My Old Watchlist (see comments for link to new one)
Kurt R
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These are the games I'm considering for acquisition. A rejection means I don't plan on purchasing, not that I think the game is necessarily bad. Public comments are welcome.



LEGEND:

In the Running = I'm still evaluating for acquisition. The bar for these games at this point in the hobby is much higher than it used to be. Don't be hurt if I reject your game.

Already ordered/purchased = They made it to the promised land!

Dogs = I've decided not to acquire (purchase, most likely) this game at this time. This decision can change in the future, and I will note if/when it does.

Not yet published or available = Some games pop onto my radar before they're either headed for publishing or don't yet have plans to be available in the US, but I'm keeping my eye on for various reasons; includes games I'm playtesting.




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Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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GAMES I DECIDED TO BUY / ALREADY BOUGHT

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2. Board Game: Amerigo [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:265]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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Estimated availability: Available now at CSI

Why am I interested: I've played it twice and liked it due to my affinity for action points, and here you get to choose your action points (to an extent) each turn. There seem to be a few different viable strategies, and the tiles come out differently each game providing a bit of variety. Doesn't set my world on fire, but I found it a pleasant medium weight game that's not too hard to explain.
 
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3. Board Game: The Capitals [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:1549]
Kurt R
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Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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Estimated availability: Available now at CSI

Why am I interested: Has some interesting tensions in terms of building power plants (for actions), maintaining culture (for tourism benefit where you can steal from the last player), and keeping your population equal with your workforce. Seems like a more sophisticated Suburbia.

Not pulling the trigger yet as I want to see some more reports come in first.
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4. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:23]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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Estimated Availability: November 2013

Why am I interested: What is interesting seems to be that the rules are relatively light, but the decisions aren't. There are different ways to score points, and you need to pick one or two and hit them as much as you can. I see this being a big hit in that it has a broader appeal than, say, Terra Mystica, but is still a gamer's game.

And as far as I'm concerned, I can't get enough of this new trend of deck building in board games. Here, you can play one of your cards to recruit new cards into your deck. You can't get played cards back until you play your one card to collect them all (a la Castle for all Seasons). Along the way, every decision has nuances with the way the action cards are made. Even the card to collect your previous cards has additional considerations. Board position is very competitive as latecomers have to pay a premium that will be strongly dissuasive, so the decision between recruiting new cards vs taking available board position seems exquisitely delightful. Random setups mean different game every time.
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5. Board Game: Kanban: Driver's Edition [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:221]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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Estimated availability: Essen 2014 (probably will be available via preorder through Stronghold Games)

Why am I interested: I like Vital's games as they unique and different from standard euros. I definitely plan on getting this one.
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6. Board Game: Kohle & Kolonie [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:1710]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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No US publishing plans as of yet

I have no good excuse for this; I didn't do the usual vetting process I like to do these days. I was presented with an opportunity to get a copy, I watched the BGG Booth video, looked at the board, considered the relative rarity, and jumped.

Perhaps it's because I was born in coal country (western PA) that coal games appeal to me so. In any case, I'll either have a game I like that's otherwise hard to get or should be able to move it on for what I paid or better.
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7. Board Game: Lewis & Clark [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:138]
Kurt R
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Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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Estimated Availability: December 2013 for preorders

Why am I interested: There's a lot going on this game that I really like b/w multi-use cards, deck building, and worker placement. My biggest concern is will it be AP heavy with all the permutations for people to consider on a turn? Fortunately, you only take one action at a time, but there's a lot to grok.

The card play is clever; you can play a card face up for the action it confers or face down for labor power. Cards played face up need labor power, so which card will you sacrifice this turn face down for labor? Like Concordia, you don't get played cards back until later. In addition to playing cards, you can recruit new cards into your deck, and there's a worker placement element to the board. Tough decisions as to take a card vs a w-p action, and cards you play can benefit opponents later. Seems you can go different paths for building your expedition vs making progress, and each game should be different due to how cards come out and a different setup.

Again, my only concern is it too much? How you play your cards is a tough decision plus their symbols may benefit opponents when they play their cards plus the w-p spaces plus collecting too much stuff slows you down. Yikes!

