New to you Jan 10 => Best new game you played this month and why
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
152 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
What's the best new game you played this month (January 10) 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



New To You Metalist 2010

New To You Meta-list - old metalist (currently broken)

New To You Geeklists - Announcement thread

Your Most Played Game (and more): January 2010
Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [6]  |  
1. Board Game: The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1268]
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
NEW GAMES

The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac
3 plays

Image courtesy of Vitriool
I bought this up based on a brief description and recommendation from a fellow BGGer, and I was not disappointed. It's a pretty light game, but has a great theme and with a bunch of players who are happy to get into the spirit of the game, it is great fun..
thumbsupthumbsup OWN


Castle Panic
1 play

Image courtesy of Jeston
Castle Panic was one of those games that I had heard the name, but I didn't know much about it. When it was brought out at a recent church game night, and recommended to me as a co-operative game, I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised... We played with 6, so it was suggested we play a bit competitively (competing for points for monsters killed) as it might be too easy otherwise. However it turned out not to still be pretty tough despite the number of players, and our castle was wiped out by the ensuing hordes of orcs, trolls and goblins! It was good fun, and I can see it being popular with kids and families, but it didn't feel like a hard-core co-op game to me... like Pandemic or Ghost Stories.
thumbsupthumbsup


Alea Iacta Est
1 play

Image courtesy of Ceryon
This was another pleasant surprise to me... it's yet another dice game, but again with a really interesting method of using dice (with vague similarities to Yspahan). I also liked the fact that there were different ways to get victory points, and you could be as diverse or as concentrated as you wanted... In my first round I got a Senate card that gave points for provinces, so I focused more on the Castrum and Forum, without ever going to the Templum. Definitely one I would play again, and may even consider buying a copy.
thumbsupthumbsup


Witch of Salem
1 play

Image courtesy of Toynan
This co-op game, described as Arkham_Horror_light, had been on my must-try list for some time, and I was fortunate enough to get to try it at a convention this month (thanks to SteveK2!). It seemed like an interesting idea, and it was nice to see all the familiar Mythos creatures and Great Old Ones cropping up, but the game seemed a little flawed in my opinion... for a game with such a rich theme, it had some unusually restrictive mechanisms.. for example the much maligned rule regarding "no discussion of whether you've seen a portal", which struck me as rather broken for a co-operative game... also the restrictions on movement (using a set of cards) that meant you couldn't go back to a location (except using the madness inducing secret passage) unless you'd been to the university in the meantime... I definitely need to give it another try, but my initial reaction was of slight disappointment.
thumbsup


Peloponnes
1 play

Image courtesy of Taibi
A decent auction/tile_laying light euro civ building game, which pleasantly surprised me... The scoring has a vaguely Knizia feel... and I did pretty well balancing my population points and land/building points, which meant there were only 2 points difference at game end. Unfortunately I came in 2nd behind someone who had played the game before. We had the 6 player expansion mixed in, but didn't play with the ocean tiles.
thumbsup


Bunny Bunny Moose Moose
1 play

Image courtesy of Thommy8
I picked this up at game night down at Shire Games late in January, and we gave it a try at the end of the session... it was pretty funny, and everyone had a laugh playing it, though I think some people would rather not have been playing!! It's not exactly a party game, and you probably wouldn't play it with your grandparents at Christmas.... it's more of a gamers' 'party-game' as there are quite a lot of options (for rabbit ears and moose antlers and tongues etc.) to remember and work out from the cards... and it reminded me a little bit of Santy Anno... it can also get pretty tiring, holding your arms up to your head, all the while the narrator is reading the poem.
thumbsup OWN


Nanuk
1 play

Image courtesy of disclamer
We had an 8 player game of this oddball push_yer_luck set-collection game from Steve Jackson Games (less deliberately humorous, but a lot more playable than other SJG games)... it was good fun and felt a little bit like a semi-co-op game (since players form teams either favouring or dooming the hunt). I came in second, and the guy that won ended up hunting on his own for one round, and actually made it thanks to some lucky card turns... earning him a whole bunch of points. Nice as an ice-breaker, or as a light closer to game night.
thumbsup



Palmyra
1 play

Image courtesy of boardgamegeek
Now known as Buy Low Sell High.. this is an interesting stock market game by Reiner Knizia. The new title had always put be off, but someone brought the old version to game night, and I quite enjoyed it... it was only afterwards when I was logging a play that I discovered it was this game. I also won our play, so that left a favourable impression.
thumbsup


Livingstone
1 play

Image courtesy of Gary James
Another one that my wife and I played with SteveK2 at a local gaming convention this month (thanks to a loan from Brian aka Hopalong) ... none of us had played before, so we learnt the game directly from the rulebook (not usually a good idea, but it went well).... Overall the game was a bit dry for me, though it had another interesting use of dice.. Some of the cards seemed a bit powerful though, and one good card play near the end actually won me the game we reckoned.
thumbsup



EXPANSIONS

Power Grid: Brazil/Spain & Portugal
1 play

It's been quite a while since I last played powergrid... so when I got the chance to play this new expansion with Fred, aka Terraformer, and his group, at a game con, I jumped at the chance... (although it's always nice to play with Fred and the guys, no matter what we play!). We played the Spain/Portugal board, and I rather liked the map, and the rules on how nuclear power plants came into play... definitely one of the better maps in my opinion.. despite the fact that I got screwed in the plant auction right near the end and came in dead last. Power Grid remains an excellent game, improved by the wealth of expansions that are available.
thumbsup


Shadow Hunters Expansion
1 play

Played 1 game just using the new characters... it was interesting, but I was a little disappointed with some of the special abilities.. in our 6 player game only Gregor and Valkyrie got to use their powers.. A few more plays should give me an idea of which characters I like best, and I'll maybe create a preferred set of characters.
thumbsup OWN
50 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Mexica [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:562]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This month I have tried some older follow-ups of popular games (actually kind of ’sequels’ to Game of the Year winners) and expansions. And the best Ystari in years.
As usual, pictures by myself.


Mexica
The third game in the Mask trilogy (that began with Spiel des Jahres-winning Tikal, also the first follow-up was the unofficial member of the ’quadrilogy’, Torres, another SdJ-winner), once again with Mexican temples. After I learned Tikal and Torres I knew my wife would like Mexica as well, especially as it’s considered to be the lightest game in the series and it also runs a lot faster; I also saw its colorful design. What I didn’t expect is how nasty it can get: we were constantly blocking each other and taking actions against each other during our first play. And she really enjoyed it just as well as I did. 7.8


Assyria
If you have ever wondered what happened to an Attika-like game if it wasn’t released by Hans im Glück but by Ystari: instead of making the rules simpler, make them more complex. And it works. It seems to be the best ‘Y’ ‘S’ game from the publisher since maybe Caylus. I’m not sure about the role of luck in the card draws yet but otherwise I already really like it after one play. Right now it’s 7.5 but it might get higher after repeated plays.


