I got to play a few new games this weekend.

First was Everdell: Farshore, a followup to Everdell published in 2023, set in a seafaring community of animals.

It’s Everdell, but sea-themed. A bit rebalanced (IIRC the instructions said cards were easier to purchase).

I felt about it the same way I felt about Everdell when we played it at Geekway 2021 — it’s a game that feels nice. It’s pleasant to play and look at (and touch!). I’m not sure I get it though. It’s one of those that feels like I don’t really know if I’m making good progress or not. Probably rewards multiple plays, and maybe better at more than 2 players.

For the resource components, this one has wooden driftwood, rubbery seaweed, frosty seaglass and rubbery mushrooms. Also seashell point tokens, metal anchors and a tall lighthouse instead of the tree.

Next we played Express Route, also published in 2023. I was a little uncertain about this one when getting it out of the box — big box, lot of components. It looked a bit heavier than what we usually play.

But, aside from a few times when the rulebook wasn’t as clear as it might’ve been, this one was surprisingly good. It’s a co-op and with only a tiny bit of asymmetry (players can choose specialist characters that give them a benefit during setup and on their turn), so some folks might not enjoy that. You can play it solo, but it’s fun to talk through different approaches and strategies.

There’s lots of randomness in the setup, and many strategies. For example, most of the reviews I’ve seen have said it seems obvious to rush upgrades to get extra actions, and I don’t disagree — yet in the two games we’ve played, that wasn’t something that felt like a priority during the game so we didn’t do it. Will it play entirely differently if we do? Maybe!

I think there’s a lot of replayability here, and there’s enough complexity to make it interesting each time. A fun puzzle.

After that we played Dorfromantik, published in 2022 and winner of the Spiel des Jahres in 2023. It’s another coop, and if the last one was a frantic rush, this is the polar opposite. Super chill, building a pastoral landscape where you don’t even need to match the edges of most of the tiles.

There’s a campaign mode included in the box, with a series of boxes with more content that get opened as you progress through the game (although we only played with the basic set). Also potentially a solo game, and no asymmetry this time, so the addition of more players is entirely about discussing where you want to play the next piece (again, at least for the basic set).

I enjoyed this so much I bought the version for the Nintendo Switch later the same day. The console version turns the chill-o-meter up to 11 with relaxing music, shifting color palettes, occasional upgrades and a “creative mode” where you can just keep placing tiles without worrying about the score or running out. Good stuff.

Finally we played Scout, a card game published in 2019 and a 2022 Spiel nominee.

I’d seen a video a while back on this and wanted to try it. You have a hand of cards and you have to beat the previous player’s hand. Only, you can only use cards grouped together in your hand, and you can’t rearrange them.

The biggest challenge for me with this one is that I don’t fan my cards properly (I do it backwards to how most people do) and these cards aren’t symmetrical so it’s a problem — the values are only in the top left/bottom right corners, and the values in each corner are different. When you first pick up your hand, you aren’t allowed to rearrange but you may play with either side up.

This is one of those “simple rules, deep strategy” game. Plays fast, too. I liked it a lot and I’ll probably pick up a copy. Not sure how it would do at two players — we played it at three and it was fine. Four might be even better.

Tenpenny Parks

If you’re looking for a big bright themed game, this one would be pretty hard to beat. Colorful, carnival, die-cut cardboard, tiny wooden trees. Really nice looking. And it plays good too. Set collection, worker placement, tile placement, money management. Reminds me a little of Small World in that it’s a lot of pieces to get out and organize and move around, but you’re rewarded with a lot of fun.

Roar and Write

An unfortunate naming coincidence here: This is not Dinosaur Island Rawr ‘n’ Write, but it is a bit confusing. They’re both roll-and-writes that involve animals, but that’s about as far as it goes. Nicely themed with custom dice and good artwork. There are individual player goals, but otherwise it’s solitaire. A short, light one. Nothing wrong with that.

Mountains Out Of Molehills

This is a fun one. Two different kinds of spatial thinking on a 3D board, with a little programmed movement thrown in. The components are ok, though the plastic molehills are a little weird to handle and the moles would be nicer as minis than cardboard standees.

Dodos Riding Dinos

This one was a brightly-colored zany race. I thought my kids might like it. There were some dexterity things to it. That’s about all I remember about it.


