First Take Friday – Marrakesh, Stuffed Fables, Endeavor: Age of Sail, boop.

In First Take Fridays we offer hot takes on games that are new to us. This week we have Marrakesh, Stuffed Fables, Endeavor: Age of Sail, and boop.

Marrakesh – David McMillan

Marrakesh is a very clever action selection, point-salad game that uses a cube tower (or a cylinder tower if we’re splitting hairs) to drive the action selection mechanism. Each player begins each round with 12 keshis (cylinders) that correspond with different actions and locations. Each round, the players will choose 3 of these, placing their workers into the matching locations, and then chuck the whole lot into the tower. What falls out determines the actions available that round and players will take turns drafting them until they’ve all been scooped up. After going through all 12 cylinders a total of 3 times, the final scores are tallied to determine the winner.

Stefan Feld’s newest game does not disappoint, especially not if you’re a fan of his designs. Points come at you from every direction which means there are a large variety of strategic paths the players can follow. I thoroughly enjoyed my first game of it. It was a lot of fun and I’m still thinking about what I could have done better several days later. That says something, right?

Ease of entry?:
★★★★☆ – The odd bump or two
Would I play it again?:
★★★★★ – Will definitely play it again

Read more articles from David McMillan.

Stuffed Fables – Bob Pazehoski, Jr. 

I approached Stuffed Fables with more than a little trepidation, but also a bit of excitement. The artwork is so very engaging. The idea is fascinating—a little bit of Toy Story (both Andy and Sid) meets Monsters, Inc., except told as a twisted prequel to Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. The creepy overtones and the mechanics made me think this one might reach beyond our youngest. The storybook format made me worry that the style would fall too far outside the comfort zone of our older kids and my wife. I was right on all counts.

I really cannot offer a disparaging word against Stuffed Fables, other than to say it’s not for our family. Our five-year-old was spooked by the minions and, even with help, didn’t seem to find the gameplay or the story compelling. Our tween and teens thought it looked cool but were not really into the prospect of such lengthy play, and my wife couldn’t find a solid flow to the experience. Our nine-year-old seemed to be the prime target, but even he wasn’t super excited to continue. I’m somewhat baffled trying to figure out who this title is really built for. Unfortunately, these stuffies won’t likely stick around long enough to really figure it out.

Ease of entry?:
★★★☆☆ – There were a few questions
Would I play it again?:
★★☆☆☆ – Would play again but would rather play something else

Read more articles from Bob Pazehoski, Jr.

Endeavor: Age of Sail – Andy Matthews

Endeavor: Age of Sail has a reputation for being a beautiful and challenging game. I recently sat down for a 3 player game to see what the buzz was about. The first thing you notice is the artwork, it’s really stellar, as is the production value. Double layer player boards, custom injection molded trays for bits and tokens, the publisher really went all out.

The teach was a bit rough, if only because the other two players had each only played once. Plus the iconography on the board was a bit inconsistent…or rather I should say that there appeared to be two icons used for the same thing, used in different places on the board. That meant for the first 2-3 rounds (of a 7 round game) I had to remind myself what each one of them did.

The mechanics of play were great, and while the game does include colonizing, and even slavery cards, the players are not required to participate. In fact the game even includes a card abolishing slavery which, if played, penalizes players who have taken that course. All in all Endeavor: Age of Sail is a solid game, even if it does suffer from a bit of iconography confusion.

Ease of entry?:
★★★☆☆ – There were a few questions
Would I play it again?:
★★★★☆ – Would like to play it again

Read more articles from Andy Matthews.

boop. – Justin Bell

At PAX Unplugged 2022, the game boop. was sizzling. (Yes, the game is so cool that it’s not even bothered to use capital letters.) Released by Smirk & Laughter Games (The Night Cage, SHŌBU), boop. is a two-player game where players duel with rival kittens on a bed blanket which serves as the game’s board.

That’s the game, and I get why boop. landed so well with so many different people I ran into at the show. It took me 60 seconds to show my wife how to play, and the game took less than 15 minutes. In fact, she beat me so fast that she took time out of her busy schedule to beat me again, even faster the second time.

I was fortunate to borrow a friend’s copy of boop., but the prices I’m seeing online are a little high for what amounts to a quick game of adorable 3-D cat Tic Tac Toe. You should absolutely play this game, and it’s a great filler that can almost be played while distracted with other tasks like watching a football game. I don’t need to play it again, but I absolutely love what boop. does with such a small and simple-to-learn footprint.

Ease of entry?:
★★★★★ – No sweat
Would I play it again?:
★★★☆☆ – Wouldn’t suggest it, but would happily play it

Read more articles from Justin Bell.

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About the author

David McMillan

IT support specialist by day, Minecrafter by night; I always find time for board gaming. When it comes to games, I prefer the heavier euro-game fare. Uwe Rosenberg is my personal hero with Stefan Feld coming in as a close second.

About the author

Bob Pazehoski, Jr.

On any given day, I am a husband and father of five. I read obsessively and, occasionally, I write stories of varying length, quality, and metrical structure. As often as possible, I enjoy sitting down to the table for a game with friends and family. I'm happy to trumpet Everdell, in all its charm and glory, as the insurmountable favorite of my collection.

About the author

Andy Matthews

Founder of Meeple Mountain, editor in chief of, and software engineer. Father of 4, husband to 1, lover of games, books, and movies, and all around nice guy. I run Nashville Game Night, and Nashville Tabletop Day.

About the author

Justin Bell

Love my family, love games, love food, love naps. If you're in Chicago, let's meet up and roll some dice!

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