Second Season – Our Second Impressions of Board Games (Week of 6/23/19)

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:

Port Royal with the Just One More Contract Expansion

 

Port Royal Contract

 

Port Royal was published in 2014 by Pegasus Spiele. The expansion, Port Royal: Just One More Contract, was published in 2015. Both the game and the expansion were designed by Alexander Pfister. The artists for the game and the expansion were Klemens Franz, Atanas Lozansi, Alexander Pfister, and Hans-George Schneider.

Port Royal is a classic push your luck game. The game allows the players to recruit sailors and pirates to help fend off attack, people who will increase their influence and grant special abilities, ships that they can trade with to earn money, and expeditions that will give them additional victory points. In the base game, the player who has the most influence points wins. The expansion adds both solo and cooperative modes to the base game and introduces contracts to the game. In the cooperative game, if the players fulfill all of the contracts, they win the game. It should be noted here that we have never played just the base game and only ever played the game in cooperative mode.

Pros:

  • The components for the game are good. The cards are of good quality for a game in which they are going to be handled a lot. The contract cards are thick card stock and of nice quality;
  • The rule books for the base game and the expansion are short and everything rules wise is covered. There is not a lot of having to hunt around for information;
  • The variability in the game, specifically the cooperative game, is high;
  • The game is both easy to learn and easy to teach;
  • The game plays quickly;
  • There are cooperative, competitive, and solo play available;
  • This is a great game for both casual and non-casual gamers alike.

Cons:

  • If you do not like push your luck games, this is not a game for you;
  • The iconography on the cards in the game may be difficult to understand for the first couple games. After that, the players should be good to go.

Bottom Line: This quick-playing, push your luck game is definitely staying in our collection. All of us enjoy playing it, even my casual gamer husband. We have not tried it competitively yet, but like the cooperative mode a lot, so I am not sure it will ever get played competitively, but it is nice to have that option.

Thunderstone Quest

Thunderstone Quest Cover

 

Thunderstone Quest was published in 2018 by Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG). The game was designed by Mike Elliott, Bryan Reese, and Mark Wootton. The artwork for the game was provided by Jason Engle, Gunship Revolution, Matt Paquette, and David Su.

Thunderstone Quest is the third iteration of the Thunderstone deck building system. Just as in the previous Thunderstone games, this is a deck builder game set in a fantasy world. The game comes with a quest book that the players can play through or they can play standalone games. If players want to play with everything, they can play Epic Thunderstone. The rules for that variant are in the back of the rule book.

Pros:

  • The components for the game are nice, although I would not say that they are outstanding. The card stock is good, the tiles are made of thick cardboard and the wooden components are fine;
  • The artwork is very nice, especially on the characters;
  • The amount of replayability is off the charts – even if you only have the base game, you have a ton to play with;
  • I like the fantasy theme of this good deck builder.

Cons:

  • Set up time is a beast;
  • Both of the games that Beth and I have played have taken 2 hours, so this is a game that is on the lengthy side;
  • The rule book for the game could use some work.

Bottom Line: I really like deck builders, although I am terrible at them. I never had the original Thunderstone game, but I did have Thunderstone Advance, and loved it, especially the Numenara version. There is a lot yet in the new game to explore, so it will be staying in the collection for a while.

 

Pandemic: Iberia

Pandemic Iberia Cover

 

Pandemic: Iberia was published in 2016 by Z-Man Games. The game was designed by Jesús Torres Castro and Matt Leacock. The artwork for the game was provided by Atha Kanaani and Chris Qwilliams.

The game is based on the original Pandemic board game. In this version of Pandemic, the players are not trying to cure or eradicate diseases, they are trying just to research them. Unlike the original game, this game is set in the Iberian Peninsula in 1848.

Pros:

  • The components for the game are nice – I especially love the little microscopes;
  • The artwork for the game is gorgeous;
  • There is a terrific little booklet that shows off some of the artwork in the game. There is a section in the rule book that gives some historical background for the Event cards that is a nice touch;
  • The game is cooperative, which is a huge plus for us;
  • The game is easy to teach and learn; and,
  • There are two variants in the rule book to change the game play and increase the difficulty.

Cons:

  • If, like me, you are not familiar with the geography of the Iberian Peninsula, it might take you some time to find the cities on the board despite the cards showing their location – at least in part. The Infection cards really do not help in this respect!

Bottom Line: Absolutely staying in the collection. I love Pandemic, as does Beth, and this is my favorite version of the game (barring Pandemic Legacy, Season 1).

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 here for information on these and thousands of other games.

Stasia and Beth

 

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