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New to you Jun 10 => Best new game you played this month and why
What's the best new game you played this month (Jun 10) and why? Share your experiences of the new games you've played this month.
It would be helpful, if you could add an entry to the list even if you pick the same game as someone else.. since I use the geeklist entries to compile the summaries. Thanks
New To You Metalist 2010
New To You MetaMetalist
New To You Meta-list - old metalist (currently broken)
New To You Geeklists - Announcement thread
Your Most Played Game (and more): June 2010
Board Game: 1889
[Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:1357]
1889 (1 play) - 7
1889 is similar to 1825 in that terrain is severely limited, and therefore placing the right track at the right time is crucial. At the same time it is also very different because the stock market is much more volatile and important. Stations are also very limited (most companies only have 2 markers, one even has to make do with one) which makes the decisions where to build them all the more important, especially when the unlimited Diesels come into play.
Feels like quite a good mix between a stock manipulation game and a game of railroad operations. Both aspects are important here.
Runebound (First Edition) (1 play) - 6
Runebound is not a particularly deep game. Much depends on random card draws and dice rolls, equipment cards can be somewhat unbalanced, and even the winning conditions are fairly arbitrary. But at least if played quickly, it's still an entertaining romp through a (somewhat nondescript) fantasy realm.
Formula Motor Racing (3 plays) - 6
Silly, quick, and completely chaotic filler with a lot of take that. Each turn play one card depicting some sort of race event (overtaking, spin-outs, etc.). Often times multiple cars can benefit from cards (e.g. by slip-streaming), and for extra mayhem, many of the cards affect a random car determined by rolling the die.
The fun is not so much in the largely random race results, but in hitting the other players over the head with a very large wrench.
Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League (1 play) - 6
Perry Rhodan is a pretty light, unoffensive pick-up-and-deliver game for two. Players move their spaceships through the solar system, making money by trading with the planet dwellers. Money is necessary to win the game but can also be used to buy improvements for your spaceship, e.g. so that you can travel faster or carry more goods.
As mentioned the game is rather light but the ship upgrades and action cards as well as the layout of the solar system where travelling towards the sun is cheaper than fighting its gravitational pull allow for a decent amount of tactical play.
Condottiere (1 play) - 6
Condottiere feels like a slightly thinkier version of Knizia's Ivanhoe. The special cards aren't quite as powerful but luck certainly still plays a big role. The small board is basically just a way to add an alternate winning condition, and therefore labelling the game "area control" - while technically true - places far too much emphasis on it.
1825 Unit 1 (2 plays) - 6
Small no-frills 18xx. The small map and the scarcity of tiles make track-building very important here and you will often find that what you need has already been taken. The stock market is pretty simple and fairly static but still a deciding factor. It's all about timing when to buy which shares and dump others.
Galaxy Trucker (1 play) - 6
Galaxy Trucker is played in two distinct phases. In the first, players build their spaceships in realtime, grabbing tiles from a common pool and assembling them in the best possible way. In the flight phase, those ships are sent out to earn money and on their voyages have a number of encounters, both good (e.g. trading opportunities) and bad (e.g. pirate attacks, asteroids), but mostly bad. This is where the previously built ships have to prove that they are more than the scrap heaps they look like.
It's rare that a ship comes through unharmed, and points are scored depending on how well the encounters went, and how much of your ship is actually left. Repeat three times, with the ships getting bigger and encounters getting meaner, and the player who made the most money wins.
Whether you like Galaxy Trucker or not depends mostly on whether you like the frantic ship-building under time pressure.
Empires of the Ancient World (1 play) - 6
Empires of the Ancient World is another of Wallace's semi-wargames. There are quite a few different avenues to pursue (combat, diplomacy, trading) with all of them having their advantages and disadvantages.
Combat uses a very primitive form of deck-building (choose 5 unit cards from your hand and put them in the order you like, with some restrictions). Combat resolution is pretty neat and basically deterministic in nature but there are so many units that require you to throw dice instead that the results can feel pretty random. At the same time the combat rules include many exceptions and special rules that make the simple concept seem arcane and complicated at the beginning. Having to refer to the rules during the game is quite common.
Certainly not the best of Wallace's games, and I feel that he used many of the same ideas for better effect in After the Flood (not the combat resolution, though), plus it's maybe a tad long with the amount of random factors in mind.
Dungeon Twister 2: Prison (1 play) - 6
Contrary to what you might expect from the theme this is not a typical dungeon crawler. Instead, it is a no-luck knife fight with serious AP potential.
Both players have an identical set of characters and items, and the goal is to be the first to score 5 points by either killing your opponent's fighters or moving your own across the board into the enemy's starting zone.
The characters all have different special abilities, and can often exploit certain features of the dungeon to their advantage (e.g. the mage can levitate across pits). The dungeon itself consists of randomly placed parts which are revealed only when a character goes to explore them. Perhaps the most defining dungeon feature is that all dungeon parts have a tile that allows a character to rotate them which can rapidly change the dungeon layout, open up new or close down existing passages, and quickly move characters elsewhere. This is where most of the brain-burning comes in.
Corsairs (1 play) - 5
A light beer & pretzels dice game where players are pirates trying to board merchant ships while at the same time keeping the other players from doing the same.
Some of the design decisions don't make a lot of sense thematically (firing broadsides with bananas, anyone?) but ultimately the game works pretty well.
To board a ship you first need to place the proper provisions next to it (yeah, so, er, you first load the ship in order to board it afterwards), then you throw the dice and hope the result plus the strength of your pirates is high enough to overcome the ship's defenses. If so, the ship is yours - unless, of course, one of the other players immediately launches a counterattack. There are also ways to steal or destroy other pirates' provisions (the aforementioned broadsides) which also rely on throwing the dice.
Corsairs is a game of hand management and dice rolling but in contrast with games like Alea Iacta Est which provide ample ways to mitigate the luck clever hand management won't get you very far here when you cannot get the dice to cooperate.