Ticket to Ride: Märklin
I’ve been familiar with the rules for a long time so I knew what to expect and mostly I got what I expected. It’s the Carcassonne: The City of the Ticket to Ride series. Take a very popular gateway game, give it a special (collectors’) look and try to make each rule a bit more complex for gamers. You’ll have more options to do in your turn, your decisions will be a bit harder, you have more strategic possibilities, while still a lot depends on luck. Gamers might enjoy it more than the basic game, but while it’s a good game (it’s Ticket to Ride after all), it’s not really more enjoyable with its more complex rules. And playing with five it also seemed the passenger rules had a bit smaller effect on the game than they should have (approx. 30 points per player is not too much when you have 120 to 150 points final scores and you can easily lose 20 to 30 points by an unfinished destination ticket). It’s still really good, but I prefer the other incarnations. 7.4.


Aquaretto
Coloretto is an enjoyable light card game. Its board game version still feels like a card game and has some issues; I think Zooloretto is less great as a board game than Coloretto is as a card game. But Aquaretto is different; it’s easily the best thing that could happen to the –retto series. With the free tile placement rules and the meeple you can place wherever you want now it doesn’t feel like a card game anymore; it’s really a board game now, and it’s a board game that asks you to think twice before doing anything. My wife clearly prefers this one to Zooloretto and so do I. 7.3


Unpublished prototype
I have played a nice little abstract game that works pretty well. The designer admitted to me after the game that it’s been playtested for years by now and I can say it can really be seen. It has very simple rules (maybe 6 sentences) and it’s tricky, I really liked it. What’s more, I suggested some ‘theme’ (well it’s even less of a theme than, say, in Hive; it might be more accurate to say I suggested an iconography) for the game and it seems the game will be sent to publishers with my sketches attached as well.
7 for now.

+expansions:

Ticket to Ride: Europa 1912
We have played the Mega Europa version now; it might be the best set of cards for the game.

Blue Moon City expansion tile sets
Four more buildings to the game, they add some much-needed spice. They don’t change the game flow or anything but make the basic game a bit even better and more interesting. From now this will be the way we’re going to play Blue Moon City.
44 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Opera [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:2470]
Eugene van der Pijll
Netherlands
Leidschendam
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Only two new games for me this month:

Opera, a heavy-ish worker placement game. Not bad, but somewhat too long for what it is. It's not very intuitive, and I probably will not play this enough to learn the strategy.

DOG: a less random variant of Sorry/Pacheesi. Unfortunately, it's still too random, though it may make it back to the table as it is light enough to play with less serious gamers.
23 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Clippers [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:2519]
Jens KH
Germany
Karben
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Clippers (1 play) - 8



Try to connect as many of your trading posts as possible with as many shipping lines as possible. This is mainly complicated by the fact that you are often not the only player with trading posts on an island, and the other players will try to connect their islands and direct the shipping lines away from your islands in the process.

Clippers is a train game with ships. An individual player's influence is lessened a bit with more players but the amount left still allows for very meaningful decisions.

The trading post markers are seriously ridiculous, though. Their microscopic size clearly gives an advantage to the eagle-eyed under anything but perfect lighting conditions.


Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery (1 play) - 7



If you're looking for anything like the computer game, look somewhere else. There is some thematic overlap but otherwise the connection is ephemeral at best.

AoE is a worker placement game. One of the available options is sending your people to the New World where you try to gather victory points through majorities. The rules aren't overly complicated, and the game is certainly not the monster of complexity you might expect from the box and the components.

Speaking of the components, the board, while visually pleasant, is slightly dysfunctional. It has some large empty areas while some of the areas where workers are placed would have benefitted from a little more room.

Apart from that niggle, AoE is a very pleasant affair, though. Multiple routes to victory points, seemingly all of them viable. Our first game was exceptionally close (71-71-70-70-67), and if the game always manages to keep suspense up like that that's certainly no small feat. The major reason it doesn't score better is simply that it doesn't really stand out in the worker placement arena.


Small World (3 plays) - 7



The first things you'll notice if you've played Vinci before are a) lots of fiddly tokens and b) the board that cannot match the clarity of the Vinci board, especially when players start to put all those fiddly tokens on it.

In play, however, two different points stand out more: The combinations of race abilities seem to be more balanced, even more so by the fact that repeatedly overlooked combinations are made more and more attractive, and the board is much tighter, helped by the fact that you can now let your new races settle right next to or even in your former territories.

I was a bit sceptical due to all the hype when Small World was published but after having played I must admit it really improves the original design.


World Without End (1 play) - 7



Parallels to Pillars of the Earth are pretty obvious graphically, thematically, and with regards to the gameplay. It is, however, not simply a rehashing of ideas from the predecessor. For example, there is no more worker placement. Instead, each player has an identical set of action cards of which he chooses one each turn. That gets rid of the luck of the draw that some complained about in PotE. An amount of luck that feels similar to that is introduced by the event cards, though, which apart from the event also decide about the players' income. The active player can decide who gets what to some extent, but often at the expense of making his own turn less useful.

The game captures the theme very well. In PotE the main endeavour was to get victory points. At a guess, I'd say in WWE you spend somewhere between 60 and 90% of your energy on collecting enough resources to be able to pay your dues at the end of each period (taxes, food, and faith). Generating VPs has become an afterthought, something to do in your free time.

As a result, WWE feels extremely tight. Finding the right balance between dues and VPs is not an easy task.


Vikings (1 play) - 7



Only played the basic version so far. You build islands and place vikings with different professions on them. Nobles generate victory points, gold smiths produce money, etc. Then there are enemy ships which threaten your islands and prevent the vikings on them from doing their jobs unless you also have warriors to fight them.

The major gimmick of the game is the market wheel where you can buy island parts and vikings. Tiles that have been bought are placed in individual areas so everybody is building for himself. Interaction with other players is indirect at best, and the random drawing of tiles and vikings for the market has quite a bit of impact on the game. Supposedly, this is something that is improved by the advanced rules, though. The theme is certainly something that many people will call nonexistent as there is no sailing, no pillaging, no drinking, no fighting (except in a very abstract manner). If that bothers you, Vikings is probably not for you.

Still, Vikings is a fun game with a rather short play time, and almost no downtime because of the quick buying rounds.


Chicago Express (1 play) - 6



Chicago Express is a short, rather meaty railroad game (of the stock market variety as opposed to pick-up-and-deliver). Since most actions benefit some players and hurt other (or even the same) players at the same time the best actions to take aren't always obvious. In the end, it seems the winner will simply be the one who manages to make the other players hurt him the least.

After the first game I'm not sure how much control one really has. There is no randomness as such in the game, but the direct consequences of the other players' choices mean that in some cases you're simply screwed. Once you have fallen behind the only way to come back is hoping that the other players hurt each other enough to let you squeeze back in.

Now, trying to manipulate those incentive structures so that other players leave you alone and harrass someone else instead is certainly interesting in its own right, and the game is short enough that this aspect doesn't weigh too heavily but it isn't entirely satisfactory, either.


Chicago Express: Narrow Gauge & Erie Railroad Company (1 play) - 6

The Erie Railroad Company makes a lot of sense, especially with more players, since it opens another investment opportunity. The Narrow Gauge, however, seems like a mostly useless addition. It might be helpful under a few select circumstances, but doesn't see a lot of use in general. Fortunately, just adding it to the game doesn't hurt in any way, either.


Atlantic Star (1 play) - 6



Atlantic Star is a decent light set collection game. There is a lot of luck due to the cards being flipped but being able to keep up to two cards and the tight amount of money offer some room for tactical decisions. Not a lot of thinking required (except maybe when taking loans although that's more gambling than thinking, really) so I don't understand the "my brain hurt" comments.


Activity Club-Edition (3 plays) - 6



Typical party game. Describe, draw, or act out words or phrases while your team tries to guess what they are. Good fun if nothing special.


Titan (1 play) - 5

 


Titan isn't a bad game. In fact, it's fun. It does, however, have a few issues that kind of make it hard to justify playing it when there are so many other options around. The biggest of those issues are robably player elimination and downtime.

As with other games that can have players eliminated, there is a problem if the game can go on much longer after that has happened, and with Titan, it can go on for quite a while. The battles being fought on separate boards are awesome on one hand, but on the other only two of the players will ever be involved which means a coffee break for everyone else. Therefore, playing with more than three players is probably a good idea only if you have something else to keep people occupied during those breaks.

Overall, a fun game, and if it could just be streamlined a little, it could even be great.


Taluva (1 play) - 5



If you want to compare Taluva to other games, Java is likely the obvious choice simply because of the three-dimensional hex playing field. If you go beyond the (great) looks, however, it feels much closer to Carcassonne, albeit quite a bit more abstract.

While the game does have opportunities for clever tactical play, winning or losing seems to depend a lot on how much the other players are willing to invest in destructive play. And that's not a good thing, in most cases.


Bean Trader (1 play) - 5



Bean Trader is Bohnanza transformed into a board game. It's no longer about growing beans, but about buying and selling them. Travelling around the map adds an interesting spatial element to the game. However, the main element is still trading with other players, and mostly the new stuff in Bean Trader serves to complicate matters for no real gain. As such, I prefer the pure experience of the Bohnanza card game.


Focus (1 play) - 5



Abstract game with simple rules. Suffers from the same problem as many other multiplayer abstracts: very little strategic possibilities since the board changes very quickly although in this case it's alleviated somewhat by the teamplay option.

Unfortunately, board position becomes pretty much irrelevant by midgame when people have stocked enough reserves to simply take over anything they want. Also, the endgame can be a real drag.


Sitting Ducks Deluxe (2 plays) - 4



Sitting Ducks is a fairly typical light card game. Lots of luck, usually better with more players, some screwage, and pretty much no thinking required. If you've played any of the Pachisi expansions (Nichts als Ärger etc.), this is what it feels like if you get rid of the board.


Dominion: Intrigue (1 play) - 3



Some people complain that the Dominion base set isn't interactive enough. That's certainly a point that is remedied by this expansion. It contains a lot of cards which directly impact other players' decks, usually not in a good way.

It looks like the target has been missed by a mile, though. If we had played a random setup and ended up with a bad mix that would at least be understandable. We did, however, play one of the recommended setups, and it was completely unplayable. No control whatsoever. If you were lucky you got to use a useful card once before it was downgraded, destroyed, stolen, or morphed into something completely different. Countermeasures were not available. Great fun. Not.


Rolit (1 play) - 3



With two players it's exactly the same as Othello. With more, it just gets too chaotic. Planning ahead isn't really possible since the board will have changed completely the next time it's your turn.


The Big Taboo (1 play) - 3



I'm not a big fan of the regular Taboo game in the first place but this is worse. It tries to spice things up by adding drawing, pantomime, and other alternative forms of guessing but in summary, does nothing better than the original since the extra activities are pretty crappy and unbalanced.

If you want Taboo play Taboo, if you want other activities play Activity instead, but keep clear of this.
42 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Looting London [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:6589]
A new game I played and reviewed in January:

Looting London



English-language version of Reiner Knizia's Tatort Themse, and part of the Gryphon Games bookshelf series. Players are detectives trying to catch a thief in London who has made off with five rare treasures like the crown jewels. The game has Ticket-to-Ride-like mechanics: draw and collect cards or play card to claim point-scoring evidence tiles. But with some typical Knizia scoring twists that add tension and fun to the game. Best with 2 (see my variant) or with 3. This card game has a thin theme, but good components, and interesting enough game-play and scoring to make it a decent filler. 7/10

Want to know more? See my pictorial review:
Another decent Knizia entry in the Gryphon Games series

Other new games played for the first time in the last month:

Money!



Gryphon Games reprint - one of Knizia's best card games, as players make trades (order determined by blind binding) to try to improve their portfolio of banknotes (set collecting mechanic, with some usual Knizia twists). Clever game-play, and well-themed. One of the better games in the series. Review forthcoming in the next week. 8/10

Birds on a Wire



Another in the Gryphon Games bookshelf series, this one is more abstract, although with a cute theme. Some aspects concepts of game-play similar to SET as players draw and place bird tiles on a board, trying to arrange SET-like combinations that will earn points, although it's not real-time like Set. Theme is inspired by Pixar's "For the Birds", and includes birds migrating and being zapped. There are two sets of rules: Family Game and Advanced Game, so there are two ways to play - the main difference being the way scoring is calculated, not mechanics. Plays quite quickly (15-20 min.) Some ambiguities in the rules, so don't miss the clarifications from the designer here. Review forthcoming in the next month. 7.5/10

Tales of the Arabian Nights



Choose-your-own-adventure and storytelling element makes this a lot of fun, even for older kids. 8/10
Some minor issues:
* Best with 2-3 players. with 4 or more down-time can start being an issue.
* Replayability is a minor concern, some events happen quite often (e.g. Imprisoned) and kids can memorize some results, but overall you'll get your money's worth out of this game before you're tired of it.
* The stories and the game do have a decidedly Islamic flavour at times, this might be an issue for some.
* Rulebook does need some clarification at times
Overall, my family has really enjoyed this immensely however. Some suggested house rules to consider:
- Rather than pick separate Story/Destiny points, have a cumulative total for players to aim for, e.g. 20 points.
- Divide Encounter deck into three parts, and use Morning, Noon, and Night for each (or use the Destiny dice to decide which it is).
- Allow a win when sex changed.

Palace



One of the better social card games playable with a regular deck of playing cards. Arguably more social than skill, it can be a lot of fun as a light casual game with the right group of players. Plays quickly, easy to teach, and worth learning if you play games with regular playing cards from time to time. 7.5/10
27 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1268]
ShepparCon was a Blast!
Australia
KILLARA
VIC
flag msg tools
badge
Want something fun to read - Check out My Top 100 the 2019 Edition!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
January is becoming the month where I game less and write more along with spending more time with the family,

That said I played some great new games this month that made picking the top honour very difficult. Most of these games would have had a very good chance at taking the top spot in most other months.

d10-1 The Adventurers

3 Plays

For most people I think this game would be too light and fluffy to win the top prize. But for me The Adventurers is everything I hoped it might be. The core of this game is really the 'push-your-luck' element. Most treasure wins but the more treasure you grab the less likely it is that you'll make it out and post that treasure count.

The time frame makes it a real winner at 30-40 minutes and the visual element + Indianna Jones type theme put it over the top.

The puzzle element of the closing walls/lava room are neat and help each play be different from the next. The simplistic Yahtzee rolls for certain treasure alcoves are a little disappointing (I feel they could have done more here) but it does help keep the game at the family level. The river and bridge elements are good and the rolling boulder is a must have.

I'm glad I forked out for the pre-painted minis as this will see hundreds of plays at my house. I am hopeful that the wording "This Temple" in the rulebook implies that new expansion temples will be released to keep the game fresh. That will take it to a 10 for me.

d10-2 Wars of the Roses



1 Play

This is to be released by Z-Man Games in the coming weeks and I had the pleasure to play it at last weekends Australian Games Expo.

