Games Played for the First Time over Christmas and New Year, 2009
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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It's Christmastime and for me, that means playing some new games. I'm giving several games as presents, seeing friends and family members I haven't seen in a while (and who have games I haven't ever played) and, by the shape of a box under the tree, I suspect I'm going to receive a game as a gift.

I'm looking forward to playing some new games. Below are the games I've played for the first time and my first thoughts about them, I hope you'll add yours.

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1. Board Game: Amerigo [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:9141]
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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This seems like a fun game. It's quick and fun, but after only two plays, seems like it will have good strategy. There are several ways to score points, the question is whether to focus on gaining points by longer journeys or by making the best use of selling resources acquired on the journey.

The games I've played so far were with two players, and I suspect it will be better with 3 or 4. One of the dynamics focuses on the order in which players return from journeys and the lenght of other players journeys--there will almost certainly be more strategy involved when there are 3 or 4 players.

The scoring during the sell phase is a bit mathy--in a good way. Determining what cards to lay down for the maximum score requires both predicting what other players will do, and estimating which goods will be most and least common when a player decides to sell their goods.

Overall, it's fun and quick. I'm sure it will get at least another play this week, and many more in the future.
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2. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:260]
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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What a simple but fun game. My brother has owned this for a while, but I didn't get the chance to play it until now. It's very simple, can be picked up by anyone in a matter of minutes, and takes only about ten minutes to play. But it's really fun, the perfect filler for a group that includes some non-gamers.

This game reminds me a lot of Unnamed Object in that both employ a simultaneous reveal mechanism that requires you to guess what your opponents will do. The difference here is that rather than choosing to go deeper into the mine or flee (a yes/no choice) in For Sale, you choose how valuable of a house to put up for sale based on the amount of money available in the market.

What I really like about this game is that the two rounds work in slightly different ways, the first round is sequential, non-secret bidding, the second is simultaneous reveal. But the two rounds build together towards the outcome of the game. In the first round you buy houses, in the second round you sell those houses. It's fun.

I was hesitant about this game for a while because I thought the theme was kind of boring, but I'm glad I finally gave it a chance. It was a lot of fun and will definitely get some more plays this weekend.
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3. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:134]
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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This is another game that my brother owns but I hadn't gotten a chance to play until now. After one play, it seems like it will be fun, but that it will take a few more games to get a hang of it.

The basic mechanic is fairly simple, it's the scoring that I got a bit hung up on. The strategy relies on deciding which of multiple possible tile combinations to attempt to complete. Different tiles are worth different amounts of points, and score points in different ways. In the first game, I just wasn't able to get a good sense for which combinations are the most and least valuable. I think with a few more plays, this will be no problem.
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4. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:320]
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Boy, playing this game for the first time with five people, none of whom have ever played the game takes forever. That said, it was pretty fun. The straightforward role selection mechanism was fun, and I think (and hope) the game will get quicker with more plays.
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5. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:676]
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Simple, fun, really easy to learn. This game is easy to pick up. It took four new players about five minutes to learn and about 20 minutes to play. This could be a pretty good abstract game, but I like the theme and everybody loved the penguins. Despite being a quick game, it's got a fun possibility to wreak havoc on the other players' plans.
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6. Board Game: Mr. Jack [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:416]
 
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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This game is going to be fun. The first play we were still getting the hang of it and didn't fully grasp the strategy. By the second, we were deep in. I suspect that this will get a lot of plays in the coming weeks. Does it have good replayability?
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7. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:192]
p j
United States
Minnesota
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Played this for the first time over xmas. Overall, I really like it. Definitely takes a few games to remember all the details and the icons, but once you start to get the hang of it, the game flows very nicely. Not as accessible as something like Pandemic, but definitely more challenging and arguably more exciting.
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8. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:186] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
J. Jefferson
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Columbus
Ohio
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This game seems like it's going to be a lot of fun. I like that it has a limited number of turns. I also like the area control elelment and the strategic element of when to put your race into decline. After one play, I am far from a master of this game, but it's definitely going to get more action.
 
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9. Board Game: Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:574]
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Whoa, after one play, I really want to play again. This was fun. It was easy to grasp, quick, and fun. My only complaint is that there is a lot of stuff to do that I think will rarely be done in the short time period of the game. For example, the empire development will be really hard to ever get, and if you get it, I'm not sure it's valuable enough to make it worth your while. This is a new game in my collection, and I can't wait to try it nine or ten more times.
 
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