Keltis: Das Kartenspiel (2 plays) - 5
The card game leaves the basic premises of Keltis unchanged. It offers pretty much the same value for less money, in less time, and in a smaller package. I don't know why one would prefer the version with the board to this.
Reference cards for the scoring rules would have been nice, though.
Monopoly Deal Card Game (2 plays) - 3
Fairly brainless filler card game. Some basic set collection (Rummy, anyone?) plus ridiculously overpowered event cards (e.g., take a complete set from an opponent).
Considering it usually only takes 10 to 15 minutes it's some fun if you take it for what it is. Unless you remember that there are much better fillers in the same league.
Thomas De Vogelaere
Altijd Zin In Een Spelletje
Finito! is probably the best game I discovered this month.
I played it 35 times already
A dice controlled tile placement game. The box says 20 minutes, but you need 4 VERY slow players to achieve that, I say 10 minutes.
My second discovery is Glen More, but I played it only once (yesterday)
Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner
Proud father of Sarah Arwen and Ruth Rose
Would really like to study U.S. History at some point, just to be able to say that I'm a Coolidge student...
I picked up a copy of Pandemic at Arcon 26, and boy oh boy did I like it!
A fun coop game that my fiancée really got into.
Magic: The Gathering
So I finally tried Magic: The Gathering this month. I have mentioned in many different posts that somehow I missed this when it came out. I think it had to do with me graduating from college, getting married, and starting my career and moving permanently away from the SF Bay Area to Sacramento. That pretty much grabbed my attention for a few years, and by the time I was playing games again, I was sticking to games I already had for the most part (except for some Avalon Hill (Hasbro) games I had found, and hadn't been in a game store in Sacramento until I found BGG a few years ago).
I had first heard of Magic: The Gathering from seeing it get on the GAMES Hall of Fame, before I had ever seen BGG.
I didn't like the sound of a CCG. I had heard about Pokemon, and wasn't interested in it at all. I must say I still don't like the "Collectible" part. I like to buy what I want, and shop what I want.
But I had read so much about it here in the last 3 years, and having recently read Dominic's Geeklist regarding Northstar Games, and a couple others that basically said as long as you don't go crazy, you can get a lot of enjoyment with basic cards with your family.
So I got a 9th Edition Starter Set on a BGG auction this month, and because he shipped it so fast, I was able to play right before the end of the month.
Well I liked it a great deal. I can see how it can get addicting, and I have to make sure the inner "collector" in me is suppressed by the practical part of my brain. I have only played the basic Guided Game, but from what I have seen, I can see this will be a fun game to play with my son (though you won't see me playing at my LGS on Saturdays...I seriously like other board games better, and I can't keep buying all that stuff).
My conclusion is that I am glad I finally have it in my collection, and it might even become a favorite, but I am going to get maybe a few boosters and stop hopefully I like a lot of games better, but this was a great game that at least matched the hype for me.
I was addicted to Tetris years ago, and this game brought back fond memories. A nice light filler game I would be glad to bring out in a Party Game atmosphere as well. I might have to get this....but not super high on the wishlist yet either.
A fun co-operative game. Not different enough, or better than Pandemic to buy for myself, but a fun game I would gladly play at my gamegroup if someone else brought it.
Memoir '44: Terrain Pack
My one new expansion this month was some terrain for a huge Overlord Scenario (last month's favorite new game) on Father's Day with my son (Peleliu Landings):
Good expansion to add terrain, and was a typical good expansion to add stuff to the base game.
Nine new games, four from the UK Games Expo.
Kaigan (1 play)
A novel take on area-influence from a Japanese small publisher. Themed around mapping the Japanese coast one section at a time. Players compete to contribute to each section. As sections are completed, points are earned on tracks which bring VP, income, or a mixture. Getting influence in a section requires an assistant, then spending cash. Moving assistants requires cash. Doing anything requires actions obtained through a card-placing scheme that feels like a cross between Zooloretto and San Marco: players start each round with identical decks of action cards, and take it in turns to place a card on any free space in a 4x5 grid, and may claim a row after placing. Actions are then performed in column order (so players alternate actions). This card placement can be a little brain-burning, and has AP potential.
Workshop of the World (2 plays)
A game of bidding for for position and connectivity. Connections cleared at half time, then restarted. Another game of judging who wants what when bidding, how much they’re prepared to pay for it, and how much it matters to you. Some people might get totally turned off by the blind bidding for turn order, but I think it'll work well with one of my regular groups.
Forbidden Island (1 play)
Like a streamlined version of Pandemic. Good bits, great artwork, good game. I didn’t buy a copy because I’ve learned co-ops just aren’t my thing.
WeyKick (1 play)
Wooden magnetic table football.
Tanto Cuore (2 plays)
Dominion with short, frilly skirts on.
Abriss (1 play)
Bid for a card then play card sets to demolish buildings for cash and/or VP. Strict hand limit means you need to be aware of what other players are collecting. In our single play, cash was plentiful, so maybe we weren’t paying full wack for the best card often enough.
Age of Industry (1 play)
Not sure yet. Single play probably blighted by thinking like Brass when I should have been thinking differently.
Jäger und Sammler (1 play)
Colourful, hunter-gatherer themed family game. Think "Hey that’s my fish" with a lot of varied stuff added.
Shadow Hunters (1 play)
Apparently, its kind of like Bang!, but I haven’t enjoyed any of my plays of Bang! while I did enjoy this. Go figure. It seems shorter, snappier, easier to explain, a bit more subtle, a bit more creative, but my memory of Bang! might be playing tricks. Adding randomness to the action & attack avoids dreary targeting I saw in Bang!
Board Game: London
[Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:180]
Burton on Trent
A pretty good month for me as far as new to me games go.
Twilight Struggle, Campaign Manager 2008 and Forbidden Island all got played for the first time this month, and all were very enjoyable.
