First, we’ve lost the trail, and it’s eat or be eaten . . . in Donner Dinner Party.
Next up, our looming mechs hiss out gouts of steam as they rumble to conquest in Scythe.
And finally, we see something very special about the cards we play in This Game Goes to Eleven.
Donner Dinner Party
Designed by: Forrest-Pruzan Creative
Published by: Chronicle Books (2017)
Players: 4 – 10
Ages: 12 & up
Playing time: 30 – 60 min
Donner Dinner Party is a social deduction game. Each player takes on the identity of an innocent pioneer, or a ravenous cannibal doing their best to look innocent. Each round’s survivors draw 3 cards each, representing items they found while hunting. Then players anonymously add one card each from their hands into the wagon party’s food supply.
The pioneers will try to add healthy food to keep the party alive, but the cannibals prefer the taste of human flesh; they will try to thwart these efforts by coming back empty-handed, or even poisoning the entire food supply. If there is not enough to feed the party each round, all survivors will vote on which of the living will be eaten for sustenance.
In the end, if the number of cannibals equals (or exceeds) the number of pioneers, the cannibals win; if the pioneers survive seven weeks without this happening, they win (and survive the harsh winter.)
Designed by: Jamey Stegmaier
Published by: Stonemaier Games (2016)
Players: 1 – 5
Ages: 14 & up
Playing time: 115 min
Scythe is an engine-building game set in the fictional setting of Eastern Europa. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor. Each player represents a character from one of the five factions of Eastern Europa, who are attempting to earn their fortune and claim their faction’s stake in the land around the mysterious Factory. Players conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, gain villagers, build structures, and activate monstrous mechs.
The game ends when a player has earned their 6th Achievement Star. Players then tally the fortune they have earned, including bonuses for Achievement Stars, Controlled Territories, and Resources. High popularity will also improve your fortune. The player with the most wealth at game’s end wins!
This Game Goes to Eleven
Designed by: Treo Game Designers
Published by: Gamewright (2018)
Players: 2 – 6
Ages: 8 & up
Playing time: 15-30 minutes
In This Game Goes to Eleven, each player is dealt 3 cards. The cards are numbered 1 to 9, with some special “11” and “0” cards included as well. Play goes around the table with each player discarding one card to the central pile and drawing back up to 3. If the stack’s numbers total less than 11, play simply passes to the next player. If the total is exactly 11, then the player who made it exactly 11 gives the stack to any other player of their choice. If the stack’s total is more than 11, then the player who made it higher than 11 must take all the cards in the discard stack. If someone plays the special 11 card onto the discard pile they can immediately give that pile to any other player of their choice — BUT if someone else has a “0” card (a.k.a. the “Shhh!” card), they can immediately play it to FORCE whoever played the “11” card to take the discard pile. The player with the fewest collected discard cards at the end of the game is the winner!