New to you Aug 09 => Best new game you played this month and why
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What's the best new game you played this month (August 09) and why? Share your experiences of the new games you've played this month.

It would be helpful, if you could add an entry to the list even if you pick the same game as someone else.. since I use the geeklist entries to compile the summaries. Thanks

The Meta List - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/28741
(with summaries)

Forum Subscription thread - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/297188

Most Played Game - www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/45747
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1. Board Game: Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:511]
Andy
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It turned out to be a pretty good month for new games and expansions... although some of the games I played for the first time, I would be happy never to play ever again, I also played some really good new games... particularly Maharaja and Ra Dice game.. the 2 from which I had to pick my best new game...

GAMES

Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India
1 play


This one has been around for a few years, and for some reason the theme and the pictures I'd seen of the game just put me off... however I had chance to play it this month and was quite surprised. To be honest I felt the theme was very pasted on, but that was actually fine because the game mechanisms themselves were pretty good, and the game was something of a brain burner.
It's an area control game, with an element of pickup and deliver, and where the regions get scored in a predetermined order that can be changed during the game, and all information is open, other than players money, so the only unknowns are what your opponents are actually going to do on their turn. Although there is some strategic element, I found the game to be quite a short-term tactical one, as the order of the governors changed. One element of this I found frustrating was that the turn order can change mid round, if anyone takes the swap roles action, which can really mess with your plans.
thumbsupthumbsup


Ra: The Dice Game
4 plays


I picked this up a few weeks ago, and had not managed to get it played, until late on the 28th... then I also managed to fit in a few 2 player games with my brother this weekend... I was very impressed by this die-roller which is (of course) a yahtzee style spin off, which using the scoring from Ra... My first game was with 3 other people who had played Ra, but did not really like it... however they loved the dice game. My brother however preferred Ra (saying it's more 'meaty'), but thought the dice game was pretty good too, and it played very quick.
thumbsupthumbsup


Free Trader
Free Trader
1 play


Only 1 play so far of this print and play solo sci-fi trading game, but I can definitely see me playing this one again... amazing what can be created with a deck of cards and a few tokens... the rules took a few attempts to get straight, and I was particular confused during my first encounter with pirates as I burned through the deck constantly tying with them.. such that I only had a few turns before the end of the first 'month' of trading.
thumbsupthumbsup


Cloud 9
Cloud 9
1 play


Another game I'd heard about but never had chance to play... a fun and very light push yer luck card and dice game... Wild cards definitely seem to be the key to scoring big... the winner had played 2 wilds, and I came in second having played 1. Good fun though, and one that I may consider for my lunchtime gaming group.
thumbsup

Excape
Excape
1 play


Another new one I played this last week... and another quite fun push yer luck game... this time you gamble that others aren't going to choose a lower step with better dice before you get your next turn. Light and fun, with a small element of screwage, but a bit repetitive after a while.
thumbsup


Catan Dice Game Plus
Catan Dice Game Plus
1 play


I bought the German edition of the catan dice game when it came out, and had played the basic game a few times... I decided to give the game another try using the Plus version (with some non-gaming friends who like Settlers).. I thought the additional rules were very good, and definitely made the game feel more like settlers (though without the trading naturally). It went down ok with my friends, but they too commented on the lack of trading.
thumbsup

Beowulf: The Legend
Beowulf: The Legend
1 play


This game is definitely up for the "Holy Shit! Auctions" award... The game is a series of auctions with a pasted on theme based on the epic poem of Beowulf. The good thing about the auctions in this game is that you aren't really bidding on anything, so don't have to guage what it's worth... you're basically bidding for the order in which players choose rewards from those available... plus the player that comes last becomes the start player until the next auction, which can be beneficial. It did seem quite easy to get into a pissing war when there were only a few players left in, thereby pissing away good cards that you could've saved for alter auctions. The risk element was quite nice too, though... so even if you had nothing really to bid with, you could try flipping a few cards off the deck and hope you got something that matched. Interesting, but not one I'll rush to play again.
thumbsup


6 Tage Rennen
6-Tage Rennen
1 play

 

A card driven racing game in which you have to finish your regular move on the same space as another player, in order to double your movement... with several doubles required to actually finish the course. I was actually pretty unimpressed with the game... I guess it was an interesting mechanism, but I really felt the game needed more. In our game, a few people took the gamble to land exactly on the exchange space, and swap all their remaining start cards for a random selection of other cards... these people got well and truly stuffed, and several didn't finish the race.
thumbsdown

Golfmania
GolfMania
3 plays


I really wanted to like this game... it is a light and fun card driven game, with plenty of chance for screwage... and seemed like it would be ideal for my lunchtime group... however we just found the game to be too chaotic and a bit formless.. It will possibly see more play, and maybe we get more used to it, but it did not go down brilliantly the first few times we tried it.
thumbsdown

Clue - Card game
Clue: The Card Game
1 play


I gave this as a gift to a non-gaming friend who I know likes Cluedo and other more traditional games... It turned out to be quite a good variation on the game... It basically had very similar deduction mechanisms, except that you didn't have to roll and move to get between the different locations. Interesting, but it's still Cluedo.
thumbsdown

Are you the Traitor?
Are You the Traitor?
1 play


This got brought out at the end of one of our weekly games session... we palyed with 8, and I have to say I would be happy if I never had to play this game ever again... ordinarily I quite like hidden role games, such as saboteur, however this has absolutely no mechanisms for determining the traitor other than talking... the games I like always have some other mechanisms that often give you clues to the players identity... I can see how this might work as an exercise for drama students, but as a game I thought it totally sucked!
thumbsdownthumbsdown

EXPANSIONS


Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm
1 play

This expansion takes an above average euro dice game and makes it really good... The soldier chits totally change the battle at the end of each year, and probably should have been in the original game... the new building sheets are excellent, as are the character cards and event cards... We didn't play with the building overlays, but I imagine they make the game more interesting and add quite a bit of re-playability.
thumbsupthumbsup

Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium
4 plays

Was finally able to break out this new RFTG expansion, and had a really good time with it... it adds some interesting new ideas (though we didn't play with Takeovers), and lots of variability in the cards that you get during a game... Although I must confess to looking at some of the basic cards and thinking "I've never seen that one before!!"
thumbsupthumbsup

Galaxy Trucker: The Big Expansion
1 play

Not exactly a new expansion... although this was the first time we'd played with the new Ship Boards 1A and 2A... we had good fun with the new ships and I would certainly recommend giving them a try if you've played the basic set quite a bit... they are quite a bit harder.
thumbsupthumbsup
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2. Board Game: PitchCar Mini [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:1019]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Well, not too bad for new games this month. I got to try a couple at a gameday, so that was nice. I'm not knocking games off my unplayed list quite fast enough for my taste, but still I'm having fun. Hopefully, Labor Day weekend will help me get a few more unplayed games off of my list.