However, I was fortunate enough to play the new Wallace game for Essen 2010 just this last night, and it's one of his best IMHO.
Tight cashflow, the obligatory Wallace "pain" cubes (in this case called "poverty") and what appear multiple paths to victory combine well. I believe that the version I played is "virtually" the finished version (as far as rules,etc are concerned), there is just the fine tuning of amending a couple of card costs here and there to be made.
I WILL buy this game at Essen.
Listen to the PYLP ! @ http://s3.amazonaws.com/PushUrLuckPodcast/pulp_feed.xml
i didnt play many new games last month so this is a no brainer.
i only played 3 new games, Tempus, Revolution! and Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders
of the three, i preferred Tempus the most. although i kinda like, played half a game of it. (i took over from a lady who had to leave in a hurry).
but it was generally very interesting. making babies, building cities, and like trying to advance through the ages.
Revolution! was pretty alright but i found the decisions to be made less interesting than Tempus. and the fact that i won overwhelmingly kinda made it less interesting too. i like it when a game challenges me.
i had like 208 points by end game. seemed weird to me.
Carcassonne: Traders & Builders was more of the same (Carcassonne) but with the addition of the goods and the few new meeple pieces.
it gave me more choices which led to more decisions, which is good. but the game stretched for longer and it still felt somewhat like the normal Carcassonne but with more shine.
100 Mile House
I played 7 new to me games in June. The best of which was Catacombs!!
This game was so much fun. We played a 5 player game, where I was the overlord. Everyone had a great time, and are eager to try again.
This one might be a 9
All the others were enjoyable as well.
Nuns on the Run...played it twice. its either a 7 or an 8. I havent completely decided yet.
Horus Heresy was a bit of a let down. Im not sure what I was expecting, but I didnt come out of the game excited to play again. I liked it, and will play it more, but I was expecting a 9 and got a 7 I think.
Cornucopia This was an excellent filler. I think besides roll through the ages, this is my favorite from the gryphon line.
Martinique Was a solid 2 player title. Played it 3 times. Twice a player won by pin pointing the coordinates, and once it came down to points.
Hagoth Builder of Ships Tried it as a 2 player. It was fine, but i think i will like it more as a 3 or 4 player affair. But even at just 2 players Id be happy to play again.
Tobago Now this game was neat. A neat mechanic, and beautiful components. One player said it was her favorite of all the games she has played. I enjoyed it. I would rate it an 8 to start, however Im sure it wont have legs to stay there. A good game to bring out uncommonly. Any more than that and I think it would lose its lustre for me.
Nine new games this month with an unsurprising best new game. Too bad that the longest games also were the least satisfying. Does a mediocre long game have to get a worse rating than a mediocre but at least short game?
After first play this might be better than Agricola and I enjoy Agricola. While it appears to be pretty similar with the need to procure enough food, Le Havre seems to offer more room for manouevring and developing strategies while not having the luck factor of the cards. Might be the best resource management game.
Slight refinement of Lancashire / New England Railways. Three main changes:
1. New routes up for auction now have to connect to existing routes.
2. Players draw one good randomly and can decide where it appears instead of cards deciding the placement.
3. Government routes.
What sounds like an improvement when reading the rules just plays differently with government routes being the least noticeable difference.
This was better than its reputation suggests. The problem of this game is that it is not what it appears to be. It's neither a wargame nor a euro and it's not a weuro either. Actually, it's a multiplayer abstract game which will disappoint most. I actually enjoyed it. The wargamers I played it with, didn't get a grip on it until the end and were so frustrated that they won't play it again. Their efforts to build up a frontline to prepare for a coordinated advance were for no use.
What it is: a clever turn order mechanism (advantage for fighting first, but disadvantage moving first), clever secret order allocation (only three units per turn can move), interesting specialized units (especially Milady) and a fun plague mechanism (if a plague can be termed fun).
I would like to give it a few more tries to see if the 7 rating holds up. But it will be hard for this game to get table time and I only would play it with four.
Interesting fact: the Z-Man edition changed the board setup without even noticing it as can be seen in this thread. We used the original aligned setup which probably is better.
Formula Motor Racing:
Not much influence, a high screwage factor but still a fun game and possibly my favourite game in the take-that genre. Even games of this type can be good if done by a great author as Knizia. Best when played with the full complement of 6 players.
The Golden City:
One of the better Schacht games around. Not as deep as Web of Power, closest in complexity to Valdora but more generic. Multiple ways to score, network expansion, a bit of money management and a light auction: it is as "Euro" as a game could get which is no problem for me. As can be guessed it is nothing outstanding or original, just a plain solid design suitable for family gaming as well.
Short bluffing game with a memory element. I owned this since it was released and can't even remember if I ever played this. I thought so but when I (re-)played this after more than 15 years I didn't have the slightest hint of recognition. Nice graphics, short enough for what it is but in the end exchangeable. Not as bad as its reputation on here though.
It can be felt that this was the first game by an author with potential. Interesting and different gameplay, but somehow it feels weird. A few moves are needed to understand what's going on. An ok entry in the Kosmos 2-player line but probably too strange to get regular play with my girlfriend. Good graphics though which might help it a bit. At least they got us interested in first place despite the mediocre ratings.
Rise of Empires:
Be wary when a new "Empires" game of Martin Wallace is announced. Get prepared for lots of gratuitous complexity, some weird rules stuff, production glitches and long long playtime decided by some more or less random decisions in the very last round.
The first rounds I enjoyed the game - develop your engine with varied civilization upgrades leaving room for different strategies, stake out claims on the map to generate resources, a clever action selection mechanism with orders in the B-round basically reversed from the A-Round and tight money management. Messing up can take a player out of the game but 4 out of 5 players performed well enough to have a say in the final kingmaking. And this is where the game breaks down for me. Our final scores were like 133/132/130/128/90. After 4 hours and lots of thinking and optimizing it all came down to single decisions that could have decided in either way. Such a close ending could be judged as a sign of a good game. But in a good game I want my own choices to decide. As is, the winner is decided by the whole group with an advantage for the players with the strongest military presence as you will need victory points from the board to win and you are more up to the mercy of other players when focussing more on city building than military might.
Within its genre, it's a good - possibly great - game as ratings show. I'll give it 6/10 for this, i.e. on par with Struggle of Empires. But my intention on playing either of them is low speaking for 4/10 which just seems too harsh for the undebatable qualities.
Game design quirks: scarcity of material without losing a word if it is intended to be limited, strange naval rules (a weakness of Wallace), cities that will never be taken by a qualified player.
Zombie State: Diplomacy of the Dead:
Zombie games usually don't do it for me. I can't emerge in the (nonsensical/stupid) story while gameplay in most/all cases is neglectable. Nonetheless, I had hope for this one as a zombie game on a strategic level with a tech tree and elements of Pandemic sounded promising. What a disappointment! It is as random as zombie games can expected to be while at the same time adding complexity and especially length. AP sets in when people ponder about advancing on the tech tree but it's just not worth the effort. The advantages gainable by better managing the tech tree are not large enough to compensate the luck factor of failed test rolls and random outbreaks destroying the best laid plans while sparing your neighbour. Pretentious! Add to this the lack of game development with unbalanced starting positions, rules ambiguities and clunky design decisions and I pass on this in future.
After being a nervous wreck for two weeks.....
I can finally exhale!! THIS TEAM!!!!!
With the World Cup taking place, this has been a month with hardly any games at all; new or old to me.
Glen More though would have had a chance to top the list in any month. It is one of those games, that while not doing anything really new, tickles my interest quite a bit, mostly because no matter what I try, my plans never seem to work out. So while not particularily heavy, there is something about the game that is so challenging to me, that it has seen the table a lot (well at least considering the fact that I had to watch football all the time...)
Hive has been a huge success with my wife and me, also due to the fact cause you can play it anywhere (read public viewing) and it takes about as much time as a halftime break does. This one has climbed to the abstract top quite easily
For obvious reasons The World Cup Card Game 2010 has been played in between matches and has proven to be a huge hit with all sorts of people. or some reason the only thing constant was the Swiss never making it to the second round
Anno Domini has released a new football edition (actually put together by the people who publish a great alternative football magazine in Switzerland), so that was a bit of a mustbuy.
Board Game: Taargus
[Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
I live in Uganda right now so I don't get to experience that many new games. I thought up this one as a light trick taking game that can be played with 2-5 players. Most other trick taking games require at least 3 or 4 and I am often times stuck with only 2 so its been played and enjoyed quite a bit. Its fast paced, fairly random, and pretty light but it hits the spot when we need a game to play over break fast or during the frequent down times that you experience here.
Quite a tricky one since of the new things I've played this month, I've rated three of them 8.5 with nothing higher than that.
I think the edge has to go to Glen More. A fantastic game - rules lite yet quite deep when playing. Not too long. Scales well with any number of players (although perhaps best with exactly 4). Rather than go into more detail I'll direct you all to my review...
*** GLEN MORE REVIEW ***
Honourable mentions go to:
Age of Industry
I always quite liked Brass but this distils it down to just the important parts of the game, getting rid of most of the rules complications whilst maintaining the essence of the game.
Dungeon Twister: Forces of Darkness
A marathon session of Dungeon Twister demanded I buy a new expansion to spice things up a bit. I was very impressed with the new stuff introduced into the game here - the darkness tiles worked very well, nice variety of characters. Playing with just this expansion the Angel of Light + Holy Hand Grenade combo is a little too powerful, but once you mix-and-match it becomes just an interesting gamble... how many undead is it safe to use?
Played this just last night, not sure yet what rating I'm going to give it, but was pleasantly surprised. Short, simple rules, but plenty of tension and head scratching.
A bit "below average" gaming month for me with 28 plays of 18 games. Only 3 new-to-me ones (and 1 new-to-me expansion)
Of those 3 new ones 2 felt great, and 1 really disappointed me.
The 2 great ones are both Martin Wallace games:
God's Playground is the second "3 player only" game. And although various concepts are quite familiar for people like me that have played a lot of Wallace games, the game doens't compare to his other games. All players play an influential "family" in Poland through the ages, trying to build their influence and defending Poland in the meantime. Which is quite impossible to do on your own, so this game falls into a unique cooperative-but-individual wargame category. Lots of things happening, and it's definitely a gamer's game that needs 3 dedicated players that have 3 hours to spare, so it's a hard one to get on the table. But we all three liked it and had a great time defending Poland. Since I finished last I realized I defended some parts of Poland too good, I would have been "better off" personally by letting the invaders get some of the parts that my co-players grabbed a lot of points in.
Age of Industry is the "new" version of Brass. I own and have played Brass a couple of times and think it's a great game, so I was very curious how this new one would change the game. We pulled it out and tried the Germany map, and I'm glad to say the game feels different enough to own both Brass and Age of Industry (says someone who owns Railroad Tycoon, Age of Steam AND Steam....)
The 3 main differences gameplay-wise:
Age of Industry only has 1 "phase" instead of 2 (no more canals), so the board doesn't get half empty again halfway.
Payment is solely done by each "flip" of a building counter, instead of at the end of each round. So you don't get income "automatically". Combined with some other smaller changes.
Taking cards is now an action, and not all actions need cards (building railways for example)
Along with a couple of minor changes (like iron doesn't "fly" anymore) makes the gameplay more different to brass than Railroad Tycoon is to Age of Steam. Except that this doesn't feel like "Brass-lite" as I feared it might be. It's streamlined, but different. Not necessarily easier of shorter.
(An example: The importance of timing when to loan is totally gone, which some people might not like, and other would love)
Both God's Playground and Age of Industry would deservedly get my vote for "new-to-me" of the month. I first felt giving the honour to God's Playground because AOI is a "remake". But Age of Industry is different enough to Brass to stand on it's own, and will probably see way more tabletime than God's Playground (and it's expandable with different maps!) so that's why it gets my vote.
The disappointing new-to-me is a much sought after out of print one: McMulti. I had been trying to get this on the table for some months, because I wanted my first play to be exactly with four, as that seems to be the only "sweet spot" for this game.
Rulewise it's not so hard. Almost a family style economic game with some great components and some nice mechanics, and the first couple of rounds we had good fun. Some people compare it to Settlers thanks to the dice roll which "pays out". Unfortunately in McMulti the dice roll is with 2 dice, and for the game to flow smoothly you have to roll doubles every now and then. Which we didn't. Eventually it took so many turns before the first and second doubles that oil prices had dropped so ridiculously that it might have taken us a lot more hours than the 3 we eventually spend on this, that we intervened and raised the oil price in between, otherwise we would have stopped playing the game, because all the fun had been gone for 10 rounds. I'd have to play this game again, but my initial feeling is that the dependance on "rolling doubles" rule can make the game broken. It surely felt so in our play.
Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age definitely takes the "best new game" prize this month. Have no idea why I did not buy this game earlier. Plays great with two, is quick and a lot of fun. I want more of these quick two-player games! Any suggestions?
Claustrophobia was also enjoyable, but actually felt a bit light too me. Descent is one of my favorite games, and I keep longing for Descent when playing Claustrophobia. I can totally see why Claustrophobia was designed the way it was, it is meant to be a shorter less complex alternative to games like Descent. It is just that I would personally like some more control and more choices, even if it would mean a longer playing time.
Still, the short playing time and the fact that my wife likes it, means that it will get played.
It gets a 7.
Torres. I am actively seeking up older games, especially ones that are considered classics in some way. Torres was one such game that I really wanted to try, and I got the chance earlier this month. I like it, but didn't love it. The bits definitely improve the game, and the game played very smoothly. It is just that it didn't feel special in any way. Can't really put my finger on why, but that is how it felt. We played the basic game, and I feel that I might have enjoyed the game a bit more if we had played the advanced rules. The random pull of cards felt weird in such a thinky game.
Gudjon Torfi Sigurdsson
Five new games this month.
The World Cup Card Game 2010 (1 play) -
Me and my friend decided to try some games I hadn't played before; First we tried out The World Cup Card Game which I had just bought. In this game 2-8 players try to win the FIFA World Cup (in soccer/football), using cards to score goals for their teams or prevent them being scored. It was quite fun, even though we were only two playing the game. We split the teams equally for each group and learned the game quite quickly so after the group stage was over we both had 8 teams in the Round of 16.
The knock out stages were a bit different (and as it turned out, wrongly played in the semis/final according to the online rules/sample play), but we started to play our cards quickly for the fun of it, and didn't spend much time thinking on what was the optimal play each time. This lead to the semi-finals of Germany-Brazil and Argentina-Italy, with only Italy being my opponents team. Germany and Argentina made it to the final, with Germany taking the World Cup title! I being a football fan loved this game.
Monkeys on the Moon (1 play) -
Next we tried Monkeys on the Moon. We opened it up and took a look and were almost put off by the rules, but we quickly found out what the game was about behind the silly theme! The game was more fun than I had anticipated and will probably try it out again. The object is to launch monkeys from the moon, back to earth, with each monkey scoring from 3-5 points. The ships used to launch them can score points as well. There are three phases each round; civilization (advancing tribes on a track, the most advanced tribe scoring the most points and getting favor coins for the next phase), bidding (paying favor coins for monkeys to launch back to earth) and wrapping up (dealing out new civilization cards, monkeys and ships). Quick and fun game.
These three are expansions (new decks) to the Spurt að leikslokum trivia game. Not much to say about them really. Enjoyable but nothing new. I played the World Cup deck last month.
Spurt að leikslokum: Popp – dægurmál – afþreying (7 plays) -
Spurt að leikslokum: Úr ýmsum áttum (4 plays) -
Spurt að leikslokum: Fyrir 7-12 ára (1 play) -
I got interested in this one somehow and wanted to buy it with the money we got for our wedding. I mean, we have a lot to spend now, so why not buy some games?
Eventually I got this and FC: Rommel via
Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland
This is not a game I usually play. You know, with chits and stuff. 'Wargames'. But these don't take long, are fully solitaire and are not complex. So: win! Good game so far - played Issus and Granicus. And won quite a few!
BEST NEW GAME:
MIDDLE EARTH QUEST
As taught to me by
Chris J Davis
Overtext pending moderation...
I am a big fan of Ameritrash games (Yes, I still call them Ameritrash, not "theme-driven", I believe in evolution, not creation). Also, I have always been a sucker for Tolkien and his Lord of The Rings Trilogy. Naturally, when a friend of mine offered to bring it game along I was more than up for it. The artwork and pieces are beautiful, like you would have expected from looking at the box. The game reminds me of Arkham Horror and Fury of Dracula, the combat mechanics are similar to the latter and the encounter system and "plots" (rumors) resemble those of the former. So, no spanking new mechanics but a tightly knit gaming experience makes this very enjoyable. I would have preferred a bit more variety but obviously, the game is "limited" by its license, and I am using the word limited very cautiously here. I can imagine that the game lacks the re-playability of Arkham Horror of Fury of Dracula, but so far, I am rather impressed.
As taught to me by
Who is bought and sold? Who is beyond the law? Who is free to choose? Who follows orders? Who salutes longest? Who prays loudest? Who dies first? Who laughs last? -Barbara Kruger
"Now a question of etiquette: as I pass, do I give you the ass or the crotch?"
