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At Meeple Design we try to play Board Games every weekend, especially during these current lockdown restrictions, and record our Board Game plays on a great app called ScorePal. There are other apps available to record Board Game plays but we found this one to be the easiest to use and highlights our important stats. We thought it would be a fun idea to provide a weekly round up about the Board Games we played, player count (spoiler - it's usually 2), number of recorded plays and give our thoughts about the games we are playing before we post our full reviews.
Follow us on Instagram @meepledesign for more images of our play sessions, of the Board Games set up and we post information about any competitions we are running.
We hope you enjoy these weekly reports and, unfortunately for me, I have a feeling that it will just show how often my wife beats me at games.
This is a new edition to our collection as I bought it as a Birthday present for my wife. We played this with a friend last year and my wife loved it. There are 2 different versions of the game, Golem edition & Spice Road. The game is great but for us it's the artwork of the Golem edition which makes it super interesting.
The rules for the game are explain on one double sided sheet, so is quick and easy to learn, with the aim of the game being to use crystals to gain the point scoring cards and coins. You generate crystals in the game by playing cards to harvest or trade crystals. There are 4 actions you can choose from to perform on your turn; to play a card to gain crystals, purchase a points card, take a new card into your hand or 'rest' place the cards you have played back into your hand. It really is a simple game to play and explain the rules too which makes it a great entry level game for non gamers. Despite it being a good entry level game it is still a fulfilling gaming experience and the set up allows for varied game play.
During our most recent game, I felt I was winning throughout the game however on reflection I think I spent too many turns in the beginning gaining new cards into my hand and some of these I did not end up using. Also, although there is no hidden information, towards the end I did not pay attention to the crystals that my opponent had and I ended up missing out on a high points card. We ended the game level with 88 points each but tie breakers are won by the last person who took a turn, which was my wife, so I lost. So far I have yet to win against my wife at this game, but I will persevere!
Great Western Trail has been in our collection for a number of years now but haven’t recorded all of our plays on ScorePal. We bought this as we are big fans of point salad eurogames which have lots of different strategies to attaining points. GWT has some great mechanics that interlink really well together and help fit with the theme. The game involves herding your cattle from Texas to Kansas City by moving your cattlemen along the board stopping at buildings to take different actions which include; buying new cattle (deck building), hiring different types of workers, building new buildings to add to the trail or moving your train along the route to Kansas City.
In this recent game, I spent my time buying new cattle types as they earn you victory points at the end of the game and money during the game when you arrive in Kansas City. I am a big fan of optimising my deck in deck building games, which the cattle element of this game is, so I started removing cards from my deck around the midway point of the game so that when I arrived at Kansas City I received more money for having different cattle types in my hand. Unfortunately I spent too much time focusing on this rather than taking other actions that would earn me victory points and this, with some other bade decisions, that contributed to me losing the game. On the board is a worker market with a maker that moves down as you add more workers each time you visit the cattle market, the game end is triggered when adding a worker pushes the token off the bottom of the track. Our game lasted slightly longer as we purposely added fewer workers towards the end which added a couple of extra turns to the game. If I ended the game earlier perhaps I may not have lost by such a large margin as the final score was 173 points to my wife and 131 to me.
If you like Great Western Trail check out our Poster inspired by this amazing game.
Let us know in the comments if you have any tips for us (or me as I lost both games) and your opinion on the games we played.