GCL Eclipse #141 No Accounting for Taste
Rick Goudeau
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Moody
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With game presentation and art people can like and dislike all sorts of things. So, there is no accounting for taste or Or to put in Latin - De gustibus non est disputandum (literally - Regarding taste, there is no dispute). Yes I had to learn some Latin when I was in parochial school.

Something than can make or break a game is the artwork. I've seen a lot of lists commenting on the quality of the art and the presentation. I'd like to explore what in a game presentation will draw you in.
What attracts you initially or catches your eye?
What helps enhance the game, capture the theme?
I've put examples I've appreciated, please add games where you appreciated the artwork.
At least in making the list I was able to browse the game galleries.

So how does a game's art or other components work draw you in, working from outside in...

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John Bandettini
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1. Board Game: Fresco: Big Box [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked]
Rick Goudeau
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Moody
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]Box Covers
Box covers at their core the box should draw us into the theme, make us want to open the game.

What are some covers that attract you?

Simple Austere covers:

Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 - The monochrome depiction of a plane crashing is flames is chilling.

Twilight Struggle - A bit busier but it reminds me of John Le Carre novel - in particular The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, a chess board, along with Checkpoint Charlie.


Busier the better:

Metropolys - To me it captures captures a fantasy city image - with a bit of steampunk.

Moderne Zeiten - The use of Art Deco matches the theme of boom & bust markets. Also I'm a sucker for Art Deco.


Cheat and use previous art, especially prevalent in wargames.


Give Me Liberty - uses John Trumbull - "The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker's Hill"
Even as far back old Milton Bradly days there was classic works being used for the covers.
Dogfight - Charles Hubbell's World War One painting 'Bishop of Canada'. Depicts Billy Bishop's Nieuport 17 shooting down a German Albatross D-3. I'm geeky enough to recognize the models of the planes.
Battle-Cry - used a lithograph published during the era depicting the battle of Chattanooga. The mountain in the background is Lookout Mountain.
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2. Board Game: Civilization Western Extension Map [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
Rick Goudeau
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Moody
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Maps and Boards
Maps and boards the central playing surface, everybody looks at during the game. Besides holding the game status unit locations. It is a good place for the designer to show the atmosphere he is trying to capture.

Some examples I have enjoyed. What makes an informative but pleasing board?

Wargames in particular use maps which some times can be very detailed.


Here Come the Rebels, Stonewall Jackson's Way, Stonewall's Last Battle
The water color style in Great Campaigns of the American Civil War catches the era, and gives a nice muted terrain. No I have not put together the 9 maps to show all the terrain of Northern Virginia. I think I would need 6x9 foot table to pull that off.


Ardennes '44 - Also has good display of forested terrain, with the white background evokes the snow covered ground.


Many games have common board - what a good place to capture your theme.

Yedo - Dark and foreboding, cluttered like a crowded city should be.

Cuba - Brighter as tropical city should be with all sorts of builds to represent Havana


Player mats are right in front of you and you spend a good bit of time studying them.

Byzantium - This so well captures the feel of Byzantine art, as well as being the holding places for your resources.

The Castles of Burgundy - Here the tiles as the games progress gives you the feeling of your estate.
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3. Board Game: Pieces of Eight [Average Rating:5.71 Overall Rank:11332]
Rick Goudeau
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Moody
Alabama
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Playing Pieces

Does plastic reign supreme or is wood more to one's liking, perhaps cardboard?

Big City - I enjoy watching the city develop with more and more complex pieces.

Giganten - Oil derricks, truck and trains capture the exploration and movement aspects the game is trying to capture.


Can Bakelite still have a place?

Hive makes its case, that it can


Can wood or cardboard compete?

Imperial - The disks may not be exiting - but cannon and battleship meeples?

Chicago Express - how can you argue when you have train meeples?


Cardboard counters besides having game play information can include some nice art. Are tiles more of a larger version of counters or smaller version of cards?

Manoeuvre - Napoleonic uniforms always look too cool.
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4. Board Game: 1000 Blank White Cards [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:2832]
Rick Goudeau
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Moody
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Cards

Cards are also right in front of the player, what a better place to have a nice collection of art

Jamaica - interesting in that the cards are portions of one long polyptych. That is all the cards are all parts of one long picture.