I was skeptical of this. I’d heard about it before, but the cartoon-y box art put me off. It’s a surprisingly complex puzzle game and I enjoyed it a lot. I’d probably like to have a copy of this.

Ark Nova

This was the last game we played, mostly because of the hype. We didn’t figure we’d even be able to get through it before the convention closed, and indeed we did not. There are a lot of moving pieces here, but it does all fit together ok. Just a lot to take in. I think I’d like to play a complete game of it at some point.

Geekway 2022: OverviewDay 1Day 2Day 3Day 4

Free Ride

Yet Another Train Game. I liked it though. The art is nice, especially the old timey photos of cities on the “tickets”, although sometimes they could be hard to match up with the map. That’s probably mitigated the more you play though. The rails and player indicators can be a little fiddly, but they work well for what they need to do. I enjoyed the combination of building routes and moving along them, as opposed to a focus on building or on moving.

Museum: Pictura

This is a really stylish set-collection game. It was a lot bigger on the table than I anticipated and when setting it up, it feels big. But it isn’t too bad once you get into it. I liked the variety of art, and the idea of arranging it into your gallery in a particular way.


After a big game, a smaller game that looked just as nice. It’s a quick, light drafting/set collection game that’s themed well. Nice and chill.

Small Islands

A tile-placement game where you’re building, well, small islands. There’s some nice short- and long-term strategy in this one, though there were a couple times I got bit by either forgetting I already had a house on an island or if two incomplete islands got connected unexpectedly. One thing I tend not to like in games is when players decide when the game is over or moves to the next phase, which happens here.


This is a hand-management set-collection game. The tree theme and sequencing numbers aspects might remind you of Arboretum. There’s a bit of a spatial aspect too, with ordering your piles of leaves. Otherwise there’s not much connection. Nicely illustrated, not too complicated. Quite replayable with different objectives and different player powers.

The Red Cathedral

There is a lot in a little box. It takes a while to get into the rhythm of this one, but once we did I really enjoyed it. I especially liked the round track and dice mechanic for gaining resources. It’s semi-random but offering choices in an interesting way. A deceptively (from the box size) complex game, and in the end you get to build something.

Dinosaur Island: Rawr and Write

We won a copy of this one. If The Red Cathedral was deceptively complex for being in a small box, this one is doubly so for being in a small box but also a roll-and-write. And by complex, I mostly mean it took a long time to get through the rules. Once we started playing, it moved along ok. There are a lot of steps on a given turn, but they mostly don’t take a lot of time. There’s player interaction in the form of dice drafting, so it isn’t entirely solitaire. And the dice are nice and chunky. Once you get through the rules, this is a fun one.


A great puzzle game that won the Spiel des Jahres this year. It looks nice, it plays relatively quickly, it’s a thinker, it’s themed well. What’s not to love?

7 Wonders: Architects

Yet Another 7 Wonders Game. This one uses cards and the familiar symbols and themes of 7 Wonders to let players construct the titular 7 Wonders piece by piece. Being able to build each wonder is clever, and they each do different things, adding replayability. A nice light introduction to the world of 7 Wonders.

Geekway 2022: OverviewDay 1Day 2Day 3Day 4

Life got in the way, so here it is November and I’m writing up Day 2 of Geekway. Temper my game reviews with the fact it’s been six months since I played these.

Azul: Queen’s Garden

This was a nice followup in the Azul series. I enjoyed the multiple scoring strategies — sometimes I’m a fan of that and other times it seems overwhelming, but this seems more compact, for lack of a better word.

Murano Light Masters

This one seems a little less polished than some of the bigger games, but it has some interesting bones. I liked the board and glass-piece “drafting” mechanics. I was pleasantly surprised by this one.

Long Shot: The Dice Game (4 players)

One of the stars of the convention for me. I really enjoyed this dice-rolling, roll-and-write horse racing game. There’s a lot going on, but it all mostly makes sense, and you get to make a lot of choices that usually feel important. There are a few situations, particularly toward the end, where it seems like you almost run out of useful things to do. Swapping out different horses adds to the already pretty-high replayability (given the dice rolls). One of the things I like most about this one is how social it is. We bought a copy for us and a copy for someone else immediately.

