Down in the Cave Where Nobody Goes

Sub Terra. I’m just gonna open with the name. Strong, good name. If you’ve seen any of those horror movies where they go down the cave and die – hey, this is a board game now!

You start all together on a tile, and you can chose to stay together and explore as a group – slowly, and probably run out of time and die; OR you can spread out and reveal more tiles in a search for the exit, and likely be eaten by a monster. So, hey, what a choice!

It plays up to 6 players, but if you play with 3 you control 2 characters each. They all have special abilities, and 3 health (apart from the bodyguard, who has 6). On your turn you have two action points, some basic actions like move or reveal a tile, cost one, some – like swimming or putting a rope across a tile, cost two points.

So the cave grows before your very eyes, revealing more and more dangers – nope, there is no good things in there. Apart from the exit, which is in one of the last 6 tiles of the impressive pile. After you all had a go, there is the Cave’s turn – it can flood, gas, tremor, cave-in or release a monster to hunt you down. Then it’s back to you.

And you keep going, until one of the following happens :
1. you find the exit and run the hell out of there
2. the deck runs out = your flashlights go off = every turn you roll to see if you survive (1-3 lose health, 4-6 keep going)

We have died, 6 tiles away from the exit to be discovered. We wasted too much time trying to revive a guy, and that doomed us. Oh, didn’t I mention? You have to get as many people out as you can, not everyone has to survive.

The Crown

Nope, not the Netflix series. The crown of glory, that you wear if you are in King Ludwig’s Favour.

If you liked Castles of Mad King Ludwig, there is a high chance of liking the Palace, however the games are very different. Now you build one palace together, but you still compete. There is no money involved, you pay with swans. and you have to decide if you want favours or special abilities.

There was so much punching before the game, I couldn’t believe. 300 swan tokens, let me start with that. Whoa.

Like in Castles, if you had a card that gives you, say 8 points for having all types of rooms, here if you have one of each you get 10 points, if you have 2 you get 30 and if you have 3 of each type you get 60 points! Scoring then becomes hilarious.

So yeah, a mean game by the way. You block people not only with rooms, but with the moat that grows around the castle. You can also ‘steal’ points from others (I mean share). But it is a good game, lots of good quality components, worth the price.  And here is our Chicken Palace.

A Feast for the Eyes

There is quite a few games, that are just so pretty you can’t resist. Like kittens. Or puppies. And some of them, indeed, are fluffy and adorable, but some of them will scratch the hell out of you and shit on your carpet, and then ask to play again.

We already had a couple of pretty ones in our collection, Dice Forge, Seasons, Sagrqada, Tokaido, Cottage Garden… and now we have even more!

Photosynthesis – or ‘some tree game’ as I heard it being described when we unwrapped it. 

The box is beautiful, no doubt in that. The components quality is good, the trees are pretty and quite big. The board, however, looks like it belongs to a different game. The artwork on it is poor, the quality is poor, and generally it should have a spinning bit for the sun like The Realm of Wonder.  Also, it’s very nice of them that they give you an insert, but to be fair it feels like they just chucked in a spare piece of cardboard and said ‘hey, here you go!’.

But let’s focus on the good stuff eh? The game looks awesome on the table, and quite frankly it’s like nothing I’ve seen before. It’s a neat idea to buy seeds, plant them, grow the trees and then destroy them to get points.

Oh, yeah, points. It is an abstract strategy game, that’s for sure. So you need to find balance between planting, growing and destroying, and you need to make sure sunlight reaches you. But I predicted who will win three sun turns before the end, so there was no point playing till the end. Anticlimactic. Two player game we did wasn’t really a ‘WOW’ one. Maybe a 3 or 4 player will change it, but for now it’s a 6/10 for me.

Moving on – Indian Summer. Oh, Uwe, Uwe, Uwe. I love tile-laying games, and especially ones with hedgehogs on them. I like Patchwork, I liked Cottage Garden even more, and now here comes Indian Summer!

It is the quickest one of the ones mentioned above, it takes about 10 min per player, plus about 5 min setup. But it is absolutely loaded with cuteness! And it is very satisfying.

Your aim is to cover the Forest Floor with leaves and squirrels, and maybe top it up with some animals. But there is no points. You get treasures, you trade them, you race. Yup, it’s a race.

It was, indeed, a very beautiful 10 minutes. But once you set it up, you better play a couple of times in a row.

And last but not least – Santorini. A game that was hard to get, but we made the impossible possible. And here it is!

Matt and my dad played it probably 30 times now, I played 5.. They love it, I… like it. I have discovered not long into our second game, that I have no strategic thinking, and that hurts.

Your aim is to build a three storey house and go to the third floor – then you win. However, everyone has different abilities, like double move, double build, turn people into stone.. or alternative winning conditions, like jump down from second floor to the ground. It’s like more beautiful chess.