1 = PitchCar Mini - After watching the final lap of one game I was cheering and congratulating the racers on their great shots. When they asked if I wanted in on the next game I jumped at the chance. Despite my awful start and the fact that I got lapped at one point, I managed to finish in 3rd place. I had so much fun with this game and now it's raced up my wishlist. I've never played the full-size version but I like the fact that the whole track for this one fit on a normal-size table and was setup and torn down in about 2 minutes tops. Because of that I think I might prefer this version myself. I know my family, friends, and especially the youth will love this game. I must get a copy soon!



11 = Niagara - I wasn't sure if I should trade for this game, but it looked really nice and with a shorter playtime I thought it might suit my family. Well, it seems there is a really nice design under all that chrome. We had a lot of fun with this as we slowly started to discover what strategies would work well. I suspect that this is one that we will be playing in our family for quite awhile. It's not overly complex, but it has enough fun mechanics to keep things interesting. And I can't imagine anyone disliking the way the river flows.



21 = Fast Flowing Forest Fellers - I've never been a huge fan of race games, but this one was really interesting. The simplicity of the rules doesn't really show you just how complex some of these boards can be, and I like that. I also like that you can adjust the complexity and game length based on which boards you choose to use. Shoving around other players and logs is fun, and some of the boards can really set a player way back simply by the chain reactions you start rolling. I can see some potential for analysis-paralysis, but I still might want to get a copy eventually to play with my family.



22 = Animalia - This game didn't start out too well. Rikki was completely annoyed in the first round, but once everyone understood what was going on, it seemed to flow well. It's a strange game. I've described the feel of playing this game as Fairy Tale played with all cards face-up. It seemed like there was more strategy there, so I'm definitely going to investigate the game further before passing a final judgement. The one big downfall was simply the fact that the game does not include enough medals for a 6-player game. We were forced to do hand calculations on the final round to make sure that we didn't mess up the points for anyone since we couldn't actually pass out the medals that were needed.
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3. Board Game: Torres [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:408]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
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As usual, most of the ratings are after one play only. Pictures by myself.

Torres
An old-time classic and SdJ winner that I haven’t tried before. I did like Kramer-Kiesling’s Tikal and I’m not sure if I don’t like it even more. It’s a bit even less thematic though (actually it feels like a classic abstract spiced up with some cards) so I’m a bit afraid it won’t hit the table enough if I buy it, therefore I’m still thinking about it.
8


Le Havre
As I still haven’t played the current top 2 games of BGG my opinion might be irrelevant on Le Havre as it certainly uses quite many important features of Agricola and Puerto Rico as well. But having played San Juan, Cuba, Caylus, Caylus Magna Carta (and others like Stone Age, Power Grid and even Keythedral) I just could not find a single new idea, a little new mechanism in Le Havre and I missed that. I also think in the first some games it is quite a big problem that you have to look around at the table reading the texts of everyone’s cards to know what those do; also as you have some dozens of possible actions in the end, it can get very long and very AP-prone. Contrary all these complaints, I really enjoyed my first 4-player game that lasted 190 minutes.
7.5


Army of Frogs
While John Yianni’s Hive was a hexagonal tile-laying Chess-like game, Army of Frogs is more a hexagonal tile-laying Checkers-like game, and as so, it’s definitely lighter than the previous title. It is an abstract strategy game that is not good for beginners (they will find the luck of draw too much, just look at the comment that says ‘my brother got 8 pieces on the board, while I only had 5. Guess who one?’ – in my experience whatever tiles you draw you will almost always continue gaming until everyone gets all their 10 tiles on the table). Maybe it’s also not good for those who are true experts in abstracts as there might be some deadlock problems in the end and if everyone plays ‘perfectly’, the game might go on until someone intentionally makes a bad move just to finish the game. Not being an expert nor a beginner, I liked it.
7


FITS
Warning: you might be disappointed after reading so many rave reviews here at the geek and at the new to you lists. Actually I was a bit disappointed after my first play (I bought FITS just the moment it arrived in the shop) but I liked my second and third one. It is really ‘multiplayer solitaire’ and part of the fun comes from waiting for the right tiles and hearing everyone cursing fate when these just don’t want to show up, so I think it is better with more than two. Also as it’s only 50% Tetris and it’s 50% Knizia, there are some nice risk management issues (this game just wouldn’t work if you didn’t have the chance to leave some tiles out) which are important when playing multiplayer. Especially on the 4th board you can take risk if you see you need that for beating the player with the most points or might choose not to take risk if you are far ahead the others. The game is a 7 for me, but I am still wondering if it could have been made more interactive (see http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/434948).


Merchants
It was fun to play Handelsfürsten the same day we played Le Havre: more or less the same theme, but on different ends of the complexity scale. Handelsfürsten is basically a bare-bones stock market game with a nice and simple mechanism and the usual Knizia dilemma: you always want more possibilities than you have (here you would like to get more special cards than it is reasonable for winning, also you might want to get more ships to be able to be prepared for others’ actions).
A weak 7


CubiCup
For some reason this abstract game was marketed as something very unique here, a game that ‘is well known abroad, only we, Hungarians don’t know about this great Hungarian design’; I have also checked its website where the designer explains how he had found ('invented') this very special pyramidal form and how he had to find the rules for the form in more than a year… and I hate this way of marketing. I just think they do it as they think (and are mostly right) that an average Hungarian doesn’t know a lot about board games and abstracts. This game is only an nth Spiel-version (n>100); a Gigamic game also looked like CubiCup (Inside, but well that was really published later so doesn't count) and another one had rules with a similar feel (Pylos) but still had more replayability. By the way, this game is not *bad*, it’s just simple, and even during our first and only play I felt it can quite possibly be rather easily solved.
A weak 6


Speed Krysis
Not really a new game, but a new variant: I have played Speed Krysis, a variant of Krysis that will be included in the Hungarian rulebook but not in the English or German version (you will find the rules at the home page) with the designer. I did a kind of 'final playtest' of it the day before the final version of the rule book was closed. It’s a fast and straightforward 2-player game of tactics and logic (maybe it's even more for me than the original which is more complex and for most of the players more interesting), it plays in about 10 minutes and is quite different from the original (no board, no Bank, no relicts, no white crystals, no special cards…). It’s like Knizia’s variant on Krysis (maybe not with a huge replayability but you might play it some dozens of times before it becomes a game of ONLY second guessing); I like it but won’t rate it.

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4. Board Game: Endeavor [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:202]
Steve K
United Kingdom
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August is often a relatively quiet month - no conventions to attend, and people taking holidays. I still managed a few new games though...

Picking a single 'best new game' is tricky, despite having only played 6 new games plus 2 new expansions. We enjoyed all the games (bar one), so there was plenty of competition but the games were quite diverse. Endeavor gets the final vote because it's actually available (just about), not an expansion, and with simple rules that disguise quite a meaty game.

