On Gamer's Games

Wherein I Discuss Those Games Described As Gamer's Games
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Looking Forward Into 2012

Jesse Dean
United States
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Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious predator on Earth!
Microbadge: I have more previously owned games than owned gamesMicrobadge: Out for blood - I play without mercyMicrobadge: My Favorite Contribution to BGG
So with my review of 2011 out of the way, let’s go ahead and take a look forward into 2012.

Left Over From 2011
Thanks to some helpful input from commenters and friends I think I can safely remove both Trajan and The Castles of Burgundy from my list of games to acquire. Neither of them overcomes my biggest problems with Feld’s designs and are thus probably not worth playing. Similarly some pretty convincing arguments were made that I should check out Bios: Megafauna. I probably will at some point in the spring. I have enough new games to absorb and savor now that I would prefer to keep this one till later. I also tend to delve a bit more into Dungeon Petz and Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan and will probably be discussing both here. I may do a review for Dungeon Petz but that is only if I can find something new to say about it. Ora et Labora is at Coolstuff and I plan to pick it up tonight. I will probably be playing it as much as I possibly can, assuming I can successfully sell it to everyone around me. The main reason I have been able to clock in 26 plays of Mage Knight since November is its popularity in the local play group. If I can build a group that is similarly receptive to Ora et Labora I will be a happy man.

On the Review Docket
In the near future I will be playing and discussing both Mob Ties: The Board Game and The Manhattan Project. Mob Ties is a game I was not previously interested in but the publisher sent me a review copy to take a look at even after I warned him that I am not normally into games focused on negotiation games. His willingness to do so is pretty exemplary and deserves kudos so I am going to give the game a fair shake and see what happens.

The Manhattan Project is a game I Kickstarted, but will be sent an early copy for review so I am pretty excited about it. While I do not think it will be a game I love quite as much as Ora et Labora, Agricola, or Caylus it looks like it will still be a pretty strong worker placement and will likely be at the top of the second tier of worker placement games. It is rather unique both thematically and mechanically and I think those combination of factors should be enough that it is worth owning, particularly if the theme appeals to you or you are fond of worker placement games.

Upcoming in 2012
Its still early and I am sure there are going to be a bunch of new games coming out this year that will catch me by surprise, but I already have a few that I am looking forward to pretty seriously.

CO₂ has the combination of striking graphic design, a unique theme, and Vital Lacerda as the designer. Together these are enough to catch my interest, and I am looking forward to see what this design has to offer. Knowing Vital it will be a pretty hard-core eurogame which should appeal to at least some of the readers of this blog.

Kanban: Driver's Edition, about managing an automatic factory, is also by Vital Lacerda and even though I am not quite as excited about it as I am about CO2, it still looks like it will be worth checking out. Other factory management games have not quite worked for me before so hopefully this one has enough interesting things going on to make it worth my attention.

The Great Zimbabwe is the latest Splotter game and that alone deserves some attention, but its description is also pretty exciting:
“The Great Zimbabwe is a logistico-economic game in which players are tribal leaders in Africa trying to please the gods by building monuments.

Buying technology, building craftsmen, gathering resources, and worshipping a god are among the many decisions necessary to win in The Great Zimbabwe. But the main way of getting there is building and developing a network of monuments. The higher the monuments, the closer the players will be to victory. But player must balance many subtle aspects of the game. If they develop their economy, if they worship a powerful god, if they use a lot of technology, they will need to score more victory points.

Clever use of turn-order manipulation, economic development in an almost close environment, scarce natural resource use and logistical optimization to deliver goods from craftsmen to monuments: you only get one action per turn, so be smart! The Great Zimbabwe is a race for victory in which you decide how far you want to go and at what speed. Then other players' decisions change everything...”

Indonesia is the only Splotter game that has really stood the test of time for me, but I have high hopes that this will also meet my tastes.

Caverna: The Cave Farmers is Uwe Rosenberg’s upcoming title, and while I am pretty excited about the fact that it seems to be him back to doing the sort of resource conversion titles that he does best, I suspect he will not be able to top Ora et Labora for me. Still, this one sounds unique enough that it will probably be worth checking out and will likely be a solid second tier worker placement title.

1989: Dawn of Freedom is an item that I have on pre-order but I admit my enthusiasm is cooling and I may even cancel the pre-order. This is not due to any particular belief that the game will be poor but simply my playing habits have shifted enough that I get few opportunities to play these grand card-driven strategy games anymore so I am not sure how often I will get to play it. I may just get it to hold on to until I get opportunities to play them again though, so we will see what happens.

I am also looking forward to Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts but not overwhelmingly. I am pretty happy with the base game + the first three expansions, and while I am sure Alien Artifacts will be fun I am not sure I really need more. This will not stop be from buying it, of course, but it is stopping me from caring all that much about when it arrives.

Personally I want to continue the trend of 2011 in playing a smaller number of total games but playing them a lot more. I got to enjoy some really in-depth exploration of 18XX games in early 2010 and while I do not intend to revisit that particular rabbit hole in the near future, I do have a lot of longer games, both new and old, that I would like to explore in-depth.

I plan to continue being active on my blog even as the rush of new games slows to a crawl instead I will focus more on new thoughts on the games I am playing as well as more general topics. Once late summer hits, I will start doing pre-release perspective articles, will write my “Gamer’s Games of 2012” geeklist and will then due a lot of the same sort of things on my blog that I did in 2011: first impressions, reviews, and general discussion.

Is there anything you would like to see out of my blog? Any games coming out that I should be keeping an eye on? What are you looking forward to?
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