Obviously, we've brought lots of games back from Essen and it can be quite daunting and difficult to know where to start. Here are a few of the ones we've played since we got back.

50 Clues: The Pendulum of the Dead

50 Clues is an escape room/ adventure style/puzzle game in three parts. Now, this was DARK…… a lot of things we’ve tried in similar scenarios were finally allowed and rewarded here! This is a co-operative game that works alongside an app, you input item numbers to combine them or solve puzzles and input the answer and either you are told to look at another card or you are scored out of five stars for how effective you have been solving the puzzle. We finished the first part on a measly 52% but feel like now we have the swing of the game we can only get better in parts 2 and 3!

What we've played. Dead

EXIT: The House of Riddles and The Haunted Roller Coaster

We love the EXIT games, each one keeps us excited and interested. Both of these had curious ‘strange objects’ as soon as we opened the box that had us intrigued. These were both ‘easier’ ones but still kept us guessing at times. These would be great ones for people new to the EXIT series or for families. This range is fantastic at all levels (even if we want to throw the hard ones out of the window! lol) It’s hard to say much without giving away spoilers but just buy them and see!

What we've played. Games

The Mind Extreme

So, we are big fans of The Mind, it’s something everyone can get into and so we play it a lot. Despite never having actually completed it, we felt we were ready for a tougher challenge! In the original The Mind, players have to play their cards in ascending numerical order from 1 to 100 without speaking, just playing cards when they think the time is right. In round one, all players have one card, in round two they have two cards etc. The Mind Extreme has two piles of cards in different colours, one ascending and one descending, each numbered 1-50. Not so tough, huh? Wait until you get to the rounds that are placed face down!

    Duncan from Tabletop Scotland is not entirely convinced
Duncan from Tabletop Scotland is not entirely convinced

Ka Pai

Ka Pai is a roll and write from a Danish designer, Mads Floe. Yes, it’s a typical roll and write but with some little tricks up it’s sleeve. You can read my full write up on it.

What we've played. Pai

The Magnificent

From the designers of Santa Maria (which we love!) comes this dice drafting/manipulation, polyomino game with a magical theme! Play is over three rounds, with everyone having four turns in a round, meaning there are only twelve turns throughout the whole game. This game is tight, there is so much you want and need to do and really just not enough time! Players start with four ringmaster cards with special abilities, at the end of each round the choose a new one but must sacrifice one and score points for the requirements. The art and design are beautiful with the dark brooding colours and the bright dice and show posters.

What we've played. Magnificent

Masters of the Renaissance

Masters of the Renaissance is sub-titled as Lorenzo Il Magnifico - The Card Game. This really does this game a disservice! This is a great puzzley game. The market mechanism is really neat but tricky. You take the resources shown on one row or column, then push the marble in to change the distribution. There is a very limited amount of storage space and if you take resources you may not have space for them! If you take resources you cannot store, you will give your opponents faith points. You use resources to buy cards which allow you to trade goods and put them into your unlimited storage, allowing you more flexibility.

What we've played. Game

Paladins of the West Kingdom.

We love this series of games and none have disappointed us yet! This is definitely the crunchiest that we’ve played so far with so many choices and mechanics. Multiple times through the game you will find that you don’t have the right coloured worker, or you’re not high enough on one of your tracks or you don’t have enough coins or provisions. It’s a constant balancing act and one of those games where you are doing on thing in order to do another. Everything is super tight. After one play I can’t wait to play it again and actually start investigating strategies properly!

What we've played. Kingdom