Impressions of 2014 Games Played at EuroQuest
Jared Beiswenger
United States
Springfield
Virginia
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I got to play 7 of 2014's hot new games at EuroQuest, so here are some initial impressions. I had about 10 others I was hoping to try, but I'm happy I managed to play all the ones highest on my list.

My lessons learned from my 2nd EQ:
1) Scout ahead - This year I planned all the games I wanted to play, and I came ready to teach them. It worked wonderfully. I did have some other folks teach me games, both very well and very poorly, but I will plan to teach as much as possible in the future.

2) Find the right guys and stick with them - I'm glad I got to try exactly the games I wanted to play, but I think I would have had time for a couple extra games if I had stuck with the right people. Of course it's tough when everyone has specific games they want to play, but I think I should concede a little next time to play with the right people.
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1. Board Game: Kanban: Driver's Edition [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:223]
Jared Beiswenger
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I came into this game about as prepared as I could be, but it was still pretty tough to keep all the little rules straight and remember everything.

That being said, I think it's super cool. This is a game I'd love to play over and over to explore the strategies, but I definitely don't have a compatible heavy gamer group to justify the purchase. So perhaps one day in the distant future we'll get to play again...
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2. Board Game: Panamax [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:466]
Jared Beiswenger
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Big thanks to Kurt for teaching.
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.
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I thought the game was great. I loved the player interaction. We also had a funny situation at the end where my company was doing very well, and I artificially boosted my stock value to attempt to grab the end-game managing director bonus, knowing I had no chance of paying my dividends. It was a funny story of me cheating my shareholders for personal financial gain, told very clearly through the game mechanics.
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3. Board Game: Imperial Settlers [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:129]
Jared Beiswenger
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Springfield
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Imperial Settlers was enjoyable, but went longer than I would have liked, probably just due to slow players. It seemed like the winner was the one who was leader-bashed the least. Regardless, I came away confident that I'd enjoy playing it 2 player. It's not on my wishlist, but I'd like to try it 2 player to see a little more depth of strategy.
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4. Board Game: Alchemists [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:80]
Jared Beiswenger
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Springfield
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I knew I was going to enjoy Alchemists because of the logic puzzle and the options to take calculated risks to get advantages over your opponents. Most others I talked to were lukewarm on the game, but I had a great time.

We had some interesting things happen in our game. I was about to publish a theory that I was 50/50 sure of, hedging the bet on the color I was unsure of. But right before I published, another player published one of my two possible theories. So I took a chance and went ALL IN on my theory AND this guys theory, hoping that somehow the probability behind it all was in my favor.

The next turn my buddy says, "So how do you debunk a theory?" and I knew I was done for. But the game stayed interesting until the end, as my buddy failed on his first try to debunk, and I scrambled to scrap for points everywhere I could.

My wife thinks she'll enjoy this, so I plan to pick up a copy once the second edition comes out with the production issues fixed.

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5. Board Game: Battle Merchants [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:3371]
Jared Beiswenger
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Springfield
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Battle Merchants was nowhere on my radar when it came out, but it received universal praise from reviewers, so I wanted to check it out.

I pulled it out early on Saturday and only found one gentleman interested in joining me. We played 2 players with the goofy neutral salesman, and it was a slightly sub-par experience. However, I could see how the 3-4 player game would work, and I think it would be a great little economic game that I could introduce to just about any of my friends.

So while the actual experience was sub-par, I think the game is quite good, and I'd like to get another play in with a full complement of players.
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6. Board Game: Hyperborea [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:519]
Jared Beiswenger
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Springfield
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We played the short version of the game with 6 people, with a mutual agreement to be quick about it, knowing that 6 was too many. I have to say I enjoyed the game and had a great time with Kurt and his buddies (even though he hated the game). There's nothing like playing with fun people that play quickly and don't require babysitting. Hallelujah to no babysitting! I need to play with these guys more often.

I don't know if Hyperborea has a place in my collection, but I really would like to try it again. The bag building felt a little problematic to me, as I got to a point where most of the powerful abilities on the board just got me cubes, but I didn't want more cubes... So the game didn't quite have the escalating power curve that I wanted.

I'd like to try again with a focus on getting more technologies, which might improve that end game feel.
 
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7. Board Game: The Battle at Kemble's Cascade [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1541]
Jared Beiswenger
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Springfield
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I think the threat mechanic is a very cool way to represent those little 8 bit bullets coming at your ship, and I like how it encourages you to beat each other up without also causing the game to take longer.

Unfortunately what should have been a 90 minute game turned into a 3 hour game, and nothing breaks the immersion into the arcade shooter theme like slow decision making.

I actually enjoyed the game quite a bit, but I'm not sure when I'll get to play it again.
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8. Board Game: Deus [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:303]
Jared Beiswenger
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Springfield
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I didn't see Deus at EuroQuest, but I tacked it on because I've been playing it online at boiteajeux.net, and it's far and away my favorite 2014 release I've played so far.

It's got simple, streamlined mechanics with interesting, fulfilling gameplay. I love the multiple paths to victory and how the card combos become increasingly powerful as the game goes on. The discard mechanic is the icing on the cake, because even if you end up with a bad hand you can't use, you still have several interesting options to setup a big next turn.
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