Second Season – Our Second Impressions of Board Games

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:

Wingspan

Wingspan Cover

 

Wingspan was published in 2019 by Stonemaier Games. The game was designed by Elizabeth Hargrave and the gobsmackingly gorgeous artwork was provided by Ana Maria Martinez Jaramillo, Natalia Rojas, and Beth Sobel. This is an engine-building game with a unique theme – birds. So what are our second thoughts on the game:

Pros:

  • The components – with one possible exception (see below) – are topnotch;
  • The artwork is absolutely beautiful;
  • The cards contain details about each bird pictured including the bird’s Latin name, wingspan, and other types of information;
  • The game play is pretty intuitive. You play a card on that row or in that column and you do what the space says;
  • There are 2 ways to score each round – one is a more friendly scoring mechanism, the other gives points based on which position that you win (first, second, third, or fourth);
  • The game includes a solo mode.

Wingspan birdhouses

Cons:

  • Why did Stonemaier Games not go the extra mile and instead of putting cubes in the game, put in birdhouses, especially given the quality of the other components in the game ? (See picture above) We ordered the birdhouses online from Etsy here, https://www.etsy.com/listing/662527528/40-x-birdhouses-action-token-wingspan?ref=shop_home_active_15&crt=1
  • The included birdhouse dice tower really does not work for us;
  • There were several misprinted cards in the original edition of the game. These cards can be replaced by ordering from Meeple Source, https://www.meeplesource.com/proddetail.php?prod=WingspanCardReprintPack, but it is a bit of a hassle to have to do this;
  • The last round of the game feels almost scripted – it seems like the appropriate thing to do is just to lay eggs as your last action each time, but that could just be our particular play style;
  • There is luck in the game and if you are a player who prefers no luck at all, this is not the game for you. There is luck in the card draws as well as in the dice that you roll for food.

Bottom Line: Overall, we feel that this game will stay in our collection. We appreciate its beauty and the game play itself, being fans of engine-building games.

Dingo’s Dreams

DingosDreams Cover
Dingo’s Dreams was published in 2016 by Red Raven Games and seems to be one in a line of smaller box games from that company that includes Eight-Minute Empire and Artifacts, Inc as well. The game was designed by Alf Seegert (one of Stasia’s favorite game designers) and the artwork was provided by Ryan Laukat. The game is a family-style game that does not take itself overly seriously.

Pros:

  • The artwork fits the game – it is whimsical in nature;
  • This game covers a wide range of ages and abilities. The game can be played almost as “Bingo” getting 5 of your animals in a row to cater to the younger crowd and it includes a Hazards variant to make the game more difficult for older, more experienced players; and,
  • This is a good filler type game that allows the players to set the length of the game depending on how many rounds they want to play.

Cons:

  • It is easy to forget if you have done the “push” part of your game if you are talking while taking your turn. Of course, we are easily distracted so that could just be us!
  • The theme is pretty much not there – it could have been anything – although the artwork helps make up for it.

Bottom Line: A nice, well-presented filler game that does not overstay its welcome. It will remain in the collection.

AuZtralia

AuZtralia cover

AuZtralia was published in 2018 by Stronghold Games here in the United States. The game was designed by Martin Wallace with the artwork provided by James Colmer. The game is an economic/exploration strategy game with a horror theme based on alternate reality. Who knew that the Old Ones went to Australia in the 1930s?

Pros:

  • Set up variability – you are never going to play the same game twice;
  • The game can be played solo, cooperatively, and competitively;
  • There are variants for 2-player as well as 3-4 player games and there are variants to make the game more difficult(!);
  • The alternate reality/horror theme works well for the game;
  • The rule book is well laid out and it is pretty easy to find answers to any questions you might have during the game;
  • The components are nice and functional – the card quality is very nice.

Cons:

  • The game runs a bit too long. For a 2-player, it comes in at around 90 minutes;
  • The game set up is lengthy due to having to place all the Old Ones and resources out.

Bottom Line: This game is on Beth’s top 10 all-time favorites list so, of course, it stays in the collection. It will likely never get played competitively, but we very much enjoy the cooperative version.

Conclusion

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!

Stasia and Beth

6 Replies to “Second Season – Our Second Impressions of Board Games”

  1. Gary

    Very good reviews Stasia. Australia really interests me. I’d probably be playing it solo so I’d be very interested in comments.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Gary, I have not played the game solo, so I cannot speak to the solo experience although I doubt it is all that different from the cooperative game, which Beth and I really enjoy. I hope you have a chance to play it some time soon and try it out for yourself.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Stasia

      Reply
  2. Val

    Nice to see your blog on second plays. I’m also charmed by AuZ. Set-up becomes faster with practice. I also organized the resources and chits in a Plano box and that’s made the process a tiny bit easier.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Great tip about the Plano box, Val. Right now we have all the bits in the baggies that came with the game, but if the Plano box makes the set up time easier, I think we will be changing that.

      Thanks for coming by the blog. We will be doing Second Season posts weekly for the next little while. We have a bunch of games we have only played once!

      Stasia

      Reply
  3. Kathy

    Oh, no! You don’t like the bird feeder dice tower? That is a favorite component of the game with my group. (It’s come down to everyone taking turns being the dice master.) I do not take it apart anymore. I glued the base pieces together so it would be sturdier. It just sits on top of the shelves in between game plays.

    I have been unable to get anyone interested in playing Fantastiqa. I must try again. I refuse to give that game up. I just love the art and I think the game play is unique.

    Reply
    1. admin

      I wish we liked the bird feeder dice tower more, but we are not big on dice towers to begin with. We have put it together permanently too, it just does not get used.

      I will be blogging more about Fantastiqa next week, so stay tuned! I love the game – number 10 on my all-time favorites list, after all. The next convention we are both at, we need to play!

      Stasia

      Reply

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