Lacxox.

I have no idea what I'm going to write in this blog. Quite possibly nothing. We'll see.

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2014 Retrospective #2: Fives, Dimes and the 10x10 Challenge

Laszlo Molnar
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Last year I took the 10x10 challenge. Well, actually it had 17 items and many of them were not about playing one game ten times but a family (or playing a designer 100 times…).

As I wrote back then,
Quote:
That's why this is more like a wishlist below - a wish-to-play-10-times list. Also, it features more than ten items - I will be really happy if any ten of these succeeds.

Actually I will be really happy even if all of these succeed to 50%.

In the end, 8 of them succeeded and 3 more items succeeded to at least 50%. So, strictly by the numbers, the challenge did fail, but actually it brought great success for me. It had so many benefits that it makes me more than happy.

First of all, the obvious success stories.
I did play Escape: The Curse of the Temple, Kingdom Builder, Qin and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ten times. Actually, I played Escape 37 times even (the expansions and the designer’s challenges provide a great replayability here). Okay, for Escape and the second Hobbit game (that I didn’t even own when the challenge started) I mostly had solo games, but these are cooperative games with official in-the-box solo rules so that does count for me. (And I will be really angry if the third Hobbit game does not get published.) Kingdom Builder also could have been way more than 11, had Queen games sent me the Island expansion I kickstarted early in Spring. Actually I’m really angry they still have not. On the other hand I’m really happy for my 10 Qin plays (greatly helped by the expansion boards this year) that helped me reach 25 plays of this light-but-really-good recent Knizia.

Oh yes, Knizia.I did play 100 Knizia games in 2014 just as I wanted to. Well, actually I recorded 210 plays of 56 of my Knizia games in 2015, but even if I don’t count children’s games and even those age: 8+ games that are clearly aimed at the young crowd, I’m still at 112 plays of Knizia games. Oh yes, because my most played Knizias were played with my children this year, including a few dimes (Catch-a-Roo, Circus Flohcati, My Beautiful Pony, King Arthur: The Card Game) and others like Ribbit that I bought in the Czech Republic in May (7 plays), Alles Kanone! (6) and so on. As for “grown-up” Knizias, most of the so-called classics had only 1 to 5 plays (from Tigris & Euphrates to Ingenious) while I did play Orongo, the Essen game acquired only at the end of the year, already 5 times and like it more and more with each play.
Yes, it also meant two Knizia aims failed: I played Prosperity only 3 times (well, when I started the challenge I already wrote ‘I’m pretty sure I won’t record 10 plays’) but for the kind of game it is I’m already happy that I’m at 6 plays and I think I can reach my tenth play this year. Also, for Samurai, I wrote ‘I want to play it more!’ which did succeed: in the 4 previous years (2010 tro 2013) I played my favourite game only 8 times altogether and in 2014 I played it 4 times which was a welcome change of pace.

But back to successes: I also had success with two “family” aims: I played the games of the Keltis family 15 times and the Ticket to Ride family 16 times. (Also, Carcassonne, which was not listed, had a surprise revival this year, with 16 plays of the different standalone Carcassonne games, and that's not counting the 24 plays of the Kids of Carcassonne.) Had I owned only one of these games, the aim could have been playing that one 10 times, but I’m happy to own the (almost) complete families so why focus on only one of them? That’s the mistake I had with the GIPF project: I tried to focus on one game (DVONN, which reached 5 plays) but should have focused on the whole family instead.

I did reach 5 plays for two other aims, Qwirkle and Las Vegas (6 plays) as well, which is… okay. Both of their plays were helped by my son becoming old enough to at least give them a try, and also by their expansions. On the other hand, I’m not sure it was a god idea to include them in my challenge. I do like them, especially their accessibility (I can play them with practically anyone) but I’m not enthusiastic about them. Adding them to the challenge only because I had a chance to play them ten times… was not a good idea.

There is one more item that succeeded: the one about children’s games, as you can really trust your kids when it comes to playing. I was sure I was going to play Da ist der Wurm drin and Catch-A-Roo ten times, and indeed these had 24 and 30 plays respectively. I also made the guess that “probably” I’m going to play five other games listed with them – and we did play The Kids of Carcassonne 24 times, Der Verzauberte Turm 23 times (before the gimmicky tower broke) and PitchCar 12 times (including 2 plays with gamers at a Con). Viva Topo! reached ten plays only if our 1st of January 2015 plays do count – my son was eaten by the cat too often in the first half of the year and then he refused to join his younger sister in the second half of the year. And Nacht der Magier had only 8 plays – this is a game I seem to like more than my kids do.

