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Vila Nova Gaia
I run through Rahdo's Runthroughs and make right what once went wrong (via annotations)
Let's do this? Let's do this!!
The gaming week started in Tuesday...
Nuno couldn't come this week and so we were 3...
and we played:
And another game of 2014 down
I got this at Essen and we had played a short demo game there and I have to say that after playing the full game I'm glad I got it
The game is pretty cool, the art is indeed awesome!
The gameplay is great... I really like the mechanics and it's a game that despite players having some good though choices to make plays smoothly and fast.
Also, it's a pretty interactive game and you have to always be on the lookout for what other players are doing to be able to defend your self or launch that massive unexpected Carnivore attack!
I won our game with a good defensive combo that allowed me to have 3 species alive and eating for about 85 to 90% of the game! Only one species went into Extinction and that was on the last round of the game!
(The Surviving Winning Species!)
Me - 80
Duarte - 71
Tiago - 65
The second game of the night was:
This was the KS edition I received a few weeks back... I backed it at the time because I really liked the quirky fun theme of this one and the gameplay from Rahdo's video was pretty cool...
And I have to say I'm not disappointed... not one bit... the game is indeed pretty coll and fun...
All the guessing and double guessing, the bluffing of what is put in the Vaults and the reactions when you get to peak at some stuff in it... that alone is worth the price but there's also a pretty interesting game there also, and I think this will be even better with 4 players!
Duarte - 32
Me - 28
Tiago - 23
You already know that Thursday Night is the night of the Bordgamers of Porto Gathering
And I got to play:
Saint Petersburg (second edition)
Finally broke out my copy from last years edition crowdfunding...
And I want to start by saying THANK YOU!!! A Well made INSERT that has a place for everything, labeled and that fits Sleeved Cards!!! HALLELUJAH!!!
I had played the original version before and I have to say that I like the new one better in all aspects... to me, the art is much much better in this one...
Also we played with the Market... this adds to the game a new deck of cards that is played between the Worker Phase and the Building Phase and this adds a very cool new way to play the game because it adds new ways to score points in an market area majority in each product... it's also a way to potentially spend more money (if you only manage to get the expensive stuff!)
Really liked this new addition to the game!
The new version also has another 6 modules that you can mix and match... we didn't use any of them but on my next game I think I'll use module 2, that's just some more cards and the end game objective module too... in this module each player starts the game with 3 objective cards for end game scoring and when you reach two determined points during the game you'll have to discard one of those cards and later another one... so it's a way for you to focus and devise strategies with those objectives in mind, which one will you keep?
I made a pretty stupid move pretty early in the game (I think in the second round) that pretty much sealed my fate... I hate when I do these stupid things!!! Oh well!
Tiago - 166
Cláudia - 146
Duarte - 132
Me - 120
The last game of the night was:
Sheep & Thief
This one is a pretty simple draft game but man, do I love Drafting cards!!! There's always hard choices to be made no matter how simple the game is...
The game is simple and cute, it's fast and fun... the art is great and the little sheeps are awesome!
Any one can play it and that's a plus but it also will challenge gamers!
This one is now on my Whislist!
Just take a look at my "what ever this is"
Tiago - 26
Me - 22
Duarte - 17
Alex - 14
And another edition of the EnTALO!!! While others are of at BGG Con we decided to have our all day gaming session this Saturday too!!
And to start the day we played:
Food Chain Magnate
This is the newest Splotter game that's getting huge positive feedback and lots of hype...
To start, let me say that I really love the theme and the art of the game... Fast Food Chains in the 50's, it's just awesome...
The street tiles aren't the best thing in the game but that's really minor... the components are great and the art on the cards is phenomenal and those Menus with the employees branches are outstanding... the only thing missing is a Milestones Player Aid...
I was pretty pumped for this one because of all the hype created by all the glowing reviews from people I really trust their judgment on games... but I have to be honest, to me, unfortunately, the game didn't lived up to those high expectations... and why? might you be asking...
Well, I'll say somethings that might seem a bit contradictory but to me they don't feel contradictory... I will say that I think the game is chaotic and extremely tactical and I will say that an experienced player will 99.9999999% of the time crush a noob and those statements seem contradictory, and I would argue that if someone was telling me it but that's exactly how I feel about the game... Yes, it was just one play and I shouldn't judge based on one play, but I have a Microbadge that states "I rate games after one play!" and I do... that doesn't mean it's a final and decisive rating, it isn't ratings change over time and plays, but it does mean that after one play I can say what I liked and didn't like about a game, it means that I can look at it and see things that I didn't see or do during the game, etc... So, that's why I rate games after one play!
