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Jesse Dean
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Orlando
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Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious predator on Earth!
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Reviews and Wrapping Up 2011
In case you have not seen my review of the Manhattan Project, Atomic Tempo, is up. As my previous post on worker placement games indicated, I am quite pleased with the game and we have seen enough positive reception for it locally that I expect it will continue to get played for quite a while as a shorter option, though I do wonder how well it will end up competing with all the other great, new releases if I am no longer actively pushing it. It shall be interesting to see regardless.

So now that I have finished reviewing the “big” games of 2011 (Ora et Labora, Mage Knight, and Eclipse) and the two games I recently received review copies for (The Manhattan Project and Mob Ties) I admit I am not sure what game I want to review next. As part of my desire to make sure I experience the best of what 2011 has to offer, I went ahead and purchased BIOS Megafauna, based on some specific recommendations from On Gamer’s Games commenters, and also ordered Cave Evil due to its description over at Fortress: Ameritrash as one of the best thematic games of 2011. I also have a few other 2011 games that I have already played a few times and it would be a simple enough matter to play enough additional times to make writing a review worthwhile including Colonial: Europe’s Empires Overseas, Dungeon Petz, German Railways, and Vanuatu. I will probably just end up reviewing whichever of these games is first able to inspire me to do so, but I am open to suggestions both to as which game I should review as well as other games from 2011 that I may have missed.

Being Wrong
So when I made my “The Best” List for 2012 I included a game that I probably should not have. I had played it once a couple of days earlier and I was in love enough with theme and overall look and feel of the game that I did not give it due diligence before I put it on my list. This game was Warriors & Traders. Now a lot of the basic mechanics and ideas in the game are solid, and had a lot of interesting potential, but the lack of luck, static set-ups, the difficulty of meaningful player interaction, and the brutality of the barbarians combined in such a way that the game probably does not have enough interplay variability for my tastes and while I did not play the game enough to determine this for sure, I would be unsurprised if either the tech trees or the starting positions are imbalanced in rather significant ways. So I made a mistake in including it on my list and will try to avoid that mistake in the future. As it stands, I expect that in about June I will probably make a post giving a broader update on my evolving opinions on the 2011 crop as I play them more and continue to hit the games that I previously missed, both things like BIOS Megafauna and Cave Evil which I intentionally seek out, and things like Kings of Tokyo which I fully expect to play eventually even if I am relatively indifferent to the idea.

Staff Reviewer at 2d6.org
I am being added as one of 2d6.org’s staff reviewers. What does this mean? Mainly that my reviews will be posted on their website in addition to BGG, with the overall goal of making the website an excellent repository of reviews from a pretty broadly different group of reviewers.

I expect that there will also be collaborative works and discussions from the various staff reviewers in the future. If I am involved in any of them, I will be sure to let you know!

On The Table
As can be expected from my recent review, a large proportion of my gaming time in the last week or so has been spent playing The Manhattan Project. Eclipse, Mage Knight, and Ora et Labora have also all seen play, though I admit I am no longer interested in playing it twice a week like some of my the other locals are. I have also been slowly introducing some of older favorites to locals who are unfamiliar to them and Hansa Teutonica, Indonesia, and Race For the Galaxy have all hit the table recently. Unfortunately Indonesia largely flopped but I expect the rest will see plenty of play in the near future.

Two player gaming opportunities remain slim. I would really like to play Sekigahara (and Hellenes: Campaigns of the Peloponnesian War, and Twilight Struggle, and Hannibal, and Command & Colors: Ancients, etc.) more, but in my current game environment that is just not possible. However, I had a glimmer of hope in this respect on Wednesday as it was determined I might be able to have at least semi-regular game nights with a local starting in mid to late February. If that happens I expect to be writing a bit more about Sekigahara, Hellenes, and 1989 (when it comes out).

How has everyone been enjoying your recent plays? Any particular surprises lately?
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