The further obvious fails: Love Letter had only 3 plays (AEG rules with about 10 rounds per play – already when I started the challenge I said “It’s not that probable that I’m going to reach 10 plays of it”) as it’s better with more than two. Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small (“there is no guarantee I can play it ten times this year”) is 2-player but my wife is not really fond of it (3 plays). The Palaces of Carrara (“one of the least likely to succeed items”) had 4 plays, only one of them at home. And I wanted to play King of Tokyo based on recommendations – I still do not own the game, but when I tried it I recorded 4 plays.

More about the other dimes, because that’s the real success: I had ten (!!!) dimes of games originally not listed in the challenge. I can obviously thank this to my kids. Four of these were clearly children’s (age 6+ or less) games (Animal Upon Animal, bought during the year, 16 plays; Circus Flohcati, 15 plays; My Beautiful Pony, 11 plays; Memory, 10 plays) but the majority of the ten plays of the other games was also played with children (mostly with my son who turned 6 this year). Yokai no Mori had 13 plays, as it’s a great “Shogi for beginners” game. Spot it! (12 sessions) was a surprise success story in the second half of the year with anyone. Coloretto Amazonas (11 plays) is not great for gamers but fun with my son. The same is true for King Arthur: The Card Game (10 plays). FlowerFall (10 plays) is silly fun, but fun. And then there is Pyramid (10 plays), a reverse Scotland Yard with dice and a pharaoh theme – it looks like a children’s game but is enjoyable for adults as well.
My son got hooked on tricky labyrinth games in the last months of the year, so besides Pyramid, both Master and The Magic Labyrinth had 8 plays, Labyrinth: The Duel had 4 plays and Château Roquefort, a game creatively re-using the moving labyrinth idea of the Labyrinth games, also had a play after he got it for Christmas. I think these are going to have their golden year in 2015.

So I tried to make my list for 2015 according to what I learned about 2014. Except for one single game, I did not even name any game that I do want to play ten times next year, while I want to have those ten dimes in 2015. As far as dimes go, last year was a huge success for me (19 dimes, including quite a few ‘grown-up’ games, great!) and I’m going to do it more cleverly next year.

Lacxox's Informal 10x10 Challenge Geeklist 2015
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Fri Jan 2, 2015 1:12 pm
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2014 Retrospective #1: Collection Changes – Saying Good-bye (to a Dozen Games)

Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
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Last year I bought/acquired/won/whatever 70 new games. Yes, 70. Yes, these include expansions. Yes, I bought most of them rather cheap. And yes, 24 of these were bought for playing them with the kids. But still.
Of course I don’t need so many games. Or do I? Checking the list and excluding the 20 yet unplayed games, it seems I have played the remaining 50 quite often – 4.36 times on average. Not a bad number, considering 6 of them appeared in our collection only in the last week of the year (for Christmas) and I do strongly believe these last few will be played at least 10 times in the next few months. Not bad, and I still have high hopes for the ones I had bought but have not played yet.


What’s more important for me is the nuber of games I sold. You know, I’m still in the state when it is really hard to get rid of any game of mine. Each of them are games I acquired and hoped to play a lot. But as my collection grows very fast and I do not have all the time in the world, I do have to say good-bye to some of these.


There are some I haven’t even played yet. It was the easiest to say good-bye to these, even though I did want to give them a try… Only I had to see it would not happen, and that I was always going to have other games that would have priority over them. So, I gave away
Carolus Magnus – the most praised Colovini game ever; it’s just too old to be taken to gaming clubs and too “heavy-looking” to be introduced to my family.

Mutant Meeples – as I did give a try to Ricochet Robots with family and friends and they did not like it (however much I do), a game that is a variant of RR but has additional complexity by the different “robot” abilities seemed to be one that has no good prospects here.

Ramparts – is one I bought long ago. It just never hit the table and looks a bit old and too abstract to become a family favourite, especially as we have a few better abstracts of this nature here.

Arkadia – is one I played before I bought it cheap, and I really like this game. I just spent years trying to figure out how to introduce this game to the family. Finally I sold it.
Medina – is another one I played before I bought it cheap. It is a big box and a new, slightly reworked edition was coming. I’m still thinking about buying the new edition – preferably when I can play it with one or more of my kids.


It was a bit harder to say good-bye to the other games.
For example, there is Granada. It’s like an anniversary edition of Alhambra with a beautiful (even if somewhat superficial) board and one significant and tricky rule change. It is a fine game, even if not better than the original. It’s just… an oversized box (we’re talking about Queen Games here) and it does not even have any expansions, so in case my kids want to learn Alhambra later, I can buy the original and maybe some expansions for them.

Ingenious Challenges. There is nothing wrong with them. The card game works fine, the dice game is great with two, the tile game is silly fun. But I just don’t want to play these at home, and when we go somewhere else and we want to take some small-box games with us, there are better options to choose from. And these Challenges are standard Knizias, so I own a few better games where I can find the same mechanism ideas included.

The same with Morels. It is a fine little card game. I just have lots of card games that are even better, and the mechanism is really not that interesting or unique here. The only reason why I was somewhat sad to sell this one is the look and the theme, which is really special and somewhat close to my heart.

Great Wall of China. This is a fine Knizia, often compared to Samurai while it’s closer to Taj Mahal I think. But it’s not good with two (what’s more, my wife does not like it) so it’s really hard for me to get it played. I liked Great Wall of China but I could not find anyone to play it with me in the past few years.

Then there was Port Royal. It seems we were not born for each other. I played it two times with gamers, first five-player (which is terrible for Port Royal), next time three-player (where two players had really bad luck), for lukewarm reactions at best. I tried to play it against myself. Then I played it quite a few times against others on yucata. I started to ‘get’ how I can play it fine – unless I’m unlucky, in which case I can’t do anything – but never got how it can become fun. Maybe it was also unfortunate that I learned Circus Flohcati just a few months earlier – a game that is much simpler, almost a children’s game, but is just way better in my eyes. Finally I sold Port Royal.

What about Hellweg Westfalicus? It was another interesting experience. I did not like the rulebook, it’s really confusingly written. However, I did like the game, and the more I played (always teaching the game to others) the more I won – and the more I liked the game. I just… got tired of trying to convince others about the qualities of this game. I liked it, I was also a living proof that it’s really not a ‘memory game’ (it seems to be an advantage to know which cities you should have wares in in the last round of the game but I never did) but my enthusiasm for pursuing co-players faded with time. Still, when I sold the game in the end, I was really sad.


Finally, there was Kereskedj okosan!, a 28-year-old game. Basically a roll and move game where you move your ship along a fixed route, sometimes arriving in harbours and sometimes not. You can buy wares low here and sell them high there. In case you roll the numbers to get in that harbour. If you have enough money you can buy more expensive ships with higher storage capacity. And sometimes even the “world trade situation” is changed which causes prices change. This is math meets pure roll and move. I tried this game a few years ago again, and it was a really weak experience. But I did play it a lot when I was young! And… it had a small card inside with the hand-writing of my Auntie who gave it for my birthday:

“Aug. 1986
Be healthy and happy in your life!
Auntie, Grandpa”

They both died fourteen years ago, my grandpa following his daughter in less than two months.
I said good-bye to this big box, all the familiar cards and the smooth touch of the great plastic ships.

But I kept the small card, of course.
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Thu Jan 1, 2015 10:30 pm
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Musings on Thumbs ups

Laszlo Molnar
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Budapest
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I am not a thumbwhore, but I like to watch the thumbsup s my contributions get. I don't beg for thumbs or go for cheap thumbs (or, at least I'd like to think I don't), but getting thumbsup s for a contribution certainly does make me feel acknowledged and does inspire me to keep on doing things I like doing even without them.

But I just don't get how they work. Probably it's like movies: some movies get successful and some don't, and even though quite often you can make a guess if a movie is going to become a huge success or not (and help it with stong marketing push) sometimes even the most hopeful ones fail.

Now sometimes I get why some geeklists of mine get popular or ignored. For example I have quite a few Knizia geeklists, focusing on some mechanism elements, and some of them get quite popular while others (like 1, 2, 3 and 4) go largely unnoticed. It is partly because of the less inspiring topic, but mainly because of timing and hotness: for example, this one was published when Blue Moon Legends was hot property so many subscribers found it.

In other cases I'm more puzzled. My Building Donald X.'s Kingdom - A 100 Play Challenge (now at 30%) list is well-received and even inspires me to put the game on the table as often as I can, so when I started to play Escape a lot, I thought a list like this might inspire me the same way. But Escaping from Kristian Amundsen's Temple - A 100 Play Challenge (now at 36%) got exactly zero thumbsup (including thumbsup s for the geeklist items) and zero comments. Last year, my list Lacxox - Essen 2013 games of interest. that I created mostly for private use (still, in English, as I'm always open to comments etc.), got exactly 1 thumbsup which was okay. Now my latest list, Lacxox's Essen 2014 watchlist is at 50+ thumbsup s. Seriously, I have no idea why (this time I'm more surprised about the success of the list).

Please, don't rush and give the lists thumbsup out of pity - this blogpost is not a desperate attempt to make these more popular. But really. It's more like just... a recording of my surprise and total incomprehension of how and why things work, and, at the same time, marvelling at the unpredictable nature of things.
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Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:26 am
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Short commentary on the Spiel & Kennerspiel des Jahres winners

Laszlo Molnar
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Budapest
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I'm usually not the one who says the Spiel des Jahres jury is wrong, they should have chosen other (heavier) games and so on - but this year I wasn't really satisfied with their choices (and not the weight or complexity of those games), see here. Well, at least Abluxxen, the game that should have been nominated but outrageously wasn't even recommended, became Game of the Year in Austria.

Luckily, unlike in the previous years, they made the best choice when choosing from the three weak nominees. (I love Hanabi and really like Kingdom Builder. They were the ones that are destined to be classics. But they are not necessarily the ones from the nominees that non-gamers could really love, and in this sense I'm not sure it was the best decision to award them.)

As for Spiel des Jahres, Concept has a great concept which makes it a great activity but the game rules aren't that great. I'm not against party games winning Spiel des Jahres, I rooted for Dixit a few years ago, but I really hoped Concept wouldn't win. Splendor is good, it's in about the same league as Augustus was, mildly uninteresting for hardcore gamers, mildly interesting for others, but not a standout. Camel Up - the winner - is the only one I haven't played but it's also said to be fun, and that's the most important quality of a Spiel des Jahres game.

Kennerspiel des Jahres? As I wrote when I made my predictions before the nominations,
Quote:
*Concordia – if Navegador wasn’t nominated (nor recommended), this one won’t be either.
*Rococo – if Concordia won’t be nominated, this one won’t be either.

So, practically, they shouldn't even have been nominated (hey, they are just copycats!) while in those predictions I also wrote
Quote:
Istanbul (without playing it, I would vote for this Dorn title)

On paper, that already made it obvious that Istanbul should win. But actually, I have played Istanbul two times since, and what I found was
- It's about the tenth variation for Dorn's trademark breadcrumbs mechanism
- Still, it's an interesting variation
- It's better for those who aren't hardcore gamers than any previous Dorn design (it's shorter, simpler, more accessible than Genoa or Goa, and is not "set collection for set collection for set collection's sake" like Diamonds Club)
- Concordia might be a stronger design, but it's less fun than Istanbul is for non-hardcore gamers. Also, Istanbul has the best look of the three nominees.

So, well, what can I say? Congrats to the winners and especially to Mr. Dorn!
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Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:03 pm
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What the German Spiel des Jahres Jury Forgot About...

Laszlo Molnar
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...luckily wasn't forgotten by the Austrian Game of the Year (called Spiel der Spiele - Game of Games) jury.

Yes, according to the press release of the Österreichisthe Spielepreis, the Austrian Game of the Year is Linko!, the tricky and ingenious card game by Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling, a title that somehow wasn't even mentioned (recommended) by the Spiel des Jahres jury this year.

Many of the "Spiele Hit" sub-awards go to Kinder/Kenner/Spiel des Jahres nominees like Flizz & Miez for kids, Camel Up for families, Blood Bound and Concept with friends and Russian Railroads for experts. This shows the SdJ jury still quite knows what they are doing.

But there are also Spiele Hit games that were not mentioned by them, like Die verrückte Vogelscheuche, Geisterei, Hetzen nach Schätzen and Speed Cups for kids, Tortuga and Battle Sheep for families, North Wind (another surprisingly missing title from the SdJ nominees, a more or less Catan-free Teuber design) with friends and the only BGG top 10 game from last year, Caverna: The Cave Farmers for experts.

But these are only "further details" - for me, what's important is the win for Abluxxen. And I just wonder - would it have won even if the SdJ jury hadn't outrageously neglected it before? Or maybe it would have gotten only a sub-award? I don't know but I'm happy that "the smaller country of Germany" did know what they were doing even more.
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Thu Jul 3, 2014 11:12 pm
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Something Personal

Laszlo Molnar
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images by SnakeKing, obenn, also a drawing of Brian Barling - modified - were used to create this post.
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Tue Jul 1, 2014 10:00 pm
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Kinderspiel des Jahres winner is announced

Laszlo Molnar
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And it's Geister, Geister, Schatzsuchmeister!. Spooky fun!

