My Top 3
Gaby from @aliceplaysboardgames
Jim invited me to participate in the Top 3, I was delighted and thinking it was going to be SUPER easy .... Oh boy I was WRONG he he he! So many games could be my top of something, but what do I put on this list? I must tell you that my favourite mechanism is Worker Placement, my second is Engine Building, but I did not choose any of those, I went in a different direction. Recently I have really enjoyed a style of play and I think it could really turn into a new favourite and also I think would help to introduce new people to board gaming.
I chose to do my Top 3 about Pattern Building or Puzzle Tiles Games. Why? Because it seems to me that puzzles are a big hobby too and in this quarantine, it has seen an increase, since it is a nice thing to do while staying at home. So, the games I chose are games with this mechanic or theme.
Number 3: Calico
It has definitely been the surprise of the year! When I decided to go back it was because of the cat’s theme, I just knew that I wanted that beautiful game on my shelf. Since it arrived and I have played it I have been delighted with each play. The game is a puzzle where you must make your quilt with certain fabrics and certain colours to earn bonuses. For example, getting a cat to lie on your quilt requires a specific pattern, but each cat also prefers a type of fabric print.
Each cat is different, some easier to attract, others much more complicated. Also decorating your quilt with buttons will give you additional points, but the buttons only go with fabrics of the same colour, and many times this goes against the objectives of the board. The objectives are optional and including them will be based on the type of game you want to have. If you want a simpler or more familiar game don't include them, you simply turn them over, complicating the patterns but not adding the complexity to score points.
For the objectives, it depends on what you leave yourself or what quilt tiles you have in hand to achieve the combination. That is where the puzzle part appears ... how do I get this to fit here and get these points? What parts do I need? What part of the board do I start? Really recommended if you like puzzles and want to put together something beautiful for cats to lie down on.
Number 2: Tiny Towns
This game may seem more like bingo because of how it is played. But the ultimate goal is to put together patterns to build buildings in our small town. In the game the cards will tell us which resources and in which configuration we are going to build which buildings. The puzzle comes in that many times the active player will give you a resource that does not work for the building you are constructing and you must look where to fit it and what else you can achieve that does not affect your overall plans.
The first time I played it, I loved that aspect of trying see how to build the largest number of buildings and those that would give me the most points in such a small space. The board is just a 4x4 grid so the resources you´re getting from other players could really ruin your plans. The game also, like Calico, has a beautiful art and that I think, is always a plus for people new to the hobby.
Number 1: Isle of Cats
Yes I really love cats! He he he! Too bad I didn't have a third and this could be a top3 of puzzly cat games!
Of the three games, this is definitely the one that will feel the most like a puzzle because several pieces of cats have a different shape, as well as the treasures available.
In Isle of cats we are trying to save cats from an island and take them safely on our boat. The boat is the board where we must place these cats, and sometimes the available cats cannot be placed on your boat ,or it is not the colour that you want. Why is colour important? Because cats enjoy the company of their family, and only when there are three or more cats of the same colour grouped together will you earn points.
The game also has draft cards. These cards are super important to get treasures, fill the ship and to get baskets and fish to attract the cats to the ship. Without that the cats will have to stay on the island. Isle of Cats also shares an aspect with Calico, in that it has a family mode, a different deck of cards where each player chooses one end-of-game objective, and where the fish and getting baskets is not the main part. In this version it is more focused on exploring the part of the puzzle where you are trying to fill the ship as much as possible with cats.
Isle of cats in its competitive mode can be really complex. I love how well both modes work. With someone who does not play a lot I would obviously start with the family version, and if you want pure competition, the competitive one will leave you wanting to do better and better each game!