But let me be more specific about what I didn't like about FCM:
1- The game is too Chaotic
I say that because after a player made a turn he can drastically alter the state of the board for the next turn, for example with advertising... and if all players do it complete chaos is unleashed and a game that was supposed to be ultra-strategic turns into a Tactic Fest because you are going to have to change your plans and strategy to adapt to the new state.
Not saying that tactical games are bad, but when you are expecting a strategic game and it's after all a tactical game you can get disappointed!
Carlos, that played in the same game with me, described it has a Tactical Wargame (he's a wargamer) disguised has a Strategic Economic game... and I have to agree with him
2- The Screwage Factor is off the charts!!
I like games with interaction, where you can plant a knife in someones back... I'm not a care-bear player, but this game it's not about knife's in the back, if anyone wants it, it is about decapitation and bomb detonations all around.
This ties in with the Chaos I talk about in point 1... in this game if you want you can totally destroy the plans of one player and set him back 2 or 3 rounds just because you can do it... it might not even benefit you directly but what the hell, you can do it, so why not do it?
You can advertise for products that the other player doesn't produce in for the house he was planning to sell... you can build a restaurant near enough to steal those costumers... you can simply place another house with a lower number that will cause the other player to have to sell first to that house and then don't have enough product to sell to the other house where he was going to sell big... you can simply lower your prices and that way steal that sale...
There are so many ways to screw with the other players that, again, turns what should be a strategic game into a tactical game!
3- To be fun and Balanced you have to play with people with the same experience, preferably with the same group over and over
because if you don't you will slaughter new players and that's not fun for anyone!
Some say that this contradicts the too much chaos and tactical nature of the game I talked earlier... I don't think so... this just means that experienced players are able to see things that new or less experienced players can't see when looking at the state of the game and because of that they will be able to exploit that knowledge without any opposition.
I'm all for games where skill plays a major part in deciding who wins but not so much when it's actually a barrier to anyone new having a glimpse of hope to win... I would say that in this game this is impossible... the only way a new player wins this game is if he's playing against only others that are also playing for the first time...
Like I said, that's not a bad thing but when you literally CRUSH, DEMOLISH, VAPORIZE all other players at the table, well... I don't like that!
4- HUGE Runaway Leader problem
Another thing that seems contradictory... you might say:
"Man, you just said this is a tactical game, you said that you can screw the plans of a player and set him back 2 or 3 turns... how can there be a runaway problem?!?!?! You are full of BS!!!"
And normally I would agree but again, this game defies logic!
I would say that even in games with players of the same skill there's a very very high probability of the winner having a much higher score than the other players... I highly doubt that there will be many games with close scores, I think that most of the games will have a clear winner and that it will be clear very soon in the game who will win, and that, for me it's a flaw... I don't like that, specially in a game that can last from 3 to 4 or 5 hours and after the first hour is pretty clear that the winner will X unless he does some pretty stupid moves there's no way for anyone to catch up with him...
I know some very respected players, very experienced with games (no need to name names) that were playing (and all of them with the same level of experience in this game) and they decided to finish a game much earlier because there was nothing to be done about the winner... it was pretty clear who it was and there was nothing anyone could do about that so they ended the game and played something else!
This, to me is a huge problem that takes the fun out of the game!
This is only my opinion and I know that most people will disagree, will point out that I'm wrong and that this was just a one game experience, but all this is subjective, I know what I like and I didn't like all these things... was expecting something else and was hyped and got pretty disappointed...
There were to many things that to me are important in such a long game that just don't sit well with me and I have to say that I feel that people would be much quicker to judge these aspects that I mentioned if this wasn't a Splotter game... if this was any other company game I bet the number of threads talking about these things would be so high that the game would be doomed!!
As you can see from the score in our game, the winner got more points than all the other 3 players combined!!! and let me say those other 3 players are no Slouches!!!
Rafael Pires - 596
Carlos Ferreira- 100
Paulo Soledade - 84
Me - 60
Next up it was:
This was a game I almost back when it was on KS, I really love the theme and the art and it has solid gameplay...
I think that despite the art being awesome (putting the main board aside because that thing is ugly) it was a shame to have duplicates of talent and shows with sequels but with the same art just putting a II in the name Could have done better there...
Also the "Player Board" part of the game is a strip of pretty weak cardboard, almost paper like, with each day of the week... that was very very cheap and they could and should have done much better there in terms of production!
Like I said, the gameplay is solid, the auction is different than normal auctions because you can only put one bid down and if you are outbid you will only use that outbid marker after all bids in all items are resolved, then you'll comeback to the outbid markers and players will assign them to any place that wasn't taken by other players, so you can get a card no one bid for for the lowest amount possible, not even the lowest starting bid... example, if the starting bid was 5 and no one bid on that card, a player that was outbid on another card can get that one for 1 now!
So you can try to deduce what others really want and go there before them and try to get them to outbid you so you can get another thing very cheap!
Another thing that could have been done better was giving proper names to the target audiences, I searched the rulebook 3 times looking for where they said that for example Pink Audience cubes are Female Audience, Green cubes are Teens or White are Elderly but if it's there it's pretty well hidden!
That would have given the game a bit more flavor!
Nuno Sentieiro - 49
Pedro Andrade - 43
Me - 32
Sofia - 16
And the final game of the day:
and man... Alexander Pfister this really was your year!! Another great great game from you!!! I'm still to play Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King but now I feel that I must do it!!!
Congrats on this fantastic year!
Well, as you can see from the intro you already know I really liked this one! It's only one play but I liked everything about it... the way you play the cards to different slots, than you do the actions in the order you want and can be done... then you pick up one of the piles of previous played action cards to be available for you next round...
this is a really strategic game, you can plan 2, 3 or even 4 rounds ahead... the decision on where to place the cards is crucial and it's a fantastic mechanism that forces the players to make some hard choices!
(My Player Board)
The art of the game is pretty great too and the quality of the components is excellent...
It's all praises for this one, glad to own it and it will be played again soon!
(The Main Board Populated!)
Nuno Sentieiro - 94
Me - 82
Bruno Valério - 45
THE KICKSTARTER CORNER
- Simurgh: Call of the Dragonlord - KS Link
This is a KS where you can get the Base Game Simurgh and/or the expansion... I already have the base game, got it at Essen and have already played it and it's a pretty cool game, so I'm backing the expansion
It's a short campaign so if you are interested don't miss it... it's going very well and several SG are already unlocked
- Tavarua - KS PAGE
This one is in consideration because it has a very cool and unique theme... not that I'm a surfer or have been interested in surfing because I never had any particular interest in it, but the theme is cool, the mechanics seem interesting, simple but interesting and the components are really awesome... just look at those surfboards!!
In the KS there's a gameplay video by Ricky Royal to give a feel for the game.
- Roll Player - KS PAGE
This one is a dice game revolving on the creation of an RPG character... again, neve played an RPG before, not even a fan of RPG's in video games but this game looks pretty interesting the way you select and use the dice. Nothing highly revolutionary but it looks pretty cool...
You can check out a runthrough by Rahdo on the KS Page
The drawback on this one is that the game is not cheap ($45), it has a 73 dice and lots of cards and some cardboard but the real problem for me is the shipping costs of $25 to get the game in Portugal... so I'll only be backing if I find two others to be able to split the shipping costs!
BACKED IN 2015
Trickerion: Legends of Illusion (ETA: 10/15)
Tiny Epic Galaxies (ETA: 09/15)
Vault Wars (ETA: 08/15)
Above and Below (ETA: 12/15)
Ancient Terrible Things: The Lost Chapter + 2nd Edition (ETA: ESSEN Pick-up)
Three New Treasure Chests of Realistic Resource Tokens (ETA: 01/16)
Samara (ETA: 09/15) - Arrived on Time
Thrash'n Roll (ETA: 09/15)
Masters of Football (ETA: 02/16)
The Gallerist (ETA: 10/15)
Mare Nostrum: Empires (ETA: 11/15)
101.1 (ETA: 12/15)
IKI (ETA: 12/15)
Soccer City (ETA: 12/15)
Hostage Negotiator Abductor Packs (ETA 11/15)
Gloomhaven (ETA 03/16)
The Networks (ETA 06/16)
Scythe (ETA 08/16)
Entering the Collection:
Left the Collection
Have fun guys and has always, thank you for reading, commenting and thumbing
I've mocked up the cards and the board for A Nice Cup of Tea, the tea-based spin-off from Snowdonia, and they're available for Print-and-Play here:
The rules are in DOCX and PDF format, the cards (and a copy of the board) in PPTX and PDF and there's also a png of the board. I've had probs in the past with Mac-generated PDFs, so if they're odd/unusable then PLEASE LET ME KNOW and I'll produce some PNGs instead!
I'll also be starting a Forum post on the main Snowdonia page to log and discuss the play-testing - one each for the two scenarios.
Finally, some bits-and-pieces:
because the Tea Estates can have high numbers of rubble cubes on them, I've included a 5x chit template to help with 'space' (stick on to cardboard etc)
you will need something to use as TEAPLES in the Tea Gardens scenario
if you chop it up right, you can stick the new board on the back of your existing Snowdonia board...this may, of course, utterly horrify you OR make your copy a super-rare one!
Let me know who you are!
Photos (broad, close-ups etc) during, and after, games then posted to the Forums would be excellent!
Please be honest with your feedback!
I'll see you over in the Forums, whenever!
Here's a quick story about how I started on a game, then got sidetracked long enough for a game to come out with a similar theme and a very similar name. File this under: Lessons Learned.
I’m sure most game designers are juggling a handful of projects at once. Personally I’m juggling 2 medium-to-large ones at late stages, 2-3 medium sized games at the early stages, and a bunch of small games at a variety of stages. This is kind of how it just works. I (we) throw a bunch of ideas out there, prototype them, test them and roll with the game that sticks. And sometimes, it’s not just the game that sticks, it’s the game with a deadline that gets bumped to the top.
The one that got bumped to the bottom was Fantasy Fantasy. A big dice fest that put players in the exact spot where Dungeons and Dragons and Fantasy Football meet. Stats and spreadsheets. The crossover here is pretty intense. I brought the game to Unpub 4 for it’s very first public tests and it accomplished exactly what I wanted. It was loud and came down to the final die roll. The timing and tone was there, but the game was far from done.
a competition in which participants select imaginary parties from among the adventures in a land and score points according to the actual performance of their adventurers.
A few months later I had some design sessions with Luke Peterschmidt and we discussed a few directions to take the game. It ended up in front of some publishers at Origins / Gen Con, but here’s where the dropping of the ball started. It's also where my methods contradict most designers.
Here are things that I usually do (but didn’t do with Fantasy Fantasy).
I always want to show off a pretty prototype.
While publishers will say that it doesn’t matter, I would highly disagree. A pretty prototype not only catches the eye and can create a different kind of emotional spark than an ugly prototype, it also helps get people into the game faster and understand it better as they play. When the brain needs to convert things without any other frame of reference, you re quick to lose people. And even if you don’t lose them, it can be enough to kick things off in a negative direction. Confusion can be the catalyst for a bad experience. It’s tough to bounce back when a test starts off on the confusing side.
For Fantasy Fantasy, my prototype was just text and numbers. While the game is rooted in stats and spreadsheets, it shouldn’t look like one. This was not my style at all, but I was crunching hard to get things ready for Unpub. I also had Seven7s with me, and I spent the time making that one nice and pretty. AS a result, Seven7s was quickly pitched and we played a ton of games. I was confident to show anyone who was interested. Fantasy Fantasy had a learning curve perpetuated by a barebones prototype.
I always design (and often develop) in private.
Many designers will show off their games in a very early state, and I’m the complete opposite. I will build it internally, test it with my private groups, then when I feel like it’s at a point where I’m willing to move forward with it, I’ll start to show it off and get outside testing. This is often after I’ve ironed out a lot of the initial kinks, but it’s also after I’ve picked out a name (even if temporary), made a pretty prototype, and felt like the game expresses the feeling and tone of the final product. From here I’ll test and tweak and test and tweak, but for me to get to this stage it means that I’m ready for anyone to see it and I’m 100% ready for first impressions. You only get one chance for a first impression, so I want to make it count.
For Fantasy Fantasy, I didn’t reach this point yet. I had played solo tests and tinkered with some designer friends, but I didn’t get over the initial hump of being fully comfortable with the state of the game to show it off for first impressions. I did it anyway because Unpub is very, very important, but I was hesitant to have people play it in it’s current state. The quality of the prototype was a huge part of that, but some of the bigger rules were being tested and could have made for terrible experiences. Luckily everything worked out well, but I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time in the sea of amazing games that Unpub is.
Cut to 2015
I think I saw it first at Unpub 5, but I saw that JR Honeycutt (designer of our very own North South East Quest!) and Daryl Andrews had a game called Fantasy Fantasy Baseball. By now, I was midway through some of the bigger projects and Fantasy Fantasy had to take a backseat, but my first reaction as “Oh man. I guess I missed my chance with that awesome title!”. I didn’t know anything else about their game at that time, so I kept working on my big projects.
Then in recent months I saw that Fantasy Fantasy Baseball was a signed game, and I even talked to JR about my original game and learned out about Football, Hockey and the full scope of the line. By now my guess was certain. I definitely missed my chance with the awesome title (which is a title that was bound to happen anyway - even pre-Unpub 4, I’d googled it like crazy seeing websites and bands with that name).
Fantasy Fantasy Baseball (not Fantasy Fantasy) Kickstarter link
My secondary concern was probably a little bigger. Is the novelty of a Fantasy Fantasy game going to be its selling point? Not just as in selling copies of the game, but as getting interest to begin with. Is it the kind of thing that is judged on concept alone, with the first game to the market setting the stage and satisfying that niche?
My personal answer would be no. New games come to market and open up new worlds. The games that follow have an advantage: A point of reference. But also a disadvantage: A point of reference. The comparisons will be there forever. As a second or third or fourth game, you have a new duty and it’s to bring something new to the table. It’s an interesting set of issues that arise when you dilly dally, but it’s not something I worry about with these games because they are already very different. The one struggle that it adds is that I now need to spend a portion of the little bit of time pitching the game (whether to a tester, publisher, or customer) towards explaining the differences to the existing games on the market. That’s not impossible, but it is a new challenge.
My Lessons Learned
I have two big rules - 1) make a pretty proto and 2) keep things quiet until they are polished. I stand by number 1 for it’s ability to cut the learning curve and provide a better experience for anyone playing the game. Spending the extra hour(s) will make a big difference. But I think number 2 is where I really went wrong here. I showed something off that wasn't at my normal comfort zone (going against my rule) but then I stopped showing it off. I should have been more prepared the first time around, but since I skipped right past that phase, I should have went full force using the opportunities I was given.
It may have been rough for its Unpub debut, but if I was blogging about this game post-Unpub, showing pictures and getting people involved, some of the challenges would already have been behind me. I would still have to explain the differences between this and Fantasy Fantasy Baseball at some point, but in some ways, people would already have seen what I was working on and known that they are very different games. Similar game ideas hit all the time, but that’s just an idea. There’s so much more to a game than the idea and have no doubt that we were just both on the same page at the same time. It happens.
And ultimately, all of that progress could have helped tie the title Fantasy Fantasy to this game. It’s such a good title and I’m sad to see it go. But I worked on other games, kept things quiet and that’s totally my fault. It’s not the end of the world and if it’s enough to kill the game, it would be a bigger problem than anything else, but it’s seriously the best name ever.
I’ve been trying to figure out where to go from here. Do I shelve this and come back later? (Probably) Do I try to retheme something that was built directly from the theme (Unlikely). Or do I go full force while it’s on my mind? (That’s always good motivation). Whatever I decide, I’m going to decide it publicly, since keeping quiet doesn’t help.
If you've had similar experiences, I'd love to hear about them. And if you have a better name for Fantasy Fantasy during this time, please share!
Egy kis előzetes a jövőévi megjelnésekből:
kiadjuk magyarul a Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilizationt, a Codenamest és a Funkenschlagot! (Power Grid)
Mindegyik must have...
Húzós egy év lesz a jövő évi is!
Időközben a FaceBook-on a Társasjáték csoportban elkezdődött az ötletelés arra vonatkozóan, hogy melyik társasnak mi legyen a magyar címe (ez főleg a Power Grid esetében nagy talány egyelőre...).
Life is Short; Play Games!
Check out www.saskgames.com for gaming clubs, stores, and events in Saskatchewan.
This article is taken from The SaskGames News Bulletin March/April 2015 Edition. It is part of a series of articles that explore the creation and growth of a healthy & vibrant board game community.
Download the Full Newsletter for free HERE / Subscribe for free HERE
I have been asked a number of times to share my thoughts on what it takes to build a regular weekly public game night. I have also been asked to share thoughts on what is needed to run a successful mini convention such as BixCON. The answers to these questions are not simple and are certainly not brief, hence, I decided to write a series of articles for the SaskGames News Bulletin that explores aspects of running successful events. The title for this series is no accident. I believe very strongly that successful events are built on top of a strong foundation, and that foundation is a healthy community. My articles will mostly be me spewing a stream of consciousness as I explore what makes a healthy and strong community. If this sounds like your cup o’ tea then settle in and join me in the journey.
As I stated above, I feel strongly that community is at the heart of the success of SaskGames and all of the events and initiatives that have been spawned through the website. SaskGames will be having its fifth birthday this summer and it has grown a lot during that time. In the early days, it was just a website, nothing special, just one in a large number of websites devoted to the hobby of gaming. Over time, the number of members grew and it was time to harness the membership growth and start hosting public events. You could say that the seeds of a cohesive gaming community were starting to sprout, but they needed some watering. During the summer of 2012, the idea of having a weekly public gaming event at Boston Pizza was discussed and we decided to move forward with the event. We took three months to plan and scope out this event prior to even hosting the first one which occurred in October of 2012. Why three months? Well, we had to ask ourselves a number of questions first. You cannot have a successful event without going through some soul searching discussion of what you want the event to be first. I will kick off this series with a few of the questions we pondered before the launch of ChewsDay Challenge. I find it very helpful when defining a vision to go through the exercise of asking WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW.
We wanted to create a weekly public board game event that was welcoming to people new to the hobby and would put a very friendly approachable face on our hobby. Our thought was to create an event that would help grow the hobby and the community.
We felt that there was an opportunity to grow the hobby and help people connect to not only board games, but other people interested in board games. There are many established groups all over Saskatchewan, but most of those groups were either insular or not really performing an outreach like we envisioned. Not that the existing groups were doing anything wrong, just that we felt an entire demographic of people were being overlooked.
Anyone interested in the hobby. Long standing veterans of the hobby along with people who may only have a curiosity about board games. The more the merrier. I think at this point it is worth noting that we decided we wanted to target the non-competitive social board game hobbyists as we felt that the event should develop an air of camaraderie and social bonding. When we started, we honestly felt that we would start out with 10-12 people and maybe grow attendance to 20-25. Little did we know…
Ideally in an environment that is family friendly, has comfortable seating, decent table sizes, sufficient lighting, conducive hours of operation, and is reasonably ease to get to. In our case, the Boston Pizza Restaurant on North Albert Street in Regina was an ideal location. Not only did it meet our above needs, the venue has a dedicated space our group could use. Additionally, they were very happy and eager to partner with us.
Considering Boston Pizza was providing the venue free of charge, we asked them what nights would be good for a weekly public event. Tuesday was suggested and thus the name ChewsDay Challenge was born. Our group has use of the dedicated area EVERY Tuesday of the year from about 5:00pm to 2:00am. We have committed to the venue, and they have committed to us. That consistency is very important for building trust with attendees, as they know the event will reliably run each week.
This is where we really got down to business and had many discussions. To address the vision of What, Why, Who, Where, and When, we had to make sure we created a solid “How”. I will explore this topic in the next article. Stay tuned and game on!
Ticket to Ride
She's got a ticket to ride, but she don't care. Well, I do. Next up on the list is my ninth favorite game, Ticket to Ride, down 5 spots from last year. Ticket to Ride is the only game on the list this year to receive three awards: Bronze Drafting, Gold Family and Gold Route Building.
Ticket to Ride is one of the few games I played digitally before I played it in tabletop form. After playing the app, I didn't think it was anything amazing, but I enjoyed it and figured I might as well pick it up in physical form if I had the opportunity. Opportunity came, grabbed it, and it sat on my shelf for almost a year. Hehe, oops.
Anyways, once I eventually got it to the table, I fell in love with it. There's something about the digital version that doesn't bring out the heart and joy of the game, playing cards, putting trains on the board, blocking other players from getting their routes...seeing their reactions! It's just all so great in its physical form.
I think what also makes me love the game so much is that it's so simple to grasp the concept. I've introduced it to several non-gamers and they all have been able to jump right in, know what they need to do and really enjoy themselves in the process.
Now, I must admit, I've yet to play any of the big box expansions (so far only tried Ticket to Ride: Alvin & Dexter and didn't like it), though that's a goal of mine somewhere down the road. They all look fascinating to me and I can only imagine how much fun I will have with them. In the meantime, I'll be happy with my vanilla Ticket to Ride until perhaps another opportunity comes and I can grab some. Though I doubt the expansions will sit on the shelf as long as the base game did.
That's it for today! Tomorrow, more gaming goodness. And in the meantime, I leave you with this:
My baby don't care.
Distinguishing art from Fine Art or a medley from a Musical Masterpiece requires expertise and an intuitive appreciation of expression and skill encompassed in that discipline. Within gaming, these experts might include Tom Vasel and Eric Lang. What they say and what they design influence the gaming industry. But aside from a very subjective Top 100 list, can they tell us which games are truly the GREATs?
With less expertise but more objectivity, I'm trying to distinguish the GREAT Games from the ordinary ones. With the help of others, I'm creating a list of elements that make games GREAT. Here are the elements of a GREAT game so far (but I have more surveying to do). In this blog post I have created a temporary metric for each element to gauge the strength of each element in a game. I'm not settled on the wording but it will do for now. I appreciate any suggestions or critiques.
1. Popularity (Sales - best 5 years)
2. Theme (Weak to Consistent)
3. Story (Flavor text to Fascinating)
4. Mechanics (Fiddly to Tight)
5. Art (Meh to Moving)
6. Ratings (1-10)
7. Playful (# of plays)
8. Game changer (# of similar games proceeded it)
9. Room for growth (# of improvements needed)
10. Originality (# of games it inspired/ # of games it borrows from)
11. New Possibilities (checklist or always changing)
12. Tension (predictable to mysterious)
13. Fun (tedious to humorous)
14. Decision making (scripted to significant)
15. Inspires Learning (repetitive to strategic)
16. Surprises (none to some)
17. Engagement (bored to curious)
18. Memorable (evokes post-game conversation)
In light of it being Thanksgiving in the US, I want go give a heart-felt shout out to my BGG GeekBuddies and their influence on my gaming choices. I consult their likes and dislikes when considering whether I'd like a game or not.
I currently have 53 Geekbuddies. To generate the list of Top 10 games to comment on this week I used BGG's GeekBuddies Ratings query and set the filter at 10 Minimum Number of Raters (~20%) and only Games I Do Not Own. I present to you the queried results in reverse order (for a more dramatic effect, right?).
In addition to my response to each game at the top of their collective ratings I thought I'd include one of their thoughts for each as well.
