International Ludigang #07 – December 2020

What boardgames do the members of
International Ludigang wish for christmas?

Christmas season is upon us. And as this year’s celebrations are severely hampered by covid-19 we need, now more than ever, things to look forward to, things like christmas gifts for example. So let’s see what boardgames our gang members wish for this year.

Click on the person of your choice to read what they have to say on the subject.

visuel ludigang French ludigurl
visuel ludigang French yo
visuel ludigang French Siegfried
visuel ludigang French Rudy
visuel ludigang French yo



Even if Christmas 2020 differs from earlier ones due to the pandemic, there are still some things that stay the same. Among them is the wish for a game under the Christmas tree, a fun, simple game that I can play with the family during the holidays. And as the number of people that will be able to gather around the same table is severely limited this year it is enough if the game facilitates two or three players. With this in mind my choice for Christmas game falls upon The LOOP, a recent release from Maxime Rambourg, Théo Rivière, and Catch Up Games.

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The theme is rather silly, as you are trying to stop the evil Dr. Foo from carry out his Omniscience 2000 project and through that become master of the universe. But the production is beautiful, and the artwork captures the zany storyline perfectly. The color scheme is original and very eye catching, while still being functional and well thought-out. Furthermore, The LOOP is a co-operative game, which is by far my favorite game genre. So, you need to work together with your fellow Temporal Agents and travel through time to thwart Dr. Foo´s sinister plans, while he continues to duplicate himself in order to put his evil schemes in motion.

Both deck-building and card management is present in the game which gives the players quite a lot to think about even if there sure is a high amount of chaos and luck in The LOOP. It also seems to be just difficult enough, and you will most likely lose the first couple of attempts before being able to really threat Dr. Foo from collapsing the timeline which is his ultimate goal (as per usual when it comes to evil, maniacal scientists). In addition, Théo Rivière happen to be one of my favorite game designers, so I sure hope to find a wrapped copy of The LOOP under the tree, otherwise I will surely create some sinister plans of my own.

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For as long as I can remember I have received a boardgame for Christmas. That game was then played every day during the holidays, with my family, with the kids in the neighborhood, and with uncles, aunts, and cousins that came to visit. I think playing boardgames is the one of the most important facets of Christmas for me. And as other crucial facets are severely limited this year, like big get-togethers and traveling to visit friends and family, an even larger emphasis is needed on playing games with the dear ones you actually have close by.

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One game, that I had my eyes on ever since its release in 2019, and that I would love to receive as a Christmas gift this year is Res Arcana. It is designed by Tom Lehmann of Race for the Galaxy and 1846 fame, and published by Sand Castle Games. The players are alchemical mages that fight for control over powerful monuments and places. Through clever card management, resource management, and sly power usage you try to gain more points than your opponents. The combination of short playing time, simple rules, beautiful artwork, interesting mechanisms, and game designer pedigree is just too enticing, so I think Res Arcana will suit us perfectly this rather special Christmas.

Find Pontus on Instagram

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Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Traditionally I celebrate Christmas Eve with my boyfriend, parents and brother. The Christmas tree is barely visible behind all the piled up gifts. After a lovely relaxing aperitif and dinner we would bust out the classic Bingo game. Whenever someone completes a row, he/she shouts BINGO and is handed over a present. It takes the rest of the evening to work our way through pile of gifts. New pairs of socks, pajamas, shower gels, books, board games,.. The carefully throughout the year collected gifts finally meet their owners. Christmas is very close now. Yet all of the above so far out of reach. Sadly Christmas celebrations have been canceled in Belgium due to covid-19.

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To lighten my spirit I gifted myself some board games:

Café by Pythagoras: An engine builder that lets you produce, process and deliver coffee. At the start of every round you need to add a card to your personal tableau – partially covering earlier placed cards. Whatever card symbols remain visible determine how many and which actions you can take. Though just a tad luck depending, it’s so very rewarding to get a good engine going in just 8 rounds.

Troyes Dice by Pearl Games: A roll & write game set in the Troyes universe. Though very mathematical, the theme of protecting a city under constant siege is portrayed by the black die destroying a random area on all players’ score sheets at the start of every round. Unless players used earlier turns to build a fortress in that scoring area as a form of protection. With just 8 rounds, it’s touch deciding how much to invest in preliminary protection instead of actual filling in scoring areas.

Rajas of the Ganges: The Dice Charmers by Huch!: This dice game implements the look and feel of the original game so well, yet this time “pocket” sized. Players build roads, gather resources and sell them on the market. This generates fame and income. The fame and money track each run in the opposite direction. Whenever a player’s fame marker and money marker intersect the game ends. It’s challenging to balance your efforts to both increase fame and money instead of having a singular focus.