Endeavor (1 play) Treated as a learning game, with many fundamental implications & repercussions only becoming apparent as the game progressed (in particular, the rule requiring you to have a certain amount of presence in a region before drawing cards wasn't factored in until it was too late). Numerous echoes of older games (Goa, Taj Mahal, Puerto Rico) but Endeavor also feels different. All the bits were a little larger than I'd expected - in a nice way. Keen to try again soon.

Palastgeflüster (2 plays) Great little game where you're always torn between planning to go out and planning to stay in, and then another player comes along and completely messes up your plans anyway. Perhaps the potential for lasting a bit longer than it should.

At the Gates of Loyang (1 play) Single 3-player prototype play. Producing goods, selling to customers, then buying VP. While Le Havre felt like Agricola (but different) this actually felt more of a descendent of Antiquity (an acknowledged influence on Agricola) since your 'income' was basically goods harvested each round. Loyang has no worker placement. What it does have is a number of interesting mechanics that seem novel variants on familiar mechanics, but they combine to create a tight game of developing goods-generating streams, drafting cards to create trade/special action/customer abilities, then striving to satisfy the demand you’ve created to earn cash which you have to convert into VP on an ongoing basis. This is a definite purchase when it's released at Essen.

La Città (1 play) Only a single 2-player game so far, which probably doesn't show it at it's best, but I'm hoping to play with more ASAP.

Ra: The Dice Game (4 plays) Scoring from Ra, dice rolls (& re-rolls) from Yahtzee. This works really well - you’re always competing with other players.

Gem Dealer (1 play) Shiny bits! From this game I've learned: never trust a game where the box has a great big hole in it to show people with limited imagination the shiny bits inside. Never trust a game where the manufacturers think you should put the rules under the insert rather than on top because if you put the rules on top all you can see through the big hole in the box is the rules rather than the shiny bits the manufacturer wants you to see. The game itself is a bid-for-Shiny Bits card game, with much determined by the luck of the draw (yup, I never saw a 7 let alone a 10). It feels a little like Taj Mahal with everything removed, but shiny bits added. The shiny bits really don't compensate for everything that was removed. Did I mention it has shiny bits? My copy cost half MSRP. Think how I'd feel if I paid full price.

Expansions

Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm (2 plays) We used all modules. The new player building mats added a couple of interesting rows. I eventually started making good use of the top row, converting 1 wood & 1 stone for 5 gold every summer. These building mats are bigger, and were a bit more difficult to accommodate on our table. The character cards and annual event cards added an interesting level of shared and individual variety, but the real hit for us were the battle discs - suddenly, you can't rely on the King’s soldiers to give you an easy early game, you’ve got to do a bit of work yourself.

Tribune Expansion (2 plays) I finally gave up waiting for an English edition, and bought a German copy, and I'm glad I did. I guess there are two main elements to this expansion: the first is predictable: additional places to send your workers (extra objectives, special powers). The second is surprising: a sixth player is added, but plays the game totally differently to the other players, despite aiming for the same objectives.

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5. Board Game: Formula D [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:429]
除名山 蔵芽戸
Japan
Sendai
Miyagi
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This month all of us in our game group have gone Ga-Ga for Formula D. I bought the base game and all the new tracks that are available at this point. We have started a league in which we are all pretending to be one of the actual teams--like when you'd play backyard football when your were little and called that you get to be Joe Montana or Tony Dorsett. We plan on racing on 6 different tracks and keeping score. Then once we get all the kinks out we will probably start over. Next time though I want to paint some custom cars and make up our own team names though! I've been meaning to start a geeklist about our league but have been to lazy lately.

Vroom vroom!!
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6. Board Game: Ra: The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1120]
Sheamus Parkes
United States
Carmel
Indiana
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Woohoo! GenCon! Lotsa new stuff.

THE GREAT

Ra: The Dice Game - This is just a great dice roller. It plays fast with many interesting decisions. It also keeps that Ra flavor. If you like dice at all, you owe it to yourself to try this one.

Endeavor - Another amazing hit from GenCon. I wrote a big review with all my thoughts. Mainly though, this really does play as fast as Puerto Rico, and we haven't seen that many meaty games do that in many years (Yes Agricola, I'm looking at your 2+ hour play time.)


THE GOOD

Kachina - Man, I should have bought this. Sorry Scott! The play was interesting and it was easy to pick up on all the special tiles. It's a little tactical and opportunistic, but it's not a long game so I forgive that easily. Plays 2-5 and has plenty of interesting decisions. Awesome components too BTW.

Dixit - Jury is still out only because I played like 5 turns of this. Really rewards creativity. I can't see playing all the way through the deck in a sitting however. Maybe just to 30 points?

Zombiegeddon - Yea, this is a keeper. With horrible graphics. I'm probably going to break down, buy it, and then make labels with acceptable differentiation to play again.


THE OKAY

Sylla - Just takes a long time to explain it. And the 2 games I played felt similar even though many different things happened and I tried really different strategies. Still, I owe it another try.

10 Days in the USA - It does what it set out to do. It teaches geography in a fun way. I was amazed how much of the game was in the initial draw though.

Maori - I do have to try this again for steve's sake. It just didn't have that punch and wow for me. It was cute and enjoyable, but mostly it just felt the same the whole way through.

Tinners' Trail - Only borderline okay. The VP Purchase boxes are stupid. The money track is stupid. The anticlimactic last turn with horrible prices is stupid. The rest of the game is excellent. That averages out to okay right?

Space Junkyard - So parts of it are there. But then other parts are just cold calculation. If you don't get the capacity you need, then some parts are just impossible to use. It leaves a very sour taste in the mouth.

Small World - This is a good dudes on a map game. I don't really like dudes on a map games. The graphics are cute, but determining ownership is a bitch.


THE BAD (Man, doesn't bad sound harsh?)

Finca - So drab and boring. Why should I play this? I mean really? Is there anything to grab you at all?!?

Cir*Kis - Not Blokus. Let me repeat. NOT BLOKUS. You know those first couple turns in Metropolys? The ones where it feels like noone is in control? Well repeat those over and over and you get this. Oh, and don't forget the constant hunt to figure out what stinking piece can fit where.

Scarab Lords - How many phases? What are they labeled? What the hell am I trying to do? Didn't I just take that back from you? Gah I dislike tug of war games.

Galaxy's Edge - Well isn't that pretty much multiplayer Chess. I wanted some hoozah and some fighting. Instead I got methodical plotting. Not at all what I signed up for.

New World: A Carcassonne Game - Did they just hire the rules out to a 3rd grader? So many unanswered questions. Such unsatisfying game play. Avoid this. Play Carcassonne.
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7. Board Game: Automobile [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:323]
 
♪ Isaäc Bickërstaff ♫
United States
Greer
South Carolina
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Thanks to attending Game Fest South this month, I had a chance to play a lot of new games, many of which I had been wanting to learn/try for a few months. I missed out on learning some of my other unplayed Wallace games (which I've discovered are easier to learn from someone else than from the rules), but I got to try a lot of buzz games while I was there. Luckily, much of what I played in August was pretty good, so let's just get right to the recap, OK?


NEW GAMES

Automobile thumbsup thumbsup

 


About a year ago, I made a decision to not rate any new game I play higher than a 7, regardless of how much I liked it. This, I figured, was a good way to combat the "Cult of the New" rating creep. Automobile, though, has prompted me to temporarily suspend my standards in order to give it the rating it deserves. I figure an 8 rating is a good way to show how impressive the game is, and how much I expect to keep liking it. I haven't felt this stoked about playing a game again since my first game of Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization. It's a simple game to learn (it's only four turns and twelve actions long), and the economic engine is easy to see and understand (it's pretty likely that everyone will show a profit each turn), but in that short amount of game time, you will have a lot of tough choices to make. The game is about timing, and knowing when to pick which action on a turn, or when to make a push for a higher-tech car, is where the heart of the game lies. There's a significant amount of turn angst, too, since the three actions you get per turn are very limiting, because what you really want are about four or five actions. Because the board is static, I thought after my first game that there might be a chance for the first turn to be very scripted, but the randomly-drawn demand tiles, and the corollary loss cubes and progressive penalty payments players will have to make, will probably keep those possibilities in check. All I know is that this is my second-favorite Martin Wallace game, and my favorite game of the month. In fact, I'm so confident that it's my favorite game of the month that I'm writing this on the 17th, because I doubt this is going to change before the end of August.

Valdora thumbsup



Michael Schacht, like Martin Wallace, is a game designer I pay attention to. Now, like Martin, Michael has his misses (Hispaniola, anyone?), but when he hits the mark, he hits it well. Web of Power and Hansa (and even Drive) are games that look a little simple, even dull, on the surface, but the more you play them, the more they reveal a lot of depth beneath the simplistic rules. Valdora is another game along those lines, and the clever way of moving, collecting stuff, and delivering goods elevates the game above the other standard "yet another Euro" fare. The books and the gems, as well as the artwork, make the game attractive when in play, enough to get people to get interested in it, but it's the gameplay that I think will keep them playing it more. The movement is reminiscent of Hansa, only without the mechanism where you want to leave the ship in a place that doesn't help the next player. I really enjoy the game, and recommend it to folks who still enjoy a good, solid Euro.

Marrakech thumbsup



Whenever I see a new game from Zoch, I always figure that it's another kids' game. I don't think I ever dismiss the games out of hand for that reason alone (O Zoo le Mio kicked my big round butt the first time I played it), but I don't usually pay a ton of attention to them. Suleika was one that passed beneath my radar until I found it on sale, and during a weekend when my niece was in town, I pulled it out, thinking it would be an easy game. WHOA NELLY was I wrong. There's a lot of thought that needs to go into this game. Really, the game is about tile placement (even though you're placing little carpets), since you score points at the end of the game equal to the number of half carpets showing of your color. The rules talk about moving the shopkeeper, and getting coins from other players when you can force someone to land on carpets of your color, but that's just a balancing mechanism for the fact that you WANT to lead the shopkeeper into your opponents' regions to cover up their carpets. The die keeps things a little random, but not horribly so. It adds a risk/reward system to the otherwise abstract game. Don't let the publisher fool you; this is very thinky game.

Le Havre thumbsup



The worker placement/goods collecting/building new stuff mechanisms make this game a clear successor to Agricola, but how similar are they, really? Agricola has a pretty clear engine hiding beneath the mechanisms, so you get a pretty good idea of how to play the game the first time through. Le Havre's engine is a little more hidden, if only because the cards are more necessary for getting a good engine running than they are in Agricola, and it probably takes a play to get a good sense of how the cards relate, and how to develop a strategy based on them. The game is certainly in the same lineage, but it's hard to compare the games fairly. The worker placement is much more limited, with a higher inherent screwage factor, since no one is required to move their marker off the building (though they will hurt themselves, as well, by doing so). I think the game will be more satisfying, in the long run, but the first time through can be a little difficult. If understanding the game from the first play was a little easier to get, then I would rank this game a bit higher. In fact, once I learn the cards and get a better sense of how all the different actions inter-relate, I expect this would get rated about the same as Agricola. I don't think I would ever choose to play one over the other, though, because the games, while similar, feel very different during play.

Xactika thumbsup



I like trick-taking games, and I used to own this game, many moons ago. Why is it that I've never played this game? I don't know, but I'm glad I had the opportunity this month to give it a go. It's very weird, and at the beginning of the game, I had this idea that setting the trick at a high number of shapes was a good strategy. Later in that same game, one of my opponents set the trick at a small number of shapes, and I got locked out of it. It was then that I understood how to read the card that showed the distribution of the shapes, and realized how to start leading the tricks. About halfway through the game, I also realized how, if you can get the lead early enough, you can lead the rest of the game by setting the trick at the same number of shapes, providing that you have the cards to pull it off. It's neat, and it takes a little getting used to, but I really liked it. I'm a little put off by the fact that you don't deal out the entire deck, except with 10 players (holy cow!), but since it's hard to determine the different suits and distribution intuitively, it probably isn't that big of a deal. There's also a nice hosage possibility, as there is in Sticheln and Sluff Off!, in that you can either choose to take a trick, or choose to stick someone else with it, because either way, it could benefit you. I can't see myself playing this with more than 5 people, but I would certainly play it again.

The Powerpuff Girls: Villains at Large Game thumbsup



OK, so, this is a licensed game that doesn't suck. It's not on the level of Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit or Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, but it's still a decent little game that you can play to pass the time with nieces and nephews (or sons and daughters). The "Alhambra Lite" comments are accurate, I guess, but it took me a while to make that connection, because the game seems to have a different form of interaction buried beneath the cutesy artwork. See, you have to play the appropriate character card to activate one of the PPGs, and to defeat the villains, you have to have control of one of the PPGs, and play cards of that character that beat the strength of the villains. This means that the card you spend to gain control could go toward beating a stronger villain, if you decide to wait a turn to see what happens. Do you take control, or hold onto the card for a later turn? And then there are the times where you want to take control of one of the PPGs, just to force your opponent to have to get her back on his next turn. It's interesting. I mean, it's still a card game, meaning that you have to hope to draw the cards that will help you (and there are two cards that will draw out the end of the game, but some BGGers suggest taking out the "Villain Escapes!" cards), but for a thrift-store find at 99 cents, you'll get your money's worth out of it, without having to scrap it for parts. A quick re-theme would get more non-children to play the game, but there's an additional level of fun to be had by having a group of stubbly-faced, overweight men in their 30s playing a game based on a children's cartoon.

