was designed by Thomas Vande Ginste and Wolf Plancke, who also designed the excellent Yedo. The artists for the game are Víctor Pérez Corbella, Agnieszka Kopera, and Odysseus Stamoglou. Dragonsgate College is a dice drafting game set at a wizarding academy in which the players train students, hire professors, and place new rooms in their respective houses – think Harry Potter!

Pros:

  • Theme – we love Harry Potter around this house, and this feels like Harry Potter: The Board Game;
  • The components are of nice quality, although not outstanding. I do wish the player boards were a bit thicker;
  • The rule book is pretty well written and easy to follow, although there are some typos and things I would have worded differently;
  • The replayability is off the charts;
  • Dice drafting and worker placement mechanisms, which again both Beth and I like;
  • We really like the Wizard cards that reward not only the person who earned them, but also gives a little something to the other players as well;
  • There are a lot of paths to victory in the game;
  • There are 2 sides to the player boards, upping the difficulty level for more advanced players and there is an “Extra Combined Action Die Variant” for new players;
  • The game length is perfect for a mid-weight euro.

Cons:

  • Set up time is fairly long, especially if only one person is doing the setting up;
  • The game is a table hog, so if you have limited table space, that could be an issue;
  • The stats on the chits for the professors and apprentices is a little too small, especially for people with bad eyesight like me;
  • There is no scaling of the subterfuge track in a 2-player game.  This is a minor quibble though, since the difference is only 2 points, but that might make the difference in the game;
  • The artwork on the professor and apprentice chits is not to my taste.

Bottom Line: Beth loves this game – she rates it a 10, so obviously this one remains without question in the collection. I also enjoy the game (I rate it between a 7.5 and an 8), although not as much as she does. To its credit, there is a lot of good in this game. I think that designers Thomas Vande Ginste and Wolf Plancke are designers to watch as both Beth and I enjoy their earlier game Yedo and they are working with several other designers on the eagerly anticipated Perseverance: Castaway Chronicles, which made my (Stasia’s) Top 15 anticipated games of 2019 list.  You can check out that blog post here: https://weboardgamebling.com/games-coming-soon-stasias-top-15-most-anticipated-2019-games-part-2/

Gaia Project

Gaia Project Cover

Gaia Project was published in 2017 by Z-Man Games. The game was designed by Jens Drögemüller and Helge Ostertag. The artwork was provided by Dennis Lohausen. Gaia Project is billed as a Terra Mystica game. Neither Beth nor I have ever played with Terra Mystica, so we cannot compare the two games. This game has a science fiction theme, which appeals more to me than it does to Beth. Each of the factions the players can play has their own development track for Terraforming, Navigation, Artificial Intelligence, Gaia forming, Economy, and Research.

Pros:

  • Theme is a plus for me;
  • The components for the game are very good;
  • Variable player powers for each of the 14 factions;
  • There is a very good solo mode with this game. It was designed by Automa Factory, so no surprise there;
  • There are multiple factions that can be played – 14 – so there is a ton of replayability between that and the amount of things that are randomly set up at the beginning of the game;
  • The game is surprisingly deep;
  • There are advanced rules and variants that can be added to the game should the players wish to do so;
  • The rule book is pretty well-written.

Cons:

  • The game is a table hog, so if you have limited table space, that could be an issue;
  • Set up time can be fairly long, especially if there is only one person doing the setting up;
  • I think this game is one of those that rewards repeated play (mind you, I have only ever played it twice, but it just seems that way to me), so if you are not going to play it a bunch, it might not be a game for you;
  • If you are looking for a lot of player interaction, this is probably not a game for you.

Bottom Line: I love this game! This is a game that I enjoy more than Beth does. This is one of the heaviest games in our collection and I appreciate that about it. I also really like the theme. Since the game has a solo variant – and a very good one at that – even if Beth hated the game, it would still be staying in our collection.

Second Season Continues. . .

We are hoping that publishing this “Second Season” as we are calling it will encourage us to get our once-played games to the table and determine whether they have a place in our collection. See you next week with more Second Season games!

As always, please be sure to check out Board Game Geek (www.boardgamegeek.com) for information on these and thousands of other games.

Stasia and Beth

 

2 Replies to “Second Season – Our Second Impressions of Board Games (Week of 5/12/2019)”

  1. Icarion

    I already had my eye on Covert, if I end up spending my money it will definitely be your fault… :-p

    Reply
    1. Ha! I blame most of my board game purchases on Richard Ham (rahdo), including Covert. We really like it. I hope you get a chance to play and enjoy it too, Julie!

      Stasia

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *