Well, this is really interesting and I think I'd like to play it some more and see how it really works. First impressions tell me that Kennedy has some really good cards, but it's really easy to be seduced by the cards away from sensible campaigning. What is difficult is managing the rest cubes. They do depend heavily on what cards you draw, but I suppose it ought to balance out with everything else.. with experienced players it probably works out so that the less successful player gets to be luckier. A clever idea.
I love love love the theme (even though it means I failed to stop Nixon from becoming president early!!! ), and I like the twists and turns of the game. It's a satisfying length and an absolutely gorgeous board.
Still, it's hard to love the game when there is such a sense of things I don't understand. I'll probably rate it higher later... (1 play)
A licensed game with a license I'm not really interested in. Played the four player variant and enjoyed myself decently, but it is pretty luck-driven and not many decisions. Designed for a nongamer audience who will probably like it. (1 play)
High-quality filler with some depth to it and plenty of replayability. This is a quick card-drafting game made engaging by fear of one's neighbors, greed for the best cards, and a certain amount of calculated risk. Somehow I ended up playing this over and over again, without ever really intending to--that's the sort of game this is. (Seventeen already? Sheesh.)
I'm cooling on this. Part of it is group-oriented; members of our group are very protective of their strategies, which means that it is very difficult to step outside of my usual strategy and try something different. I'm also beginning to think it makes specialization a little too easy, and a lot of it depends on what everyone else decides to focus on.
Still a very solid worker placement game that combines elements of several games of which I am very fond, and honestly a great introduction to Eurogaming for someone who is interested in learning more.
Yep, it's a game about doing things in the right order. And it's lots and lots of fun. I love putting together my farm and making things work together. I love the card combos and the way it feels like really building something and the free form nature of it--it really feels as if you can put you farm together however you like, though it isn't obvious if you look at it at the end. Really satisfying and after over 20 plays, I think it's safe to say this will be a favorite for a long time.
EDIT: Frankly, if you don't think Agricola is awesome, you simply don't play games for the same reasons I do. If you want a satisfying building experience, this is it! Must.. play...more...
EDIT AGAIN: Yeah, for now I am pretty sure I'm madly in love with this. The more I play, the more I want to keep playing.
COOLER OBSERVATIONS: The issues with the game are as follows: 1) it is very much a giant fiddly mess. The upkeep is pretty intense. 2) Turn order can matter, especially with a smaller number of players. 3) Yes, it is possible to get a very good hand and that does influence the outcome. I have tried the drafting variant and like it quite a bit.
But except for #2, these are integral parts of what I love about the game too and I will happily forgive them.
Fun, light drafting game. High luck factor but there are times to seize opportunities and times not to. I really enjoy playing and am very happy that we own this one now. Two-player variant probably deserves a lower rating as we flew through tiles with scoring cards nowhere to be seen.
Great game. Its division between the Old and New Kingdoms gives it a structure quite different from most games, the bidding allows for a lot of "I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me!" moments, and I love the building aspects because, well, I like building things. Certainly one of the best Knizias I have played.
Okay, so it's only good when you are tired and in a properly silly mood, and with the right group. But it is a party game, after all. And when you get right down to it, I love hearing people's explanations for their choices, and I get way more enjoyment than I should from putting down cards that I KNOW won't win.
Well, I like trivia, and most of the questions are pretty good. I do think trivia games should probably be kept very simple and allow participants to answer as many questions as possible, so I was disappointed by the way that a wrong answer is punished by cutting off the stream of questions. Similarly, the cheats, while perhaps adding a strategic element, were essentially a way of not answer questions. And seriously, I just want to answer as many questions as possible.
Little two-player games like this aren't always big favorites with me, and this one didn't seem too promising, especially since the rules were very poorly written and it was entirely unclear how the final two cartouches worked.
However, it turned out to be rather interesting. I tend to like games where players can compete in multiple arenas at the same time, winning some and losing others. Plus, it's one of those strangest of all creatures, a two-player area control game.
There are so many different ways to win that in the first game, my opponent didn't pay attention to all of them and lost because of it--so that felt a little unfair, but unlikely to happen with experienced players. In other situations, it just creates a lot of fires that must be attended to immediately. Kind of like tic-tac-toe in that respect, but, you know, with a game attached to it. (2 plays)
I like trivia, and I enjoyed the rules of this trivia game--random categories, the possibility of switching, stealing questions and so forth. However, the difficulty level of the questions varied wildly; most of them were either everyone-knows-it easy or too difficult for us. I also think it would be nice if, as a party game, it could go above four players without requiring teams. (1 play)
Great theme, great art, lots of strategy, fun card game. It's actually a race with some area control and the degree to which you can rely upon other players to help you is quite important. It is pretty light and perhaps less deep than it appears, but overall a very good gaming experience.
EDIT: I had a higher opinion of the amount of strategy here before I started winning so much. Don't know why I do.
It can be very difficult to get the pairs into your hand, but there are plenty of support cards dealing with that problem. I'd say this makes the game a little luckier, but it seemed manageable. Thus far I prefer the Hoax, but there's some fun stuff here. (1 play)
It's all about the wheeling and dealing. Lots and lots of it. The economy is very interesting, the trading is lots of fun, and the art is cute, plus it's easy to pull this out and play with people, gamers or non. I like this better and better the more I play.
I love the multifaceted bidding: placing a worker placed to take an action, a bid on a card, and also an attempt to get area control. So there's a lot to think about. There's also much more going on in the game: powers from cards, personalized scoring, the ability to make new buildings--and it all fits together really well. Very interesting all the way through. Oh, and the art is great. (1 play)
Typical Schacht-very simple, almost minimalist, with plenty of tension and constant worry about whether you are helping yourself or your opponent. I like it quite a bit. It's tempting to put it in the Zooloretto family of games because of the tile placement rules, but the drafting is quite different and the simplicity is a little greater (and for Schacht games, this is a good thing). Good with two because the relationship between your house and your opponent's is so close. Much less control with more players. (3 plays)
I'm heavily biased here, since not only is the designer a friend, but I playtested this game for many years before it was finally published. But I love it. It's an area control game in which adjacency is really important, because sometimes things that happen in one region can influence another. The basic idea is that each district requires certain services, but they have a hierarchy of needs which must be fulfilled in a certain order. I tend to like area-control games in general, and I love the way that the city develops differently every game.
Played with two. Found this very weird. It's a kind of area control game, but one where the number of areas to control gets smaller and smaller, until it comes down to a battle over the final few that are left. It seemed pretty neat until we realized that we were going back and forth in a seemingly endless way and that neither of us was going to be able to win anytime soon, at which point we abandoned the game. Maybe it's better with three? (1 play)
This is certainly the gentlest Feld game I've ever played; it lacks the explicit punishment element of all his other games. There's still a lot to go for, though. This is really a set collection game with a lot of different sets and an interesting little building element where it matters where things are. It's a nice little game and I'd like to get to know it better. (1 play)
This is really addictive. The building aspect of it is really interesting and fun as you try to puzzle out the best way to build out your castle. The auction is DIFFICULT and I like it a lot. The secret goals mostly aren't huge game changers but give you something to go for, which is how I like them. Good stuff and I find myself playing over and over again.