Quote:

In Geister, Geister! Schatzsuchmeister!, four intrepid treasure hunters are on a quest, searching for precious hidden jewels, but the phantoms in this house do not give up their bounty easily. As their ghoulish numbers grow, the treasure hunters must work together to acquire all eight jewels and escape the house before it becomes fully haunted or else face their own gruesome demise.

Players roll dice to determine how many spaces they move this turn and whether a new ghost is added to the board. Players may move up to the number of spaces shown on the die. If they end their movement in a space with a treasure, they may pick it up and place it in their backpack. If they end their movement in a space with a ghost, they fight that ghost by rolling a fight die. If they roll the matching symbol, they remove the ghost from the game board.

If the players must add a third ghost to a room, it transforms into a haunting. A haunting requires at least two people in the room to attempt a fight with it. Players win if they can get all eight treasures and their whole team out of the house; they lose if all six hauntings are on the board.


So I have to hunt down a copy of it for my kids.

The only strange thing for me - this time a game for 8-year-olds won. Of course, this is the game that is the best for adults, but games that have a suggested age of 8+ are usually in the race for Spiel des Jahres (see Qwirkle, for example, a 6+ game that won Spiel des Jahres).

The other nominees were:
Richard Ritterschlag (age: 5+)

Flizz & Miez (age: 5+)


Congratulations to everyone for making quality kids' games instead of producing easy-to-sell unimaginative roll and moves with franchise themes.
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Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:59 am
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Looking back at 2013 for a last time

Laszlo Molnar
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Okay, now that I cast my votes at the Spielfrieks voting for the best games of last year, it’s time to publish the recent edition of my yearly list.
Published in 2013: Best and Worst games I've played and what remains to be tried. Opinions & suggestions are welcome!

As it’s already the fifth list I write, I even created a subscription list – a metalist – for these lists.
Published in a given year series metalist

Looking at this one vs. the latest lists, there are some things I must notice. This list is more subjective than the ones before. As my lists are always subjective, it needs some explanation. Before this year, when I rated a game, I put more emphasis on trying to look at the game from the viewpoint of the target group, the players it was designed for. Somehow I’m starting to lose this aim, and what’s more, the BGG ranking explanations (that I always found contradicting – are they about the quality of the game or my wish to play them?) make a bit more sense to me than they did years ago. Now when I give a rating to a game, my wish to replay it (or play it often) has a larger effect on my ratings than before.

And that’s how, in the end, a children’s (and junior) version of a classic abstract ended up at #1. Objectively, I would not say it’s certainly better than the games below. But this one made me go wow, it opened my eyes and did have a strong effect on me (NOW I do want to play games like Chess, games that I never wanted to touch before) while the rest did not.

Also, that’s why I ranked Russian Railroads „only” #10 and Caverna only at #19, even though I have no doubt they have serious strategic depths and they are probably deeper, offer more interesting strategies etc. than the Euros I ranked higher. Even I enjoy finding these strategies and combos somewhat – but still, I don’t find these games as fun as those lighter Euros up in the list.

And, yes, also that's why Knizias are ranked higher than they probably deserve. Even if he's past his golden ages, his design style still fits me more than most other designer's, so I just like playing these more than other games that are objectively (probably) about the same good.

One final note: 2013 was not a strong year, from my viewpoint. I’m not saying “everything gets worse and worse” – 2012 was a strong year, the year before not that much. Except from my #1 that is actually a collection of two earlier designs, I didn’t find anything really memorable, great, something that is still going to be frequently played or referred to in 5 years. It happens. It simply wasn’t a year of milestones. I hope 2014 brings changes; I have already played a few good games published this year.

So, in the middle of June, I wish everyone a great new year!
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Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:07 pm
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Are The Best Gamers' Games Copycats?

Laszlo Molnar
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Nothing important, just some observation that I made when playing some recent gamer sweethearts in the past few months - and now that the Kennerspiel des Jahres jury published the nominations, this thing once again became apparent.

