GCL # 113 The New Frontier
Ok everyone, sorry if you are sick of Essen 2013 lists and talk about new games, but it's been the focus of my attention the last 3 weeks and I'm a bit tired so you are stuck with it.
Please feel free to write about your favorite new game experience over the last 3 weeks be it at Essen, at home or somewhere else.
PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING
This is the GCL: Eclipse Division discussion list for the week of Nov 3, 2013. Please visit the GCL: Eclipse Wiki for information on this Game Chat League.
Visitors are welcome to post so long as comments maintain a friendly, non-confrontational, and applicable nature to the GCL Eclipse discussion. If you are interested in becoming a regularly-contributing member, please make a request to Jason:
Thank you for respecting these guidelines in our home of regular discussion. We hope the conversation created here is rich, informative, and most of all, fun for members and nonmembers alike.
So here are first thoughts on games played so far:
Eat Me If You Can! Very cute light bluffing game, not quite for me but appreciate the cute factor
Donburiko Another light filler from Japon Brand. A little more interesting to me as you can place cards either face down at a cost of 1 pt or face up to gain 1 on your turn or collect the cards in a column for points. The acorn theme is very original!
Wildcatters A big heavy game game as expected. Not entirely sure about this one, has potential. The rules while complete take a while to get through. Our game went quite long. It was pretty interesting once we got going and I think now that we have the mechanics down the next game will be much quicker.
Sukimono Beautiful graphics which fit well with the theme of searching for antique tea ware. Has a real-time aspect as all players search hurriedly for antiques and vie to be the first to sell them. You can speculate hoping to make a good profit but your finds may not be wanted.
Palmyra Nice tile placement game. A bit abstract and probably not quite as non gamer/family accessible as New Haven. New Haven was another tile game I played which is quite nice.
Lewis & Clark Probably the the game that has exceeded my expectations the most. Kind of a deck building, worker placement hybrid. The first one to to make it to Fort Clatsop and set camp wins. Love the theme being here in Oregon just a few hours from Fort Clatsop. You collect resources along the way and befriending Native Americans while traveling the rivers and mountains and setting camp. Making your way through the Rockies is proportionately more difficult meeting the theme nicely. Very pleased with this game.
Caverna: The Cave Farmers 2.8 kg. Plays like Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small meets the Dwarf King except it should be call All Creatures Big and Heavy. I may like it better than the original although I don't seem to do any better at it.
Nations Didn't get this as I let my friend have the last English copy available that day. I like it, much less fiddly than Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization and less conflict and it plays a lot faster.
Prosperity Light to middle weight game from Ystari. Each player gets too actions on their turn and the challenge is to balance your income and use of energy with your research and being green. I enjoyed it but not sure how much re-playability there is.
Machi Koro Another nice filler from Japon Brand, city building with dice! Roll your way to high income and be the first to build all your landmarks.
The best non-game related Essen moment, finding these spiral cut deep fried potatoes-yum!
My new-to-me list of games for the past month or so is rather pitiful. I don't mind being slow to try new games, but it does put a crimp in my contributions for what is trending right now.
Princes of Machu Pichu (2008) was the best new-tome game I tried in a while. I can see how I could get better at it with some practice. I liked the unusual theme, and felt the game flowed nicely. I had assumed this was another rondel game. It only took me 5 years to get straightened out!
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island (2012) - I had a chance to try this one at a friends home. As cooperative games go, I can say this was good. I can see how it would be variable with the different scenarios. I only played the introductory scenario, and we had to work hard to be successful.
Bananagrams (2006) - Word games are not really my thing. But this was fun enough and fast.
City of Iron (2013) - Hey one from this year! Some friends brought this to game night three weeks in a row. I finally played on the third visit, and as it happened, they figured out they had a rule wrong for the first two plays. The correct ruling dropped the game duration by 30 minutes, which was great. I liked the game, but if it had run much longer it would have worn out its welcome. I would play this one again, as the game play was good. I found the theme a bit boring. It's nice to try before you buy.
Other gaming has included old favorites:
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - We played this as our Halloween theme night game. Great fun, and I had not played it in years.
Bottle Imp - We ran out of time, but this was our follow up game for Halloween gaming. After Dr.J/Mr.H it felt a lot more swingy in the scoring. Also, I have a question. Does the bottle owner just score the imps trick points? Or does the bottle owner get those along with any cards he took?
Ave Caesar - the Ravensburger edition, of course. Great fun.
Big Boss - God this is good. I am so glad I finally sprung for a copy.
