In the time since I last posted, there have been several highlights:
We managed to turn things around in the February game of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, pulling off a comfortable win. There were some new mechanics introduced that really made a difference. The March game was also rather fun, though we didn't really make use of those new mechanics. I liked that instead of there being a certain number of set objectives to complete, we had a bit of a choice this time around. We've been sticking to the same roles thus far, though it's possible we may change them up in later games. We'll be playing the April game towards the end of this month.
I was able to score a personal best in Azul: 110 points. It was a longer game than usual in which I managed to get three sets of 5-of-a-kind, which really helped boost my score. Previously my highest score was in the 90s (and I'm often lucky if I can manage one set of 5-of-a-kind, let alone 2 or 3). I also had the opportunity to play several 2p games of Azul, in which I was able to refine my strategy slightly. Despite intentionally playing more riskily to offset this, the change in strategy enabled me to pull off 3 consecutive wins. Needless to say, my opponent wasn't too impressed.
Personally, I'd say it was revenge though for said opponent beating me 3 times in a row at Hive, which we played one time while waiting for everyone else in the usual games group to arrive at a Wednesday meetup. I liked the chess-like feel of it, without the game being chess itself (instead of "cornering" the King, you had to do so with the Queen Bee, and different insects had different movement abilities). I did manage to fend off my opponent in the final game for some time, though ultimately a well placed grasshopper spelled my downfall.
I also finally introduced the usual games group to Good Cop, Bad Cop, which they all seemed to enjoy. There was a particularly enjoyable game where the Agent was able to persuade the Kingpin that they were on their side, only to betray them at the last minute. The Agent's plan was still foiled through, as several people on the Kingpin's side were able to make use of effective equipment cards to change the outcome of several subsequent actions. We also played one round with the Undercover expansion, which made it trickier to find out people's true identities, but added a very interesting dynamic to the game.
I recently started playing Charterstone with some members of the usual games group, and it's proving to be really good so far. We're two games in, and though so far I've always been the first to run out of influence tokens, I quite like the dynamic of having a finite "resource" in a worker placement game. I also feel there's much more variety/variation from "journey" (a set of 12 games) to "journey" compared to Pandemic Legacy, though we may end up putting that to the test once we've completed the latter with the other group.
I've also played several app versions of games (partly due to the one local retailer putting their games days on hold due to renovations at their usual venue), including Kingdom Builder, which I'd been curious about. It reminded me a lot of Terra Mystica in terms of the placement rules. I liked that there were different scoring conditions from game to game, though I found it to be a bit on the light side (and it would likely benefit from one or more of the expansions that came out later). That said, I eventually uninstalled it because I found myself playing game after game after game.
As a deckbuilder, Star Realms was a must try for me. There's several interesting mechanics, such as certain cards belonging to one of four factions, allowing you a bonus if you have more than one of them in play in the same turn. Additionally, certain cards can optionally be trashed after using them allowing for a one time boost/bonus, which is really useful if you need extra combat to defeat an opponent's base (which typically offers an ongoing bonus until it's no longer in play, or at the very least safeguards one's authority/health) -- or extra trade/coins to get a really expensive card. I am tempted to buy it at some stage, though having recently gone down the rabbit hole of chasing additional packs for another game, I'm reluctant to start with Star Realms just yet.