Metropolys thumbsup



Here we have a neat idea for a game, where the story behind the game (the designer saw an illustration in the rules for Goa, misinterpreted what it meant, and then built an entire game around that misinterpretation) is as interesting as the game itself. There are some nice choices to make during the auctions, since the game is essentially a territorial enclosure game, but choosing which piece to bid with is important, too. You can try to force people to build in such a way as to guarantee a space for you, but since you have to continue your bid in an adjacent area to the one begun, it can be tricky to figure out just where to start. As such, it's a little brain-bendy, and can run a little bit long, well past its expected table time (I believe the box says 30 minutes, but that's a lie). There are random goals in play, so there's also a deduction element to the game, though it's not the primary way to play (I didn't even try to figure out what other folks were doing, and still placed second). I do think the game is best with four, since with fewer players you remove regions, making extra dead-end corners on the board that just make more opportunities for someone to build into an uncontested region. Also, play with the advanced rules, where the heights of the pieces become important, if you're going to try it. Be aware, though, that the artwork is HIDEOUS; it's too busy, too hard to interpret, and hurts the eyes. There was one space on the board that we couldn't identify as a particular type, because the designers tried too hard to make it thematic. Why they didn't go with something simpler is beyond me.

Steam thumbsup thumbsdown



You have to understand how hard it is for me to put something Age of Steam-related beneath a card game based on the Powerpuff Girls. It just doesn't seem RIGHT, but ultimately, I realize that Standard Steam, as close as it is to my favoritest game of all time, isn't that game, and it's impossible to judge this game by itself, because it is a direct relation to Age of Steam. It still feels a little bit like Age of Steam, but the changes are enough to make me not like it as much. The production rule is definitely an improvement, since it allows players to project their turns out a bit more, but it seems much more limiting here than in Age of Steam. The income/VP tracks that replace the income/share tracks seem fiddlier, and it means that your strategy has to change, since you're never fully solvent in this game. Maybe it works as a catch-up mechanism here, but really, I'm just guessing. I didn't like the feel of it all. The way to calculate track costs, though, I did like. I always prefer a simpler rule, and counting the exits out of a hex is easier than remembering replacement rules that differ depending on what you build. I had the chance to play Standard Steam and Basic Steam this month, and, oddly, if I have to play Steam, I would prefer to play the basic game. I don't like that a lot of the tension is wound right out of the game by removing the turn order auction, but the game does move faster, and the building/delivering phase of the game is very much like the original game. I guess I might use Steam to lure someone in to playing Age of Steam, but the differences, though small, make a big difference in how the game plays out. If I want to play something LIKE Age of Steam, why not just play Age of Steam?

Space Alert thumbsup thumbsdown



I'm waffling on where to place this with the other games on this month's list of new games. On the one hand, I think there's something interesting in the game that could be learned well enough to be good at it. On the other hand, I'm not sure how I feel about a real-time game of crisis management, where the moves have to be programmed in such a way that if you screw up one step along the way, then the whole game goes to hell. Since four different players are attempting to work together to avert the crisis, you now have to worry about other people than just yourself when trying to plan for the crises. I like RoboRally, but if someone else screws up, it only affects that person, and it doesn't cost the players the game. I think the risk factor is too high, and I wonder if it's beatable, at least for me. That being said, the game is unique, and I think that there is a way to learn how to plan for the different crises. I'll hold on to it for now, but I think my expectations for the game may have been too high.

Lost Cities: The Board Game thumbsup thumbsdown



Compared to Keltis, this artwork is horrible. It's too busy, too difficult to see at a glance who's ahead where, and it borders on garish. In addition, the point values are unnecessarily increased, though at least there, I can understand the reasons. In fact, I can understand why Rio Grande wanted to completely re-brand the game: Folks will buy something if it's like something they know they already like. So I can more or less forgive those changes. What I don't understand is why they chose to remove the rule that you can play a series of cards from high-to-low. It increases the chances of being able to compete in the races for tiles, and since that race for tiles is so important, why change it? It's something the players can easily house-rule back into the game, but it's confusing to me. For me, though, I'm glad that I bought Keltis, since it's the more appealing game, by comparison.

Shear Panic thumbsup thumbsdown



I'm a little torn on this one, for a couple of reasons. One is the die. This is a nice, brain-burning exercise of placement and anticipation, but then you throw in a die that can muck up all your plans. It seems like an odd contribution to an otherwise perfect-information game. It's still somewhat manageable, since you can plan your moves to get around the spaces that force you to roll the die, and maybe that's the reason it's there at all, to force you into a risk/reward situation. The other is that these kinds of games frustrate me, because I can spend several minutes thinking up the perfect move, but then once I execute it, the board looks totally different from what I expected it to look like, and now I've placed myself in possibly the worst position EVAR (I call this the YINSH syndrome). Still, I really like YINSH, and the strategy required of this game intrigue me enough to want to play it again, though maybe just with two players this time around. For one, there would be less chaos between turns, and for another, there would be two dead colors on the board to help you manipulate your own pieces into position.

Diamonds Club thumbsdown



Every so often, a game comes along that grabs a lot of people's interest, generates a lot of buzz, and makes me think I have to have it. This happened with Canal Mania, and I was sorely disappointed with it, so while I haven't become a little more hesitant about buying games without having played them before, I'm at least doing more research on the front end to make sure they're something I like. I almost bought Diamonds Club a few months back, and I'm glad I didn't. There are some neat elements here (most notably, the purchasing mechanism), but the game is essentially one where you collect sets of something, to collect sets of something, to collect sets of something. It's just not very exciting, not engaging, and nothing that feels particularly new. I guess if you really like Euros, this might appeal to you, but right now, I just don't get it. It seems very, very dull.

Sherwood Forest thumbsdown



Sometimes, you can look at a game and think, "THIS is the mechanism that the designer first came up with, and the rest of the game was built around it." In Sherwood Forest, I think that the whole "second player to place his people on the board goes first next round" mechanism was what inspired the game. It's really a neat mechanism, and it forces you to be a little conservative when placing your folks on the board. There's a nice screwage factor in the game, too, since you can watch a group plan a great ambush of the sheriff, and then send a monk that way first, forcing them to jump out and waste all their time for almost nothing. Pulling off a move like that is satisfying. Unfortunately, the rest of the game is like a Reese's peanut butter cup commercial: "You got negotiation in my worker placement!"; "You got worker placement in my negotiation!" A peanut butter cup, though, is tasty, and this isn't. It's just dull, lifeless, and uninteresting beyond those two minor points. Given that the game can take over an hour, depending on negotiations, it just lasts too long, and I get very little out of it during that time. Bleah.


NEW EXPANSIONS

Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm thumbsup thumbsup



I've said before that the best game expansions are those that add a little something extra to the base game, without turning it into something totally different (this is part of the reason why I dislike Saint Petersburg: The Banquet). The Kingsburg expansion adds five modules, none of which change up the base game too too much, so I'm pleased with it. If I had to rank the modules in order of preference, it would probably be Soldier Coins (I probably wouldn't play this with the die any more, unless everyone else insisted on it) > Fate Deck (I like that it forces you to adapt to certain conditions each year) > Character Cards (bonuses no one else can use are nice, until what someone else has is what you want) > Replacement Rows (I'm too used to the base mat to want to make any changes to them at this time) > Extra Rows (neither of the two new rows work well into the strategies I like to use in play), but we played a game with all of the modules, and they seemed to work fairly well together. I also have to give FFG credit for designing an expansion that didn't include extra creatures into the battle deck, since those of us who own the original Elfinwerks edition have different cards.