Initially I really liked this expansion; now I am not so sure. It makes the game much longer and considerably more random. The barbarians are kinda fun, but is it worth it? On the whole, I don't think so.
Really interesting idea; the game is mostly about limiting how many points you are giving other people. Glad I picked this one up. After six plays, I still don't really understand the strategy--but that makes it interesting. Schacht is a genius. For serious.
Fortifications definitely add and interesting strategic element while decreasing the power of the emissaries. I like this variant quite a bit.
The information management is the most interesting part of this game. The role selection is fun if you are not under the delusion that you know roles other people will pick. The humor value of the game has dipped somewhat over the years, but it's still a decent filler and a good gateway game (in fact, it was my gateway game!).
A complex balancing act that keeps you on your toes. You need to keep up all the various aspects of your civilization throughout the game and will definitely lose ground if you let something slip. I really like that about it; I was deeply engrossed the whole time I was playing and have been considering various possible strategies the ever since. Could see this getting regular play. The game can change drastically with different groups.
I am not convinced that the advanced setup is an improvement over the set one. (4 plays)
An auction game: players are auctioning off actions in a difficult once-around auction. It's very tricky! The scoring is largely based on a multiplier, so players have to pay attention to both sides of that equation. Tense & not too long.
I was a playtester for this game for several years, and it's really made me appreciate the importance of graphic design; it seemed quite opaque to me until I saw the final board, when suddenly I was able to understand the game well and play much better.
Wow, why hasn't this game gotten more buzz?? This is actually my favorite of the four no-shuffle deckbuilders of 2013. Everything about it is clever. The tradeoff between exploring (which is expensive) and getting more cities (which doesn't provide as much space), the management of three different kinds of resources (cards, money and books), the scoring, the importance of managing your economy and your space, the way that deck refreshment works (the order in which cards are played dictates how they'll come out next time) are all really cool. I love the art and the theme--I'm kind of a sucker for steampunk, so YMMV, but it's undeniably pretty. The only knocks that I have on the game are these: 1) the way that cards are added to decks gives players a lot of control, but also creates a potential for serious AP, and 2) I wish that the Chvatil-style endgame scoring (most cards, most lands, etc) allowed something for second place.
Anyway, VERY interesting game and I'm all for it. I want to get a copy and play it some more. Provisionally rated an 8 only because I'm a little leery of going over a rating of 8 on the first play. (1 play)
This was a lot more fun than I expected it to be. There's actually quite a bit of challenge in choosing the right thing to sculpt, conceiving of the most ambiguously effective sculpture, and in asking the best questions. Quite clever. I do get frustrated because I'm bad at both the sculpting (I sculpt either too well, or too poorly) and the guessing (I often find I can't think of anything). It DOES require creativity--more for the guessing than the sculpting.
This is a fantastic little filler that manages to be interesting and exciting while also possible to explain in under a minute. Well worth owning for anyone who enjoys quick-playing card games. Schacht fangirlism status: increasing rapidly.
LOVE LOVE LOVE the theme! The fake history and old (and occasionally made-up) words are huge draws for me, and the art is fantastic--faintly humorous and definitely sort of old-looking.
The gameplay is fun too, especially for a reformed CCGer like me.. it's fun to bring out a card with a special power when it's least expected, and I really like the way that cards support those in nearby ditches, but can't be used once you have too many. Good card game, one I would be pretty happy to carry around with me and pull out at random moments.
On further plays I have realized I am confused about the rules. They could probably stand to be better written.
I was a playtester, and I consider Andy Parks a friend, so my opinion is far from impartial. Still, this is a very good game and an interesting take on the deckbuilding genre. Like a couple other games (A Few Acres of Snow, Mage Knight), it takes the idea of deckbuilding and puts it in the context of an interesting game with other things going on.
Core Worlds is really a drafting game with a high degree of planning involved, and these are some of my favorite things. The deck building element adds a lot, and combining drafting with deck building means that players have a lot of freedom to build an individualized deck that's different every time. So that's fun.
The game is not short--it's true--but just because it's a card game doesn't mean it has to be short. (5+ plays)
What can I say, this is a classic. Light, quick and lucky, yes.. but also with a good dose of psyching out your opponent and some decisions to be had. A decent way for two players to spend 30-60 minutes.
Well, this is very Euro. I wouldn't really call it a worker placement game since it doesn't have an action drafting aspect to the game--what people have referred to as worker placement is just a rather specialized way of deciding what you will produce on your (privately owned) land that round.
I enjoy the tension involved in putting things on boats and trying to predict when they will launch. To me, that's the most interesting thing about the game, though I also enjoy the way the harvest works. I'm not especially excited about the goods market or the laws though. I don't know, it seems like I'm anatomizing the game here because I haven't played it enough to think of it as a whole. (3 plays)
There's fun in this box, but unfortunately somebody has to be the punching bag. I can't imagine I'd want to play it every week but I'm quite pleased that we have it now and think I'll enjoy it when we do play. Is this a function of theme and atmosphere? Maybe. Or maybe I just like gathering stuff and playing around with the minis. Melee seems a bit overpowered, and sometimes the game can take a long time. However, the best way to combat this is with LESS SHOPPING. Tried it with no shopping and it seriously just pushed the game's rating back up to a seven.
The quickness, addictiveness and variability of this game are really its selling points. My thoughts:
I'm pretty positively inclined toward this one. I was a light CCGer for a while there and this is one psuedo-CCG that actually captures the deck-building part of such games as well as the gameplay. Plus, it's just really fun to see the engine work. And I've always gotten a lot of enjoyment out of a nice combo play.
I wouldn't argue that it is in any way a deep game, however. It's kind of a junk food gaming experience. Why yes, I would like to eat that stick of cotton candy, but I can't really expect to derive any nourishment from it.
UPDATE: It's a little embarrassing to raise the rating of a game whose entire point is that you can play quickly to an 8, but this is pretty addictive. I don't understand why everyone else likes it so much, though.
I think this is an improvement on the base game; I think the addition of more ways to score victory points makes the game more interesting. There are some neat variations on the cards too--cards that are more than one type are (including cards that are victory points AND something else), and cards that give you a choice of what you want to do. The Great Hall is amazing and the Pawn is pretty good too. I don't like the Masquerade as much because it seems to disrupt the premise of the game. Will never play with the Saboteur again.
This is a neat little take-that dungeon crawl/ dungeon creator (?) that plays quickly and unpredictably. It's pretty volatile and probably very different every time. Don't look for control or planning here.. but try to take advantage of whatever comes up. Light, fun, engaging. (3 plays)
Including this in the auction "trilogy" makes a great deal of sense--like Ra and Modern Art, there is an interesting twist on what happens to the money bid (in this case, it is distributed among all the losers), and like those two and Medici, you bid for lots which make the tiles in them better or worse. It also has a feature I very much like in an auction game--the value of a lot is different for different players, so it is much harder to pin down the exact "correct" bid for something. Add in an extremely accessible and amusing theme, and this game has a lot going for it, though it is perhaps the lightest of the four. It's just a lot of fun. (2 plays)
Nice economic game. It's a very solid game that hangs together well. I enjoyed having to balance all the different elements and I liked the twist of being able to choose what options would be available to you in the future. That said, there was nothing about this game that really stood out to me--I'd happily play again, but it's not something I'm going to find myself thinking about days later, either. (1 play)
Cleverly themed, interesting to play, maybe a little too showy on the components (I'm very happy about the inclusion of the black-and-white board because it makes teaching this game SO MUCH easier). I really like the way the factions work; it's very close to being like a stock mechanism without being too obtrusive about it. I also enjoy the cleverness of the areas where the number of dice changes what's produced. The dice are a fun idea and I haven't had them cause an NPE yet, but the potential for it is there... (3 plays)
It's like India Rails... in Europe. I'm starting to pick up on the strategy; a lot of it is in choosing the right starting location. There is a high luck factor in the cards and the game is quite long, but the first is acceptable to me and the second is actually desirable for the contexts in which I play it. It's more a feeling of peacefully constructing infrastructure rather than fiercely competing over resources, but there are times I like that. (3 plays)
I really like the way that this divides the year into two parts and each half of the year is different. It's yet another Rosenberg harvest game, which is always good news to me, and as a two-player only game, this one is of course well-suited to two players. I like it very much. (1 play)
A pure blind bidding game where ties go to the second place player. I like the complex, changing conditions. There's more here than the lightness and the very silly theme would suggest--and there is certainly some strategy to knowing what your opponents will bid. Tracking the beads is useful. The fact that the winner can be determined before the game is over keeps this from being a 7 for me. (2 play)
I'm really happy I got to play this--the hype was pretty exciting and I like this sort of game quite a bit. My impressions:
A++ components. Absolutely beautiful board and I LOVE the wooden fruit. I don't think great components always make a game more fun to play, but this time they did.
As for the gameplay, it's just as everyone is saying--it's a really simple to learn, but you have real decisions with real ramifications--and multiple ones, so there are several factors you have to take into consideration. You'll do much better if you decide at the beginning which tiles you want to go for and keep the bonuses in mind. I didn't do this very well on my first play, but I'd love to try again. Windmill is nifty.
I'm a fan. My vote for SdJ. I'd almost certainly buy this if only you could play it with five. EDIT: Owned! Ehehehe. (4 plays)
Neat filler. I like this better than Felix. There aren't many auction games you can play in ten minutes; this pulls it off while maintaining, at the very least, some level of suspicion of your neighbors. Level of control is perhaps slightly lower than I would like.
A strange little stock game with very volatile commodities. You can gather a lot of cubes, but the corresponding civilization might be gone tomorrow. Not good with two as there is little opportunity for multiple competing civilizations to arise. I think I'd like it better if I had a better idea of when it's worth it to spend a cube to make things happen. They seem like valuable commodities, but since they can disappear at any moment, I should probably be more willing to spend them... (3 plays)
I think I'll appreciate this more if I can figure out how to play it a little better--I only got to play once, and spent my time trying to do sneaky things while not attending to the obvious and straightforward and, well, it wasn't useful. But I think this is a smart, smart game and I would like to get to know it better. (1 play)
Oh, this is a good one. In many games of this type, it's difficult to get a good engine going, but things smooth out once you're established. Not Glen More. It's a constant struggle to keep things going and there's always planning and an element of risk. Everything depends on performance relative to the other players in the game, so there's an element of keeping an eye on them as well. I really enjoy trying to make this work, even though I'm not very good at it. (5+ plays)
Excellent. I'd describe it as "efficient".. each action you take must benefit you as much as possible, BOTH in the long and the short term, and you have very few actions allowed to you. Since value is very dynamic due to the tech tracks and when things come up, there is always some question as to what things are worth. Lots to think about here.
After several plays it's become a little more manageable to me and I'm just liking it better and better. Even if you are pretty flush with resources, there's always something more you need to attend to to get where you need to be.
In the Golden City, players bid on pairs of cards, then use them to claim spots on the board, leading into the city. There is an area control aspect to the game, and also temporary scoring opportunities that players need to pursue, Terra Mystica-style. I like all these things, and The Golden City distills them down to their most streamlined form. (1 play)
I knew I was looking forward to this for a reason. If you are planning on going around labeling games as "elegant," El Grande is the one to do it with. The game seems really deep, with plenty to think about each turn, and yet it's simple to play, and even with my current rather inexpert attempts at the game I've been able to feel happy with my decisions (while still grasping for a deeper level of understanding). As everyone probably knows by now, it is an area control game with many ways to move cubes around the board and interesting tradeoffs between the ability to do interesting stuff and/or go first, and the ability to get more cabelleros on the board. Absolutely love it. Yes, there is a memory element, but unless you are playing with people who are particularly good at counting cubes, it just adds another level of doubt and tension to the game.
The first real wargame I think I've played! It's a light one. I enjoy that a lot of the important decisions have to do with whether or not to run away. I also like the rhythm of the game--winter is a neat idea. Anyway, it's fairly random but I enjoyed it a lot. (1 play)
Cool! This is very much a puzzle game that combines geography, economics and planning in a very different way than most. I loved anticipating others' moves, figuring out the best way to get the ship to the barrels I want, keeping track of the market stands, finagling money from other players... basically everything about this game.
I definitely prefer Changing Winds, not because of the movement abilities but because of the scoring.
Hansa Teutonica is extremely tactical. It feels as if the outcome of the game is determined by a series of many small changes, none of which necessarily has a huge effect. It's very difficult after the game to point at what made you win or lose, at least for me at this point. I'm still an inexperienced player, though, so perhaps I will figure it out.
I do find the game intriguing and I enjoy the fact that each turn presents a new decision. I'll have to see how I feel about it after further plays.
A person might be forgiven for considering the game dry, but I find that when games are so described, I usually like them. (1 play)
It takes a few plays to "get it," or at least it did for me. Quite heavy, it is similar to Agricola mostly in the level of detail that it is willing to deal with--only it goes even further--Building things often requires energy as well. I've always liked the mechanism in Caylus whereby you must pay others to use their buildings; that's here as well, but once again, Le Havre adds a level of complexity by varying the prices. It also adds an interesting river mechanism which controls what goods recover each term--perhaps the cleverest part of the game. So, it ends up feeling very different from either of these games. There's a lot going on--at first it seemed like too much, especially since it is hard to see all the cards and you basically just have to remember them (surely there is a better way they could have done this?).
Shipping line is VERY strong, especially in the two player game I played. With more players, there are more ways to make money. But I don't know if you can ignore it and win.
After 6 plays I finally managed not to come in last! uh.. so I suck. yes.
This is a highly unusual game whose rating could rise. The bidding system is built around a spatial system where you may have some difficulty assuring yourself of anything but can certainly gamble for the big gains (and of course, the value of the resources you are bidding on varies over the course of the game and is different from player to player--a feature I always enjoy). Racing around the board is almost a pick-up-and-deliver game--well, without the picking up, but it retains some of that feel. There is certainly scope for the losing player to come back. There's always a risk in making long term plans, but the short term lasts long enough that your short term planning can be satisfying several times over. Very interesting. (2 plays)
An unpretentious, fun adventure game that I quite enjoy. I like the mechanic of shuffling the old cards in to the later years; it adds flavor and helps you anticipate what is coming next. The map is lovely and (despite some design issues like their thinness and the trademark notices on each name), the cards add a lot to the theme and are varied enough to keep things interesting. The game accelerates as it goes--first year is very long, the fifth very short. The main strategic decision is when to build up stats and when to go for points (as well as when to spend a turn drawing cards). Not especially deep, but plenty of fun.
Full disclosure: I playtested this game a couple times.
Cute art and multiple paths to victory. It might be a shade too long, but just a shade. Suitable for both gamers and nongamers (as long as you can explain the iconography). Some people in my group dismiss it as being for children because of the art. This seems entirely unwarranted and makes me rather sad.
This is an unusual area control game. It's pretty difficult to get pieces on the board, and it's really important to win the areas that you go after, as coming in second gets you nothing. This makes it a pretty tough game in general, and it's easy to get frustrated. Interesting, however, are the ways in which control can pass from one player to another, and the elections, of which we saw few in our game. I'd like to give this another try. (1 play)
In some ways, it's reminiscent of both Goa and Brass, but it is MUCH MUCH MUCH lighter than either of those games. This game has several elements I've seen before, but I like them--a multi-step building process, close competition for the right to do so, a production process by which resources become available to all players--for a price. In any case, I don't think I've seen them implemented in such a streamlined way before. We didn't finish our game, but I am really curious to see if my strategy--building all the production buildings and making everyone pay me both for resources and in the auction--was a good one. I suspect so. (1 play)
Got this as a two player game, but have only played it with three and four so far. I'm sure it's far more vicious with two.
This game has TONS of non-gamer appeal and can be pretty nasty if people are playing well. It's a decent filler and an easy game to teach. I've played it with my mom, with proto-gamers and with actual gamers and everyone had a good time, and that is really the strength of Ingenious.
There were luck of the draw issues in the game that we played, where we drew lots of cards that would have been better for our opponents, but then again it is a card game. I enjoyed the card-combo aspect and found that it played quickly and engagingly. Good game. (2.5 plays)
A rather brain-burning bidding game (some would say worker placement, but in practice, it's more like Amun-re or Nefertiti style bidding). Since the game is only five turns long, there is quite a bit of tension to each turn and it's quite a trick to make everything work out. Deeply interactive and quite thoughtful. (2-3 plays)
This is such a charming game. I mean, the goofy theme is a lot of fun and adds a lot to the game, but there's also a little bit of card drafting--which I love--and a little bit of engine building, but with flexibility. It's a card game in its heart, and I really like that about it. I think this one will have some staying power.
(Oddly, it seems that Suchy alternates between making games that leave me nonplussed--League of Six, 20th Century--and games of which I am very fond--Shipyard and Last Will. Shipyard's still my favorite of his, but LW also makes me happy.)
Very good resource management racing game. It's also a shuffle-free deckbuilder which punishes you severely if you don't use your whole deck. The power system of cards is interesting--you play another card or some Indian tokens with each card to show how many times you get to do an action. There is some resource conversion, which is just complex enough to be interesting without being convoluted.
This is great! The main questions are how big you want your city to be and how often you're going to run it, but there is a lot to manage between these two things and the cards add a lot of character (I also enjoy the veiled Dickens references). Despite the fact that all these decisions matter and there are a lot of options available, the game is NOT a heavy one. I'd feared it would be a stressful and terrifying experience like Automobile, but instead it is interesting, engaging, thinky and fun. Highly recommended. (1 play)
Light card came with ridiculous art. I didn't like the rarity of the really useful cards, which means that it's quite likely some players won't see any of them, and if they do they are quite likely to lose them anyway. (1 play)
I came to this one late in the game. There were a bunch of decks I thought were fun, and a couple that were successful but not fun. This is a bad sign, but overall quite a nice TCG. Now, alas, dead as a doornail.
Interesting! The ability to spread cubes around, starting on one portrait, makes this an unusual area control game, and the various powers, mission abilities and Notre Dame-like resources give it a couple extra dimensions. It does seem like it's really hard to get much ahead though. Unless you manage to get all the crowns, of course. (4 plays)
This is a really clever game that hates you, as Stefan Feld games are wont to do. It's about managing cubes and getting the right ones at the right time, but it's also about planning out when that will be and manipulating the game so that you have what you need when you need it. But at the same time, there are also several other things you need to take care of, if you don't want the game to punish you. I enjoy this sort of thing quite a bit, and Macao pulls it off very well. Good stuff. (1 play)
Somehow, this has become our go-to two player game. Yes, it's long, fiddly, mathy, convoluted, and swingy, and that doesn't bother me at all. The card combos are great; even if you only get to execute a particular combo once or twice, the game goes out of its way to make sure you will get to use it and it will be awesome. And in fact, that's kind of what the game is about--balancing set-up turns with turns of awesome, the turns where you march into a city and find out you have to kill the medusa and a dragon, and voila! you have the magic card that somehow lets you pull it off. There's a lot of information that's available in advance for planning and figuring out the cleverest way to use the special cards. And because it's a Chvatil game, you get a little credit for everything you do.
I probably wouldn't want to play this much with more than two, because it has really long turns and the downtime would be massive. But as a two player game, I'm kind of addicted to it... (4 or 5 plays?)
This is an interesting and complex economic area control game with several twists. Players spend the game attempting to accumulate money by building palaces and also in order to build palaces. Clever twists: Players can change the the order in which cities are evaluated to give themselves an advantage, and each player has a role that confers a special ability--but these roles can also be exchanged among players. And then there's the little matter of extorting money from other players with tollbooths.
There's plenty here to keep me intrigued, and in short, the game is brilliant. (1 play)
Good stuff. I am a big fan of the crayon rails I've played, and this may be the most interesting one I've tried (between it, India Rails, and Eurorails--all of which I really enjoy). I love the references, the event cards are much more interesting than the ones in Eurorails, and the geography is... perplexing! The wraparound board, the obstacles all over the place and the feeling that there are some places you just can't or don't want to go really help to create the greater sense of scope you should have when dealing with an entire planet instead of just a continent or subcontinent. The other crayon rails still have their place--for one thing, they are much shorter!--but I'm a fan. (1 play)
An interesting variant on Dots & Boxes, wherein each player has a number of hidden (and randomly determined) goals. A lot depends on the luck of the draw--I think the cards are much more random than the dice here--and it's very helpful if the other players happen to draw goals that are compatible with yours. A decent filler, but it can be a little frustrating to have so much depend on whether others are willing to help you out.
The board and components are very pretty. (1 play)
Interesting! Ra without the training wheels. As a heavy but short auction game for up to six players, this does a great job of filling a niche that is important to me. Being able to make money from either the majorities or the values (or both) means that there are several valid ways to go about the game, some players may be doing better than they initially appear to be, and that, as the game develops, different players may value tiles differently. I appreciate all these traits in an auction and everything that Medici gives me to think about. I like it better than Modern Art because the values are less calculable--though paying the bank instead of other players makes it a little less.. swingy. (8 plays)
The RATHER high silly factor adds a lot to this game. The names of the goods and the aliens do a lot to keep me engaged. The changing demand reminds me of Parthenon, as does the slightly random attempts to get from one place to another. The Clue-esque roll-and-move, plus the downtime, slow the game down quite a bit, reminding you that it's quite an old one after all... but it's fun carting goods around space in a somewhat unpredictable but (you hope) profitable manner.
I was really excited to try this. I love pick-up-and-deliver games, and this promised to boil it down to its essential elements and play in under two hours, plus there was the slightly goofy way that time and contracts worked, which made it ALSO an engine-building game. Sounds good, but in practice the game was just a little too stripped-down to be very exciting. Toward the end, it became rather repetitive, as good contracts could be used over and over again. The bonus cards were also rather disappointing, as they were usually worth fewer points than the cards you traded in for them. I was disappointed with the game as a whole. Would love to change my mind...
Update: have played more, have changed my mind. It's a very nice light pick-up-and-deliver, especially with two. Recommend playing without the goods decay rule.
200 points is definitely too much--the game went on for at least a couple hours. If playing to 100 I'd probably rate it an 8. It's similar to Spades, but with some interesting little twists, particularly in the bidding. I like trick-taking games and I like playing with five, so this game fills a nice niche for me. It's hard to make much progress on the vice team--there is a real risk/reward dynamic with the game and it's difficult for someone as risk-averse as I am. (1 play)
I'm a sucker for area-control games, and this is an interesting one. I like the way that control can change quickly, since it is pretty easy to move your family members around the board and you often have a strong incentive to do so. The set collection aspect of this game makes this possible. I suspect it is very important to learn how to manage your one-time cards, and I will consider them more carefully next time I play. Very good game--fluid, interesting, and just different enough to be worthwhile. Meeple hats are really cool. (2 plays)
A strange and rather vicious area control game. It seems obvious that the museum is key, but it's harder than it seems to remember that during the game. Interesting and perhaps deeper than it appears. Sir Brown is indeed quite powerful.
This is a very good one from the 2012 crop of games. It's an intense planning game with a rather difficult title (the dictionary suggests "mur-muss"). It's one of those games where you really need to figure out your whole turn ahead of time, and there is a very limited number of turns, so you'd better get it right. It's a worker placement game in which your workers are "nurses" and you need to choose between setting up infrastructure and getting stuff done. Here are some things that are interesting about it: 1) the season dice, which randomize the events of the year but give you plenty of warning as to what will happen 2) Feeding, which you can prevent with a sufficient number of soldier ants (why?), but man, the actions it takes to get them 3) the importance of the order in which things happen 4) the award titles, which score the big points but are quite expensive to pull off. Then there's the stuff on the board.
This falls into the interesting, fairly heavy but not too long category of games which I quite enjoy. I'd like to play it at least a few more times. I'm sure I can do better than in my first showing!
I was very impressed with Navegador. It's a Mac Gerdts rondel applied to an exploration game with some economic elements and it works beautifully. Players can focus on any of several different elements, and there are different costs to each, and it's very important to keep your eye on who else might go for what you want. A lot you can do, and a definite rise and fall in the action. By far the best of the rondel games I've played.
I'm a librarian, and I've been saying for a while that there ought to be a game about collection development, in which the prestige value of your library is determined by what everyone else has. Though inexplicably Egypt-themed (you know, with the famous Great Auction Houses of Giza), this is that game. It's set collection with the twist that the value of each item decreases the more people own it.
Other than that, this is a very unusual auction game whose hype I'd been wrongly ignoring. There are several interesting things about it--perhaps most importantly the opening and closing of the various auction spaces, which gives the game a much more fluid (rather than phase-bound) feel. Also interesting: the money available is a fixed amount which simply circulates among players. And the ability to set yourself up to profit from an auction is something that, as far as I can tell, is unique to this game.
In short, this is really clever and interesting, and I'd love to play it some more. Too bad it only plays four.
I'd had this described to me as Roads & Boats light, and this is pretty accurate. It's all about using space efficiently to build up what you need in the tech tree. This is a very appealing type of game to me, and Neuland does it in about two hours while still being rich and interesting. Good stuff. Rulebook is poor. The board gets very very crowded with the full complement of four players. (2 plays)
This was pretty awesome, actually. It solves the problems of multiplayer wargames by putting a nearly impassible obstacle in the middle of the board, and avoids both dicefest burnout and hopeless slog issues by being quite short (in fact, its length is about perfect) and making the granularity of points such that playing cards is significant enough to help players catch up to those that may appear to have a large lead. Components are unusual and interesting to look at and touch, the luck factor feels completely natural, and the decisions are important but not absolute. This game is very engaging, lots of fun--and it is not stressful at all. I had a great time. I'm also intrigued by the possibility of partnership play.(2 plays)
This is a pretty sweet little filler. Unusual idea and great (if somewhat goofy) theme. It's a press your luck game at heart, but one with a minimal amount of luck, substituting simultaneous action selection chaos. Does a good job of keeping everyone in the game, lasts about as long as I want it to, and looks fantastic.
I playtested this game, and I am both rationally and irrationally fond of it. There's a wider variety of strategies that I actually enjoy than there are in most TCGs and I think that it is very clever in many ways. Unfortunately, it suffers from the extremely common TCG ailment of being dead.