Still, I ordered b/c the price was $50 delivered with the bonus sheet of stickers for the resources (which seems like a good thing for this game that has a ton of components!). At the very least, I bet it's a good 3P game.
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8. Board Game: The Palaces of Carrara [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:532]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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Estimated availability: Doesn't look good. From the CSI website: Expected Release: Apparently never in the U.S. Not that there was official announcement or anything useful like that. And I'm not interested in a German version.

Why am I interested: Watched Rahdo's runthrough and there was something catchy about hunting for bargains in the market and then deciding which areas to focus on with buildings such that you can power them up via a king visit. Apparently, there's a nice arc to starting small but ending able to power up for a lot of money and VPs.
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9. Board Game: Rococo [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:196]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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Estimated Availability: Eagle Games preorder

Why am I interested: Takes up to 5P, slight deck hand building element to it, seems medium weight. Definitely a try-before-buy game, and I'll get to try next week at Euro Quest.
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10. Board Game: A Study in Emerald [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:593]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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Estimated Availability: December 2013

Why am I interested?: I read the updated rules, and I feel very excited for this one again. There are a lot of tweaks from the PnP rules in May, and they give me the impression of refinement based on playtesting.

First off, they nerfed the double agents; in hindsight they were too powerful. Second, they made two actions that were free actions now regular actions which feels cleaner and a tougher choice. The whole things feels cleaner, in fact. And I like that if you haven't yet scored any points, you cannot be killed, so it's up to you as to when to stick your neck out in the game. This is especially tricky as players now start with a card in hand that allows them to attack (Hired Assassin). Permanent effect cards do some seriously powerful stuff, like have you switch allegiances or nuke somebody's city (VPs), so there should different ways to squirm around obstacles.

It still seems like a lot, but the refinements give me confidence. I updated my player aid I had originally made in May and it was easier to make, which is a reflection of the new ruleset.
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11. Family: Animals: Dogs
Kurt R
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Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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GAMES I'VE REJECTED

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12. Board Game: Bruxelles 1893 [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:251]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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I have a soft spot in my heart for this city, so it get points merely for that, but so far I've heard comments that it's just a bunch of mechanisms that don't make sense thematically. I'm OK relying on those for now and putting this also in the NO category.
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13. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:14]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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I don't think I need to purchase this $80 game when I already have the very similar Agricola on my shelf. There very well may be improvements here, but I highly doubt I really need them considering I don't play 'Gric enough as it is.
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14. Board Game: Cornish Smuggler [Average Rating:5.98 Overall Rank:5874]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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Estimated Availability: Not sure

Why am I interested: I was initially drawn to the thematic aspect of the historicity to the rules, but after watching a video, I wonder if the "strategy" is driven by cards you draw secretly such that it's a pretty isolated game and overly dependent on card draws. Will get to try at Euro Quest next week.


The demo of Cornish Smuggler was abandoned as people didn't feel there was much of interest to do in the game. This on the heels of watching people abandon a play earlier in the day due to the extreme capriciousness of the cards. You spend a lot of time getting your goods somewhere they can be sold handsomely, and then two people play cards that blow that all up. There was gamer rage.

While I like the concept, I'm afraid I find the design to be yet another under-developed Kickstarter project that would've benefited from some constructive criticism. It commits one of my greatest gaming sins by having imbalanced aspects.

Getting goods onto your boat and then getting them on land and possibly transported somewhere for a handsome price all takes planning, time, and a bit of push-your-luck. But then somebody just flips a card and undoes all your work. Since the above board actions are mildly interesting (all the logistics) and the below board actions are simply frustrating and overpowered relative to the above board actions, there's little satisfying game space left.


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15. Board Game: Coal Baron [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:470]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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K&K used to be my boys, what with Tikal, but it looks like a standard worker placement game. Not interested in pursuing at this point.
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16. Board Game: Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:63] [Average Rating:7.76 Unranked]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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Estimated Availability: Probably 2Q or 3Q 2014 at the earliest actually, 1Q 2014

Why am I interested: My group enjoys Werewolf and The Resistance, and this game seems to put a fresh spin on that genre with secret individual goals vs overall group goals. Sort of coop, sort of secret role-to-victory. The zombie theme seems incidental to cross-incented group dynamic; that's what most interests me. Seems worth keeping an eye on.

