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game box pandemic the cure#gameaweek Pandemic: The Cure.

We're starting to catch up on our game-a-week now that all the Bryants are healthy again (knock wood). Last night's pick was Pandemic: The Cure, which is a dice based version of the popular co-op board game. Our gaming party was two parents over forty, a college freshmen, and a tween.

All of us were already familiar with the premise and structure of the game from playing the board game. In both the board game and this dice-based version, a player takes on a role such as medic, dispatcher, scientist, or generalist (among others), which comes with certain special abilities regarding freedom of movement or ease of performing different steps. We work together as a team to try to contain and cure four diseases within the time constraints.

This game was tense and exciting, like the original. The dice element made the gameplay faster, eliminating some analysis paralysis since you are limited to using the options you roll. That was good and bad.

The round track you use to track things on was physically awkward, but made good logical sense and was easy enough to read once I understood it.

We won in the eleventh hour, winning the final cure just in time, which is my favorite way for the game to go. So, I don't like it as much as the boardgame overall, but did appreciate the faster gameplay.
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#smileaday Gaming with my family.

Tonight, we had all four Bryants at home, all alert and healthy and doing well, so we jumped on the chance and played a board game together! Tonight was Pandemic: The Cure, a dice-based version of the popular board game. We've all played the regular board game, and my husband and I have played through *some* of the Legacy game. We thought it was thematic, given that our family lost February to various illnesses. :-)

I love co-op games with my family. It's a great chance to work together on something that won't really have consequences if we fail. This time, though, we saved humanity! And at the last minute, too. It was a close one.
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My plan to play a new game every week in 2019 fell apart in February. We were the plague house instead, which is not a game I'd care to play again.

But now that we're nearly all better, I was happy to get back on the gaming horse with a two-player with Sweetman. Spirits of the Wild.

It's a pattern collection sort of game. You earn points by gathering stones (colorful plastic pieces that look a little too much like Skittles to be safe for small children) in different groupings: one of each color, full house, matched pairs, etc, each worth different numbers of points.

Your game options are controlled by a set of cards with prescribed actions (both players have the same cards, but you can use them in any order you want) and access to spirit animal cards that either player can use. The competition comes in using the coyote figure to help block your opponent's progress.

The game play is short, and has a quick and easy learning curve. The pieces and art are pleasing and I found it competitive enough without being cut-throat. I could play this one with my mother or other more casual gamers in my life or as a warmup for more "serious" gaming with my more hardcore crowd.
spirits of the wild boardgame box

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 #gameeveryweek Clank!  
 
Apparently, we have failed as gamer-parents because this is apparently the first deck-buildling game we've played with our girl and she's eleven. What a travesty! She got the hang of it quickly, though, so next I'll be teaching her Ascension (my favorite deck builder). 
 
When I told the youngest Bryant the theme to this one (we're thieves sneaking into some caverns to steal treasures from a dragon and get back out before we get killed), she laughed and said, "So, what you're telling me is that we're stupid." I had to agree :-) 
 
The title comes from the use of noise as a factor in whether or not you wake the dragon during your turn. Each time you do something that makes noise (like run while wearing armor, or fight a monster, or just stumble), you add a color coded cube to a bag, which is drawn from when the dragon attacks to see who takes damage. 
 
At the end of our game, one Bryant had died (poor Papa, he was so close to the exit!), and the other two of us had one life point left, so it was a near thing. Littlest Bryant won, which is not bad at all for her first deck building game ever. She bought way more victory points granting cards than either of us realized. 

Clank! boardgame box
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 #gameaweek 5-Minute Dungeon. 
 
Last week was crazy-stupid-busy. One of those weeks where finding any gaming time at all is a struggle, no matter how much we love it. 
 
So, thank goodness for good games with a short playtime!
 
5-Minute Dungeon literally takes 5 minutes to play. It's a co-op game. Each of us picked a character, which assigned us a special skill and a color of deck. There's a deck of cards on top of a boss in the middle of the table. We're working together to defeat each card with the cards from our own decks. (It makes more sense if you see it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rwfpmYcwns) 
 
It has a fun theme, and has us working together to defeat bad guys, which seems like an excellent family activity to me. We used the Scottish voice on the countdown app this time, and spent the whole game trying to talk in Scottish accents ourselves. We're hilariously bad at this which only made it more fun. 

5-minute dungeon game box
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 #smileaday Squeezing in a game on a busy day. 
 
Today was relentless. One of those teaching days when I could barely find time to go to the bathroom or take a bite of my sandwich. It gets that way when the semester is ending and grade panic sets in among the students of dubious work ethic. 
 
My night was busy too. I've got a convention to prepare for, so tonight was book inventory night and I needed to send some information in for the Author Dating Game, too. 
 
But I desperately needed to play something. Luckily, my husband is the best game concierge ever, and he has games to fit nearly every gaming group or scenario you can imagine. This game literally takes 5 minutes (5 Minute Dungeon) and is cute and funny. Just what I needed to cut my tension. 

5 minute dungeon game
5 minute dungeon5 minute dungeon

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Vindication Board Game #gameaweek I played quite a few games in the first seven days of 2019, but I'm going to talk about Vindication. I received it as a Christmas gift, and have played it only once so far. 
 
The premise is that you are wretched, an unworthy debased creature cast ashore on an island. Your goal is collect honor and possibly redeem yourself along the way. You do this by exploring the fantastical island and taking a range of actions. This is one of those games that doesn't have a single path to victory. You can earn honor points by defeating monsters, claiming territory and collecting honor as a sort of Monopoly-style rent, completing your secret journey, acquiring relics and traits, and probably some other way that I can't remember now. 
 
I was worried that so many possible paths would leave me feeling directionless in the game, where I floundered around trying a bit of everything and getting nowhere, but I really appreciated the secret journey card. Like route cards in Ticket to Ride, they can give you some purpose and shape to your action choices. Since mine awarded honor for defeating monsters, I went that route, and defeated several monsters that came with end of game bonuses. Capitalizing on those end of game bonuses had me collecting certain territories and types of attributes. I didn't win, but it was close! 
 
There are quite a few fiddly bits to this one, so I maybe wouldn't break it out with your friends who think The Game of Life is a complicated game. But it is well planned with good visual elements and four medium-to-highly-experienced gamers had little trouble figuring it out at La Casa Bryant. 
 
When I got it, we spent some time with a video from the makers about how to utilize all the very smart game-storage pieces that came with. If you nerd out about good game storage and thoughtful mechanics, you'll probably love this game. 

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Samantha J Bryant

March 2019

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