February’s crates included two absolute belters from Queen Games, notably Merlin and Luxor, as well as the 2018 Spiel des Jahres winner, Azul. Dirk also picked out Colt Express, another Spiel des Jahres winner, and also Jaipur, which came highly recommended in the 2010 Spiel des Jahres.
In Merlin, players move their knights or Merlin with the help of dice around the action ring to get the most desired actions. While the knights are only moved by the corresponding player, Merlin can be moved by all players, which makes integrating Merlin in one’s plan a tricky endeavour.[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”245643″ name=”Luxor” image=”9265″ background=”9265″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/245643″ players=”2-4″ playtime=”45 minutes” age=”8+” average=”7.2″]On the hunt for priceless treasures, groups of adventurers explore the legendary temple at Luxor. Their ultimate goal is the tomb of the pharaoh, but many treasures can be collected as they search. As they explore, the challenge unfolds: The player who manages to quickly get their team of adventurers to the tomb, while salvaging as many treasures as possible, will be the winner.
Luxor offers variable game play as the path that leads to the tomb is different for every game – and will even change during play![/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”230802″ name=”Azul” image=”5342″ background=”5342″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/230802″ players=”2-4″ playtime=”30-45 minutes” age=”8+” average=”7.9″]Introduced by the Moors, azulejos (originally white and blue ceramic tiles) were fully embraced by the Portuguese when their king Manuel I, on a visit to the Alhambra palace in Southern Spain, was mesmerized by the stunning beauty of the Moorish decorative tiles. The king, awestruck by the interior beauty of the Alhambra, immediately ordered that his own palace in Portugal be decorated with similar wall tiles. As a tile-laying artist, you have been challenged to embellish the walls of the Royal Palace of Evora.
In the game Azul, players take turns drafting colored tiles from suppliers to their player board. Later in the round, players score points based on how they’ve placed their tiles to decorate the palace. Extra points are scored for specific patterns and completing sets; wasted supplies harm the player’s score. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”54043″ name=”Jaipur” image=”8034″ background=”8034″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/54043″ players=”2″ playtime=”30 minutes” age=”12+” average=”7.5″]You are one of the two most powerful traders in the city of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, but that’s not enough for you because only the merchant with two ‘seals of excellence’ will have the privilege of being invited to the Maharaja’s court. You are therefore going to have to do better than your direct competitor by buying, exchanging, and selling at better prices, all while keeping an eye on both your camel herds.
Jaipur is a fast-paced card game, a blend of tactics, risk and luck. On your turn, you can either take or sell cards. If you take cards, you have to choose between taking all the camels, taking one card from the market, or swapping 2-5 cards between the market and your cards.
If you sell cards, you get to sell only one type of good, and you receive as many chips for that good as the number of cards you sold. The chips’ values decrease as the game progresses, so you’d better hurry! On the other hand, you receive increasingly high rewards for selling three, four, or five cards of the same good at a time, so you’d better wait![/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”200057″ name=”Pioneer Days” image=”9268″ background=”9268″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/200057″ players=”2-4″ playtime=”45-60 minutes” age=”14+” average=”7.4″]Saddle up and guide your wagon train along the perilous Oregon Trail! Build a team of hardy folk and gather resources and equipment with a unique dice drafting system. But dangers await in the dice you don’t choose! You can hire townsfolk, buy wagons, pan for gold, and take on cattle – all the while preparing for inevitable raids, storms and famine. Who will best face the perils of the wild frontier and lead their wagon train to victory?[/bartag]
Each wizard has his own spells and begins the round with 5 magic dice. When the players are ready, we draw a new scroll card at the middle of the table and the round begins! During the round, the players are rolling their dice as fast as possible, trying to match the symbols rolled with the symbols depicted on their spell cards to perform the spell, or in the middle scroll card to claim and cast it. Players can reroll their dice as much as they wish in order to roll the desired symbols, performing more spells the faster they play.[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”822″ name=”Carcassonne” image=”3326″ background=”3326″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/822″ players=”2-5″ playtime=”30-45 minutes” age=”8+” average=”7.4″]Carcassonne is a tile-placement game in which the players draw and place a tile with a piece of southern French landscape on it. The tile might feature a city, a road, a cloister, grassland or some combination thereof, and it must be placed adjacent to tiles that have already been played, in such a way that cities are connected to cities, roads to roads, etcetera. Having placed a tile, the player can then decide to place one of his meeples on one of the areas on it: on the city as a knight, on the road as a robber, on a cloister as a monk, or on the grass as a farmer. When that area is complete, that meeple scores points for its owner.[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”129622″ name=”Love Letter” image=”9264″ background=”9264″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/129622″ players=”2-4″ playtime=”20 minutes” age=”10+” average=”7.3″]All of the eligible young men (and many of the not-so-young) seek to woo the princess of Tempest. Unfortunately, she has locked herself in the palace, and you must rely on others to take your romantic letters to her. Will yours reach her first?
