International Girlband #03 – August 2020

International Girlband’s monthly favorite games!

The International Girlband aims to promote Women into the boardgame community. For the occasion, every woman will present you their monthly favorite game, the one they most played, the one they loved to discover, in a word their own nugget ! 

Click on a women’s portrait to discover her favorite game

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Ludigurl

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My game of the month is JORAKU, a trick taking and territory control game set in ancient Japan, published by Nuts Publishing.

The stage is set, you are a Daimyo on your way to Kyoto. You will attempt to defend the Emperor against the other rogue lords, or even take the throne for yourself if the opportunity arises. But you need prestige in order to rule Japan, and to get this you need to deploy your samurai in the different regions and use them to take control. But the competition is fierce and your opponents will without hesitation try to take your place and destroy you. This competitive struggle will be fought through a series of skirmishes by using cards, because JORAKU is ultimately a trick-taking game where the highest card wins every skirmish. It is up to the players to try and count the cards, anticipate the moves of the opponents, and through clever card play get the most out of every hand.

Why is this a favourite game of mine?

Well, because even though I didn´t feel like a Daimyo on my way to Kyoto while playing the game, I still was immersed in a rather harsh and incredibly intense conflict, and the atmosphere was palpable. I was surprised that such “big” game could fit in such a small box; because the components are tiny as well as quite few, only a small tray, a pack of cards and some wooden cubes. And yet the tension is on in from the get-go, and both excitement and despair were present all-throughout the game. You constantly need to focus on your goal and just try at all costs to achieve it. The problem is that you are not alone in this, everybody has the same goal, which in turn leads to almost complete silence at the table as we all try to discern what everybody else is really up to, and to use that knowledge to our advantage. I can’t stress enough how heated it can get, as all the players channel their inner Machiavelli in an effort to make the opponents squeal in anguish and pain. The gameplay is fluid and astonishingly addicting, and it is all out war until one player achieve final victory. But make sure you have time to spare afterwards because if you don’t want real bloodshed to ensue, I recommend starting a new game right away in order to enable a slightly less injury-prone revenge.

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Sabrina

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Have you ever wondered what it feels like if you spent your whole life in a shelf… Not as a board game, but as a toy!

My game of the month is TOY STORY: OBSTACLES & ADVENTURES which is a Reimplacement of « Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle ».

I love Pixar films and TOY STORY especially and in this cooperative deck-building-game you and your friends try to pass six different adventures by working together as a team.You can play as one of the characters from the movie like Woody, Buzz Lightyear or Rex.

The game is for 2-5 players and one scenario plays in about 45 minutes. The mechanism of the game and the gameplay itself is quite simple. In the first scenario (which all come in sweet boxes) you learn the concept of a cooperative deckbuilder. You have a starting hand with cards and you are able to buy new ones to your deck. The goal is to overcome bad guys, like grumpy toy collectors or other dangerous events by playing the right cards.

As easy as the mechanism is, the fun and laughter we had while we played TOY STORY was just huge! We totally forgot the time and played the whole day all little scenario boxes. Every new box brings a new scenario cardboard, some new cards and one of the boxes even includes dice into the game, which was quite exciting. Some of the adventures are very challenging and it gets more exciting every time. The artwork of all the cards is just sweet and reminded me of my childhood, when the first TOY STORY movie was released.

If you already know Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, you will know what you get, when you play TOY STORY. But as the franchise of HP is not really our cup of tea, TOY STORY was the perfect alternative for us. So if you love cooperative games with sweet artwork and some cool mechanics, become a toy and get this game.

Discover Sabrina’s Instagram account here

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Marieke

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My favourite game of the last few weeks is Maracaibo by Alexander Pfister! We love this game soooo much! Seriously, top 10 material!

How to play? In Maracaibo the players sail on a round course through the Caribbean. You have city tiles where you are able to perform various actions or deliver goods to. One special feature is the story mode where you will unlock more rules and actions.

Why is this my monthly favourite? Maracaibo plays smooth and there are so many ways to win this game! We recognize things from Alexander Pfisters other games, like the traveling part from Great Western Trail, the ‘fighting’ part from Mombasa and the theme from Port Royal, but we think Maracaibo is Alexander Pfisters masterpiece! Highly, highly recommend this game!

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Sofie

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My favorite game of the month is the fast interactive roll-and-write game Encore!” also called “Keer op Keer” in Dutch, which can be played solo up to 6 players and takes about 20 minutes.

How to play?
For Encore! everyone receives a paper with squares drawn on it in 5 different colors, as well as a pen. In turn 6 dice are being thrown of which the person who threw them chooses 2 (a combination of a color and a number), the rest can then choose a combination from the 4 remaining dice. Everyone then crosses out the chosen number of squares in the chosen color, at first starting in the middle column H. From then on the players can expand towards the other columns as long as the new crosses touch a previously crossed out square. When using a joker color or number you have to cross out 1 of the 8 jokers you can use in total. As soon as a player has filled a column completely he/she ‘claims’ the first place of that column and marks points for that column. The others can still complete that column but will get less points for those. You also get a bonus as soon as you have completely crossed out all squares of a certain color. As soon as a person has crossed out 2 complete colors the game stops immediately. But beware! For every square containing a star that you didn’t cross out you will get 2 minus points! And so it can very easily happen that you gather loads of points for columns and bonuses for colors but end up with low points anyway because of  those * stars J

Why is it my monthly favorite?
Because Encore! is fast, simple, easy to explain and so much fun, even for people who aren’t into games that much! Also because it’s very compact and easy to take with you on holidays, to play in the sun at the side of the pool, on the beach, while nipping from a delicious cocktail  Also because it’s fun playing solo in case no one’s in the mood! J Enjoy August everyone! And keep it safe!

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