Best Games of the Month - April 2023 -

Best Games of the Month – April 2023

Gaming Rules!
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Best Games of the Month – April 2023

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00:00:00 Opening credits & Introduction
00:01:37 A Feast for Odin
00:03:36 Glade
00:05:04 Terraforming Mars Ares Expedition with Crisis Module
00:09:13 Hegemony
00:11:57 Terminus
00:15:20 Dune Imperium
00:22:38 Mind Bug: First Contact
00:25:38 Ora et Labora
00:28:42 Cat in the box
00:29:19 Harakiri blades of honor
00:34:41 Dungeon scrawlers
00:36:00 Just One
00:36:18 Exit: Shadows over Middle-earth
00:39:03 Terraforming Mars Digital
00:40:37 BayCon
00:42:02 3 Sanchos
00:42:57 Rebuilding Seattle
00:43:52 Sidereal confluence
00:46:03 Scout
00:47:16 Guards of Atlantis 2
00:51:22 Teotihuacan
00:55:19 Block and Key
00:55:35 Pictures
00:55:39 Just One
00:56:46 Teotihuacan solo
01:01:26 Endless Winter
01:05:42 Pioneer Rails
01:07:41 Ginkgopolis
01:10:59 Eppi
01:12:42 Undaunted: Battle of Britain
01:15:06 Arkham Horror the card game
01:18:01 Cloudspire
01:19:24 The Red Cathedral with Contractors expansion
01:22:08 Dicemaster: cities of doom
01:26:48 Frustrations over having time to play games
01:29:40 Online games
01:32:25 Patreon Update
01:38:54 Personal Update
01:47:02 Upcoming content
01:08:12 Personal update
01:50:53 UKGE
01:53:06 Podcast
01:53:56 End credits


  1. Thank you for explaining the mental health issues in terms of the physical symptoms to make them easier to understand for those of us who are blessed to be able say oh well and feel normal levels of bad. You know I wish the very best for you.

    Games you played this month that I have played ever, ranked:
    8-Sidereal Confluence, played once, felt like I was swimming in a pool with five sharks
    7-through the ages. I have this game and would give it away if someone wanted it. I like it but it is a lot.
    6-just one. The part I like least is the picking of the number from 1 to 5. I don't know why, I just don't like this part. I have played it a lot and I don't think we have ever achieved a perfect score.
    5-block and key. I have this game, played it once, liked it a lot, especially the box design being part of the game, but found the rules a little confusing and need to try it again
    4-cat in the box. A really good game that I played once and needed to play again to learn it better
    3-no thanks. A game that is easy to teach and really good when you have five or six people waiting for that last person to show up to play the real games.
    2-So Clover. My favorite game words by definition
    1-Terraforming Mars. I have Ares but not the crisis mode. Terraforming mars may be my favorite game, I was so thrilled to play that game that was on the channel with you, and I am enjoying the two asynchronous games, one of which is with you, in progress right now.

  2. Paul, thank you for being so honest and open about your struggles. It really helps those of us who are dealing with this feel less alone. And we have your back, you know this. I am grateful that you are able to share your love of the hobby with us, knowing difficult it has been.

  3. Hi Paul, quick point that you've misinterpreted in Guards of Atlantis II. The number of wave tokens used is odd. This means that, in the 4P example, whoever wins the 5th push wins the game. Thus, if the game goes down to a lane-push victory, the final battle will always be in the middle of the lane, where both sides have the same amount of minions. Sorry if this has already been pointed out below.

  4. Paul I racked my brains trying to find a video or webpage with you commenting on or playing SCYTHE. because I noticed it wasn’t even on your top 100 games when you ranked everything in your collection. Am I somehow missing where you played/reviewed it?

  5. Paul I watched this video and just have a few things to mention, not offhandedly, I even was hesitant writing anything. But anyway for the gym, are you doing running on the treadmill or mostly weights? I have found running to be very helpful for my own mental states, and there is a lot of research about this. The other thing is, have you thought about creating a game and selling it as a side business? Actually I’m sure this idea must certainly have been brought up before. I’m also sure you will make a great game that many or even all of us would be excited to buy and play.

  6. Seems to have been a successful month for playing a lot of games you liked. My GOTY so far is Rolling Heights, I didn't think rolling meeples would work and would be just a gimmick but it's a really fun game without being complicated. For DI I watched a Liz Davidson video and at the end of each battle phase she rolled a dice to remove two cards from the deck to help recycling so I use this with the solo cards in the game rather than the app. Also the Terminus video on TTS gave me exactly what I wanted which is to see how the game plays and should I back it, the teach as you go method worked really well here and with full teaches upfront I usually forget most of it by the game starts seeing it in action and explained makes it stick more.