Quote:
Dead of Winter is a meta-cooperative psychological survival game. This means players are working together toward one common victory condition — but for each individual player to achieve victory, he must also complete his personal secret objective. This secret objective could relate to a psychological tick that's fairly harmless to most others in the colony, a dangerous obsession that could put the main objective at risk, a desire for sabotage of the main mission, or (worst of all) vengeance against the colony! Certain games could end with all players winning, some winning and some losing, or all players losing. Work toward the group's goal, but don't get walked all over by a loudmouth who's looking out only for his own interests!
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17. Board Game: Francis Drake [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:331]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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Clearly inspired by Egizia and seems OK, but nothing inspires me to purchase either. Will play at Euro Quest if I can. Pass for now.
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18. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:210]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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Estimated Availability: 4Q 2014 for US

Why am I interested?: I like the interactive card play, and at 20-30 min per player, it fits a niche in my collection for shorter strategy games.


I found this one uninspiring to say the least. It was so bounded by limits that you could only do a little of this and a little of that such that it felt bland. The card play is reasonably interesting, but it needs to lead to a more satisfying conclusion. The game ends on turn 4 but could end a turn sooner or later with no significant difference in how your play pays off or not.

Funny, I went to read the comments to see if anyone else had found the game lacking, and I see my "love poem" to Glass Road I posted elsewhere on BGG, LOL. Ah, there's nothing quite like pure gamer rage, is there? Please to enjoy.

enzo622 in a nerd rage wrote wrote:
The game was so constrained a take on the euro as to be lifeless. To play on the "knife fight in a phone booth" analogy, it was a "spork fight in a school cafeteria" with ever present hall monitors to make sure nothing is getting out of hand. Young man, do you have more than 7 wood? Put 3 back! We never have more than 7 of anything here, young man!

The way the resource rondel works limits you to 3 glass/brick or 7 basic goods, and when you go up in one, you go down in the others. So, I increase my food which then makes all my other stuff go down. And yeah, I get that in theory I'm increasing my glass or bricks but once you max out, you're just lowering your other stuff. You'll see.

I went a "pond strategy" and was able to get a lot of sand and water if I wanted to. Then I got a VP building for 1 VP per 2 water. I had 5 water and could get 5 more, but 7 is the limit, of which only 6 will score for 3 points. And thus ends the Great Pond Strategy. Go to hell.

On the last turn, my decisions were like this: get a VP building to give me 1 VP per 1 wood. Oh nice, I have 5 wood! But I have to give up 2 wood (WTF?) and something else I can't recall but I think maybe a glass which is also a VP. Oh, let me find something else then. I can give up 1 point for 1.5 points or I can take this building that kicks me in the nuts and calls my mom a whore. What to do, what to do...

So while the card play is mildly interesting, the space for any kind of imaginative play has been bounded so rigidly as to suck the life out of it. It felt joyless. No, seriously, is this all there is? Between this and the re-implementation of Agricola, I seriously wonder if our boy Rosenberg has played his hand. Thanks, Uwe, it was a fun ride.
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19. Board Game: Keyflower: The Farmers [Average Rating:7.89 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.89 Unranked]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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I don't play Keyflower enough to add to it yet. Expansions must be earned!
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20. Board Game: Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:529]
Kurt R
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Is it fair to bang a game for not getting the title right? In any case, I didn't and investigated this one as fully as any other. The proper translation of the French title is to include the "the" they omitted. Anyway, I'm out on this one despite following it on BGG ever since it was called "The Nobles of Paris" (a name I prefer FWLIW).

I just don't have a strong enough level of confidence in the design for these reasons. 1) I've heard there's too much randomness not just with the cards (it's a card game, so OK) but actions you draw b/w ages, 2) Capoeirista's comments about the lack of parental traits being a missed opportunity on theme resonates strongly with me, and 3) I don't trust Portal game designs. The comments that resonate most strongly and I intuit I would echo are that the game is under-developed in terms of the worker placement spaces and the card powers.

I'll happily try this one, but I'm not confident enough about the design to purchase.


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21. Board Game: Madeira [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:300]
Kurt R
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Was completely bored by the video I watched. No thematic integration of the rules, and there didn't seem to be anything novel in terms of mechanism or combination thereof. An easy pass at this point.

