• Shortly after I arrived at BGG.CON, I jumped into a super fun and rowdy 9-player game of John D. Clair’s new horse race betting game, Ready Set Bet, from AEG. In each round of Ready Set Bet, players are making bets on a horse race that is happening real-time. You have a few betting tokens of different values that you may place on different spots or cards on the game board as each race is in progress. You are trying to bet on the horses you think will win (1st), place (2nd), or show (3rd) so you can hopefully make more money than your opponents, which is the goal of the game.
There’s a companion app you can use to run the horse races, or a player can run the show by rolling dice and moving the corresponding horses on the horse race board. In our case, we had the high-energy, hilarious Grant Lyon running and MC’ing our horse races while throwing in all the best horse race banter you could imagine. We were thoroughly entertained the entire game.
At the end of each race, players make or lose money depending on the outcome of their bets. As the game progresses, players also gain special abilities from VIP cards. Then whoever has the most money at the end of four rounds wins.
• The very next day, my friend Jonah, who I met for the first time in person at BGG.CON, introduced me to Roulette-taking Game, which is a trick-taking game fused with roulette (as its title implies), from designer T親方 and Japanese publisher PaixGuild. In Roulette-taking Game, which plays with 2-4 players, you play tricks to bet on the rank and suit of the card that wins the last trick of the hand.
The cards come in two suits (red and black) and there are some special trump cards too. At the beginning of each round, you discard 9 cards from the deck and block off the corresponding numbers on the betting board before dealing the remaining cards to the players. As players play cards, you also block off those corresponding numbers, since the only number you’re trying to deduce is the one that will win the very last trick.
If you’re not the current dealer and you win a trick, you get the opportunity to make a bet by placing some amount of money with your player color token onto a betting space on the board. You’re placing bets on a roulette style board so you can bet on the exact number, a range of numbers, even or odd, red or black, etc., and they all payout differently. If you are the current dealer and you win a trick, you use your player color token to block a betting space, but you do not place any bets/money. Instead, at the end of the round, the dealer wins all of the money from incorrect bets while the non-dealer players win money for all of their correct bets (if any).
Whoever makes the most money by the end of the game wins. Between Roulette-taking Game and Ready Set Bet I suppose my friends will wonder if my “board game problem” is turning into a “gambling board game problem”? Time will tell.
• I put my negotiation skills (or lack thereof) to work when I played an awesome 4-player game of John Company (Second Edition) from Cole Wehrle and Wehrlegig Games. I wrote a bit about John Company (Second Edition) in a post from March 2021 after a small taste of it on Tabletop Simulator, but I’m so thrilled to finally have a physical copy of John Company (Second Edition) to play and explore. I’ve been enjoying it a lot already and I’ve barely experienced all this gem has to offer.
• I played my first game of Matúš Kotry’s unique, hidden roles, eurogame, Deal with the Devil, from Czech Games Edition (CGE). It was definitely a learning game as I fumbled through trying to be the best devil I could be, while still figuring out the game and what I should and shouldn’t be offering the other players for their souls. We had a lot of fun as you can tell from this post-game photo Steph posted on Twitter.
Got to play Deal with the Devil with @candidrum! Such a unique and cool game from @czechgames! I love the way offers are made using the app! Such a challenge! I totally wanted to give up my soul so many times 😅🤣😈. Have you tried this game yet? pic.twitter.com/9irmsdRACW
— Steph Hodge- punkin312 (@BoardGamerSteph) November 14, 2022
I went into the game thinking it was going to be super heavy, but it felt a lot more on the medium side complexity wise after we played a few rounds. It seems like the perceived complexity stems from its uniqueness of melding a social deduction game with more common euro mechanisms. On episode 5 of the BoardGameGeek podcast, I talked about John Company and Deal with the Devil with Steph Hodge if you’re interested in hearing more about either or both games.
• Steph, Michael, and I also played Richard Garfield’s 2022 release, Creature Feature, from Trick or Treat Studios. Creature Feature is a hand management, bluffing game where 3-6 players take on the roles of movie agents trying to cast monster actors for monster movies.
Here’s an overview of how it works:
Each round you will assign a Co-star and a Star (cards with a number value and possibly a special ability) to audition for a role (a tile worth points). Everyone will reveal their co-stars and then have the opportunity to change what they are auditioning for and instead try for lesser films worth fewer points. Winning a part scores points – but there’s a twist! If your star has a lower value than your co-star, you can’t win unless everyone else stops competing for that film… but if everyone DOES back off, you score extra points!
Photo posted by Steph Hodge
I really like how thinky this game is from the bluffing element and hand management. You don’t draw a new hand of cards until the end of the season, so you have to think carefully about which cards to play each round. Plus, you don’t know how many points all the feature films are worth until they’re revealed, and you don’t know what your opponents might play, so deciding on which cards to play is very interesting and challenging. Then after everyone reveals their co-stars, you have the whole bluffing game of figuring out when it makes sense to stay and audition, or drop a level and try to score (potentially more) points from scoring a twist and/or being uncontested for a short film. There are also a few types of special helper cards you can play at different points in the game to assist you. I’m looking forward to playing Creature Feature more. It seems like a game that’ll get better and better the more you play it, as you familiarize yourself with it and discover juicy card synergies.
Still channeling my devilish ways…
• Before heading home, I stopped at the BGG warehouse to pick up some BGG swag and a copy of the Take The “A” Chord (second edition), a unique, jazzy trick-taking game from Saashi & Saashi, which is back in stock in the BGG Store. I’ve been wanting to play this one for a while, so I had to break it out and play it at the airport. I was happy to find it hit all the right thinky and fun notes that I love in trick-taking games, even with only 2 players.
My cute new BGG hat!