I've been curious about Nippon Rails for a while. I love the crayon rails, but it seemed to me that Japan would be an extremely challenging map--it's all mountains and islands! I mostly play crayon rails with two, and that's how I played this one. With two, it's a pretty fun map. It's quite small, so it plays quickly, and there is a clear trade off between making the efficient little loop in the south (east?) to get lots of quick deliveries, or making a larger loop and going for the really valuable ones. Of course, this is the tradeoff in every crayon rail, but it's really obvious in this one, so that's nice. It's also nice that it's so quick. But it is a really small map, and island-hopping gets pretty expensive. I can imagine playing with three, but it'd be tough. The existence of a 5-6 player variant in the rules makes me shake my head. People who want to play Nippon Rails with six, you are just being silly. (1 play)
The first thing to understand is that this is really a card game in disguise. Then: Presents many options, plays quickly, and finds really interesting (but subtle) ways to provide player interaction. There are many clever things about this game--the limited nature of cubes, the way Notre Dame works, the importance of the card passing, the additive nature of the districts... I like it a lot.
Update: When I finally win a game, I am often tempted to revise its rating downward. In the case of Notre Dame, I raised it, because there are so many interesting things going on in this game and even though I won decisively, there were a couple of decisions that I had seriously considered making differently.
Further update: DO NOT underestimate the importance of the cards you pass your opponents! Notre Dame puts their fate in your hands in a way that few board games (as opposed to card games) do.
This is a really quick and easy to learn little two-player wargame. Luck of the dice seemed to predominate in the one scenario I played, but I am sure that skill becomes more important when the players gain some experience. (1 play)
I like it! It's quite similar to Le Havre, but I think it's more streamlined. There's often a point in the middle of Le Havre when I am not sure what direction I should be going and don't have a good view of the game as a whole. I don't know if O&L really solves that problem, but I don't feel it as much, and it's a little easier to create generative loops. It's still a little tricky to keep track of all the powers, especially with the tiny little cards, but I really dig the powers, and the spatial aspect of the game is cool, as is the ability to control the size of a player's plot. Fun. (3 plays)
Fiddly rules, and unpredictable results. There are so many pieces here that it is hard to see how they will all fit together, though the first game at least is something of a discovery. The game becomes much more vicious toward the end, when values are clearer and it is certain that there will be no more rounds. But the political round seems fraught with significance that isn't quite understood, and the combat round.. gives a different picture. Is that a letdown? I'm not sure. Rating could rise. (1 play)
Wow--it really IS Merchant of Venus light! And it's brilliantly done. I love how the cargo works--when delivered, it flips over to the other side, but doubles are discarded, so that the total amount of loot in the solar system decreases over time. And you can still build up your ship, so each player will eventually have slightly different capabilities (although, caveat here, the extra storage is maybe a little too strong), which certainly adds flavor. The special ability cards also allow you to do different things as you travel around the system and even interact with the other players. Love it. Looking forward to the reprint.
Drawback? As published, it seems to be a two-player game. Boo. I don't see any good reason it couldn't play at least four, maybe five--in fact, we played with an official three player variant when we played. (1 play)
Brutal. As others have said, it's easy to lose early, but at least once one player seizes control, the game is likely to end relatively soon. I love that it's less unwieldy than Scepter but in many ways it is a very different and much tighter game.
I'm determined to make the mining strategy work. Eventually. As I said when I was playing: "I always do this, and it always makes me lose."
Much lighter than Caylus, with kind of a St. Pete-like investment mechanism. Yes, it is a game about converting cubes into victory points. But I like converting cubes into victory points. Still, random player order in a worker placement game is probably a bad idea, and it feels a little too abstracted. I guess I'd say it feels a little half-assed and needs another twist or a theme or something. (4 plays)
This expansion adds several options, some new cards and abilities, and the possibility of playing with five or six players. Thus far, I've only tried it with for, and while some of the new stuff is nice, it is mostly very similar to the original. Some exceptions: France is a very cool addition which I like quite a lot, and the black master builder is, hmmm, goofy. (2 plays)
Unexpectedly, given its completely unreasonable box and sci-fi components and theme, this is a heavy economic game, and a very good one. The turn order and the careful financial planning that must be done each turn are reminiscent of Age of Steam. The resources have different uses in the game and can be sold and bought (or not) during the game, in a way that adds an element of speculation to the game. Prices can be manipulated too. And then there's the matter of building things in the right place--geography matters. Altogether, this makes a fascinating and rather unusual package, albeit one that I find it difficult to wrap my head around. (1 play)
It took me a while to get into Power Grid--but this is an engrossing game that runs smoothly, too. It's really about deciding when to end the game, and one of the things that makes this a really great game is the degree to which its workings (turn order, the economy, cities available, game length) can be manipulated. It offers a high degree of control and a lot of really interesting things to think about--but at the same time, there is a high degree of tension that comes from not know exactly what will happen next.
Actually, I really like this. It's very different from Power Grid; in fact it is another game altogether. Turn order is very important and is the primary reason for saving some people instead of using them all to run your machines. But at heart, it is really a drafting game, one which I appear to be appallingly bad at, having come in last every single time I've played. But there's enough here to keep me coming back and trying again. (3 plays)
The auctions seem to be about making prices more difficult to predict rather than determining the market value of things. There's a higher luck factor than the game's reputation would leave you to believe, but there are various ways to make up for it and very interesting decisions to be made. (5 plays)
Puerto Rico is finally starting to grow on me. Now that I have a better understanding of how it actually works, it's a nice quick game that packs a lot of decisions and a reasonable amount of depth into a 60-90 minute game, so that's nice. There are more different ways to go than I originally suspected and it's possible to pivot and do different things. Whatever, you don't need me to give you an explanation of Puerto Rico, but I've been enjoying it quite a bit lately.
Has some advantages over Scrabble: the lack of a ridiculous dictionary and the elimination of left-right binding. I think Scrabble is the deeper game, though. The main strategy in Quiddler seems to be going out as soon as possible. Good filler to bust out at random moments.
Wow, it really does feel like Scrabble. It's all about finding, not the longest row, but the most profitable one, while trying not to set up the person on your left. I wonder if I could get any of the anti-word Scrabble-haters I know to try this one.
For me, it is a little more difficult to process than Scrabble, just because I haven't had as much practice with it. But I like it. (3 plays)
P.S. I love Ra. This is a great game. I love how the values are constantly shifting and always difficult to calculate. I love the tension and the importance of each decision. The game has GREAT replayability and it is always exciting. One of the best auction games out there.
Quick and nasty, this game deserves a lot more love than it gets. It's all about the tradeoff between making lots of duchies and protecting the ones you've got. High player interaction with the flipping back and forth of the bishop and the nastiness of joining duchies. Good stuff. (2 plays)
After several false starts, we finally got this one to the table! Hope to do so again soon. We played cooperatively with a single-player scenario, so I don't know what playing competitively would be like. However, I very much enjoyed the way we played.