Each player takes on a roll as part of House Lancaster or House ? as they aim to become the ultimate power broker in England. What's neat is that each player is out for themselves ultimately but by working in teams of 2 each house stands a better chance of gaining control of each region, which imparts both victory points and votes towards crowning the next king.

Each turn a series of cards are placed in an open display. They represent Nobles, Ships, Bishops, Cathedrals, Ports, Castles and Mercenaries.

These are taken in turn to represent a player's holdings or influence of control and they offer income and command points.

What makes the game really shine however is the simultaneous planning phase, which is done in secret behind screens. Planning allows the players to bribe just about anything, move Nobles and Ships and raise troops to attack or defend. Bribing your own Nobles and Ship Captains is also possible to keep them faithful.

Once all planning is complete, those orders are played out on the board and the potential for major change, surprise and 'holy crap' moments are very high. This is the greatest strength of the game for me.

The game flow is excellent and whilst some of the mechanics may appear intricate on paper, they are actually very easy to manage.

The final highlight is the bonus point system that will earn a player bonus VPs if they control the most Ships, Bishops, Castles and a further set of bonuses if a player controls matching Bishop/Cathedrals or Ship/Ports. These little mini goals give the players something else to strive for and act as sub-plots within the bigger picture.

In truth this game has 10 times the meat of The Adventurers and should probably take the top spot. The only reason that it didn't is that The Adventurers will see more play due to its lightness and frequency at the table. I hope to play lots of Wars of the Roses, but fear that this may be too long (only 90 minutes though) for my regular play group who are light/medium AT types. shake

d10-3 Dungeon Lords



2 Plays

I finally got to play this just after Christmas when a mate bought it. I'm on the loving side of the fence with this one. The theme, the difficulty and all those Titles to go after in the end game make this one a lot of fun.

Ok sure it doesn't have direct player interaction. Doesn't hurt my enjoyment of the game though.

Yeah it is a little fiddly but the theme makes the work worthwhile.

For sure this can be a damn tough little cookie that is very unforgiving should you get your timing wrong on the action selections or forget about those damn taxes. But once you've played 3-5 times I think those considerations will become a little more intuitive.

d10-4 Tobago



1 Play

This is a neat little light/medium euro that looks great. Each player is trying to collect as much treasure as possible on an island but each player can play cards from their hand to try and reduce the search zone where the treasure may actually be located. Each card played to a treasure location (or actually moving your jeep to dig one up) gives you a stake in the loot. The more times yu help the more loot you stand to collect.

It really isn't a deduction game in the truest sense. Instead it is an elimination game as each new card will eliminate potential locations where a treasure can be.

To keep the game moving quickly, 4 treasure locations are up for grabs at any one time, so players have a choice as to which location they want to add info to.

The game also ensures that it looks different with every play by offering up statue, huts and palm trees that are placed by the players each game.

Rating may go up but I need to play more.

d10-5 Finca



1 Play

This game was much better than I expected it to be. Its a light/medium Euro about collecting fruit but the theme could have been almost anything.

What makes the game interesting is the use of the Rondel, where each player must place workers at the beginning of the game. With each turn a player can then opt to move a worker on the rondel, trade in their fruits for a scoring tile or use a special power tile.

The rondel element is neat as you can move a worker a number of spaces equal to how many meeple are on their space before moving. In addition you will collect a number of fruits equal to the number of meeple on the space in which you land. So these mechanic adds a lot of options and considerations to the play.

To collect a scoring tile a player must cash in the exact number and type of fruit that is listed on the tile. The first player to collect 1 of each scoring tile (1-6) will earn bonus points (Thurn & Taxis) and once a region has no more scoring tiles available a bonus tile is issued to the player that has the most of (insert criteria here).

It does nothing spectacular but it does it well and can be played in 30-40 minutes. I might pick this one up.

d10-6 Snow Tails



1 Play

I'm a racing game fan so I was always going to like this. Racing games are generally all about how the players propel themselves forward. In this one the players must play cards to one or both of their reins or their brake. The trick is that if more than 1 card is played they must all be of the same value. With a hand of 5 cards this can be tricky. Speed is determined by adding both values (speed on each rein) together and subtracting the brake value.

Direction is handled in a cool and logical fashion. If the left rein has a value 3 and the right rein has a value 5, then the sled will pull 2 spaces to the right in addition to any forward movement.

The game can get a little simple if a standard track, free of debris is used. So pine trees can be added to the track to increase the difficulty and need to change course. The need to carefully weigh up your options is really the key to this game so hand management is right up their on your priority list.

I bought this but would like to play Savannah Tails to compare the two. There can be a little bit of AP in this game that slows it down. If this is taking more than 30-40 minutes it is almost outstaying its welcome.

d10-7 Formula D - Super Size Me Zandvoort



1 Play

Expansion I know but hey. This past weekend we played a 7.5 hour game of Formula D using both Zandvoort tracks combined. It was run like a Le Mans race where multiple laps are completed (we managed 6 in the time frame). We had 8 drivers and it was awesome. Pit stops were unlimited with only 2 repair points given free with a long stop. For each additional repair point needed, an extra turn had to be spent in the pits. If a player screwed their car on a lap they had to limp back to the pits in no higher than 4th gear.

I did ok but Engine Rolls were the killer and I blew my engine twice (both times I started the lap with 3 engine points!!!).

Great fun and I hope to do it again.
36 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: Baltimore & Ohio [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:2094]
Joerg Schaefer
Germany
Frankfurt
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I got nine new games in this month. I would have had a hard time deciding among all the good but not outstanding new euros if I hadn't played Baltimore & Ohio last month.

Baltimore & Ohio: d10-8

3 hours playtime is very optimistic. Our first game took 6 hours. I messed up completely in the initial share purchase. As a result I lost the game just 30 minutes in but still enjoyed the remaining 5.5 hours of the game. Must be good!
The gameplay feels most similar to an 18xx game but is more friendly and less stressful. For an initial play I like this better than any 18xx so far. If it proves to be as variable it might be a new favourite train game.

Seeland: d10-7

Rating for basic and advanced game so far. Enjoyable tile-laying game which can be played with casual gamers but still can be fun for regular gamers. Think of Finca or a light version of Hacienda without the cutthroat aspect coupled with a variation of the wheel mechanism from Vikings. I'm wondering if it is intended or a production glitch that the colour of the seeds coming up can be seen on the side of the tiles.

World Without End: d10-7

Comparing this to Pillars of the Earth is obvious and justified. In its core it's a game of turn optimization and card management. No worker placement here and not as strong an engine building element as in PoE. Most notably this has more (potentially too much) luck than its elder brother. To win, you nonetheless need a plan for building up your position while optimizing VP's each move and generating the resources required each chapter. Without good balancing, no luck can help you but bad luck can thwart the best plan. The game has a nice narrative. At least you could enjoy the experience of getting nowhere in some rounds. The 24 game rounds might get repetitive with more play but I'm not nearly as afraid of that as for example with Colonia. All in all, players enjoying PoE for the atmosphere should enjoy this as well.

Augsburg 1520: d10-7

I didn't expect much from Augsburg 1520. Of the first four medium line alea games this has the lowest average, least ratings and least plays. So it was a pleasant surprise that there's a good game here that is on par with Louis XIV. At first glance they are completely different games with Augsburg being an auction game and Louis XIV an area control game. But both are similar in length and weight and in both games the challenge for the player is to build up small advantages by using their cards/resources a bit more efficient than the other players to earn privileges.
Augsburg has a cool innovative auction mechanism and built in victory point barriers. While the barriers are a key element they might be too digital. Four out of five players were stuck at the last 45 VP barrier although we used different strategies. This leads to the final auctions being very important. Advantages gained earlier in the game can be rendered obsolete. Further games have to show if it is possible to prepare for success in the final auctions by using resources efficiently beforehand (my impression) or if it comes down to plain luck who succeeds there.
One other thing: The graphics of this game are terrible. They are so terrible that I won't buy this game although I enjoy it. Czarné must be the most overrated boardgame artist around.

Taluva: d10-7

There are few games which look better at the end of the game. Each game will create a completely different world of tiles and pieces. But there's also a game in there that is much deeper than the simple Carcassonne-like turn mechanism of first placing a cardboard tile and then placing a meeple suggests. Actual gameplay is more akin to a multiplayer abstract than Carcassonne. It is essential to plan your position a few turns ahead while not neglecting to thwart the preparations of your opponents. Our results were so close that there is a potential for kingmaking. Could this be avoided with more experience?

Nizza: d10-6

Not as bad as I thought. It's roll and move but the analog movement makes it unique. Instead of moving to specified fields the pawns can swing at small chains wherever the radius determined by the chain allows. There's also some influence by Yahtzee type dice rolling (5 dice up to 3 times) where each dice symbol gives specific actions. It is fun with two and I can imagine playing this with children. But I can understand the complaint that the game breaks down with a full complement of 5 or 6 players and it's definitely geared towards casual gamers.

Ideology: The War of Ideas: d10-5

Better than the other "big" Parks game Parthenon but still not really good. It's a multiplayer conflict card game with the usual take that and kingmaking potential. But at least its complexity and duration fit a game with these characteristics (not like Struggle for Empires for instance). The game gets a minus point because it's not as thematic as it wishes to be. The advances are symmetric and don't open opportunities for strongly differing strategies.

Eagles: Waterloo: d10-4

I never heard of this strange collectible card wargame before playing it. We were three and split the England/Prussia force into two. I played Prussia or at least tried to. Prussia only can get active in the Waterloo scenario when it draws a general and I didn't draw one for 11(!) turns. But even when played as intended this game is passed by time. Games like CC:Ancients share the same tactical core of battlefield action divided into three areas while packing much more punch in the same time with less complexity. The most disgusting part of Columbia's unsuccesful (?) take at milking the CCG train is that each card exists in a gold (Rares - 10% of each card), silver and bronze version which doesn't have any effect on gameplay. 15 years after release complete gold decks are still sold at the Columbia website for $299 while a simple bronze deck retails for $49.

Cardino: d10-3

I had some hope that this would be one of the rare games from the seventies that are still enjoyable as it appears to be similar to Sequence which is a game I like. To cut things short, it is not. Play Sequence instead if you're looking for an easy luck-dominated tile-laying game with tiles resembling a deck of standard cards.
36 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:235] [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
Steve K
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
...
badge
...
Avatar
Dixit (7 plays) Guessing which picture was described by a certain phrase, and which pictures are other player's attempts to match the phrase. Fantastic artwork. I've played this with 5 different groups of people, and they've all enjoyed it. Scales well both in number of players (we even improvised a 7-player version), and in player ages. Now eagerly awaiting the expansion.

Alea Iacta Est (3 plays) Another game with novel and interesting use of dice. A blend of set-collecting, area-influence, and push your luck. Good fun.

World Without End (2 plays) First game (2-player) was by the book (with attached baby wheels). Action cards to collect resources to pay your dues and make a bit of a contribution to building the town. All played out against a backdrop of semi-random events that can disrupt your plans. With limited resources, but no adjustment for number of players, the 2-player game lacked some tension compared to 4 players.

Seeland (2 plays) a new Burkhardt / Kramer middle-weight tile placement game. Tricky little tile-purchase mechanism, simple placement & scoring rules. Only played the 'tactical variant' (with all options) so far.

Livingstone (1 play) Taught from the rulebook, so it took a turn or two to gel. A bit of this & a bit of that. Plenty of luck. Entirely tactical. Nice bits, pleasant enough. Plays quickly. One or two of the cards seemed a bit powerful, though.

Infinite City (1 play) Single 3-player game. Chaotic smack-the-leader tile laying game. Great, chunky, tile. Good artwork. Despite fears, you only need to read (most) tiles when they're in your hand, not when they're upside down on the table. Not bad. I’d be wary of playing this with more than 3 players, though.

Last Train to Wensleydale (1 play) Fiddy, intricate, garish, too many currencies & turn order tracks. Easy to end up with little to do in the late game if you don't get you act together earlier.

Islas Canarias (1 play) Pretty enjoyable little game of playing cards to develop buildings on your island. Interesting placement mechanic of cards specifying things like 'blue building next to this, then that, then something else'. Once each turn, you play a card to build on your own island, plus play a card used as competition between all players (hopefully your card will give you another building). On the lookout for a cheap copy.

Rum & Pirates (1 play) I've finally played all the alea big box games. While I certainly didn't keep the best till last, it's not a bad game. Light, a touch fiddly; a gazillion ways to score VP; but fun.

25 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Monsters Menace America [Average Rating:5.97 Overall Rank:3723]
Andreas Johansson
Sweden
Linköping
flag msg tools
I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
badge
I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The only new game for me in Jan 2010.

Not a lot of depth here - or at least not much that's apparent on one play - but it's pretty fun running around wrecking the place with your monster. Also, unlike too many amerigames, this one doesnt outstay it's welcome, playing pretty fast and no doubt finishing within the advertised 90min once you've learnt the rules properly. (We finished our first game inside 150min of opening the shrink wrap.)

It's not about to become a favourite of mine but I can see myself playing and enjoying it occasionally.
20 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Imperial 2030 [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:200]
Jesse Dean
United States
Chicago
IL
flag msg tools
badge
Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious predator on Earth!
Avatar
mbmbmb
Best Game of January 2010

Imperial 2030
Imperial 2030 is an investment game, where each person invests in one of six countries (Brazil, China, European Union, India, Russia, United States) and attempts to maximize his investments hrough alternating military and capital actions (using a rondel) on the part of the countries he has majority investments in.

I played Imperial once, early last year and was kind of unimpressed with it. At the time I was very into Chicago Express and Imperial 2030 seemed to merely be a longer, less interesting version of it. As time went on I began to suspect I had given Imperial a bum rap. People whose opinion’s I otherwise generally agreed with on games, viewed Imperial very positively, and as I read about it I begin to wonder if I had perhaps been wrong about it. So with the announcement of Imperial 2030 I decided that this would be a good opportunity to get a new start on trying Imperial with a map I found to be slightly more interesting then the base map.