BK's Geekbuddies' Top 10 Highest Rated Games I Don't Own:
BGG Avg Rating: 7.84
Geekbuddies: 13 (25%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.04 (+0.20)
Great 2p game that is easy to teach but filled with tough decisions. I love the economic balance involved. It will be interesting to see what the replayability is though. Tactics will differ from game to game, but will the strategy?
I like the Ewe Rosenberg games I've played and this is the first of two on the list. Patchwork is also the game on the list that I know the least about. In reading the game description on BGG alone it seems to take an otherwise uninteresting theme and do some creative things to make it a game that has found wide appeal to many gamers ranked by my trusted advisors up there with multiple games I really enjoy.
9. Dominant Species
BGG Avg Rating: 7.89
Geekbuddies: 20 (38%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.08 (+0.19)
Boss Trojan wrote:
Brain-burner. Liked it, would like another shot at it. Length is a barrier and a pretty steep learning curve, but deep, strategic, binds together good familiar game mechanics/elements in a satisfying way.
This title caught my attention when it first came out but given it moves at a glacial pace I didn't feel it would see much play time in my group. It sounds like my kind of game, but it falls into a category of game that is well represented in my collection all of which share table time already.
BGG Avg Rating: 7.41
Geekbuddies: 12 (23%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.08 (+0.67)
I freely acknowledge that the strategy is probably a lot deeper and more subtle than first made itself apparent to me. I like the theme and it gave me and my children some good motivation to do some research on the famous men featured in the game. My kids enjoyed this significantly more than I did, and I’m sure I’ll be indulging them with another play soon.
This game being on the list surprised me in that it has never been on my radar. I don't know that the theme does much for me or anyone in my group. Like Patchwork I'm mostly unfamiliar with what the game has to offer. I'd put this in the category of a game I would probably play given the opportunity but it is not something I'd really seek out at this time.
7. Five Tribes
BGG Avg Rating: 7.85
Geekbuddies: 27 (51%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.09 (+0.24)
I really like the sort-of mancala style action selection. The different abilities are neat and can make for some cool combos. Overall, I really like the game. It does have a lot of potential for AP, though, and the end game scoring is a little complex.
I actually saw this game when it was released at Gen Con. It looked really busy and a turn off at the time we opted to purchase Abyss. Now having had the opportunity to play it last week I admit it is a great game. I'm guessing it would take a few plays to get more comfortable with the various strategies and identifying opportunities. Thankfully a friend of mine owns it and I will likely have the chance to play it more.
6. Glass Road
BGG Avg Rating: 7.53
Geekbuddies: 14 (26%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.11 (+0.58)
Papa Ninja wrote:
A big part of this is the combination of short play time and this is a game my wife has recently been requesting to play.
She does not usually like games with lots of moving parts, but after a couple of plays this game has clicked with her.
Glass Road is a game that will see consistent play for a long time.
This is the second Uwe Rosenberg game on the list and the one I've had my eye on from afar for sometime. I've never played it but I have a hunch it would be one that I might like. I have a friend in another city who owns it who I see 1-2 times a year so I might have the outside chance to play it at some point. The question I have is whether it would be something my wife would enjoy.
BGG Avg Rating: 7.44
Geekbuddies: 11 (21%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.12 (+0.68)
I'm upping my rating to an 8.5 for how well it plays as a solo AND a 2-player game. The solo game is very challenging, and the 2-player game is very tense. ...this game does card drafting WAY BETTER than 7 Wonders. It's currently one of her favorites. ...I highly recommend this for Euro gamers who like limited resources, difficult decisions, and good confrontation.
Of all the games on the list this is the most likely to make it to my collection. It is currently on my Wish List and one of the titles listed on my 2015 Christmas List. I'll credit all my friends in the WDYPTW community that have long sung its praises and captured my attention. It sounds like a game that my wife, game group, and I would enjoy playing.
BGG Avg Rating: 7.81
Geekbuddies: 18 (34%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.17 (+0.36)
Fun finger-flicking dexterity game. Despite the higher than average cost, this is one of the best value games of all time, in terms of the amount of hours played.
I don't get the craze and fandom. I tried it once in a booth at Origins. I'm really indifferent. Would I play it? Sure. Would I buy a board? Probably not. This is the kind of thing I would see getting lots of plays initially and then would likely just hang on the wall somewhere.
BGG Avg Rating: 7.83
Geekbuddies: 13 (25%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.21 (+0.38)
Its so easy to explain but has a lot of depth. Plus, everything about its design is gorgeous. The style and color of the board is great, the components are AWESOME custom pieces, and it just makes you want wine while you play it. Great game. It's really easy for everyone playing to be in it until the last move. I've never felt like there was no hope of winning half way through the game.