Love Letter is a game of risk, deduction, and luck for 2-4 players. Your goal is to get your love letter into Princess Annette’s hands while deflecting the letters from competing suitors. From a deck with only sixteen cards, each player starts with only one card in hand; one card is removed from play. On a turn, you draw one card, and play one card, trying to expose others and knock them from the game. Powerful cards lead to early gains, but make you a target. Rely on weaker cards for too long, however, and your letter may be tossed in the fire![/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”250442″ name=”Crypt” image=”9263″ background=”9263″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/250442″ players=”1-4″ playtime=”20-35 minutes” age=”12+” average=”7.1″]Crypt is a light set collection game with a unique dice placement mechanic for 1 to 4 players with easy-to-learn rules and exciting strategic gameplay, all in 25 minutes.
Risk your servants to secure the best treasure in this light set collection game with a unique dice placement mechanic
Place your servant dice on treasure cards, choosing any value on each die. Choosing a higher value can ward off your opponents, but it also increases the odds that your servant will become exhausted. After everyone has placed their servant dice, everyone rolls. If you roll less than your chosen value, you lose the die.
Sets of treasure can be pawned off to collectors that offer bonus coins and special abilities. The player with the most valuable collection wins![/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”193210″ name=”Dice Stars” image=”5650″ background=”5650″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/193210″ players=”1-4″ playtime=”15-25 minutes” age=”10+” average=”6.8″]In Dice Stars, the dice are shooting stars that never look the same! You can choose to end the game quickly or take your time, but all your choices will be crucial to multiplying your points and reaching an incredible total! You may need to risk it all if you want to succeed…
In more detail, Dice Stars is a short dice game in which you have to make the best decision to score the maximum of points. On your turn, you add a certain number of dice to a dice pool, then take either all dice of the same color or all dice of the same value. These actions let you score points in different ways.[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”182694″ name=”Watson & Holmes” image=”5238″ background=”5238″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/182694″ players=”2-7″ playtime=”45-75 minutes” age=”12+” average=”7.4″]Watson & Holmes is a game of deduction set within the magnificent works of Arthur Conan Doyle. Two to seven aspiring detectives step into the shoes of Doctor Watson, working alongside the detective Sherlock Holmes to try to solve a series of so far unpublished cases directly extracted from Doctor John H. Watson’s diaries. Those who accept the challenge relive the adventures of the crime-solving duo, visiting each of the locations where the inquiries were made. Following the trail, each clue brings players closer to solving the case.[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”216459″ name=”The Lost Expedition” image=”9027″ background=”9027″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/216459″ players=”1-5″ playtime=”30-50 minutes” age=”14+” average=”7.2″]Legendary explorer Percy Fawcett marched deep into the Amazon in search of El Dorado. He was never seen again. Your team has gone in search of him, but now you hope to escape the jungle with the greatest treasure of all: your life.
Make the best of your food, your ammunition, and your health in The Lost Expedition as you plunge deep into the jungle. Choose your path carefully to ensure you’re ready for the pitfalls that may occur. Play solo or cooperatively to survive the expedition, or play in teams to see which group can escape the jungle first.[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”180593″ name=”The Bloody Inn” image=”3795″ background=”3795″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/180593″ players=”1-4″ playtime=”30-60 minutes” age=”14+” average=”7″]France 1831: In a remote corner of Ardeche, the little village of Peyrebeille sees numerous travellers pass through. A family of greedy rural farmers is determined to make its fortune and has devised a diabolical stratagem to achieve this goal: Invest in an inn so they can rob traveling guests, getting rich without arousing the suspicions of the police! Whether or not their plan will work out, one thing is certain: Not every guest will leave this inn alive.