  7. I must confess dear Paul !!! that for all of us that for various reasons we have difficulties bringing a boardgame on the Table, you are a true inspiration !! All of your videos makes me wanting to buy and play the played games !!! Congratulations !!!!

  8. Thanks again for a cracking games day on Cloudpspire / Red Cathedral and you are more than welcome on supporting on the Cloudspire game rules wise, it's surprising how much of the rules I've retained on that game but if you want any more rematches in the future I'll always be up for a game. Look after yourself Paul (JP)

  9. I have played Ares Expedition with Crisis mode 8 times so far with the upgraded phase cards included as well. 3-4 games in I felt exactly the same as you do in this video. However I am slightly cooling on the game now. The best part of tableau games for me is really diving into a strategy. Investing in Titanium discounts, maybe getting lots of events synergys, deep dive into science tages and the high power cards they have with 4/5 science tags. The best part of the Terraforming Mars games is the feeling I made a corporation that specialised in something and was competitive at the game in a unique way. That I made cool combos with the cards I got and became more efficient over time.

    What Crisis takes away is the agency to build your own specialised corporation. To play well at the game you need meet the requirements of the crisis cards in order to take away their counters and remove the cards. This means you need to keep a variety of cards in hand. they ask for things like play a science tag, earth tag, steel tag etc. Ifd you do not have these cards to play the game spirals out of control. If you do have these tags you can minimise the bad things that occur in the game. But this means cards aren't valued on how they fit in my tableau – they are valued on does this add to the diversity of tags in my hand that can be reactive to the demands of the crisis cards. Playing this game with reactive tags in hand is far worse than playing with an eye to what card coud you add to my tableau that helps my corporation outcompete the other corporations.

    Overall I loved the idea of another competitive game get a solid coop mode. Loved how this was done for Maracaibo for instance. But the game became a keep varied tags in hand to thwart the crisis cards rather than a cool tableau building game. Crisis detracted from the purity of the Tableau building game and added in a "put out fires" aspect. I like put out fires games a lot (Spirit Island my #1) but this implementation dilutes the tableau building where the game shines. I would probably give it a 7 ot 8 out of 10 which is still great but I am not sure I will still own the game in a year or two.

  10. Hi Paul, Im not a Patrion BUT I still love to watch your videos. Even the ones from "the past" 🙂 You do a fantastic work and have been one of the guys that got me into this boardgaming world. Used to be a puter nerd that played hours a day. This IS moore fun to me. Thank you.

  11. In relation to terminus, I didn't go as far as saying I hated it and it was pointless but I did say I didn't like it and that style didn't work for me. Initially put me off backing it but after watching a different rules explanation, I have backed it. It's probably good you do different style as not everyone is going to like the same style. But I think a vast majority of your regular viewers would be regular viewer because they like your way of teaching.

    It still needed a basic overview (a minute or two) of what the object was rather the just jumping straight into the playthrough.

  12. Paul thank you for your honesty on your issues. Happy to keep my patreon love your channel. Best wishes.

  13. Ora et Labora is the big Uwe game that I've yet to play. I don't like no variability games, but I feel like this one's worth a few plays at least to see how I like it. Caverna, a low variability game, I might get rid of if I don't like it more with the first expansion.

  14. Count me in as one of the lovers of Ora et Labora! Uwe Rosenberg just seems to beone of those designers who works for me. Any time he has a game coming out, my ears immediately prick up. I am currently (anxiously) waiting delivery of my Kickstarter edition of Oranienburger Kanal.

  15. Regarding Guards. Something was almost certainly played incorrectly, because the last push of the game always happens in the middle zone, where the number of minions is equal. Moreover, the team who won previous push is actually at an slight advantage, because they are closer to the minions than the opposing team. Statistically, the game ends with kills at around 50%, base push at around 20% and the last push at around 30% of times.

  16. I like sessions where we learn the game with you much more actually. I learn much better that way. Hope you get well soon Paul. The struggle is real and I respect you are pushing through it.

  17. Thanks for the video. Always look forward to these and I’ve been watching a lot of your videos lately. Love the way you break down games and take it very serious, your level of professionalism definitely shows. keep up the good work! As a sidenote have you ever played the simple card game called Dutch blitz? This game has completely surprised us and we’ve been highly addicted to it as of late. On the surface I thought to myself, what could be so interesting about a competitive game of real time solitaire where everyone shares the same piles in the center of the table? Then I played and it’s layers just opened up like a blooming flower! Lol

  18. Ora et Labora – the only variation is France/Ireland

  19. TfM Ares with Crisis is fantastic. I was ready to sell the game and this turned it around. How this is my favorite big deck tableau builder for solo and coop. You can and should use the phase cards with related projects from the Discovery expansion together with Crisis.