The real constraint here is that it's only possible to put one building on a hex. So you come into this world in which there are many things that you can theoretically build, but in reality, you can only have a few of them, and you'd better choose carefully what they are. Don't count on the desert. And moving things around is a charmingly, exquisitely irritating proposition--it's not like you can just put them wherever you want. So there are a lot of moments when you find yourself saying, "All I have to do is get that over there! Which I can do if.. ah.. hm."
Good stuff. I'm a fan of pick up and deliver games in general, but this is different. And intriguing. (1 play)
This is a very strange little game. It's an area control game of sorts, except that you can decided yourself where the valuable territory will be, and you can guarantee yourself the ones that you play. This sounds kind of interesting, but in practice it means that you NEED to guarantee that you control the ones you put down, so that's what successful players do. Does not reward creative play. (1 play)
New hotness, but probably justly so. I like the worker placement with differentiated costs (1 worker for some actions, 2-3 for others). You need to make an early decision about which railroads are important. I like the little bonuses and the many steps that you have to consider when advancing your railroads. The engineers are a little frustrating because they make turn order more important than I want it to be. (2 plays)
This is a lot of game in a little box! The cleverest part is how the cubes are used; they play several roles and a huge part of the game is deciding when to switch them from one role to another. It has an investment aspect and an exploration aspect, so that's also fun. In my mind, this is Navegador: The Card Game. Yay! (1 play)
I'm a huge fan of what I call investment games and this is the prototypical example of such a game in my mind. I love the investment-over-time aspect of it as well as the turn order manipulation. Trying to predict when the game will end and knowing when to change your strategy are very important and enjoyable aspects of the game as well. Good stuff.
I think it is more balanced, particularly the Observatory, and new stuff like the Sycophant and the New Farmer is very interesting (though I am still unsure whether the New Farmer is actually worthwhile). And I really like playing with five. And the game has much the same feel as the original, though it's hard to get used to remembering the fifth player. Even without five, the game is quite different because it is longer and that changes the timing. This is great stuff. Seriously considering bumping this up to a 10. Playing with both expansions and four players increases the length and arc of the game, making it more of a gamer's game than heretofore.(4 plays)
San Juan--still good! It's a nice, quick card game that plays well with various numbers of players, satisfies my love of combo games, and maintains a level of simplicity that makes it easier to make plans and understand what everyone else is doing. Definitely prefer it to RftG.
Okay, seriously, STOP ADDING TERMS TO THE DICTIONARY. No, really. Just stop.
So there are some issues with this game: right-left binding, the need for outside knowledge and certainly some AP issues. But it beats the pants off most mass-market games and calls for a puzzly kind of thinking that I happen to enjoy.
Best game of 2009? I think so. It's very complex, with rondels referring to a single, central rondel, in a way that gives you a LOT of options but narrows down what you are thinking about at any given time--a number of deeper trees rather than a giant wide tree. I like that. I also like collecting bits that will eventually be a ship, and figuring out the best way to fit these together. The secret goals, which I don't always like in other games, work here to provide some direction as to what to work on. And it's always fun deciding whether you want a fast ship, a very important ship, a ship that you can easily drive in the dark, or what, and getting to test out the thing you've been building is also a bonus in a building game. I also enjoy the slightly whimsical art. There's a lot here, it's long, and it certainly isn't for everyone, but I love it.
A read of the rules makes this game seem completely random in many different ways, but as you begin playing, the things that seemed so strange sort of fade into the background. It gives a feeling of building up an empire in a way that is reminiscent of a crayon rail, but it's much more complex and you don't spend your time traveling all over the map. A lot of it is about risk insofar as you must decide whether you want to sell now or wait and risk the prices going down, but that's not the most compelling part of the game. The most compelling part is probably staking claims, hoping to see if they will work out and trying to make sure you have enough money to do everything you want to do (the time I played it, I did). The game flows much more smoothly when all players take parts of their turns at once, eliminating downtime. This means you won't be making deals, but we weren't anyway.
Nice light filler that accommodates a large number of players. Low numbers seem good until you start playing; turns out they are actually pretty evil. As with any simultaneous action game, unexpected things will happen; that is kind of the point of the game. More fun with more people. Rules are poor.(3 plays)
Look, it's Vinci with more art! It's funny how the cluttered board makes the game system seem less intuitive, but in its heart, it's still a brilliantly simple game of timing and deterministic conflict. The predetermined length of the game makes the ending seem more artificial, but it does make the game shorter and keep everyone in it (on the other hand, it also means that the game was, in essence, a tie and victory was less significant). The die--eh. I don't see that it was necessary to remove rules like the contiguity rule, but I guess it didn't make a huge difference. On the whole, about as good as Vinci.Which is to say, it is a really good game. Some of the special rules with various races are a little tricky to get straight (4 plays)
This is one of those expansions that makes the game longer. It's harder for any player to win because you don't cycle through your tiles as quickly. However, it also adds some interesting things--the 1/2/3 paddle is a nice addition, as are the double canoes, not to mention that all-important sixth player.
Well, I really enjoyed this. The planning doesn't need to be as exact as in AoS, but that's perfectly fine with me, and, at the risk of sneers from AoS folks, I didn't miss the auctions at all. (2 plays)
Very similar to Medici, but instead of bidding points, you bid with one of three tiles, each of which has a different power. There are also harder limits on how players are able to redeem their auction winnings. I think it gets overlooked for being too close to Medici, and I'm not going to claim it's anywhere near as deep, but I enjoyed it. (1 play)
I like Suburbia a lot. Although the many combos can get a little fiddly, they're also a lot of what makes the game fun. I think the city-building theme is well-executed, and enjoy the game's sense of humor. The punishment mechanism is pretty harsh but also adds another wrinkle to the puzzle of the game. Good stuff.
I'd almost describe it as a bluffing game. You really want to give up as soon as possible, but it's rather agonizing trying to figure out when the best time is to make an exception. Very good, tense game with a lot to think about. I don't really *get* it though, in some important way.
This is such a departure from the sort of game I usually look for, and also an amazing amount of fun. It's all about the stories, and the stories are pretty good. I also like how players are free to wander around the world and do their thing; it compares favorably to games like Betrayal at the House on the Hill where eventually you all just have to go to some room and roll dice, which isn't very exciting. In this game you are always doing something interesting and new. Well, as long as you aren't in prison.
The best part? Reading the paragraphs for someone else. That's why it seems best to play with four; you are usually either reading or playing.
There is some ablism in the game, and, you know, I kind of wish there weren't. But it's not enough to put me off the game. (1 play)
What an interesting tile laying game, with what I suppose is really a geological theme. Death and destruction can actually a be good thing. The game is visually beautiful and very clever. It's important to get your buildings out while avoiding running out of huts too soon. Thinking ahead helps--and looking carefully at the board is essential. Very pleasant, very interesting, and on the whole, one of those quasi-abstract games with simple rules but a good amount of depth. Very good.