Skittle-Bowl - A childhood remnant. But as a "waiting for folks to arrive" sort of activity, it is great. Basically it is bowling, but with a ball, chain and a pivoting stick.
Castles of Burgundy - This was my third (?) play. I remain attracted and repulsed by this game. I wish it played in about half the time it does with the group I play it with.
WUrfel Bohnanza - This has been a little bit of a hit with my friends who are just casual game players.
Merchant of Venus 1st ed & 2nd ed. - I am playing both editions a fair bit. I expect to do a side by side comparison for Gamers Aliiance, and am getting some plays in to ensure I can compare and contrast.
Riff Raff - I want to like this game more. It is startling in appearance. But the place/catch sequence bugs.
Power Grid - still endures, but I am ready to move off of the Germany map again.
Mah Johnng - I fell into a nest of "American Style" Mah Johnng players. My (limited) experience with the game was rendered useless. I still played, and managed to win a game. I never realized this is a lifestyle game just like Bridge.
Time's Up - I introduced 8 people to the joy of this game. I expect several copies were purchased.
Indonesia - Heresy, I suppose. But I don't react well to this game. The graphic design bugs me, and while I could learn to play better, I would be wishing I was playing something else. For the time investment, I think I need to look elsewhere.
When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why. But why wonder? I'm green, and it'll do fine: it's beautiful, and I think it's what I want to be.
Just played this tonight: a dandy game here! Easy to pick up, but not easy to navigate! (pun intended!)
Also played Augsburg 1520 for the first time. Less certain about this one - nothing very intuitive here. Need to play again before passing judgement.
Highlights of games played 10/15-11/4:
Going with the theme here, I'll ignore the older games I've played during this time. Just to list them, Sextet, Marracash, Schnäppchen Jagd, Bridge, Mü, Dolce Vita, 1846, Spyrium, Guild, Medievalia, Brügge, 18Neb, Saint Petersburg, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Circus Grandioso. Oh, and a prototype of mine.
So, what's new?
Plunder (Joe=1): Nice little lighter deduction game; if I were a bigger fan of deduction games, I would have bought it.
UnNatural Selection (Joe=1): Partyish game reminding me of Apples to Apples, but less to my taste.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf (Joe=1): I played this never having played Werewolf (though having moderated the game once, having had Ted promise that the game would be over in 5 minutes). This isn't Werewolf - but isn't any more my thing.
Topfrosch (Joe=2): Very enjoyable dexterity game. I ordered copy #5.
Bluff in Zoo (Joe=1): I should hate this; I really dislike Liar's Dice. But - for some reason this works for me. Well enough that I bought a copy.
Machi Koro (Joe=2): Played twice, and very enjoyable both times. And short enough to hold up, given what it does. WINNER
Koryŏ (Joe=1): Very good first impression, but I picked up _so_ _many_ _games_ that I haven't managed a second play.
Glastonbury (Joe=1): I've always enjoyed Kupferkessel Co., and hoped that it would make a good 3-4 player game. Instead, I decided that I can probably live without Kupferkessel Co. (This is not a bad thing, as I've potentially found more new games than I can keep; not even including games I own but haven't played yet, I'm over 300 games for the first time in a while.)
New Haven (Joe=1): Decent tile laying game, but too abstract for me.
Garden Dice (Joe=1): Not all that interesting.
The Rats in the Walls (Joe=1): I like the theme, but unlike Bluff im Zoo this doesn't break my dislike of Liar's Dice.
Pasha (Joe=1): A bit disappointing on first go, but I'll try it again.
Zahlen-Mobile (Joe=1): Cute dice game. I suspect I might have been the only one to bring it back to the US from Essen...
Glass Road (Joe=3): Already my second favorite Rosenberg board game (behind Le Havre). WINNER
Eggs of Ostrich (Joe=1): Clever, but I'm not sure it's a keeper. Need to play it more.
Five Cucumbers (Joe=2): Tried it twice to be sure; fell flat both times.
Galapagos (Joe=1): Cute dice game; I need to play it again to make a call on it.
BancoBanco (Joe=1): Didn't impress, but we goofed a rule, so I'll try it again.
Sail to India (Joe=4): Yea! Great to get to play this again. WINNER
Twin Tin Bots (Joe=1): Production isn't great, but the game is quite good; I think this might be my keeper in the programmed movement area. WINNER
Gear & Piston (Joe=1): This is one of the few games I had explained to me, and then decided to purchase, in Essen. First play was good for me, but others didn't care for it; the rules could be more clear.
