What We Played: April 2018
I feel like it’s exceedingly cheeky to be writing a What we Played post almost at the end of the following month, but here we are. But what can I say? The honest truth of it is that this month we’ve been binging the Great British Bake Off on Netflix like there’s no tomorrow. I’m honestly surprised we’ve not both turned into jam donuts via televisual osmosis.
But looking back at April, it was a bit of an unusual one for us. We're regular board game café goers, but last month we didn’t go once – instead I went on a bit of a board gaming shopping spree and bought four new games to add to our reasonably small collection.
Out of the four we bought, the only game we hadn't played before was Exit: The Game - The Abandoned Cabin - hardly surprising, as The Abandoned Cabin is very much a single play, one-and-done sort of game (unless you don't cut or rip any components, which we did, with relish!) The rest were all £20 or less two player games which we’ve loved playing at Coffee and Dice in the past – so it made sense to finally make the investment and buy them for ourselves! Outside of these four games, the only other game we played in April was Pandemic Legacy Season 2 - which I’m not going to talk about below, as I already covered some of our initial thoughts in my last blog post, and we have a special spoiler-heavy podcast planned for later in the year. But I will say that things are not going well for our campaign so far. The end of our April games saw our fourth loss in a row!
Exit: the Game - The abandoned cabin
1-6 Players | 1-2 hrs
Exit: the Game – The Abandoned Cabin is a real-time, escape room in a box. We'd done an escape room before, but never an 'escape room in a box' game. I was curious, and a little skeptical - can a £12 game you can only play once be good value for money?
For us, the answer was yes, we think so. The Abandoned Cabin is chock-full of high quality, challenging puzzles that kept us gripped for the full hour and 43 minutes it took us to complete. It was a really enjoyable two player experience - although it can go up to six players, I feel like there'd be a lot of waiting around to look at what are pretty small and often quite detailed cards and pages.
We're definitely keen to try out some more in the Exit: The Game series, so if you have any recommendations for which one to try out next, or any other escape room in a box recommendations, let us know in the comments below!
2 Players | 30 mins
Odin's Ravens is a fun two player card game where two ravens race down parallel tracks made from beautifully picturesque landscape cards. Players use their own 'flight' deck of cards to advance their raven along the flight path, and can use the tricksy 'Loki' cards to alter the path or impede the other player's raven. The first person to make it across the world and back again wins the game!
It's a really enjoyable player vs player racing game, with stunning artwork and plays in a snappy 30 minute run time - but for one reason or another, it's just not been the game we've been reaching for as much as I hoped. It has the hard task of competing in our collection with similarly short games Codenames Duet and Jaipur, and ultimately, Odin's Ravens just isn’t as fun. But we’ll be hopefully be taking it away on our holiday in June, so I’m keen to see how it fares with a few more plays.
2 Players | 20-30 mins
Jaipur is a beautiful small-box trading card game, where players compete for a prestigious invite to the Maharaja's court by winning 'Seals of Excellence'. These are won by proving yourself to be the better trader than your opponent - you'll need to buy, trade and sell your way to victory, all the while keeping an eye on your cattle herds.
Jaipur is often listed in people's top 10 two player games lists, and with good reason. The game play is delightfully simple (big fan of any game where the rule book is three pages or less!) but there’s a really great balance of strategy, risk and luck, which I love - do you take all three of the spices from the market, at the risk that the more valuable gold takes its place? Do I wait until I’ve got a set of goods, or sell early to get a good value?
Jamie's written an awesome in-depth review of Jaipur, which you should definitely go check out if you'd like to see more of our thoughts on the game!
2-4 Players | 15-30 mins
Codenames Duet is rather like a cooperative game of battleships with words and ambiguous commands. Players work together to identify the secret agents in a 5x5 grid by using one word clues and a number. The goal is to correctly guess all 15 agents before time runs out, and if the other player accidentally guesses an assassin word, then it's game over.
There's always far less turns than there are secret agents to be guessed, and it's a delightful puzzle trying to come up with single word clues that link seemingly disparate clues. You can feel like a freaking genius when you've come up with a word that links several cards - only for your opponent to take another interpretation altogether, with often hilarious results.
Along with Jaipur, Codenames Duet has proven to be a smash hit in our flat. As well as being a cracking two player game, we've found it also plays well at four players, and it also comes with a campaign map for an extra challenge and which is great for replayability.
For more of our thoughts on the above games, listen to our latest podcast episode!
We chatted about all of the above games a little bit more in our April CoupleCast episode, Episode 3: A Gullible Gamer, where we discussed our five favourite two player games - listen below to find out which other games made the cut!