Creature Comforts

Great art, an interesting twist on worker placement, some ways to mitigate bad rolling luck, tons of cards for replayability. What’s not to like? This one is meant to be “cozy”, and it hits the mark.

Switch & Signal

A real puzzler. It’s a good co-op game that seems pretty replayable. It’s simple to understand, but there are some hard and risky choices to make along the way. Quarterbacking potential is pretty high here (as with many co-ops), but sometimes it seems like there isn’t a definite correct choice, so there’s room for discussion.


I really liked this one as well. A small package with a lot going on. The art is nice, the overlapping cards mechanic is interesting and occasionally infuriating. I guess it’s an engine-builder that doesn’t really seem like an engine-builder. My only quibble might be the tiny cubes can be hard to manipulate. But overall, great. Will probably buy this one.

Berried Treasure

A reimplementation of an older game, this is a nice, quick, casual game. It’s extremely interactive and some “take that”. Sometimes it feels a little like one of those “there are X pieces of candy in a row, on your turn you can choose one or two pieces, how can you ensure you take the last piece” puzzles, but there’s a bit more going on. A fun filler game.

Geekway 2022: OverviewDay 1Day 2Day 3Day 4

And just in time for Geekway 2023, kicking off this Thursday, here’s my review of Geekway 2022. I previously wrote about Geekway 2018, 2019 and 2021.

Geekway 2022 kicked off Thursday, May 12 and finished Sunday, May 15. My wife and I managed to play 28 different games, a new high for us.

The convention required attendees to show proof of vaccination, and all public areas (and some gaming areas) were mask-required. This differed from the convention they held last fall where the whole thing was mask-required. The organizers sent out a survey a couple weeks ago asking folks whether they preferred mask-required or mask-optional for playing, and allocated space accordingly. From what I could tell, people were pretty cognizant of the space they were in and acted accordingly.

Aside from our first year (IIRC), we’ve always gotten patron tickets to support the convention and also to get early access to the hotel room block. But another benefit is that Geekway always does a great job with the patron swag. This year’s was an extremely soft blanket, printed with the theme this year, a dinosaur background with a Jurassic Park-style logo. Previous years have included, among other things, nice game bags and snap-together dice trays, both of which we got use out of at this convention.

Some stats: All but 8 of the 28 games we played were published in 2021 or 2022. The average Board Game Geek rating — how good folks who rank games on that website think it is — was 7.5. We played games ranging from 6.4 (Murano Light Masters) to 8.7 (Ark Nova). The average weight — how difficult people who rank the game think it is to play, on a scale of 1 to 5 — was 2.2. This ranged from 1.0 (Berried Treasure) to 3.72 (Ark Nova again). The median rank — out of all the games, the website knows about, where does this one place on a list sorted by rating — was 1,782. The lowest ranking was Mountains Out of Molehills, at 14,000+, while the highest was, you guessed it, Ark Nova, placing 15th out of the 20,000+ games the site has ranked.

These ratings and rankings can change over time, of course — games that are new have been played, and therefore rated, by fewer people. Conversely, initial enthusiasm for a game can wear off.

Anyhow, all the games we played except the final two on Sunday were from the Play and Win library, where after playing a game, you can choose to be entered to win a copy of it after the convention is over. These are usually the newest games, and there are five or six copies of each in the library. There were 80 different games in the Play and Win, so we got to play through nearly one out of three.

We wound up winning copies of Dinosaur Island: Rawr and Write, and Furnace. Previous wins have included Root, Holi and Blossoms, among others.

Here’s a full list of what we played (everything at 2 players, unless otherwise noted):


  • Caper: Europe
  • New York Zoo
  • Savannah Park
  • Curious Cargo
  • Welcome to the Moon (6 players)
  • Furnace


  • Azul: Queen’s Garden
  • Murano Light Masters
  • Long Shot: The Dice Game (4 players)
  • Creature Comforts
  • Switch & Signal
  • Café
  • Berried Treasure


  • Free Ride
  • Museum: Pictura
  • Floriferous
  • Small Islands
  • Momiji
  • The Red Cathedral
  • Dinosaur Island: Rawr and Write
  • Cascadia
  • 7 Wonders: Architects


  • Tenpenny Parks
  • Roar and Write
  • Mountains Out Of Molehills
  • Dodos Riding Dinos
  • Santorini
  • Ark Nova