October’s crates were jam packed with top board games, as usual. And this month we had the amazing Taverns of Tiefenthal in amongst the games that Dirk picked. (Who is Dirk?) Not only that but there was a definite glazier feel to this month’s games as we featured not one but two games focused on stained glass windows, with both the amazing Sagrada and the sequel to Azul – Azul: The Stained Glass of Sintra.

Then add in further selected of Shadows: Amsterdam, Century: Spice Road, Codenames: Duet, not to mention all the other titles selected (remember: every game we select has to have a Board Game Geek rating of 6.5 or higher) and you’ve got yourselves the October game selection!

What games can I expect in a crate?

Each crate is made up of at least two games from the collections shown for each month. For example, in October 2019, a subscriber might have received Taverns of Tiefenthal & Tides of Madness, or Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra and Space Park. Each crate combination is selected based on wishlists, crate preferences and your games library, and is guaranteed to be a combined higher value than the cost of a crate.

The Taverns of Tiefenthal

  • 2-4 players
  • 60 minutes
  • 12+
  • 7.6

In the village of Tiefenthal lies ‘The Tavern of the Deep Valley’. There, all citizens from the area gather, but it’s important to attract new, wealthy guests for only then is there enough money to expand the tavern, which will then lure nobles into the tavern as well. But which tavern expansion is best? Should you focus on money? Or rather ensure that the beer will keep flowing?

In The Taverns of Tiefenthal, the challenge is to skillfully choose the dice and develop your personal deck of cards as profitably as possible. The game is structured with five modules so that your group can add extra levels of complexity as you become more familiar with the game.

Shadows: Amsterdam

  • 2-8 players
  • 20 minutes
  • 10+
  • 6.7

Amsterdam, present day. A crime has been committed, but the police investigation is going nowhere. An anonymous client has called your detective agency to investigate. However, your rivals are on the case as well, so there’s no time to waste.

Shadows – Amsterdam is a real-time simultaneous competition between detective agencies, using pictures that contain intel to communicate within your own team. Player roles are asymmetrical: each Intelligence Officer tries to guide their own team around the board, and the Detectives try to understand their Intelligence Officer’s clues in a fast-paced race to victory.

Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra

  • 2-4 players
  • 30-45 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.5

Created by Michael Kiesling, Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra challenges players to carefully select glass panes to complete their windows while being careful not to damage or waste supplies in the process. The window panels are double-sided, providing players with a dynamic player board that affords nearly infinite variability!

Sagrada

  • 1-4 players
  • 30-45 minutes
  • 14+
  • 7.6

Draft dice and use the tools-of-the-trade in Sagrada to carefully construct your stained glass window masterpiece.

Each player builds a stained glass window by building up a grid of dice on their player board. Each board has some restrictions on which color or shade (value) of die can be placed there. Dice of the same shade or color may never be placed next to each other. Dice are drafted in player order, with the start player rotating each round, snaking back around after the last player drafts two dice. Scoring is variable per game based on achieving various patterns and varieties of placement…as well as bonus points for dark shades of a particular hidden goal color.

Century: Spice Road

  • 2-5 players
  • 30-45 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.4

Century: Spice Road is the first in a series of games that explores the history of each century with spice-trading as the theme for the first installment. In Century: Spice Road, players are caravan leaders who travel the famed silk road to deliver spices to the far reaches of the continent for fame and glory.

Codenames: Duet

  • 2-4 players
  • 15-30 minutes
  • 11+
  • 7.7

Codenames Duet keeps the basic elements of Codenames – give one-word clues to try to get someone to identify your agents among those on the table – but now you’re working together as a team to find all of your agents. (Why you don’t already know who your agents are is a question that Congressional investigators will get on your back about later!)

The Mansky Caper

  • 2-6 players
  • 30-50 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.7

It’s 1925. You and your Family of Associates have been trying to get respect for years. But the richest mobster in the country, Al Mansky, has been cramping your style. Al’s a bit eccentric; he doesn’t trust the cops or banks, so all his loot is in his mansion, guarded by a diabolical security system of explosive traps. The good news is that he’s out of town.

In The Mansky Caper, players team up to ransack rooms of Al Mansky’s mansion, opening safes to find the valuables inside. Split loot with others in the room, and watch out for twists of fortune and dangerous traps that can ruin your plans with a bang! The winner is the player who has accumulated the most loot in their private stash at the getaway car by the time Al’s mansion is completely ransacked.

Bremerhaven

  • 1-4 players
  • 60-120 minutes
  • 12+
  • 6.5

Bremerhaven is a clearly structured but complex economic game about the famous harbour town in the north of Germany. Each player builds his own unique harbour and tries to reach the highest combination of money and prestige by the end of the game.

Chronicles of Crime

  • 1-4 players
  • 60-90 minutes
  • 14+
  • 8

Chronicles of Crime is a cooperative game of crime investigation, mixing an app, a board game and a touch of Virtual Reality.

With the same physical components (board, locations, characters and items), players will be able to play plenty of different scenarios and solve as many different crime stories.

Iberian Rails

  • 2-5 players
  • 70-90 minutes
  • 14+
  • 6.9

Iberian Rails is a share-holding train game in which players employ services of characters, some more reputable than others.

Each round, the players select their characters using an original character-row mechanism, then the railway companies take their turns. The player with the most share/s in a railway company (the CEO) controls said company, directing the company to do one of the following on its turn: build track/s; openly sell a share, and then trigger its dividend payout; and secretly sell a share, and then trigger its dividend payout.