I read many times, that the only "bad" thing about this game is that people have been playing it too much. Now, I do not really understand how this is a bad thing and I was glad to finally have the chance to try it out. What can I say, slick and solid game design. I am a big fan of role selection mechanics, be it by choice, random or semi-random, I think it is always great fun and Citadels proves, it can be enough to create a whole game around it. The "building" aspect, despite of a few special power here and there, is kept simple and the real focus are the roles here. A nice game. What I like about it is that if you trying to be nasty, your fate can go either way and taking the "evil" characters (such as the witch, thief and so forth) can sometimes result in nought as well as a smirk on the other players' faces, fair enough I'd say. I like the artwork as well, it suits the playing style, somewhere between high and low fantasy.
What else is new ?
I am not the biggest fan of abstract games (I like Chess though), but this one is a beauty, both in design as well as looks. While it took me some time to grasp the rules and translate your options into possible strategies, I had fun from the very beginning and once the others started eating away at my precious coral reefs I was ignited and looking for vengeance. I think the best and maybe most complex aspect of the game is the ability to "flip" and "lock down" the dominance tokens which influence who can eat who and how many points specific colours of reef are worth. Like I said before, I found the visually appealing, lovely colours and boards, despite being an abstract game. It plays well with three, better with two in my opinion. If you are one of those types who hate AP, this might not be for you, it is a real brainburning puzzle and turns can take quiet a while sometimes.
Thanks again to
for teaching it, although I learned that it was the copy of
Chris J Davis
Overtext pending moderation...
Who is bought and sold? Who is beyond the law? Who is free to choose? Who follows orders? Who salutes longest? Who prays loudest? Who dies first? Who laughs last? -Barbara Kruger
"Now a question of etiquette: as I pass, do I give you the ass or the crotch?"
Once again, the pleasure of "role selection", although you more or less directly select the bonus the characters grant you (resources, extra dice, combat power and so fourth). The game is similar to Dungeon Lords, but without being so fiddly, way more player interaction and it is actually fun, unlike Dungeon Lords. It is easy to explain and I found that all players were quickly engaged and interested in what was going on, although it was hard to catch up once you would be trailing behind in VPs. I would have prefered a bit more randomness and chaos, maybe the ability to interact more (trade, change other players' die roll etc.) but maybe this is covered in the expansion, I don't know, but the game works fine as it is. The turn order resolution is a bit fiddly but that is my only critique.
I was intrigued to find this "Estonian" game. I am always interested in titles which have an air of obscurity, unfortunately, this one also does have an air of mediocre game design. The game is very simple. Players take turns in putting their cubes (yes, cubes !) on the territories and then try to conquer each other by taking over territories which hold less cubes than the surrounding areas hold of your own. And that's it. It is more a less a puzzle game, but it plays so quick and there is really not much to do here that is feels like a game of tiddlywinks more than anything else. Uninspired and dull.
A racing game without those elements which can make racing games interesting. The whole game is spend rolling the die and moving. There are a few unusual situations here and there, but they are rather fiddly and all too rely on the die roll. If you design a racing game, please, make it interesting. If i want to watch cars driving around with nothing happening, I look out the window.
Found this thing in a dusty dark corner in my local pub and this is where I abandoned it to after playing it for 20 seconds. Crap all the way. Rating:1.5
Lots of new games this month, and by far my most overall plays for any month: 144. This is largely due to my wife and I getting hooked on race for the Galaxy (exactly half of my plays are RftG) and I got quite a few plays of extremely short, light games in.
Glory to Rome: I finally got to see what all the fuss is about. I've only gotten a few games in, but I'm already fascinated by GtR. All the different functions of the cards is really interesting as is the way they move around the table. For example, it dawned on me that if I need marble I should call the Patron role (these cards are also used as marble) so everyone's Patron cards get added to the pool as marble. Of course, there's no guarantee that I'll get any of that marble, but that puts it into circulation. I can already see some crazy combos happening with the buildings, and it seems like a game where I'm going to have to keep an eye on my opponents to make sure the actions I call aren't benefiting them too much. After 4 plays I feel I've only scratched the surface with this game. The corny artwork doesn't even bother me, the whole thing has a low budget, assembled-in-someone's-garage feel to it, and the artwork is a part of that. It's charming.
Nuns on the Run: I'm giving this one the benefit of the doubt, though I've only played it twice (once with just 2 players to learn the game.) Nuns on the Run doesn't feel like anything else in my collection, which is getting harder and harder to say these days. The game is about a bunch of novices who are sneaking around the abbey at night while trying not be seen or heard by the abbess and the prioress. Basically each turn the novices mark their movement on a sheet and tell the nun player if they hear any noises (determined by a die roll modified by how fast you're moving.) Each player also gets a one-use-per-game Blessing card, and one of the blessing cards lets a novice make a false noise to throw the nuns off, which adds a little uncertainty for the nuns. The 6 player game I played of it was full of tension, particularly near the end since the players have no idea how far anyone else is from victory. I'm hoping to get this one some play time at my FLGS. We'll see.
Arimaa: This wonderful little abstract is chock full of tension. Both games of it I played this month were tug-of-war type games where there were points in each play where I was certain I had the game won, then certain the game was lost and back again. Each game felt like a battle, with hard-fought victories that were earned against worthy opponents. Each turn has many possibilities and moves to consider; you'll be setting traps, deciding which pieces are expendable and switching between offense and defense frequently. Arimaa is a terrific abstract and I'm glad to own it.
Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium: This month has been all about playing a crap ton of Race with my wife, and we've added the expansions to the game. Rebel vs Imperium was a welcome addition, if nothing else because it adds more cards and start worlds to the mix. I'm finding that I really don't need entire new large additions to the game, in fact I think they can detract a bit. Just give me more cards and make some of the cards themselves unique and fresh, that's good enough for me. We've been playing with takeovers "on" but haven't actually tried one yet. The cards don't come up that often and when they do, they're easily ignored. Hey, it's more cards and more goals. Good enough for me. Plus it adds purple player cards, so it made my wife happy.