In 2012, Friedemann Friese published a game that was kind of a big-box joke (already admitted by the title) designed as a part of his own Friday challenge (designing games for five years, only on Fridays for 5-15-55... minutes or 5, 15 hours, all starting with his trademark "F"). As the game page of Copycat says, "Fremde Federn is about borrowing elements from well-known games (Eurogames) and constructing a new game out of them. For now, it is a deck-building, worker-placement, drafting race game." In this game, you could build your deck (like in Dominion), from a row of cards that were priced depending on their position and filled from a deck of cards divided into 4 different "Ages" (see Through the Ages), and using these cards, you placed workers (in an Agricola-like worker placement way). The game ended when all the cards were bought or when one player reached a certain number of points. The game was not bad, but it was more of a joke than anything to be taken seriously.

One year later, probably as a result of a playtesting period longer than a year, three titles appeared, three games that took this concept seriously: mix all the now-popular Eurogame mechanisms in one game, creating a big mix of these, hopefully resulting in something that works more smoothly than Copycat did.

They did succeed.

Lewis & Clark, for example, is a deck-building, worker-placement, drafting race game (sounds familiar?) where you can build your deck from a row of cards that were priced depending on their position, and you place workers on a common board.

Rokoko, on the other hand, is a deck-building, drafting game which is not really about worker placement, even though you use your worker cards in a somewhat worker placementish way (to place "dresses" - kind of behaving like workers, occupying simple and action spaces). Here you can build your deck from a row of cards where the cards are priced according to how many are left there in the current round, but just like in Copycat and its deck-building original, you have only a few cards that you can use from your deck in a round. For some variety, instead of the race element, you have area majority here, and about a dozen ways to score points.

Finally, Concordia is a deck-building, drafting game that ends when all the cards are bought or when one player builds his last house. In this game, you can build your deck, from a row of cards that are priced depending on their position and filled from a deck of cards divided into 5 different "Ages", and using these cards, you perform different actions, mostly on a map, including adding new player figures (colonists) there or occupying some spaces to produce goods (this is the most worker placement-ish part of the game but it's really not a worker placement game). In the end you can score points for half dozen different things.

Each one of these games are good, well-developed and provide interesting strategies. I'd say Lewis & Clark is the most interesting one of them, although it might drag with 4 or 5 players - I wonder why this one was left out from the Kennerspiel des Jahres nominations and recommendations. On the other hand, it surprises me that both Rokoko and Concordia made it to the nominations shortlist; the jury used to award games that are more different from each other. I know, these don't feel samey, but they just represent a very narrow part, a narrow direction of complex Eurogames.

So, is it the new direction? The second part of the 2000s was about worker placement, then deck building, and now the mix of the two, with a Through the Ages-like card row? Can complex Eurogames evolve to another direction, or is it the end for them? Do they stop here in this strange, complicated megamix state, having reached the ultimate state? I'm just wondering...


(edit: thanks to Chris Puram (see his comment below) I can see there was even a fourth 2013 deck/pool-building, drafting game where you could build your deck(s!) and buy cities from a row of cards that are priced depending on their position and filled from a deck of cards divided into 3 different "ages"... City of Iron is another game with area control/influence listed as a mechanism at its game page. Or maybe this one does not really fit, according to Scott Douglas's comments.)
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Mon May 19, 2014 11:06 am
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Spiel & Kennerspiel des Jahres nominations are out

Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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With somewhat, but not completely surprising results.

Two of the nominees for Spiel des Jahres, Splendor and Camel Up had quite a positive awards buzz (although I read many „no like” reviews about the former) and I also mentioned them in my predictions, even though I have not played them. Concept, on the other hand, is a game with an ingenious idea and rather underdeveloped ruleset – it’s a bit strange that this did not matter for the jury this time. Only one of my Spiel des Jahres nominees, Sanssouci made the recommendation list and I guessed only one recommendation (Love Letter) right. It’s strtange to see so many games left out, especially Abluxxen.

As for Kennerspiel des Jahres, my nominees (Amerigo and Russian Railroads) were both recommended (I think I was right in guessing Russian Railroads would be too heavy for the award). Istanbul is one I correctly guessed while for Concordia and Rokoko, two well-developed but not extremely interesting complex euros (even sharing some basic idea sin common) that I mentioned as "won't be nominated" got the nomination. (These two clearly show the current taste of the jury I think.)
The recommendation for Guildhall surprises me only because I thought it was eligible last year, and Blood Bound is the one I have never even heard about.

I find this year’s choices a bit strange, even though I would not call any of the nominees weak.
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Mon May 19, 2014 8:26 am
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