I'm a euro gamer and this one seems to be well liked. In fact, it has been on and off my Wish List multiple times. Viticulture Essential Edition is currently on my Wish List. I think I'd like to try it before making an acquisition to get a feel for how much it would actually get played. I really like what this designer and publisher are doing in their games, I just don't own one yet.
BGG Avg Rating: 8.03
Geekbuddies: 17 (32%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.32 (+0.29)
A masterpiece. One of those games that makes 2+ hours fly by. ...hand management is one thing in Brass I really like ...the map that comes with Brass is fine by me and I really don't need expansions.
I actually traded for this one a couple of summers ago on pfctsqr's recommendation. Unfortunately, it never got to the table and I ended up trading it a year or so later for Age of Industry which I had read is more streamlined and a bit shorter. Like Brass it has sat on my shelf unplayed as well. I had hoped I could play 2p, but unless I acquire an expansion map I need a third. I'm at the point where I am leaning towards putting it up for trade and get something more likely to see play time.
1. Terra Mystica
BGG Avg Rating: 8.28
Geekbuddies: 26 (49%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.62 (+0.34)
It's a great game, with lots to think about each turn - a tight economy, some timing issues, and multiple routes to victory. Also lots of variety between games because of the different races. Totally addictive.
I wanted this one really bad when it first came out. One look at it setup at Origins and my wife vetoed it as looking too overwhelming with all its pieces, etc. I set this right next to Eclipse in its appeal to me and given that only sees one play per year as it is, I couldn't afford another big ticket game collecting dust for a rare table appearance. The good news is that one of my best friends has it so in theory I'll get the opportunity to play it... although in the year he's owned it I have yet to play it again. My initial play was enjoyable and vetted the game for me as a winner.
Well that does it for this year's review of what my Geekbuddies really like that I don't own. I'm curious what readers have regarding these games. Which of these would you pick as the best of the bunch? If you have any thoughts feel free to share. Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy some games this weekend with friends and family.
First, let me say "Happy Thanksgiving" to everyone who celebrates it!
Now, let me tell you about the colossal events that took place last night! Ok, not colossal, but pretty great. My 12-year old daughter has had a friend named Laura since before kindergarten. They have been classmates every year and are almost like sisters. Laura spends a lot of time at our house and vice versa.
Laura has played games with my daughter and me before, but I did not realize what a game fanatic (much like all of us) she really is. Shortly after coming over yesterday afternoon, she asked if we could play one of my games. She said she didn't like games at her house because they were "roll dice and move" or "Life". I should have seen right then and there, she was a BGG material.
She asked for the "sushi game" and I knew she meant Sushi Go!. I quickly grabbed it and deftly drafted to win the first game.
They both wanted to play the "ghost game" (Tajemnicze Domostwo), which is the Polish version of Mysterium. I told them that it would be a better game with at least one more player, so they ran upstairs to pester my wife until she came down and played. I don't know what it is about my lovely bride, but she just does not like to play games. I think it's the rules. Once she gets going, she seems to enjoy playing but getting her to sit down to play one is damn near impossible.
My wife reluctantly agreed and we played a 4-player game. Not surprisingly, my wife did awesome! She nailed every clue the first time and we won on day 6 using "Normal" mode.
My wife had to go to work, but the girls wanted to play more games! We played three games of Just Desserts, where I won none. I had to do a couple of things around the house so I showed them how to play Cube Quest. They loved it! They played about 5 games in a row, trying different formations and tactics. They were laughing the whole time so that game paid for itself in spades! They ended up playing this a few more times later in the evening.
I decided to get aggressive and up the complexity a little bit. I taught them Finca and we had the best game of this I have ever played. Laura won by 4 points by collecting the final bonus tile on her last turn. They both said they liked it and were really using their brains to plan out future moves. To say I was impressed would be an understatement.
We played Wasabi! next and even though Laura beat me on the tiebreaker, I don't think they liked it as much as the other games. I think they felt more stress than they wanted to while playing. Mental note.
We played Zombie Dice three times and of course I didn't win any of those either. We played three more games of Sushi Go!, where I was undefeated until the last game, where Laura beat me on the tiebreaker again.
My wife had returned from work and was amazed that we were still sitting at the kitchen table playing games just like she had left us hours before. I looked at the clock at it was almost 11:30PM. We had been playing games for about 7 hours! I had promised Laura's parents I would have her home by then, so after packing up, we dropped her off. Laura said that she liked coming over to our house to play those kinds of games and my daughter said she liked it too because games are better with three players. I think they just like to gang up on me.
My wife joked that I had found two new gaming partners. She was right. I was already thinking of other games I could teach them and some others I could buy that would work. It also solved the problem of what to get Laura for Christmas this year. My daughter mentioned that we needed to check out Miniature Market to find a good game for her. One they could both play and I could jump in if they needed three players.
So, I have one more thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I am thankful for finding two new gaming buddies.
Thanks for reading.
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