L'Aéropostale (Joe=1): The rules have problems, but I think there's a good game in there. Need to try again to find out.
Patchistory (Joe=1): Has the same problems as many multiplayer civilization games; not a keeper.
Russian Railroads (Joe=5): While the published game isn't exactly what I playtested, it's at least as good a game for me. WINNER
Sukimono (Joe=1): We goofed a rule (well, the English rules weren't as clear as the German or French rules), so I need to play again. Mildly positive first impression, but I'm not convinced so far.
Sissi!: Die Bohnenkaiserin (Joe=1): Nice take on Bohnanza - worth playing, in no small part for the number of Bohnanza conventions it breaks.
Taste Taiwan: Warrior (Joe=1): Memory game, and not the most interesting one.
Kohle & Kolonie (Joe=1): Was played at my house on Saturday, and didn't go over well, but I still wanted to try it - and I was pleasantly surprised. At first cut, I like it better than Ruhrschiffffffffffffffffffffffffffahrt, and I'll definitely give it at least one more play, likely more than that.
Arche Noah (Joe=1): Simple card game, works, I love the Doris artwork - but I'm not convinced it's for me. I'm going to try it one more time, though.
Oh - and I finished my top 191 games list, which I swear involved more work each time...
From the 27th of Oct to the 2nd of Nov:
Race for the Galaxy
Livestock Market: the Card Game
I have an adroid app for can't stop on my phone which came in handy last week when I was stuck in an elevator. The person I was stuck with was my premarital counselor so I'm glad we had something else to talk about...
I'm at 93 plays of RftG which should make it easy to hit my semi-soft goal of 100 plays by the end of the year.
Smash Up and Munchkin were played with my neighbors over Halloween. They really like Munchkin so I humor them every now and then.
Not a terrible week but I can't help but feel there were some missed opportunities for gaming. My school semester ends mid December and I have a month off. I'm hoping to make up some time then. I do have plans to host a Decktet day in the cities during that time. I'm definitely looking forward to running that!
Board Game: Kemet
[Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:77]
Salt Lake City
Back in the U.S. of A.
PLAYS 10/27/2013 - 11/3/2013
Qwixx x 6 - It's rare we bring this out without it being played several times in a row. Our friends in Guatemala just kept saying "Uno más!" (You should say "Qwixx times 6" outloud; just for fun. )
Snowdonia x 2 - It has become one of my favorite worker-placement games. I really enjoy this one. I photographed Snowdonia last week in hopes to write up a review soon (sample photo to the right).
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization x 2 - More online plays. All good. All fun.
Kemet x 1 - Another amazing session with the perfect hybrid. Every time I play it, I just want to play it again asap. Amazing game.
Planet Steam x 1 - I still haven't gotten all the rules perfectly right. So I still feel I need to get a proper session in. But I really like it. Simple yet smart economics.
Suburbia x 1 - Warning: Do not play with AP players. I've watched turns take way too long, and when this thing slows down, it loses a lot of its flare.
Tales of the Arabian Nights x 1 - Had a great experience with my niece and nephew with this one. I basically took every curse status in the deck and everyone laughed at me. It's all about being in the right mood for this game. And when you are, it's a good time. I've decided I'll keep it for that reason alone.
I picked up my copies of Runebound (Second Edition) and Innovation: Echoes of the Past.
I managed to play a few turns of Runebound. It will do fine as a solo game adventure game. But I'm already thinking of picking up a character deck or two to flavor up the character progression and add another layer of decisions and story.
I look forward to trying out Echoes.
It's been a bit strange being back in the U.S. without a home. We're just floating between our parents' houses.
Games Played (10/27 - 11/2)
The Princes of Machu Picchu x1
I don't think my wife enjoyed this one as much as I thought she might, partly based on a theme of interest. I still have a high opinion of it, as one of Mac Gerdt's better designs. I've enjoyed most of the rondel games, but some of them haven't had a long shelf life.
Stephenson's Rocket x1
I wish I'd held onto my copy. We've had a few plays this year (I think Kevin maybe re-acquired it not too long ago) and its been a lot more interesting than I remember. I always have had a bit of a hard time keeping the scoring straight in my head, but something finally clicked.
This was a play on Yucata, and part of a ladder league.
Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries x1
This was a 3p game. I like this variant of Ticket to Ride. Its got a great color scheme and not encumbered by chrome. I've never played it 2p only, although its supposed to work well with 2 and I think 3p is the maximum.
This is one of those neat games that can be played cleverly by an all-adult group, or as a light family game. I really ought to play it more often. Its quick and fun.