    From my new to me games this year so far Vindication is top. From 2023 games, Frosthaven…but that isn't fully new us it? Ares Crisis, Tiwanaku, or Resist!

    For Dune Imperium -from the Ix expansion there is a Control the Spice card for the Epic mode that allows trashing from the start of the game. I always include it without the rest of the Epic mode rules.

  20. Thanks for sharing Paul, your honesty is always refreshing. I appreciate your courage to talk about the real life struggles, it’s not something that is common these days. I think this makes you more relatable than others.. though I know it wasn’t your intention. Keep your head up mate, your videos bring us joy and those 0.1% who would care about a mistake are not realising that at the end of the day, it’s just a game.

  21. Oh god, those feelings at bedtime I can relate. The worst of my PhD anxieties. Took a lot of work on the self to get past the worst of it.

  22. Agree with you on Hegemony Paul. It's for sure my favorite game of 2023 and it's knocking on the door for number 1 all time. I need to play it a few more times (and figure out how to be more efficient with the Middle Class) but I'm loving it so far.

  23. At last, someone who agrees with me on Terraforming Mars versus Ark Nova. I've got a 100% win rate on Ark Nova (okay, only out of 3 plays), but I'd still much rather play and lose Terraforming Mars!

    Also, thank you for struggling through and producing content. I've struggled with depression on and off for years and gaming has often been my retreat from it (and the only way I actually socialise). This week has been a very stressful week and had me almost in tears at one point, but knowing that there'd be some YouTube content to look forward to (and this VLOG was definitely one of them) was one of the things that kept me going.

    Oh, and I really enjoy the rough videos. I can probably count the times I've played a game completely right on one hand and I appreciate seeing the true face of gaming. I also absolutely loved the Terminus playthrough and the way it was presented.

  24. I haven't been around for a longtime as a Patreon but I really love what you do, Paul and I sincerely hope you find the balance to keep it up and continue to give us so much pleasure and fun!

  25. My fiancé deals with anxiety and depression. My 2 sisters and my mother also deal with depression. It’s not something you can just snap out of it or just “get over it” or have a piece of chocolate cake and you will be good. I don’t have it or I should say I rarely get depressed/anxious but I can empathize. Whenever, I feel depressed (again extremely rare), I feel like I have to put on a happy face because so many people depend on me but that’s not always so healthy. Depression is contagious…not in a viral way but it can affect the mood of others and sadden them also, so I feel the pressure to pretend to be happy. Again, the healthy thing to do is to get professional help and do things that are cathartic for your mental health. Throughout my life, I am always the strong one and no one checks on the strong ones. The strong ones are the undergirding of the house so I feel like I can’t afford to be sick or get depressed. Again, this is not a healthy thought process just how I have internalized situations but again, I don’t suffer from depression or anxiety but I definitely understand how the weight of that would feel like a 10 ton elephant on your chest. I just want to end by saying, don’t accept my thought process or what I have described as a prescription for what to do. I am flawed like many people. Seek professional help if you suffer from anxiety and depression.

  26. Thanks for sharing Paul……I hope you feel better mate. You really are a great source of board gaming information and watching your videos really brighten up my day. 🥰

  27. Hi Paul. This is my first comment on a YouTube video in.. Gods know how long, but something you said really baffled me, and I think that I now understand what you (and other people) mean, when they say: "You can't understand mental health issues, unless you've suffered from them yourself". I only watch your videos here on YouTube, so I did not watch the stream that you refer to. However, hearing you say that you would leave a stream thinking: "I do not know what I'm talking about – people think I am an amateur" (I'm paraphrasing) just flattened me. YOU taught me Frosthaven and YOU made me fall in love with so many games, and to hear you think that way about yourself really hit me. I think you are such a cool and smart guy (the fact that you think Exit, a game my group still struggles with after having played several versions, is an easy game alone makes me think that you are quite the thinker 😀 ). I'm not saying this because I think your struggles with mental health issues can be solved by a nice comment on YouTube, but hopefully comments like these can be a tiny light in the dark times. At least I would feel bad, if I did not let you know how much of a positive impact you have on a lot of people's lives 🙂 I hope that I'm not coming off as trivializing mental health issues. Thank you for the videos !

  28. Interesting on Dune Imperium. I thought that you hated randomly-drawn VP cards though (thinking of Nusfjord here).

  29. I really enjoy Dune Imperium. I use the physical cards when I play solo. The way that I churn the market row is this. When the bots play their last worker, I roll a D6 and remove the card that corresponds to the number. If a 6 is rolled, then nothing is removed. With this, I can play without using a device. I saw this variant on BGG.

  30. Played Hegemony with 4 players where I was the only new player – took us 3.5 hours. The week after it was 3 hours.

  31. I really like Ares Expedition with Foundations! I missed the Milestones and Awards from original TM. and this adds those back in. That, along with the upgraded phase cards and wild tags really add a lot to the gameplay!