Torres: Another happy little abstract we finally got to play after a few months on the shelves (it was $6 on Amazon a few months ago, I couldn't say no.) My wife bamboozled me at the game, as she so often does. It can be a cutthroat, nasty little game but it's also a cute little game because you get to built little castles out of these fun, stackable bits. I could see it being a bit mathy and dry for some folks. If you like abstract games, ruthless efficiency and little plastic castles (who remembers Ani DeFranco?) then Torres may be for you.
San Marco: After a long time hunting for it, I finally picked up San Marco a couple of months ago and got to try it in June. I was not disappointed, nor was I blown away by the game. My lone play was a 3-player game, and I really like the "I create the card offerings, you guys choose and I get the one that's left" mechanic as well as the limit cards (penalty cards) that get mixed into those offerings. That part reminded me a bit of Coloretto since you're often trying to take a card you know your opponent wants and poison it with cards they don't want. It's a genre I'm fond of and it works great for 3 players. I'm fairly certain I'll be increasing the rating after a few more plays, and any apprehension towards the game is probably due to the fact that I was after it for so damn long some let down was inevitable, and my opponents were both just so-so towards it. Just typing this made me want to play it again.
No Thanks!: I played this for the first time the other day. It was a 3 player game and it seems like it would be better with more. My initial reaction was "Is that all there is to it?" but after a couple of rounds it became apparent that there was more depth than was initially apparent. The decisions about when to take a card because your opponent needs it or how long you can afford to let your card go around the table before you grab it make this an interesting little filler.
Not so sure...
La Città: My lone play of this was a 2 player game with my wife. We were fairly aggressive, and I liked the balance of trying to steal citizens away from your opponent's cities and the need to be able to feed those citizens. The card selection process was a bit of a turn off, as a couple of time there were simply no appealing choices in the card selection area, so I'd have to choose one I didn't really want, and the vacated slot would be filled by a good card that my wife was able to snag (or vice versa.) All told, I thought it was a neat game that might be fun for 3 or 4 players but have no real desire to play it again.
Cave Troll: This game wasn't bad, but it was just kind of forgettable. It's an area control game dressed up in a dungeon crawling theme where you draw cards that determine when and which characters you bring onto the board and which actions you may do. I'd say for someone who hasn't played many hobby games or area control games, Cave Troll would be a nice choice, but I've kind of been there and done that.
Neuroshima Hex!: I'm not sure how I feel about this one. It's a cool design, and I appreciate that. The first time we played it (a demo game I was running) one the players drew something like 2 soldiers in his first 10 turns and basically sat there getting punked, which left a bad first impression on the table. The next games were much more interesting, but I think this isn't my kind of game. No hard feelings, Neuroshima Hex. Go forth and seek your fortunes elsewhere.
Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War: Much like Rebel vs Imperium, I'm always happy to add more cards to Race. However, unlike RvI's new takeover mechanic, Prestige is much harder to ignore. So far it does feel a bit unbalanced (I've only played Brink of War in the 2 player advanced game.) There are hands where you will get a card that provides an easy Prestige early on and, unless your opponent gets a similar card, you're off to the races! I think sitting there collecting one VP/turn is sometimes too much reward for too little effort, and I'm surprised the prestige/search card doesn't let you search for something that provides prestige. I know that this means if you're behind in the prestige race early, you need to make getting a prestige a priority but sometimes you just don't get the cards to do that. It also changes the focus of the game too much for my liking. I haven't given up on it yet, but I may end up talking Mark's suggestion of simply turning off the "gain +1 VP/turn" prestige leader mechanic. That way the prestige can still be spent on various things during the game and is still worth 1 VP each at game's end, but it doesn't need to be the focus for both players. I think an expansion can add some interesting mechanics without making huge, sweeping changes to the game system - for example, I really like the Galactic Scavengers start world (hide part of your Settle/Develop payments under this card, collect these when Produce is called) and I'd like to see more innovative ideas like this in future sets. I guess I like my new mechanics on the cards and not in the rules.
Didn't care for it.
Zombie Dice: Simple press your luck game where you're rolling 3 dice per turn trying to roll brains. Roll 3 shotgun blasts and you bust, scoring zero for the round. If you roll footsteps you get to reroll that die should you press your luck and keep going. Green dice are more likely to roll brains. Red dice are more likely to roll shotgun blasts. Yellow dice are balanced. Play to 13. Very simple, not very original game design. It's okay for a quickie, simple let's-spend-10-minutes-chatting-while-we-play sort of game. Most of the fun we've gotten from this is from the people at the table goading and trash-talking each other, which makes me feel like the game was almost incidental. It's an okay experience if your group can provide the fun, but there's not much game here.
Witch's Brew: This game has been cast down into the depths with Zombie Dice, partly because I had somewhat high hopes for it and partly because I feel the potential is there for a great game making the disappointment sting more than it does for most. I get the same feeling from Witch's Brew I get from playing most Final Fantasy (video) games: for every cool thing that impresses me, there's something that pisses me off. I like the choice of the different roles as well as the fact that you get to choose 5 of the 12 to use each turn, I just wish the seating arrangement wasn't so damned important. Choosing roles no one else will choose seems important, but with 5 players at the table that's pretty unlikely. And, apart from the player who starts the round, you never know when you'll be playing a given card. Odds are if you lead a card it won't go through, and if you're last to play then lucky for you, you get the full benefit of that role and you get saddled with leading the next role. It seems like the only really interesting decision is whether to call "So be it" or to try for the full benefit when you're in the middle of the seat order. For me, it feels like it takes an awful lot of analysis of what the other players might choose, and that analysis will probably be eaten up in the swirling chaos of the game system. Too much work, not enough payoff. It's maddening because it's a neat design, it's just far too random for my liking.
Put it in a blender and flush it down the toilet.