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Mysterium

  • 2-7 players
  • 42 minutes
  • 10+
  • 7.4

In the 1920s, Mr. MacDowell, a gifted astrologer, immediately detected a supernatural being upon entering his new house in Scotland. He gathered eminent mediums of his time for an extraordinary séance, and they have seven hours to make contact with the ghost and investigate any clues that it can provide to unlock an old mystery.

Unable to talk, the amnesiac ghost communicates with the mediums through visions, which are represented in the game by illustrated cards. The mediums must decipher the images to help the ghost remember how he was murdered: Who did the crime? Where did it take place? Which weapon caused the death? The more the mediums cooperate and guess well, the easier it is to catch the right culprit.

Blue Lagoon

  • 2-4 players
  • 30-45 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.2

Blue Lagoon is an area control and set collection game in which players manage a group of settlers spreading out over the islands of a newly discovered archipelago.

The game is played over two phases (the exploration phase followed by the settlement phase). Over the course of both phases, you will expand your presence on the board by adding one new token each turn (either a settler or a village token). The goal is to collect the resources scattered over the map by placing your tokens on top of them. In the first phase, you can place a new token anywhere you like, as long as it is touching either the lagoon OR one of your previously played tokens. In the second phase, the board is cleared, except for the villages, and now you can only expand from the villages you played in the first phase! At the end of both phases, players score points for the sets of resources they collected. Most points wins.

Tides of Madness

  • 2 players
  • 20 minutes
  • 10+
  • 6.9

Tides of Madness is a sequel to Tides of Time and features gameplay similar to that design. Tides of Time is a drafting game for two players. Each game consists of three rounds in which players draft cards from their hands to build their kingdom. Each card is one of five suits and also has a scoring objective.

After all cards have been drafted for the round, players total their points based on the suits of cards they collected and the scoring objectives on each card, then they record their score. Each round, the players each select one card to leave in their kingdom as a ‘relic of the past’ to help them in later rounds. After three rounds, the player with the the most prosperous kingdom wins.

Tsuro

  • 2-8 players
  • 15 minutes
  • 8+
  • 6.7

A beautiful and beautifully simple game of laying a tile before your own token to continue its path on each turn. The goal is to keep your token on the board longer than anyone else’s, but as the board fills up this becomes harder because there are fewer empty spaces left… and another player’s tile may also extend your own path in a direction you’d rather not go. Easy to introduce to new players, Tsuro lasts a mere 15 minutes and actually does work for any number from 2 to 8.

The Bloody Inn

  • 1-4 players
  • 30-60 minutes
  • 14+
  • 7

France 1831: In a remote corner of Ardèche, 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.

Space Park

  • 1-4 players
  • 20-30 minutes
  • 14+
  • 7.4

Ride a rocket to extraordinary destinations across our galaxy. During your travels you will gather exotic crystals that further our understanding of what’s out there. Use these crystals to complete exploration badges and turn them in at the mysterious Outpost 13 to prove yourself as the galaxy’s next great space explorer!

Space Park features a modular board where seven destinations are randomly arranged to form a circle between players. During a player’s turn, rockets will be on three of the board’s seven destinations. These rockets symbolize what destinations are available for a player to travel to. Once a player travels to a destination by performing its action, that rocket moves to the next open destination clockwise.

Crypt

  • 1-4 players
  • 20-35 minutes
  • 12+
  • 6.9

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

Samurai Spirit

  • 1-7 players
  • 30 minutes
  • 9+
  • 6.7

You and your fellow samurai companions are the only standing obstacle between one frightened village and a full horde of blood-thirsty villains. The fight seems unfair as the seven of you might not seem to measure up to the dozens of enemies who want to slice you to pieces – but this comparison doesn’t take into account your strong combat skills and an efficient team spirit that binds your samurai squad enough to face the threat. Above all else, when everything seems desperate and lost, your enemies will discover that inside each of you lies a true beast, a warrior spirit ready to unleash its full power!

Phalanxx

  • 1-4 players
  • 60 minutes
  • 12+
  • 6.9

Alexander the Great has conquered a vast empire, but his power is now waning and the time is ripe to compete for his inheritance.

Each player in Phalanxx leads one of four competing factions that are ready to rule that vast empire. To do this, you must become the most powerful faction by reinforcing your troops, ensuring sufficient supplies, and occupying the most important cities and oases.

Ticket to Ride

  • 2-5 players
  • 30-60 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.4

With elegantly simple gameplay, Ticket to Ride can be learned in under 15 minutes. Players collect cards of various types of train cars they then use to claim railway routes in North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who fulfill Destination Tickets – goal cards that connect distant cities; and to the player who builds the longest continuous route.

Tichu

  • 4 players
  • 60 minutes
  • 10+
  • 7.6

Tichu took much of its rules and mechanics from Zheng Fen. It is a partnership climbing card game, and the object of play is to rid yourself of your hand, preferably while scoring points in the process.

A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King

  • 2-4 players
  • 15-30 minutes
  • 14+
  • 6.7

The king has called for a lavish feast and tourney, the likes of which have not been seen in the Seven Kingdoms since the days of Aegon the Conquerer. What’s more, the king has declared that at this feast, he will choose his new Hand – and you have a chance of rising to this lofty position. Of course, you’re not the only one with eyes set on becoming the power behind the Iron Throne. In A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King, you need to scheme and backstab to outwit your opponents, and you need the help of Varys, the Master of Whispers, to do it.

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