After three plays, I feel like I am starting to get a handle on this one. The secret is that the tech track is shorter than it looks, and it's possible to get ambitious earlier than one might assume. There are a ton of things going on in this game, many having to do with the tradeoff between playing for the turn bonuses, which are pretty significant, and playing to keep up with your own plans, which you'll need. If you can afford to do both these things, you've set up your economy better than I've ever been able to do! It's got variable player powers which can be quite significant but which seem fairly balanced (though not 100% sure about this yet), some jockeying for board position, a little tech track, and an interesting economy based on what you have out on the board at that moment. It still feels fairly tactical--a lot depends on accomplishing what you want in that specific turn--and yet, each turn is wholly dependent on the one before. Would love to have more opportunities to play this.
Space exploration/pick up and deliver game. Discovering tiles gives you the power to decide where things are, although there isn't always a legal placement, which is annoying. This means that turn order can matter. Building up my ship is fun, and I like the pick up and deliver, although it is a little minimalist. (1 play)
Underrated, perhaps because the rulebook is terrible. I discovered this at Gen Con one year and, after managing to wade through the rules, found a nifty little information game hiding in there. If you like information games, give it a try. It's a little long and clumsy, not as streamlined as more recent designs (Gravediggers comes to mind), but has a lot to recommend it-- there is a certain amount of tension and trickery that I very much enjoy.
EDIT: The full version of the game is indeed more interesting than the advanced. I quite enjoy this as a complex game with many things to manage, but it's very easy to get stuck in a place where you cannot easily advance your position (i.e, lack of food). Downtime is still a problem (and there's a limit to how much you can plan ahead when you have so many actions to work with!). Looking forward to playing with two.
Lots going on here--my comprehension level is still kinda low. I like it, though.. although the game is rather Byzantine by Euro standards it seems there is a lot here. I am reminded of Phoenicia.. and Saint Petersburg. I suspect I will prefer the full version of the game.
I am displeased with the components however. And the downtime. Egads, the downtime.
Incredibly simple rules, very quick, highly confrontational and very abstract. There's definitely a level of strategy I have yet to grasp, and a certain amount of variability due to the initial (random) placement of point tiles and palm trees. Lots of things to think about at once, in a way that I really enjoyed. Color choices are poor. Theme is irrelevant. (1 play)
This is a pretty deep game and there is a real ebb and flow to it as civilizations rise and fall. It's largely about opportunism (leaching points out of other people's civilizations or attacking them at the right moment) but you can gain plenty of points by holing up with your monuments somewhere too. I feel like there are far more layers to this than I will ever get to unravel, but it's certainly interesting. (3 plays)
A resource management card game which is mostly about buying the right thing at the right time. There is certainly a fair amount of tension when you are trying to decide whether to buy, or to leave it for someone else. Less important is an unusual (or unusually implemented) timing element wherein holding on to your goods for too long causes them to be lost. At the same time, holding on to them helps you to collect larger sets which are worth more. Specialization is good because of tokens you get from delivering sets.
It's superior to R-Eco (though it has a similar overflow mechanism) but fills a similar niche.
This is quick, light, and plenty of fun. It took a few plays for me to see the strategy. It's definitely there, though you shouldn't expect a high degree of control. It's an old standby at this point. Good stuff.
This is a pretty weird little stock game, but I like it. It moves quickly and the values of the tulips can be very volatile. There is certainly opportunity for manipulation of the market, but you have to be careful about when and how you do it, because it's very expensive and the tulips are pretty scarce. I'd like to play this more; it's not as easy to find opponents as I'd like. (2 plays)
I enjoyed this. It's different. It's a very chaotic game in which players control the environment in an attempt to make it more hospitable for their preferred creatures--so far, it sounds a lot like Die Macher, except that here your animals attack and kill each other. It is, however, a much lighter game, with less going on than the aforementioned giant, and a shorter play time.
There's certainly a good amount of tension and take-that in the way that the environment changes, and things happen in a narrow enough window, and with enough dice-rolling, that even your weak dinosaur usually has a non-zero chance to succeed. However, the one problem with the game is that it is possible to make your animal so strong that the dice rolling becomes unnecessary and it simply kills everything in its path.
Anyway, a good game, worth trying and very different from anything else I know of. (1 play)
Oooh, this is cool. The gears look gimmicky, and I guess it would be possible to have the game without them if you didn't mind making the game RIDICULOUSLY FIDDLY, but not only do the gears save you from that, but also, come one, this board is awesome. The game is pretty cool too. As one might expect, it's a planning game, and a pretty intense one. However, it doesn't feel as stressful to the new player as planning-heavy games often can; it's important to get the people in the right place at the right time, but plans can change, and it's all kind of a balancing act trying to manage it correctly. That's not the whole game, either; there's a tradeoff between resources and points, there's jockeying for position on the god tracks, and especially, there are the special ability tiles which make a huge difference in the game. This is really cool, you guys. (4 plays)
You get a reasonable sense of what the game is like by calling it Hansa-heavy, though of course it is actually still pretty light. As for me, I love pick-up-and-deliver games with a slightly irrational love, and I'm also a big fan of Michael Schacht for games like China and Hansa, so I was eager to try this one. It really does create a pick-up-and-deliver experience in about 60 minutes, including such essential ingredients as a rather inconvenient map and a need to realize what time it is. I really like the way that you can choose your contracts by flipping through the book--it's functionally interesting, not just cute. The way the cities function as roadblocks works to create an interesting map on a small board. Good stuff. (2 plays)
It's taken me a lot of plays to really appreciate this game, but the more I play it, the better it gets. It's not precisely an economic game; it's about money management and... saving, actually. There's some planning in the game, but the unpredictability keeps it feeling light and.. gambly. I like the events, I like the way the auction works, and probably most of all, I like the arc of the game--though definitely a euro, this one does have a strong narrative or at least groan-inspiring moments.
I don't have enough experience with abstracts to say whether I like them in general; I do know that I often find two-player games to be frustrating and unfulfilling. Not so with YINSH. Thus far, I suspect that it is eminently replayable and I find the development of the board over the course of the game unaccountably fascinating.
EDIT: I still have a lot to learn about this game--the rings actually serve multiple purposes and using them to manipulate the board is what really makes this game interesting--and losing them as you win is (as many others have commented) a very, very clever element of this design.
This game is SO WEIRD. But I like it. Less intuitive and more complex than YINSH, this game calls for a kind of thinking that I have seldom engaged in elsewhere. The trick is remembering that your opponent can jump in either direction, and trying to think a few moves ahead. I like this one quite a bit. (3 plays)