  32. Paul, agree with you 100% that Hegemony is the current game of the year. With so many games out there doing what others have done before, having something hit the hobby that is so unique is refreshing.

  33. Thanks for sharing. I hope you feel better. I understand thoe feeling, chest pain especially. I agree with you that Terraforming Mars is slightly better than Arch Nova. Unfortunately i dont play Mars often, and i didnt tried any expansion yet. We play without prelude.

  34. Thanks for sharing Paul definitely not an easy thing to talk about, mental health issues are so weird, if people see you with a broken leg they understand but a mental illness can be just as debilitating but you look fine on the outside so people think you must just be fine

  35. Paul thank you for sharing regarding your anxiety. I ran across a talk from Kevin Smith today that may help. He has a great way of talking and hearing him apply it to the psychology that's helped him was insightful.

  36. Hey Paul, I'm not a patron supporter but, as a gamer, viewer of your videos, and human being who has struggled with these things, I wanted to let you know I'm praying for you. I'm a Pastor in the states and if I can help in any way, please let me know! When I faced these things, I found Jesus and my life hasn't ever been the same. Prayers for you Paul!

  37. Paul, I don’t watch this channel and support you through Patreon because you’re a perfect rules machine. I support you because I enjoy listening to your thoughts and the genuine way you provide commentary on your experiences. You’re just good to listen to. I have no expectation that you’ll be a certain way. I’m not ranking or judging. I just enjoy you and your take on games. Hoping this honest feedback puts a few pebbles on the positive side of the scale for you!

  38. I'm going to nitpick on the no luck in Guards of Atlantis (which I have not played). No dice etc. – but it has (from your description and a quick glance at the rulebook) simultaneous play. And simultaneous play introduces luck. How? Well, I could talk about game theory and mixed strategies, but let's not bother and just consider rock, paper, scissors. (Actually I grew up calling this paper, scissors, stone.) By the same argument, it has no luck – free choice of actions, deterministic rules. But we all know it's a game of pure luck – at least if played optimally by both players. Now of course I'm not saying Guards of Atlantis is pure luck – how could I? as I've said, I've never played – I'm just using RPS as the extreme example of how simultaneity introduces at least some luck.(Technically, the players should introduce randomness as an optimum strategy, but we're off into game theory and mixed strategies to explain that. Or just think how you play RPS.)

  39. Just One in real life we play as you do. On BGA we play to 13. Best result of latter, 12 – 12 right, one pass.

  40. Red Cathedral – and it comes in a very small box! That's a real plus when you have storage and/or transport limitations.

  41. Thanks Paul for another great update. I appeciate you my friend. Take Care

  42. Hey, I is very glad to see a Singh on the cover of Undaunted BOB. This gives tribute to the many non-British who fought for the Empire in WW2.

  43. I backed Harakiri and it's absolutely one of my most anticipated games. Your playthrough helped solidify how it plays, and your enthusiasm makes me feel a lot more confident in my decision to back. I was excited about the minis alone, but it's good to know the game itself is fun to play.

  44. We love The Red Cathedral too. I'm always talking it up.

  45. "What have you got to be depressed about?" Yes – file under the category of "irritating/pointless things to say".

    And you're right – exercise, CBT, having a routine etc – all of very limited use to some of us.

    The longer I live, the more I think that stress, anxiety and depression is in fact simply our brains' way of telling us that modern life is just very, very toxic to us in so many ways.

    If you find the answer, please let me know.

  46. Fantastic watching the vlog every month Paul and love the new backdoor, a definite step up from your previous camera framing.

  47. Oh. Paul. I'm totally 100% disappointed with Ares expedition.

  48. Hi Paul, hope the UKGE don't cancel your Just One, we attended last year and it was great fun so doing it again. Think it's a scheduling problem as to why there are still plenty of tickets as Knightmare Live is on at the same time. Would you think about changing the time maybe? I know it's already planned but just a thought 🤔

  49. I didn't get diagnosed with anxiety until I started to have panic attacks. I didn't even realise being constantly on edge is not normal because I've been since my teens. And people around me who don't have mental health issues just don't get it! They are saying I should do more sports, sleep more. I can't sleep becuase of my anxiety, for gods sake, and I can't stop my mind during doing sport either, I can't outrun it…

    I am in the minority with liking the original rules for Endless Winter and I also have a dozen plays of it under my belt. With less actions we never rested (couldn't use the canine familiars module) and I find resting an interesting part of a game, very tactical. Hand management felt also different because you have the same amount of cards divided between fewer actions. We achieved pretty much everything, just finished with lower scores. However, I can understand that many players wanted a more challenging game. If I want a thinkier game, I put in the expansions.

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