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Dominion (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🤴 The Original Deck-Builder



2008, 2-4 players Complexity: light/moderate
Donald X. Viccarino (can we take a moment to revel in how cool his middle initial is?) was a game hobbiest who got heavily involved in Magic The Gathering in the late 90s and early 00s. In 2006, he was working on a fantasy game called Spirit Warriors II and struggling with a mechanic where cards would be acquirable over time. One of the variations he played with was to just make all of those acquirable from the very beginning, laid out in a market. When he demo'd this to his local gaming group, it was an immediate hit. And thus was born the prototype for a new style of game: the deck-builder. Over the next year he would tweak and re-theme the mechanic, selling it to Rio Grande Games and launching one of the most innovative and influential franchises in gaming: Dominion. Let's See It In Action
In Dominion, you and one-to-three friends are monarchs with modest amounts of land income, and with aspirations t…
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Dixit (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🖼️ He Said / She Said



2008, 3-6 players Complexity: light
So you want to play a game. You want something kinda whimsical. Maybe a little childish, but more in a dreamlike way. Something you could play with your kids and significant other, but maybe something you could play in a room full of half-drunk adults. Look no further. Let's See It In Action
In Dixit, you and two to five friends (who are all rabbits for some reason) will alternate in the role of Storyteller, describing a picture that the other players will have to guess. Each player has a set of voting tokens that varies depending on the number of players. You draw a hand of six cards. The Storyteller then chooses one of their cards and describes it. It could be a word, a phrase, a song, a guttural noise. The rules are pretty flexible.


Each player picks a card from their hand that they feel best matches the clue. The cards are shuffled and laid out above the board. For example, in the above image, the clue might have been …

Stray Thoughts: More COVID Predictions

Here are a few more predictions, taken from the somewhat-disorganized journal I've been keeping during this crisis. To see the first one of these posts, click here.

To reiterate, my starting assumption is that the US will not handle this well. The crisis will last for months if not years. Many--maybe even millions--of Americans will die, and these deaths are going to fall disproportionately on elderly populations and populations that are downplaying isolation measures, and those are both populations that happen to skew conservative.
The GOP And Its Media Apparatus Implodes The GOP was already on its way there. Demographics are working against them, and they rely too heavily on an aging population and the co-opting of a religious movement to keep themselves funded, relevant, and in power. But since the old die and church attendance is declining already, the GOP’s hold on American politics has weakened substantially, and it's only through scorched-earth tactics that they’ve been…

Stray Thoughts: COVID Predictions

So one of the things I've been doing to keep myself sane during the ongoing pandemic is journaling. I'm putting all of my unfiltered thoughts into a... thing... that I can save off as a single manuscript. Most of it is entirely too personal to ever share, but a few segments have been fun, including a series of predictions I'm making. So I thought I'd reproduce them here. These were written over the course of several days and would make for a long post. So I'm splitting it into two. Today will be general domestic life stuff. Tomorrow, politics and international affairs.

There are varying degrees of "hot take" in terms of predicting the future, but they're all based on a couple of assumptions: the pandemic will continued to be mishandled by higher-ups in the US government, and this will result in a protracted crisis with a lot of deaths, particularly among the elderly and groups who flatly refuse to isolate because of religious or anti-government motiva…

Dice Forge (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🎲 Roll With It, Baby


2015, 2-4 players Complexity: moderate
Hear me, brave adventurer! The gods have given you a divine blessing so that you may find honor and glory! How will you prove yourself? Through dedication to the gods? With miraculous feats of strength and courage? Find your path by loading the dice. Let's See It In Action
In Dice Forge you and one to three friends take on the role of ancient heroes fighting for fame and glory by petitioning the gods and performing feats of heroism. Each player has two dice and a player board used to track their gold, sun shards, moon shards, and glory points. On every turn, all players roll their dice--an action referred to in-game as "receiving a divine blessing"--and collect the resources shown there.

When you become the active player, you spend your resources. Sun or moon shards can be spent performing heroic feats, which means purchasing a card from the display. The card may give you a one-time bonus or a recurring bonus t…

Cottage Garden (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🌻 Tetris With Flowers

2015, 2-4 players (plus solitaire mode) Complexity: light/moderate
There are tense games and there are relaxing games. Cottage Garden is the relaxingest of them, and I say that having recently reviewed Bob Ross: Art Of Chill Game. Let's See It In Action
In Cottage Garden, you and up to three friends will take turns filling out your flower beds with the plant arrangements provided by the gardener. You get points based on the number of pots and cloches still visible when you finish filling a plot. There are also cats available to help you out.


The green die represents the gardener, and he walks around the game board as a kind of timer. Every full rotation of the board, the die value is increased. When it gets to six, that's the last round. On your turn, you take a tile from board and place it in one of your flower beds. It needs to be completely contained in the bed and can't overlap with any other tiles you've placed. Ideally, you want to avoid co…

Codenames (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🕵️‍♀️ Listen: Do You Want To Know A Secret...

2015, 2 teams of 2+ players Complexity: light
It was a dark and stormy night. You're on your way to make contact with an informant. Your spymaster has given you a clue about your contact, and you're pretty sure you interpreted it correctly. You tap the strange person on the shoulder and then they turn around and stab you! You are dead.

Or... possibly... you've been playing Codenames from Czech Games, the number one party game on Board Game Geek, according to the box. (It's recently been surpassed by Decrypto, but whatever.) Let's See It In Action
In Codenames, you and between three and a dozen or so friends--RECORD SCRATCH. Okay, real talk here. The game box says 2 to 8+, which is kind of meaningless. There are rules for two or three player games, but realistically the sweet spot is eight to ten people. You can make do with six, and you can still make it work with twelve, but teams of 4-ish to 5-ish is where you want t…