Hot board games for February including the strategy hit Pandemic Legacy

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Each month I am going to explain some of the the hottest games available. This month I have an eclectic mix of games:

  • Pandemic Legacy Season 2: Strategy board game where the board changes as you play it.
  • Dropmix: Music making board game from the makers of Rock Band.
  • NMBR 9: An abstract stacking game using tiles shaped like numbers.

The fun puzzle that is NMBR 9

NMBR 9 is such a novel and fun game. It’s one of those games that can be accused of being multiplayer solitaire, where each player is doing their own thing and then you just compare scores at the end, but the game is such a fun thinker of a puzzle, that I don’t mind the complete absence of interaction.

In NMBR 9 a card is flipped over revealing a number from 0 to 9. Each player is then given that tile and must place it in front of them. After that first piece has been placed, each piece afterwards must adhere to a few placement rules:

 

  • If you’re placing it onto the table, then it must touch another piece already on the table
  • If you’re placing it on top of other pieces, then it must be over at least 2 other pieces, and it cannot have any blank spaces below it

 

Once all numbers have been placed, and there are 2 of each number, players score zero for any piece on the table; They score the value of the number for each piece on the level above; They score twice the value of the number on the level above that, etc… It’s this scoring that makes this game such a puzzler! You want to create enough of a base on the table using the low valued pieces, and then figure out a way to get to the 2nd, 3rd, and higher levels if possible. If you’re a fan of abstract games that have a spatial element, then check out NMBR 9.

 

Mix popular music with Dropmix

Where did this game come from? Remember those Rock Band video games by Harmonix a few years ago? Well, they’re at it again, but this time they’re entering the tabletop arena with Dropmix. Dropmix comes with a long electronic component, as well as 60 cards. You need a phone or a smart device to run the free app, and once it’s installed, you’re ready to begin.

The game comes with 3 modes: Freestyle, Clash, and Party.

 

 

Freestyle is probably where you’ll spend a lot of time, as there are no rules, and you can simply mix music to your heart’s content. Here’s how it works. Each card is one aspect of a specific song—like the bass, the guitar, the drums, the vocals, etc… Take any card and place it on one of the spots on the Dropmix board, and you immediately begin to hear that aspect of that song. Then continue to add cards to other spots, and these aspects are added almost instantly. You can remove them or even play cards on top of other cards, which cancels the ones below it. It’s almost magical, and it makes you feel like you are an actual DJ with skills!

 

This magic is possible because of RFID chips in every card so the board knows which card is being placed. In Freestyle you can also change the tempo as well as the key and if you want to mix it up randomly, then tap the Dropmix button and you’ll hear a new combination of the cards you’ve played. Regardless of your knowledge of the songs included, it’s pretty amazing to hear the bass from Call Me Maybe, mixed with the horns from Short Skirt, Long Jacket, and the drums from Run DMC’s Tricky.

Party Mode

This is a co-operative game where you’re all trying to match requests made by the app as quickly as possible. It’s amazing to hear the sounds of the beats and music you and your friends make.

Clash Mode

This is a competitive mode of 1 vs. 1, 2 vs. 2, or 1 vs. 2, where you’re trying to beat your opponents to get to 21 points first. There’s a bit of strategy in this mode which allows for some outmaneuvering and sneaky plays.

The game also has numerous expansion packs available for it that increase the selection of songs you have available. It’s a very addictive game that’s equally as much fun on your own or with your friends.

 

The ever changing game of Pandemic Legacy Season 2

Have you heard about Legacy games before? If not, then get ready for a revolution in the board game world. Legacy games will change as you play them. What does this mean? Well, you might be asked to place stickers on the board or cards based on actions you’ve chosen, or you might get to open an envelope or a small box that contains new components for the game—often changing the rules on how you play. It’s a thrilling concept that encourages you to continue playing the game with the same group of friends as you try to uncover all the secrets the game has to offer.

Risk Legacy was the first of the Legacy games, and that was followed by Pandemic Legacy Season 1. This game blew everyone’s minds! Just like how Risk Legacy took the known game of Risk and made it a Legacy game, Pandemic Legacy took the known co-operative game of Pandemic (if you haven’t tried it, you should-or you can jump straight to Pandemic Legacy!)

The game felt like an addictive TV show, as you couldn’t wait to play the next game to see what was going to happen. With Pandemic Legacy, you could play the game 12 to 24 times and that was it. Afterwards it was pretty much garbage, but don’t dwell on the negative here, because to get 12 to 24 plays (depending on how well or poorly you do) from one board game is pretty amazing nowadays. I can’t think of too many other games that I’ve played that many times.

 

Pandemic Legacy Season 2 just came out late last year, and it’s already creating quite the buzz in the gaming world. It flips the mechanics of Pandemic on its head and instead of racing around the world to cure diseases, you’re racing around the world delivering goods and rations to cities in need. In addition to this change, the board actually starts out with just a known portion of the map available. This creates a more interesting learning curve as you only have a few cities to worry about at the start of the game, and more and more appear through stickers you place on the board.

It’s hard to share too much about the game without going into spoiler details—which seems like such a crazy thing to say about a board game—but that’s what makes this experience so unique. I played through season 1 of Pandemic Legacy over the span of 12 months with my wife and another couple. It was a great excuse to get together every few weeks to try and save the world. We’ve just started Season 2 and I’m excited to continue this adventure.

There are some really fantastic new games available these days. What hot games have you been playing this month? Let’s discuss them in the comments below.

 

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