I didn’t get around to playing Imperial 2030 until earlier this month, and I immediately realized that my original reaction to Imperial had been incorrect. This was a very solid and very interesting investment game each element added together into a great game experience. Now I am not certain whether my opinion would remain positive if I revisited the original Imperial or if the new elements are sufficient to give it an additional rating point (8 vs. 7). Considering the fact that I am the only one I know that owns either version of Imperial it is unlikely that I will try it any time soon. Imperial 2030 is all I need.

Potential Favorites

Homesteaders



Homesteaders is an interesting development game by Alex Rockwell (a frequent BGG contributor) that has a relatively simple structure, but ultimately gains its complexity from the interactions between the numerous available buildings. I found my first three plays of it to be very interesting, and found myself studying the various buildings combinations with fascination, trying to determine interesting optimal and alternative paths and potential ways to win. While this was fun, it ultimately highlighted my ultimate concern: that once the interactions between buildings are largely "figured out" that my interest in this game will wane. I suspect that with another half-dozen to a dozen buildings the complexity of the interactions would be enough to ensure that the game keeps going strong for even longer. As it is, I suspect I will get at least 20 plays out of the game which is not bad at all, particularly for its low ($26) price. I rate it an 8.

Vikings
Vikings is a tile laying game where players spend money to select meeple/tile combinations from a wheel. The farther down on the wheel the tile is, the more expensive it gets. The mechanics are really pretty simple, but the game is still filled with meaningful, interesting decisions as players maneuver around each other on the grid, trying to get just the right tiles without setting up other players for getting the tiles and meeples they want for too low of a price.



Overall I was pretty impressed with Vikings. It plays in a reasonably short time and has enough randomness from round to round to offer some interesting decisions without feeling like the game has a low level of control. I expect to play this one quite a bit in the future, and could more easily see this one going from a 7 to an 8 then dropping down to a 6. I liked it enough that I ended up acquiring a copy.

Worth Exploring

Keythedral
In my desire to explore the origins of modern action drafting games I had my friend, Eric, bring over his copy of Keythedral. I only played the game once, but found it fairly interesting. The game starts with the player collectively building a board out of Settlers-style pieces each of which represents a different type of resource and huts, from which a player may send out their workers. This is where the similarities stop. On each turn, a player is able to, based on the numbers on the huts, send out one or two workers to gather resources. Most of the tension and interesting decisions in the game come from this part as each player has to not only decide which resources he wants to claim but also which ones that other players are likely to claim in order to get the right combination of resources to allow them to help build the Keythedral. Each Keythedral pieces is worth a certain amount of victory points, and whomever has the most victory points in the end wins.



I liked Keythedral well enough, but I am ultimately uninterested in acquiring it based on two factors.
1. The shades they used for the resource cubes are such that I have a lot of difficulty telling them apart.
2. While the game was interesting enough, it was not interesting enough for me to want to own it. This is not to say I disliked the game. I would be more than willing to play it again, but I think modern action drafting games have largely exceeded it.
So in summary I found it to be an entertaining game, but not one that is worth owning at this point. I rate it a 7.

Tribune: Primus Inter Pares

I am glad I finally got an opportunity to try out Tribune. The comparisons between it and Power Struggle were fairly prevalent and now that I have played them both I can definitely say that I prefer Power Struggle to Tribune. This is not to say that Tribune is bad. There are definitely aspects of Tribune that I prefer to Power Struggle, particularly in the flexibility that Tribune provides in achieving the 4 required out of 6 potential goals. Additionally, while I have some balance concerns regarding Power Struggle’s victory conditions, I am fairly certain that Tribune is balanced, particularly since each player is pursuing the same set of victory conditions. Beyond that, however, I find Power Struggle to have deeper and more engaging gameplay. Because of this, and because of the parallels between these games, it is difficult for me to rate Tribune higher than Power Struggle, causing me to give it a 7.

Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama is an action drafting game whose main differentiating factor is its method of action drafting. A set of numbered tokens are set in the middle of the board (ranging from 1 to 20), with each one representing the order in which actions take place. Somewhere on the board a token is placed that serves to mark the between locations that are free and those that cost money. The lower the number you pick (and the sooner you go) then the more expensive the spot is. What adds a wrench to this selection is that after everyone selects their numbers and actions the token can be moved anywhere from 3 spaces back (making the spots that cost money less expensive) or 3 spaces forward (making them more expensive, and making some spots cost money that did not previously).

On top of this action selection mechanic is an array of actions that cause you to collect the various pieces (ships plans, crewmen, and captains) that ultimately allow you to launch ships and collect victory points (and other, incidental benefits). There is a money management aspect to the game and the ability to gain access to special powers, but these are nothing different then items that have been seen in countless games before.



I liked Vasco da Gama in my two plays but, much like Keythedral it did not grab enough to make me want to buy it. I will happily play it with those who do own it but it wasn’t distinct enough, interesting enough or special enough to add to a collection already filled with action drafting games. I rate it a 7.

Fillers and Dice, Dice Baby

Sushizock im Gockelwock

Of the two Knizia tile acquisition dice games I learned this month, this is the one I preferred. I found the symbol based tile acquisition clever, if not particularly innovative, and that the need to balance positive and negative tiles to add an additional level of decision making to the game. In general I just felt that the game offered fairly reasonable decision making while still being largely luck driven. With lower player counts (2-3) it even seems that decisions may slightly outweigh luck, though I suspect that the more players you have the less your decisions actually matter. Still a fine effort, and a game I am glad I added to my collection. I rate it a 7.

Pickomino

Pickomino is the second of the two Knizia tile acquisition dice games I learned this month. I found this one entertaining, though not quite as multi-dimensional as Sushizock im Gockelwock. Just going for the higher numbers on your die rolls seemed though the fact that you are never able to select the same number twice when keeping seemed to provide some strategic dimension, as sometimes you had to select lower numbers, though the need to select low numbers sometimes in order to facilitate the higher numbers did add some nuance, it wasn’t enough to push it above Sushizock im Gocelwock. I rate it a 6.

For Sale
I found For Sale clever and distracting, but largely forgettable; the sort of game that you wouldn’t turn down if someone wanted to play, but that you would never suggest. The hand management aspects of the game were interesting, as where the ability to turn properties acquired into the means of purchasing victory points later. Still, it did not interest me enough that I need to ever play it a second time. I rate it a 5.

Not Good

Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery
While it looks like Age of Empires III had the potential to be a good game at some point, I suspect that some of the attempts to make it lighter ultimately killed it for me. The numerous individualized random elements added to the game make entire sections of it reduced to a gamble, making it so potentially winning through those areas is very hit or miss. Dome of these elements are avoidable by focusing on the area majority part of the game, you will be impacted by the order and type of random civilization tiles (not all of which are guaranteed to come out) and trade goods.

So in summary Age of Empires III it is one of the few games were the random elements of the game really kill it for me. I would like to try it again in order to make sure I didn’t get anything wrong the first time, it currently give it a big thumbs down and a rating of 4.

41 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: Power Struggle [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:1069]
Richard Rutten
Netherlands
Nijmegen
flag msg tools
the spunk plus the bomb plus the pump plus the torture instrument times frankie equalling the bang is an exclusive piece of ZTT exploitation
badge
You don't need eyes to see, you need vision. (mj)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
New games
Power Struggle
Meaty game with a lot of interaction between the players. Still it plays very smooth and quick for such a game. The theme fits the gameplay seamlessly which is also nice for a so called euro. There are a lot of options you have to weigh each turn as your actions are limited. Another problem you face is that you don't know exactly how limited they are. The bribing aspect of the game is brilliant. You can really mess people over by making them an offer they literally can't refuse. Just be carefull as the price you get is not always what you expect. A very solid design where the only problem seems to be that the game can be overwhelming and hard to graps for a new player.