Last Night on Earth: Growing Hunger thumbsup



Near the end of last year, I played this game with a guy who was far more interested in playing the zombie master than he was in teaching the game to the new players (no joke: He said, "Here's the card showing you what to do on your turn. You'll pick it up as we go along," and that was about it). It was a dreadful experience, and I vowed never to play it again. While at Game Fest South, a buddy suggested I try it again, saying that it wasn't fair to blame the game for having a bad teacher, and I'm glad he convinced me to do it. It was like Arkham Horror, only with one player controlling the cultists. The game lasted all 17 turns (my first game lasted 2), and it was a great ride, especially when the game came down to the final roll on the final turn, and we needed to roll a natural 6 to win. Literally, it meant the game; had we missed the roll, the zombie master would have won. It was a great moment, and it reminded me that experience games require the right group, and the right mindset to play. I'm glad I found it the second time I played.

Oh, the expansion? I don't know what was in the game that set this apart from the normal experience. The uber-zombies didn't come in to play. So I don't know how to rank it in comparison.
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8. Board Game: Red Star Rising: The War in Russia, 1941-1944 [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:3145]
Eric Landes
United States
Beaverton
Oregon
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Three new games for me this month. The highlighted entry was by far the best, though.

Other new games were:

Lost Cities: The Board Game - might actually be better than the card game. Allows for some nice tactics that didn't exist before.

Metropolys - Decent, yet unspectacular. I'll certainly play it again.
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9. Board Game: Sushizock im Gockelwok [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1685]
Mike Jones
United States
Gainesville
Florida
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Sushizock im Gockelwok I’ve Rated this 7.5. I normally stick to whole numbers on may ratings but this one has me a bit stumped. I’ve selected this as my best new to me for a couple reasons. If you notice further down, I have Bus as one of my ‘new to me’ too. That one I’ve rated an 8.0. Shouldn’t that one be my best new to me? Well I rate games based on how I feel about them. But, then comes up that age old question, ‘why do your play stats not match better to your ratings. Well, I’m a social gamer too, so as long as I don’t hate a game, I’ll play it with people. So, if there is a game several people want to play, I’ll defer to them. So this game gets it because My ‘non-gaming wife’ will play this game with me. Plus, my kids will play it. We were at a sushi restaurant this month waiting for the sushi. (That’s the problem with sushi, is the wait sometimes is a killer) when she got up and went out side. Next think I knew she was walking back in with it. So, even though I may have some games I like better, I can tell this game will probably see some play. The Second reason to pick this game is it was a gift (his personal copy) from a fairly cool guy I first met Face to Face this month. Cheers Andy.

Continuo Rated it a 5.0. I picked it up in a store while travelling, more as a souvenir. It really isn’t my style game. But, might have a few interesting plays in it.

Caveman I rated this a 6.0. I had read about this being a family game and heard some good things about it. I came close to picking it up a couple times. But, it was going for around $60, so I never did. While travelling I found a copy for 10 pounds, so I grabbed it up. I was excited by the find. But, when I got to play it, I’m not to terribly fond of it. It’s an ‘ok’ game. I did play it with 5 as my second game and think it’s going to be a game for 4 players. I am glad I got it and even more happy that I didn’t pay the $60.

Bus I rated this one an 8.0 after one play. I really enjoyed it and am really looking forward to more games of it. The game had some interesting ‘blocking’ which made for more player interaction then I expected.

Risk: Balance of Power was rated 6.5 on one. Well, it’s the first with the ‘revised’ rules that I’ve played. I like the concept of the objectives. I’m not sure two player will have enough interaction for me.

We Didn't Playtest This Either maybe I should rate it higher then the 6.0 I have for it. But, I just can’t. I’ll play this game and will have laughs playing it, but I don’t see me really WANTING to play it that often.

Astoria I rated a 7.0 after 2 back to back plays. The first play was interesting. There are a couple rules that seemed a bit off for me, but over all I really enjoyed it. We did all want to play it again right after and it did seem to flow much better. We played 4 player. I’ve read the rules for 5-6 and it seems to change it enough that I’m not sure.

Ra: The Dice Game rated 7.5 fun quick dice game. Like many other dice game. It did give me a lot of the feel of Ra without the auction. Although I’m a big auction nut, so this may wear out.

Dixit I rated a 6.0 after 2 back to back plays. A six rating to me is still a decent rating. It’s a game I feel I’ll enjoy from time to time. However, it’s just not a ‘style’ of game I really enjoy that often. I would, however, recommend any person that really enjoy ‘party style’ games to try this one out. Some have said there aren’t enough cards in it for ‘replay’ value. But, I think the images are interesting enough to have some ‘replay’ in them.
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10. Board Game: Genji [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:6476]
Mark Slater
United Kingdom
Newport
Newport, South Wales
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5 Games new this month for me:

Genji
Palastgeflüster
Ra - Dice Game
Wings of War - Miniatures
Gem Dealer

Genji comes out on top, plays to 6, nice looking game and bit of take that by shagging wooing your opponants favorite princesses.
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11. Board Game: Blue Moon City [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:500]
Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
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Best of the month: BLUE MOON CITY - 1 play
I got this a while back but never brought it out. Saturday morning, my daughter and I had an hour or so to kill, so I skimmed the rules and started playing. "Building" the map was fun and gave us both a good feeling of accomplishment. It was also nice the way that bonuses kept popping up. "Oh wait! There's a finished building next to this one, so we both get an extra crystal!" Overall it was a fun experience, and I'd like to play more to see how much strategy there is.

Second best: AFRICA - 2 plays
Similar to BMC, I liked the visual effect of flipping the tiles one by one. It's fun to see what you get when you flip ("All right! Another elephant!"). Nice family game.

Third best: BANAGRAMS - Way too many plays
To be honest, I just didn't like this game much, but everybody else who played it did. If I wanted a fast word game, I much prefer Boggle. I think part of my dislike may be that I was very good at banagrams; I won about 75% of my games, probably because of all that time wasted on Text Twist. Somehow being "the one to beat" made this more a chore than fun for me.
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12. Board Game: Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked]
Matt Tonks
United Kingdom
Bedfordshire
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A tough one for me; I am one of the lucky ones who bought Endeavor via it being imported last week due to delays with it arriving in the UK - had a blast playing 3 games of it on Friday & I think it'll be even better than the first try, but I haven't played it anywhere as much as Kingsburg - To Forge A Realm.

A superb set of 5 mini expansions which basically makes a good game into a great game. The players' assymetries, events, etc introduces some muc-needed variability into a game that was getting a bit stale.

2nd - Endeavor
3rd - Container
4th - Finca
5th - Amyitis

I cannot remember if Dominion:Intrigue & RftG:RvI were bought & played in July or August !
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13. Board Game: Shadow Hunters [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:725]
Jeff Wolfe
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Another slow month for me: the only new-to-me games of the month were Shadow Hunters and a friend's prototype. The prototype is very early in development, so I don't think I can choose it even though it shows potential. Which leaves Shadow Hunters.