OK, based on geekbuddy input, I've moved this from a Dog to a Horse.
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22. Board Game: Nations [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:96]
Kurt R
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Estimated Availability: Essen 2013 for Europe, probably 2014 for US

Why am I interested?: While I'm generally tired of the civilization genre (though I still enjoy TTA), this one seems a bit different. Instead of build up then destroy, you draft cards (including war cards) based on what will help you/hurt your opponents. It sounds like the emphasis here is on card drafting and the opportunity costs therein without the heavy emphasis on the military path that TTA has.


This one didn't impress. I get what the design was going for in terms of the tension of the card display in TtA, but reducing the game to that one element removes far too much. Furthermore, if you're going to tilt the game this heavily towards the card drafting, then the cards need to be far, far more differentiated so at to provide different paths. A good counter-example is Lewis & Clark that I also recently tried; there, the cards offer very different benefits and ways to go about your business. The cards in Nations were very mild upgrades and differences from previous ones. I also recorded these notes after my play:

-- You aren't rewarded for going down any particular path b/c all new cards must be paid for in full, so even though you have a military unit, that new one will cost you the same it costs a player who has no military. This is a huge diff from TtA, of course, and the result is, ostensibly, the flexibility to buy any card at any time and shift gears easily. The price for that is any sense of investment in your "civilization."

-- New cards that you acquire go anywhere, so I covered up a Wall with a Cathedral with Something Else I Don't Recall. As per above, I think they valued streamlining the game at the expense of any fiddliness but also streamlined the richness IMO.

-- The game boils down to the card drafting part of Tta. That part is certainly a lot of fun, but when it's the entire experience over 3+ hours, it gets samey.

-- There still is a heavy emphasis on military here which I thought was what they wanted to nerf from TtA? Military cards got drafted first due to the ability to raid and colonize as well as the ability to stay in first place so you could take more military cards. Raids are very beneficial in game boons, and colonies score at game end without having to be manned.

I mean, there's even more of a military slant in this game than TtA. At least let the player last in military go first, for heaven's sake! On a positive note, the war mechanism is quite clever.

Not a horrible game, but the response it evoked in my friend and I was that the game was a missed opportunity. It could have been a quicker alternative to TtA when you don't have the time or don't want to go that deep. But it occupies that dreaded middle ground; may as well just play TtA with experienced players in roughly the same amount of time.
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23. Board Game: Rockwell [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1965]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
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Pass for now. Don't like the way they abstracted the mining. Clever in its own way, but not appealing to me. However, I will get to try a friend's copy.
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24. Board Game: Russian Railroads [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:67]
Kurt R
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Pass. The one part of 18XX I quite like is the new train technology that rusts the old engines. That's some nice player interaction right thar', and I thought this game might be bringing it to a boardgame. However, it seems too watered down into a Feldian point salad affair. 7 rounds and 350+ points is not uncommon. I prefer games where I take intermediary actions to get points rather than just grab 40-50 every turn.
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25. Board Game: Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:274] [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked]
Kurt R
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Estimated Availability: Some time in 2014

Why am I interested: I play in a monthly thematic/cooperative game group, and we all seem to particularly favor things of an eldritch nature, so this is worth keeping an eye on for us.


OK, I did a driveby on this one and wrote the following elsewhere on BGG:

First, while I like my theme, my modicum for interesting gameplay is probably higher than other players, so move-explore-roll for skill test/fight doesn't cut it for me like it used to, and that's what I see here. I'm greatly enjoying the Gears of War coop game for the decisions I have with my cards -- how they synergize with the other players' cards and how they represent my life points.

But what I'm seeing here (admittedly from not a lot of information) is a basic system that offers little to no innovation in the coop/dungeon crawl genre. Seems you roll for the darkness, roll to move your character, then have an encounter which may result in a skill test or a fight. Fights are initiative based with dice as the arbiter. You win or get KO'd. If you win, you get Loot. Repeat.

I don't mind light if the system involves a campaign and leveling up; see Pathfinder. But while I find the Pathfinder game rather light, at least the cards offer interesting decisions. I'm not seeing the decisions here. Just a lot of dice rolling.

I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, I had the KS page all lined up with the Outlaw pledge ready to go, but I needed to read something about the gameplay and found the page I linked above. Just an FYI for other likeminded people searching for something beyond all the stuff.
 
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