Jaipur
Easy to learn two player game with surprising depth. While the rules are simple the decisions certainly are not. Very entertaining and clever game packed into 30 minutes. Gameplay reminds me of Lost Cities and the game seems to have the same balance between skill and luck. Highly recommended.

Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery
Fairly straight forward worker placement game. After two plays the different roads to victory seem to be there and they seem balanced. A problem I have with the game is that it's very unforgiving. If you make a mistake in the first round you won't be able to recover in the rest of the game. The problem seems to be more apparant with more players. Still the theme is fairly well incorporated, the rules (dutch version) are clear and well written and the game looks beautiful. Looking to try this one again soon to see if the problems I had with it were just part of the learning experience.

Hansa Teutonica
Not sure what to think of this game after one play. While it's another Euro without theme it does have some nice mechanics. There is a good amount of interaction between the players and the actions are varied enough to keep it interesting. But after the first play I had the feeling that the different roads to victory were not really balanced. (could be due to groupthink and one rule we overlooked) Also the game seemed to end before you could really invest in some of the higher scoring elements. Will have to play again to make my mind up. So for now a very tentative rating.

New expansions
Ghost Stories: White Moon
Adds a lot to the base game. The new devourer ghosts combined with the vilagers add a whole new aspect to the game that cannot be ignored. When the vilagers get killed bad stuff happens which can quickly have an avalanche effect and lose you the game. But it's not all bad news for the Taoists. When the vilagers are rescued they can give you powerfull artifacts. Furthermore everytime something bad happens Su-Ling comes around to help out. Finally there are moonstones which are basically wild tao tokens. These can come in very handy. Esspecially since they can also be used to set up a Mystic barrier which is any Incarnation's worst nightmare.

All in all the expansion adds a lot of rules and a fair bit of complexity. Still, it also adds more tension and more agonizing decisions! It manages to do all this without tilting the balance towards good or evil. So if you're not afraid of a meaty coop getting meatier this one is for you. If you already had trouble managing with the base game you should stay clear of this expansion.

Blue Moon: The Terrah
Good deck with some powerful characters and some great abilities to complement the power. This deck is all about making a few battles count very heavily.

Blue Moon: The Mimix
Seems a pretty powerfull deck to play against. I like the artwork and abilities of this race. Not sure yet about balance. Have to play more.

Ghost Stories: The Village People Expansion
Adds some flexibility to saving the families as you get a reward for any two family members. The Artifacts are real nice too. The crazy Shaman is a real pain. Blocking every power just makes him a prime target for exorcism. So the movement ability seems not to come into play.
22 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
12. Board Game: Oltre Mare [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1428]
michael casey
Australia
Blue Mountains
NSW
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Best game of the month is Oltre Mare. Clever use of a deck of cards.
Luck of the cards could be a factor. Will have to play more to find out which I am definitely looking forward to doing.



Played The Bridges of Shangri-La with family and went down surprisingly well.
A lot to watch out for and piggy back moves can change game, ie let other people move your students as you just build up and wait.
Will be playing again as soon as possible.





Played a four player game of Way Out West using the wounded cowboy variant (a roll of a 5 wounds a cowboy so they move to another city, a six kills them!) and we had a lot of fun.
My wife attacked anyone and everyone so things changed very quickly.
Looking forward to our next game.



Note: edited to add game links.
18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
13. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:635]
Kris Verbeeck
Belgium
Mol
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmb
just three new games. That's two short of what i'm aiming for.

Container barely beats Star Trader because its easy to explain and is very interactive because of the price setting competition

Container was well received with my buddies in Mol. You make your own economy by producing and selling.
The system is very simple and yet there is plenty to think about. I'm pretty good at valuating things in these type of games. So to me the downtime was some bluffing.
There is one problem with the game and that is that you aren't allowed to sell to your own harbour store or ships. If you look beyond that the game is really good.
Luck? Well if you call your opponents price setting and bidding on your shipment luck there is some. You can be put out of the game if everybody sets their prices very high when it's your turn and they don't want to buy from you. That would be pretty harsh to deal with.

Star Trader
Well this game is more interesting to me. I like the use of dice to valuate the marketprice of goods. There is some luck in the game but you can decrease a big part by upgrading and buying ships as well as paying for a skilled crew.

There are two things I'm not sure about. The luck that is involved in getting an agent. You don't choose one you get one random and you have to pay a price according to a die role and an initial bid. I would have prefered that agents were placed in certain tiers and that you had to pay a turnfee to keep them.
And at the start of the game rolling for upgrading your level in economy political and a third area (armour?). Upgrades in those will give you an advantage as to where some future events will happen. I rolled 12 my opponents 2 and 3. Since the cost of upgrading is determined by your current level it's like giving me some extra start money.
The reason why I didn't give this this months title is the time it takes to play it. I gave it to 1830 or through the ages but the few problems Star trader has and the ease you can explain container with make Container the winner.
If I had all the time I would pick Star trader.

I don't need the future events in the game; they are nice but they can have a huge impact of the game just because you happen to be on a certain planet. (in the beginning it's very hard to be able to have a peek at the future events since they acquire a certain skill). Upgrading those skill levels will cost you a lot of money and you are not sure it will ever pay off.
And like I said the agents shouldn't be randomly picked but placed into tiers. I don't mind that their fee is influenced by a die roll. The marketprices fluctuate so should the fees of agents. Supply and demand.



Third new game was the very silly Poo: The Card Game. You really have to feel for the colonist of Puerto Rico who served as the poo in our game.

Next month will probably see guns and more poo.

23 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
14. Board Game: Power Grid: Factory Manager [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:813]
Brian Boyle
Australia
Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Proud Balmain Board Gamer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Gift from 2009 Secret Santa. First played on Jan 20, because I took extended Christmas break and missed the Christmas post at home!

For what is an exercise in optimization, a very enjoyable game.

The combination of the more you bid, the less choice your have (or give your opponents) is really interesting. The component quality is excellent (ignoring the money) and the artwork puts you back in the Power Grid Universe.

A pretty deep economic engine game for 15-20mins per player and good scaling from 2-4 players. My kids will readily play this with me, whereas Power Grid is simply too heavy and too long.

Power Grid-lite without being Power Grid-like?

I suspect that it may grow a little stale with repeated plays (and it may be a little AP-prone)... but 5 games in, it feels like there is still room to improve the efficiency of your factory from last time.

A solid 8.5/10 from me.

Thanks Secret Santa!
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
15. Board Game: Maria [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:285]
Willem Holthuis
Netherlands
Buitenpost
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This was our 2nd game, almost new . If the next description doesn't make any sense, then:
1. Buy the game
2. Play the game
3. ... or reverse (lesser option)

Game situation is basically:
- France/Bavaria/Prussia/Saxony against
- Austria/Pragmatic Army.
Bavaria and Saxony are Minor Powers and are helping their Allied Major Powers.