I actually played it three times during the month, in two sessions. The first time I played it, I was eliminated early in the game and wasn't enthused about the game. I moved on to other games and only found out several hours later that our side had lost. The second session, with games 2 and 3, went a little better as I lasted until the end of both games. In one game, I won as the Neutral character that needs to be alive at the end to win. In the other game, I lost when the "kill 3" Neutral won.

Shadow Hunters is an interesting hidden information game. Sort of a cross between Inkognito and Werewolf. It has some rough edges, and "interesting" doesn't always translate to "fun," but a decent little game for all that.
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14. Board Game: Jambo [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:496] [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
Jordan Stewart
Canada
Grand Bay-Westfield
NB
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Jambo



We only played one game of this and it felt a bit too long. But I'm giving it my pick as "best new game" because I can see the potential and I think with some more plays, this one will stick around the longest. I think the next game we play will be a lot quicker. Lots of interesting stuff happening.

Carcassonne: The Castle



This game totally caught me by surprise. Me and my wife are plenty familiar with regular carcassonne, so when we sat down to try this one we figured it would be about the same with some different rules. While that's sort of what we ended up with, something about the way the tiles worked together made me really like this one. Also the added planning element to make your marker land on the wall pieces is genius. Definitely my favorite flavour of carc right now.

Airships



I don't know what it was about this game that had me so riled up to play it but I was totally stoked when I got it in a math trade. After playing two very enjoyable games of it I'm glad it's in my collection. I can see why some would be turned off by the total dicefest, but I really get the feeling of building and upgrading and bettering my odds and therefore controlling the luck. Great art and components too. Good times.

Balloon Cup



Another Kosmos 2-player. This one draws lots of comparison to Lost Cities, and for good reason I suppose. I find this game a bit more enjoyable overall (for now) but there's a certain feeling of helplessness too. Like "I could screw them over, or I could help myself, but they could just do the opposite right back at me, so who really knows."
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15. Board Game: Slide 5 [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:2091]
:C.h.r.i.s. M.c.G.o.w.a.n:
United States
Elk Grove Village
Illinois
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4 new to me games this month.

My favorite of the bunch is Slide 5. It has been a while since the entire table has laughed so hard while playing a game. It reminds me of my early plays of No Thanks! where there is a lot of fun to be had among a wide range of players - old, new, hard core, family, casual, etc. Yes, it is not real deep and meaty, but for what it is - I like it. I will be giving this as my Christmas gift/stocking stuffer of choice this year.

Dominion: Intrigue is a solid expansion of the base game. Only played it once and I'm sure I'll come to appreciate it more as I get to know the cards better. Look forward to 30+ plays of this one over the next few months, which is typically unusual for me.

Continuo is a real oldie that I never heard of. My Dad brought it along our week long vacation on a lake. We played a lot of games and I managed to play a solo game of this while everyone was sleeping one morning. An interesting tile laying game that was likely ahead of it's time. His copy was missing a few tiles. Will look for this at thrift stores and yard sales going forward.

Michelangelo is an OK game. I'd play it again if asked, but won't look for a copy for myself or seek out a play of it. There are other economic games that I'd rather play - although it is shorter than most economic games.





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16. Board Game: Antiquity [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:209]
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United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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A surprise gift from my grandfather meant that this came off my wishlist and onto our dining room table. We've played four times, three by the full rules. It's an excellent game for us. Lots of choices, and our choices are what drive the game. We start out with the same 6 wood, and we each have all of our buildings available to purchase. It's about developing our own strategy, and seeing who gets there first, and best.


Other new games for us this month:

Bazaar - a thrift find. Interesting to try, but will probably trade.
Oshi - a gift from the Chain of Generosity. Beautiful, and simple enough to teach that I might be able to get my dad to try it.
Wykersham - received in trade. Different than I expected, but still interesting. I enjoy the look and feel of wood games.
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17. Board Game: Strozzi [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1708]
Le Warpozio
Belgium
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Strozzi
I bought Strozzi at Essen 2008 and with Essen 2009 it became time to prepare and play it.
Two 4-player games gave the impression that it is better with 5 or 6 players.
7.5

Days Of Steam
The new JKLM game.
I didn't know what to expect, but it is a fast tile laying game.
Two 4-player games.
7

Morgenland
Aladdin's dragon was on my wishlist ... It didn't impress us.
5
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18. Board Game: Amun-Re [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:261]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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My obsession with Knizia is getting a little out of hand, and Amun-Re was one of the few of his 'gamers' games' that I had yet to play. That was rectified in August and it goes right up there with Ra and Taj Mahal and just behind Tigris & Euphrates (my all-time favourite board game). Like Ra and Taj it has an auction at its heart, but unlike those games there's more to it than just the auction. The auction itself has a nice mechanic and some difficult valuation problems. I also enjoy the bluffing and brinkmanship involved in the sacrifice phase. My only concern is that the power cards might be a little unbalanced and determine the winner in a close game.

August also saw my first ever play of an 18xx game, which had been on the wish list for a long time. 1825 Unit 1 was reputed to be one of the shorter games, and indeed it was - a mere 3.5 hours! I saw a lot to like in the game but I think maybe it wasn't the right choice for my first. The stock market didn't seem to offer many choices, with turn order largely determining where the shares went; and the tight restriction on track meant it was more an exercise in spatial reasoning than economics. I look forward to trying one of the 1830 branch, which apparently have much more devious stock markets.

I'm becoming quite a connoisseur of small card games, and I played several new ones this month (two of them thanks to the inaugural UK math trade).
- Palastgeflüster is one of the tiny Adlung-Spiele range, and while it wasn't as good as Meuterer I did really enjoy it. It's a game of hand management and clever card play, which is made by the nice turn-order mechanic: the colour of card you play determines who plays next.
- Fairy Tale is a filler in which you draft cards and score points for combos. I liked the streamlined play but hated the artwork.
- Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper is a clever rummy variant that adds one-off special cards to the standard set-collection. It's tied in nicely with its theme: melds represent evidence against one of the possible suspects, and there's an alternative game-end condition to add suspense.
- R-Eco is another filler, this one along the lines of Coloretto or 6 Nimmt. Cards represent different types of trash, which you must take to the appropriate recycling plant, in return picking up whatever has been dumped there. It's good fun but could do with a little more direct screwage.

I played two excellent dexterity games in August. Tumblin-Dice does exactly what it says on the tin, as players hurl their dice down a wooden cascade to score points and displace others. And Bausack is Jenga on acid. You get a bag full of wooden offcuts and have to bid to take or reject pieces that you must use to construct your increasingly wobbly tower.

