Meatier Fillers

… And I’m not talking pie (mmmmm PIE!)  Oh great now I’m craving pumpkin pie 🙂

Lot’s of folks that have gaming days/nights like to mix in lighter games between the strategy heavy board games. Games many call “filler”, as in filling the time between the bigger games. Most of the games called fillers are light, quick and humorous. Games easy and fast to learn. Ones that take less than 20 minutes to play.  This past week I’ve played three new to me card games that many would put in that filler category. But each had enough strategy int hem to make even the hardiest of gamers enjoy them, between the meat of the night or as their own meatiness.

First up was Guillotine from Avalon Hill, brought to us for New Years weekend by my BFF. Even though it’s been around since the late 90’s I hadn’t heard of it, but now I need copies to sell in my shop It was so much fun. The cartoonish artwork helps you forget (or ignore) the morbid theme of killing nobles during the French Revolution. The game is played over three rounds. A line of nobles is randomly laid out in front of the guillotine (a cardboard stand) and players use action cards in the their hand to rearrange the line up so that they collect the beheaded nobles or soldiers with the most point value. After a payer uses their action card on their turn they take the noble closest to the guillotine. Collecting sets of certain types (soldiers for example) earn players extra points. There are also some unlucky beheadees that score you negative points. Thinking ahead to get the best noble to the front of the line for your turn takes some planning and strategy. Of course expect your best laid plans to be foiled by your fellow players as the move that 5 point soldier you’ve been eyeing further down the line.


Next up is Arboretum from Renegade Game Studio.  My husband and I saw this game reviewed on Shut Up & Sit Down in 2016 and instantly said “OOOOO, we have to get that one.” Unfortunately it wasn’t available in the US, so last year when Renegade announced they had bought the US rights and were bringing it here I started counting down the days until its release.  I was so not disappointed when I got my grubby little hands on it. The art is absolutely beautiful and the game play is smooth and easy to explain to new players (just want you want for a “filler”). The goal in the game is to build an arboretum (duh!) for visitors to stroll through. You want to lay your trees in a pattern that is numerical order, starting and ending on the same species. There are bonuses if you start and/or end with a “1” or an “8”.  The catch is, though, that only one person gets to score per species of tree and that is determined by the player with the highest TOTAL of that species in their hands (someone holding the 3 and 4 beats the person holding the 5), so you don’t want to lay down every card of a tree. You can also draw a card from the top of your opponents (or your own) discard pile.  So keeping track of what your competition is drawing and discarding is a bulk of the strategy.  It’s quick to play (15-20 minutes a game), and just beautiful to look at.



Last up is Ghostbusters: The Card Game from Albino Dragon and Renegade. I’m and 80’s nerd, hardcore. So this was exciting to get on the table the day we got the game. (Note: I’m a contracted employee of Albino Dragon but was not involved in production of this game and played the store demo copy my shop purchased). The game is played over three rounds, where your goal is to collect the most ghosts with highest point values. There are several ways to score points- value on the ghost card, creating sets based on a symbol on the ghost card and/or the ghosts’ class, as well as collecting sets of equipment. The rounds are played out by moving the ghost trap around a circle of 12 ghost cards. Players use action cards (in the guise of movie characters) to move the trap in front of the ghost they want (if they can) or to foil the other player’s plans. It’s a great 2 player game, but can be played up to 5 players, so great for couples or family game night. The art is very reminiscent of the old Ghostbusters cartoon, and many of the ghosts are very recognizable from both the cartoon and movies. Of course, capturing Slimers gives you a special bonus.  I really enjoyed playing this, especially as part of a night with a heavier worker placement game. It’s a perfect palate cleanser, as well as being an ideal family game. With it just being two decks of cards (characters and ghosts) it’s easily portable for road trips. 

The two games I own (and I’ll be buying Guillotine soon!) will travel with me on vacations and to friends’ gaming nights; not to mention out on the shop’s demo tables for our family game shoppers.