The Court of Miracles by Lucky Duck Games: This game hasn’t hit the table yet as it’s best with 3 to 5 players and that’s currently a too big crowd. It’s a mean and swingy area majority game receiving mixed reviews. I’ll update you on this one as soon as I can.

All the above games have a playtime of less than 45 minutes and promise a surprisingly deep gaming experience with a minimum rule set. With a baby due in 3 weeks it’s simply not likely that I’ll have love, time and attention left for heavier board games anytime soon.

Though there’s one board game on my radar with a longer play time (90 to 120 minutes) that I would immediately throw my money at: Dinogenics by Ninth Haven Games. The base game was such a success on KS that soon a 2nd campaign with expansion was launched.
It’s basically Jurassic Park – The board game. I grew up on those movies – I’ve had so many sleepless nights about those velociraptors hunting down the kids in that kitchen 😃. For a while I even wanted to become a paleontologist (giving up my dream to become a ninja!) – until I was told how rarely dinosaur skeletons are found. Patience isn’t my best virtue… Funny enough the chance to find a copy of Dinogenics for sale in Belgium is also virtually non-existent. So if I could ask Santa for 1 board game gift, Dinogenics would definitely be it!

Find Eline on Instagram

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All I want for Christmas…

2020, what a year! It’s a year that saw almost everything cancelled. Game club: cancelled since mid-march. Essen Spiel: cancelled. Regular game nights with friends: cancelled. I tend to go with the flow, adhering to all the new rules and regulations like a good citizen. But the past few weeks, the weight of it all felt heavier than it did over the past 6 months. So I decided to spoil myself a bit. Just once. On a whim. I got every hot new game from my wishlist (like Praga Caput Regni, Merv, Beyond the Sun and Lost Ruins of Arnak) and a few oldies (like Vikings and Lost Cities). Those games arrived over the course of the past couple of weeks, cheering me up, so there really isn’t any game left I really want for Christmas.

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There is however something to look forward to. If all goes well, next week, just in time for Christmas, a Kickstarter game will be delivered. It will be a big heavy box with a somewhat light game that’s perfect with two (because that’s mainly how we play these days), perfect for us two when we have a week off work for the holidays. It has colorful art and chunky custom dice. It’s Dice Throne! I didn’t back any of the initial campaigns, because it didn’t look like I game I would enjoy but about 2 years ago I got to play it at a friend’s and really enjoyed it, much to my surprise. So now I’m waiting for my season 1 and season 2 big boxes of Dice Throne.

But let’s face it: all I really want for Christmas, is that everyone stays safe and healthy, and that life can soon-ish return to a degree of normal, so that we can once again come together with 4 or more people to play all these great games.

I hope you all have something to look forward to. Wishing you all happy holidays.

Find Stephanie on Instagram

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There is one board game I’m really dying to play recently and can’t find it anywhere: this game is “Praga Caput Regni” by Vladimir Suchy, the designer of recent blockbusters like “Underwater Cities” and “Pulsar 2849”. During the last weeks I’ve seen so many YouTube videos and Instagram posts about this game and I’m really intrigued by both, its art style and its game mechanisms. Talking about Praga Caput Regni, one of the most appealing elements to me is the action selection mechanism: the action crane looks very appealing and crunchy because there are many valuable options and you’ve just sixteen actions per game! But there are also many ways to improve these actions and get many different bonuses to maximize your turn!

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I was also impressed by the medieval art style of the game, by Milan Vavron, which I find very thematic and let you immerse in the setting when King Charles IV was crowned ruler of the Holy Roman Empire in 1346 a.c. and want to improve its capital city, Prague. Another cool aspect of Praga Caput Regni is its table presence which is really astonishing: in addition to the double layered player boards there are some scenographic tridimensional elements that really pop your eyes out: the Charles Bridge, the Hunger Wall and the St. Vitus Cathedral! It also looks like “Praga Caput Regni” plays quite faster than “Underwater Cities”, which I enjoyed but it takes a lot of time to be completed and so UC hits the table less times than other board games of the same complexity level. Unfortunately I (probably) won’t be able to play “Praga Caput Regni” during Christmas holidays since there isn’t an official italian distribution yet and because it’s quite hard to find one copy here in Italy at a reasonable price. But you never know, maybe a miracle can always happen during Christmas time..

Happy Holidays to all the amazing people of the International Ludigang!

Find Ian on Instagram

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