On the party and light games front I played Gambit 7 and Dice Town. Gambit 7 is the de-Americanized version of Wits & Wagers, which I had already played and enjoyed. The betting rules have been modified somewhat and over all I think the changes are an improvement, though the board isn't as nice as the cloth mat in the original. Dice Town was rather disappointing: a poker dice game in which you acquire various rewards for collecting different sets of dice. There seemed to be little strategy and lots of chaos; I was expecting a lot more bluffing.

But that wasn't nearly the biggest disappointment of the month. I may have been spoiled by the new generation of racing games (Powerboats, Snow Tails, Flussfieber) but Formula Dé seemed extremely tedious. The range of values on the dice are so huge and their distributions so flat that it seemed almost impossible to plan ahead. The gear-change decisions were generally obvious and the whole thing took much too long.

Finally, I was lucky enough to play a prototype by Nigel Buckle called Brytenwalda. I haven't asked him if he minds it being publicised so I'll say no more than that it packs 1000 years of British history into a slick half-hour playing time. I'll be looking out for how it develops.
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19. Board Game: Dominion: Intrigue [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:59] [Average Rating:7.76 Unranked]
Netherlands
Enschede
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I played six different new-to-me games this month:

Dominion: Intrigue (8 plays) - I really like the extra options this offers for Dominion, and it is pretty good on its own as well (the 8 plays are for just Intrigue, no mixing with the base set).

Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium (6 plays) - We haven't used the takeover rules yet, but I like the things that are added by the new cards.

FITS (4 plays) - We gave this as a gift and got to play a few times over the weekend as well. Nice puzzle game.

Hare & Tortoise (1 play) - Oldie that I hadn't played before, not really my kind of game.

Kraków 1325 AD(1 play) - I made so many mistakes in this that I'd need to play again to really give my opinion on the game... First impressions are ok.

Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age(1 play) - Surprisingly fun dice game, not sure about the replayability of this one.
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20. Board Game: Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:136]
BibKamp318
Belgium
Beerse [near Turnhout]
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My best month ever in terms of games played [53], but only 1 new game and 2 new expansions.


If I would have played more new games, I doubt there would be another one as good as this one, though.
Apparently this is a boardgame implementation of a PC game: to be honest one can't tell. Truly magnificent game: beautiful board, requires carefull planning and tactics [what is best for me and and worst for the other players]. 1 play so far, but this will hit the table again for sure. Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery has it all!


Alhambra: The Treasure Chamber
was waiting to be played since Essen 2008 and has now hit the table in 2-player sessions. I like Alhambra a lot and have consistently found some of the expansions to be worth the spend.
#13 The Treasure Chamber Can make the difference in winning or not
#14 The Master Builders
#15 The Invaders Fun, but not that much impact on scoring
#16 The Bazaars The best one in this expansion


Carcassonne: Die Katharer
does not add fun at all. nuff said!

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21. Board Game: Niagara [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1097]
Gary Heidenreich
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
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I won't count Intrigue, but I did play it mixed with Dominion a few times this past month.

Niagara was a pleasant surprise for me. It is a nice looking game and it's fun. More fun that I thought. Patience pays in this one.

Other games that were new to me...

Monopoly Deal Card Game - Quick, has the feel of Monopoly. Lots of luck. Not a bad filler.

Buccaneer - a game of double think and bluff. Again, a nice quick filler with excellent components.

Cubicado - a dex game that looks good sitting out. Pretty fun too.

The Hanging Gardens - Nice. I liked it and want to play this again.

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22. Board Game: Uruk: Wiege der Zivilisation [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:2295]
Max Jamelli
United States
Chambersburg
Pennsylvania
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Just learned Uruk over the weekend and it was a hit for me. I would like to try this a few more times.


Other new games:
Brass: Lancashire
Finally got around to trying to learn the rules to this one. Fumbled through a round on the table, and played once online. Need a few more tries to fully get the hang of it, but I do like it.

Canal Mania
Ticket to Ride as a canal game. I like it better than TtR, but the learning curve was steep for me as a newer player.

Paydirt
Learned this at WBC. It was ok, but a very long game.

Play Ball
Got this in a trade - looking ahead to pick up games for my son to try out. Tested it with the mrs. I think Derek will like it.
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23. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:75]
Tim Stellmach
United States
Arlington
Massachusetts
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On the one hand, I'm distressed at the very prospect of trying to compare Crokinole and Tales of the Arabian Nights. If I were trying to pick two games that were as different as can be, it would be a good place to start.

But, much as I love Tales of the Arabian Nights, I have to admit it's the "love it enough to want it to be better" kind of love. Crokinole, on the other hand, is exactly what it should be just the way it is.

Very slow month for me, as those were the only two new games in it.
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24. Board Game: Ideology: The War of Ideas [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:3527]
Play Games - Interact - Have Fun!
United States
California
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A few weeks back I had the opportunity to play a couple of new (to me) games, Ideology: The War of Ideas & Long Shot. I enjoyed both of them, but I really liked the game play for Ideology: The War of Ideas as each player has a unique ability or two (as well as a unique handicap) that makes the game play differently each time.




Long Shot is a very light Euro/Party game that is fun but heavilly luck driven.



This month I also played:

Dust which is a post apocalyptic world domination game with some fun twists to it.

 


Thurn and Taxis: Power and Glory which is a nice variant to the regular game but not enough to warrant being the best new game for me this month.

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25. Board Game: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:167] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Jesse Dean
United States
Orlando
Florida
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1830: A Game of Railroads and Robber Barons
Last month my best game was one of the three “big” 18XX games: 1856 - Railroading in Upper Canada. This month my best game is another of the three “big” 18XX games, 1830: A Game of Railroads and Robber Barons. While I think that I ultimately prefer 1856 as far as 18XX games go, 1830 had a lot going for it. It is tight and interesting with lots of meaningful decisions and plenty of sharp weapons to use against your opponents. Like 1856 it is an easy nine for me, and I do not regret purchasing it off eBay for a second. I still prefer 1856 to it, however, mostly because of the additional “chrome” that 1856 offers, in the form of the Canadian Government Railroad, the variety of railroads available (a greater number than those that are present in 1830), and the alternative capitalization scheme which, while not necessarily superior, is interesting in its differences.

Odin’s Ravens
I played this one for the first time yesterday and found it to be a fun and tense 2 player game. While I doubt I am going to purchase it, as I have plenty of other 2 player games to play in most situations, it is still interesting enough that I would have no problem playing it again and am glad I got to try it out. I rate it a 7.

Byzanz
I played this on the last day of the WBC and though it was an entertaining, if light, little card game. It lacked some of the direct tension that Odin’s Ravens had available, which may simply be due to the Byzanz’s hidden scoring, but I thought it was fine and relatively inoffensive. I rate it a 6.

Maori
This was another one that I played at the WBC. It was light and ultimately forgettable. While it had interesting aspects to it, I saw no reason to play it over the thousands of other light games out there, and ultimately decided that I had no real desire to ever play it again. I rate it a 5.

That was it for this month. Next month I should have Bus, Container, and Reef Encounter on this list and (maybe) Endeavor. See you then.
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