Cthulhu Dice: Actually, it's just a single die and a handful of beads, so you could probably skip the blender. I like Lovecraft and the Cthulhu mythos, but that isn't nearly enough to save this dog. Each turn is essentially "roll the die and see what happens." You do get to choose a target so in the event that the die has a targeted effect (lose 1 sanity) you're choosing a player, and that's all the decision making this game has. It's essentially a themed LCR. The neat-looking die bumps this a full half point above LCR, giving it a hearty 1.5 rating. I'm a generous guy.
1024x768 works just fine - Don't Wide the Site!
The Back Alley gets no respect.
There was only one choice this month. I can't say that it was all that enticing.
I played five new games this past month (out of thirty plays) more than in previous months. Edel Stein and Reich was the one I felt was the best of the bunch. I had played Basari previously but I find this one to be better. Perhaps it is the lack of a board. I dunno. Notes for the other new games I've played.
A la carte 1 - Is it a high strategy game, no. It is fun, yes. Over the top production and lots of laughes. Glad I got it. Perfect for tipsy cooks.
Darjeeling 1 - This one was okay. It's solid and quick. After the first play you get to see what you can to do help manipulate what needs to be done to get you points and have your opponents get less points. Need to try again.
Dungeon Lords 1 - This was brought by on a Saturday. It's a pretty cool game. Lots to think about. The theme is okay, not thrilled with it, but I do enjoy the artwork of the game. It helped that I won my first game of it.
Edel, Stein & Reich 1 - I enjoy the bluffing and double think of this quick game. Nice production values, as well.
Los Mampfos 1 - after beers, none of us could remember what the donkeys were eating. Well, at least I didn't. Wasn't paying attention much but it was a lot of fun. NOM NOM NOM.
D a v i d B u r k e y
A mole a day keeps the chemist away...
A trip to Origins and suddenly I have 15 new games for me this month! Amazingly, I enjoyed playing every one of these 15 games–there wasn’t a true stinker in the bunch.
Santa Fe Rails: (1 play)
This game narrowing edges Founding Fathers as my favorite of the month. I was finally able to both acquire (via math trade) and play this long OOP game and it did not disappoint. I love the constant tension from the choice of playing either a city card for the end game points or a special card for more control of the track placement. Now I just need to convince my Wife to play this game!
Founding Fathers: (2 plays)
This is a brilliant game–the theme and the gameplay really mesh well together for me. The importance of each VP (I won my first game with only 26 points) makes for some tough choices throughout the game.
Sticheln: (1 play)
We played this with the standard rules–it was amazing how much having the misery color changed the usual trick-taking strategies on its head. I can’t wait to try some of the variant rules.
Egizia: (1 play)
I love the “must-play-new-boats-downstream” mechanism in this game–it makes the worker placement phase of the game very competitive. This game is now on my wishlist!
Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries: (1 play)
I enjoyed playing this–it has the smaller map for 2-3 players without the sometimes game-breaking country routes in Ticket to Ride: Switzerland. I’m not sure I can justify the purchase of another Ticket to Ride game to the Wife, however.
Alea Iacta Est: (1 play)
The Wife and I love good dice games–and now we have another one with this game. The allocation of the dice over several turns adds more strategic decision-making to the game than I had expected. Any game that lets (or forces) you to the Latrina has to be good!
1830: Railways & Robber Barons: (1 play)
I took the plunge and played in a teaching game of this at Origins, and was not disappointed–there is a lot of “game” here. I’m still uncertain if I have the time and resources to plunge into 18xx gaming on a larger scale, but now at least I have some idea of what the games are like.
Havana: (1 play)
I really liked my one play of this game with 2 players–not sure how well it would play with more people.
Macao: (1 play)
This game was not on my radar prior to Origins, but I was talked into playing a 2-player demo game. The cube allocation over several turns with the dice does work well. This is a game that I would like to try again with more players.
Priests of Ra: (1 play)
The tile-flipping mechanism worked very well here–now you have the ability to really affect the relative value of the auction lots. I’m just not sure I can justify the purchase of a third Ra game!
Warlords of Europe: (1 play)
Sometimes there is nothing better than rampaging and slaughtering your enemies for several hours!
Fresco: (1 play)
Some rules questions (we were all new to the game) slowed down my one play of this game, but it was still a fun game. I think I would like this one better with some of the advanced rules.
Hey, That's My Fish!: (2 plays)
A quick abstract game that is made entertaining by the silly theme. Not sure if I will ever play this game well, but it is very fun to play.
Samarkand: Routes to Riches: (1 play)
I was a little disappointed with my one play of this game–the game did seem to end almost too quickly. Still, it’s hard not to like a game with camels!
Unexploded Cow: (1 play)
I’m not sure how we managed to not play this game for so many years. This is a perfect game for a large group that is in the mood for some silliness. Now I just have to convince everyone to play this for real money!
The Games Are About Glory
Only two new games this month, which is nothing out of the ordinary for me.
The recent contest for RTtA and its iPhone version got my attention, and after some reading I sought out the unofficial PC implementation to kick the tires. It was more fun than I expected, and after losing the contest I bought the iPhone app. A few days later I grabbed the game as well. Right now it's the new hotness filler game in the house, and I haven't shown anyone the trading or Late Bronze Age rules yet. What I like best about this game is how different the solo game plays than a multiplayer game. The iPhone version makes for a great diversion that can be played in a few minutes, which is nice when I don't have time for a game of Catan or Carcassonne.
World Without End
Despite the lukewarm reception its received here, I enjoyed this quite a bit. I think it will be more interesting with more than two players, but there was still enough tension going on to make some of the decisions tough. I was also a big fan of the book, so it's easy for me to get immersed in the theme.
Although I like this game more than RTtA, I gave it second place because:
It only had 1 play vs. 5, not counting dozens of iTouch plays
My now 8 year old can play RTtA with us
I got this earlier this month through BGG and love it! It's a great thinking strategy game that only lasts about 30min and it's one where I enjoy to the point where if I lose it's still fun.
I would highly recommend it as very few games require thinking, are fun, interactive and yet only last 30min that I've enjoyed.