Tichu - yes it uses a regular card deck with a couple of extras, but use a different symbols and font to emphasize it Chinese origin


Dixie: Bull Run - uses Osprey's Men at Arms style drawings on its cards
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5. Board Game: New Rules for Classic Games [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:4742]
Rick Goudeau
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Moody
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Rules

Now we turn from the visual to the verbal. I read designer notes, they frequently help me clarify what was intended in the game. Especially true for wargames where the designer is trying to model the event. I appreciate it when the designer takes the time to explain the rationale behind the game.

Games in Great Campaigns of the American Civil War - have a section which outlines history as the game. The campaign is traced out with hex numbers and encounters.

Conquest of Paradise - includes a nice summary of the Polynesian expansion and culture and how the different culture cards tie in.
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6. Board Game: Napoleon's Triumph [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:382]
Rick Goudeau
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Moody
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Special Mention for an overall look



By itself the blocks and map are nothing special, but then you see it in the middle game and has the look of military atlases, even down to the red and blue pieces.

As compared to a map from a military historical atlas

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7. Board Game: Game Design: Theory and Practice [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
EGG Head
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How about mechanical design? Here I would pick Whacky Wit
and Riff Raff
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8. Board Game: 2038: Tycoons of the Asteroid Belt [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:2620]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Highlights of games played 5/20-5/26:

There's been enough progress, it's time for a 3x18 update:

1846

2038

Advanced Civilization

Bohnanza

Bridge

Euphrat & Tigris

Freight Train

Frisch Fisch

La Citta

Merchant of Venus

Race for the Galaxy

Res Publica

Russian Railroads

Saint Petersburg

Schnäppchen Jagd

Die Siedler von Catan

Thebes

Ticket to Ride


Friesematenten (Joe=8) - I played this as part of my quest to get through all of the games I own but hadn't played since 2012. And - I think it's time for me to let it go. On my trade pile, in case anyone's interested in an English copy.

Speedbeans x2 (Joe=52) - It's amazing how much more enjoyable this game became when we adopted the motto "If you know whose turn it is, you aren't playing fast enough". The first of these games was a teaching game, so dragged on for 15 minutes, but the second completed in 6 minutes.

Kreta (Joe=11) - I - can't for the life of me decide if I need to own this game or not. It's another one off my "unplayed since 2012" list, which is now down to Wallenstein (which I will play) and 6-Tage Rennen (which I might let go). I swear I've gone back and forth on whether to keep Kreta since 2007.

Saint Petersburg (Joe=97) - I'm not sure why, but while many seem to have soured on this game, it still works great for me; this is the 11th straight year I've played the game at least 3 times - and while my plays dipped a little at the end of the last decade, this will almost certainly be the fifth straight year it's reach a nickel for me.

Circus Grandioso (Joe=14) - I love finding overlooked gems. And this is one - if not for Machi Koro, it would be me favorite game from 2012.

2038: Tycoons of the Asteroid Belt (Joe=45) - My favorite 18xx game, though as it's longer it doesn't hit the table so often.

Promised Land: 1250-587 BC (Joe=1) - Glad to try this game, though it felt too much like a Martin Wallace game for me.

I know some of you have seen, but I put together a list of my favorite game each year, 1990-present last week.
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9. Board Game: Monastery [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:4253]
skippen
United States
Greeley
Colorado
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The Week that Was...


Played:

Dungeon Twister
Monastery
Kingsburg with Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm
Würfel Bohnanza

Acquired:


SOS Titanic

Sold/Traded:

Diplomacy
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10. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:14]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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Two gaming sessions last week, both at London on Board, though one was at a new venue.

19th May at Red Herring (Our main venue)

As has become very common recently started off the night with a game of Qwixx. I managed my highest score so far with exactly 100.

I then introduced three people to Trains, which they all enjoyed a lot. One commented that it took a game he thought was OK (Dominion) added a board and turned it into a game he liked a lot. I was just beaten into 2nd place by a couple of points.

We then added a couple of players for a game of Fauna. I don’t know what it is about Fauna, but it’s such a sociable game to play. Every time I play it, there is always lots of chat and laughs at the table. It really is a game everyone should play. Despite quite a hot start, one disastrous where I got everything wrong knocked me out of contention.

Finished off the night with Linko!. I think I am starting to go off this now. I have played it a lot over the last month or so and it’s getting very samey. It’s a clever game but there is not much variation from play to play.

20th May at The Frog (Our new venue)

Main game for the evening was Caverna. Now while I admire Agricola, I don’t actually find it much fun to play. I know it’s partly because I am not very good at it, but I seem to spend 90% of the game just trying to feed my family, and by the end of the game I feel like I have accomplished very little.

You still need to feed your family in Caverna: The Cave Farmers, but it’s a lot easier. I definitely feel at the end of Caverna that I have achieved something. Nearly pulled off the win, with my farm overflowing with animals and stone supplier store giving me 21 points for my 21 pieces of stone but I was just pipped by another player and ore scoring engine.

Another game of Linko! afterwards

Just for a change finished off the evening with Qwixx. Followed up my 100 the night before with my worst every score, 26.

Games acquired

Camel Up

Is it worth a SDJ nomination? I’ll give you my verdict next week.
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11. Board Game: Risk Legacy [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:231]
Chester
United States
Temple
Texas
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Games Played (5/18 - 5/24)

This includes the final day (really the wee hours of one morning) of Geekway, and several games I played when my kids were visiting.

Elder Sign x2
This one is "OK". Its pretty easy to win, and there are some decisions to make regarding how to use the dice rerolls, etc. But at its heart its a dice rolling optimization. For whatever reason, I just find that to not be a mechanism that grabs my interest. But my son seemed to enjoy it, and it plays quickly....so maybe we'll still play a couple more times.

A la carte x1
My daughter's most requested game. This old standby hasn't failed to deliver. We had fun again, and I flipped my crepe on the first try!

Love Letter x1
We've decided to host a regular weekly game night, Wednesday evenings. I'm so committed to this, we're doing whether anyone shows up or not. Most likely, its going to take effort to grow a game group locally. But our first night we did have 3 of us, and this was the first game played. It also happens to be my wife's favorite game.

Princes of the Renaissance x1
This is an annual Geekway tradition: a 6p game of PotR as the final game on Saturday night / Sunday morning. This was another epic battle. Its always lots of laughs and groans, sprinkled with some bribes and back-stabs.

Risk Legacy x1
I've done something rash. I have firm commitments from a table of 5 of us to play this once a year for the next 14 years at Geekway. We played the first game. So far, none of the envelopes were triggered. It was a little sobering to realize that some of us will be in our late 50s when we finish this. I also opted for a waiting list in case one of use dies before we're done. THIS is now the final game of the Con following the PotR game. Looking forward to next year's match already.

Ticket to Ride x1
The main game played at our inaugural Wednesday Game Night. I like this one more than I thought I would at first exposure years ago. I expect we'll be playing light fare for a while. I don't want to scare anyone away who shows up. I've got a few commitments to attend, but it may take a few weeks before it really starts rolling.
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12. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:209]
Rick Goudeau
United States
Moody
Alabama
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Glass Road - Rather enjoyed my second plays, the first time was just trying to get a feel for the game. The wheel mechanism is a nice twist, I liked how it made you really think of your resource management. Clearing you player board and getting a good mix of houses - I was the pit-master this time.

Coconuts - Based on Monkey King tale - Beer pong with out the beer? It can be done when mini-coconuts go a-flying
You have to catapult coconuts into cups hoping to claim 6 or cups with the most coconuts in them.
A very silly game but if you are in the mood?

Power Grid - US map - A very close game - I pushed the ending but missed it by $10. However, was able to hang on barely when in the next round no good plants were available and my opponents has 1 less city they could power.

Puerto Rico - Dusted off a classic, followed a colonist/building strategy and failed miserably.

Ticket to Ride: Europe - 4 player, came close to winning but not quite.

Monopoly Deal Card Game - A filler to close out the night. A monopoly themed game that is actually good to play.
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