3 Players:
- Maria Theresa = Austria
- Frederick = Prussia/Saxony/Pragmatic Army
- Louix XV = France/Bavaria

Maria is a game that keeps you focused the whole game. It is nerve-wrecking for Austria, because she feels high pressure. She gets encircled from the north-east by the Prussians, from the north by Saxony and from the west by France! I've just played Austria and it drains you, but it feels great!

France and Prussia are allies but as the game proceeds they are counting each others VP's left in the pool, so allies? The nation who can get rid of her VP's in the pool wins the game. The Pragmatic Army has to win the game on the Flanders map by co-operating with Austria. But the player holding the Pragmatic Army is playing Prussia too on the Bohemia map against Austria! What a role!

Then there is the political track, a great dimension to already a fantastic game. Here you can influence the game-board situation and make your position stronger, but is does cost precious cards you need so hard for the fights on the board. Choices, choices..

Then you have these precious Hussars, playing an important role for Austria on the Bohemia map. They do 2 things:
- France/Prussia/Saxony have to be very careful where to put their supply trains. So no easy walking into Austria, but careful maneuvering.
- If the Hussars cut of the supply of the enemy it will cost them cards to get into supply again.

Saxony starts in the France/Bavaria/Prussia camp. But on the political track and by losses of the Prussian army or after Prussia annexes Silesia (she needs the approval of Austria for this) Saxony can switch sides and even become an ally of Austria!

After 2 plays with the same players we all 3 have the same feeling: Fantastic game, a more than worthy successor of Friedrich.

This game ended in round 9 (12 rounds total):
The last round put high nerves on Prussia an France, both with 2 VP's left in the Pool. The final battles took place in the spades sector around Tabor and Iglau in the middle of Austria. France drained my spades hand but wasn't strong enough. With 2 spades left in Austria's hand (2 x 3 cards) Prussia beat Austria and finished the game.
26 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
16. Board Game: Day & Night [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:2960]
Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
flag msg tools
badge
Games, games and more games!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Day & Night
We bought this over Christmas, breaking our purchasing rule of not buying games that were 2 player only, and have played it four times already. It's a fairly abstract game, but is a lot of fun to play, especially in close games.

Hansa Teutonica
I've only played thisd once so far, 2 player, but enjoyed it and would love to try again soon.

World Without End
This was very enjoyable to play, but didn't have that spark that the other two had. I'd like to play again now that I know what I'm doing though, to see if it grows on me.

16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
17. Board Game: Dungeon Lords [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:220]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A number of games new to me this month, thanks to my attendance at Dicecon in Edinburgh, where I managed 7 (and none that I'd played before).


d10-8My top pick is Dungeon Lords, but only just as they were all very enjoyable. This took an age to get going, as none of us had played before and the rules were hard to get into and perhaps not as well organised as they should be. But in spite of this we all enjoyed it, and agreed that on another occasion it would be much quicker. It's not that it's all that complex (though there seems to be an exception to every rule!), it was just hard work ploughing through it all. I managed to be extremely evil and attracted the Paladin to ravage my dungeon, but I did eventually slaughter his goody-goodyness and ended up in second place. This first play felt almost co-operative as we struggled through the rules, no doubt future plays (of which I hope there will be many!) would be more cut-throat.

We also played a number of short, light, games:



d10-8Alice in Wonderland Parade is a clever little game with a wonderful theme, well worth a try. There's quite a bit to think about each turn - what cards will you pick up, what impact will that have on other players, but it still plays nice and quickly.


d10-8Hat Trick is a trick taking game with a twist - there can be two tricks at once. Again, this plays quickly but with some thought and different strategies possible. You are sometimes at the 'mercy' of your fellow players so intentional screwage is certainly in the mix too, to make it fun and interactive.


d10-8Filipino Fruit Market is yet another trick- how many more can there be? In this game you select a suit (of fruit) to be your Bastos! (and yes, it does mean what it sounds like) which you can't win a trick with but which means you can alter the ultimate value of cards if you lead it. So there is an immediate tension between winning tricks and influencing how much they are worth. We found ourselves saying "Bastos!" quite a lot!


d10-7Unpublished Prototype. Most of the day I was playing with the irrepressible Lamont Brothers and friends, who were very welcoming and excellent gaming company. But one inevitable outcome of gaming with designers is that at some point you have to do a playtest - which of course I was happy to do! I'm not sure how much I should reveal of the game we played, suffice it to say that it had clouds, was slightly reminiscent of a Bastos cross between Geschenkt and The Great Dalmuti, and was good fun.


d10-7WeyKick - which doesn't seem to be in the database, though I may have got the name wrong - is a footballesque disc flicking game, played on a nice wooden arena. You have two footballers (large wooden pawns) controlled by magnets underneath the table. It worked very well and was fun and frantic. If your footballer strayed into your opponent's half you lost control but as it often ended up sticking to one of their players and making control awkward for them this wasn't so much of a disadvantage as you might think.


d10-7The other long game I played was Steam, which I thought was much better and more streamlined than its ancestor Age of Steam. None of us had played before which probably explains how I managed to win!

All in all an excellent month for me, new games wise - I can't wait for the next Dicecon!

[edited with correction for Weykick]
26 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
18. Board Game: Chicago Express [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:404]
Mark Johnson
Canada
St.John's
Newfoundland
flag msg tools
designer
“Brothers, oh brothers, my days here are done, the Dornishman’s taken my life, But what does it matter, for all men must die, and I’ve tasted the Dornishman’s wife!”
badge
"Oak and iron guard me well, or else I'm dead and doomed to hell." - Andal proverb.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I never got many new games played this month which is unfortunate. I'm not entirely sure what the cause of this was. Either way, the best of the bunch that I've played is Chicago Express. This allows me to go and try to trade away the more expensive Steel Driver. Any takers?

Shameless promotion in the forthcoming paragraphs... feel free to skip ahead if you'd like

The game I've played most (at 11 plays) however is my own creation: Sinful Rummy. It was in January that I received the Bonnie and Clyde and Sinful Rummy artscow decks that my girlfriend Daisy designed. They look fantastic and now I won't feel so bad about asking my friends to playtest them with me. This is a game I started designing before Cate's Rummy Contest. I originally had what I consider to be a great idea for a 'San Juan/RFTG'-esque card game based around the Seven Deadly Sins. At the time I was playing a lot of 'Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper' and then thought that it might be interesting to make a rummy based game around the theme. Since this was easier to come up with than my original card game, I pursued this avenue and now it's complete and looks as good as a published game. Good stuff Daisy! It's too bad all the art was ganked off of Deviant Art rather than with original art, but it serves it's purpose.

I don't really know what to say about Sinful Rummy, other than, I tried to make it thematic and as enjoyable as other mystery rummy games. I think I have succeeded in the two player game being a very enjoyable experience. There are a few minor things I'm thinking on tweaking but not much. The three player is functional and fun, but I prefer the two player experience. The 4 player partnership is not currently working and I'll need to do a lot of adjusting/tinkering to make it work, though it's just about ready for playtesting once again.

What's it about? Well, it's Rummy so you are trying to lay melds and get rid of all of the cards in your hand. Like the Mystery Rummy series, there are a way of achieving a shutout, and there are two types of cards which are sin cards (similar to evidence cards) and special cards (similar to gavel cards). Unlike the mystery rummy games, you start with a larger hand of cards, the 'evidence' cards range in point value (which is tied to another mechanism of the game), and you're required to have a minimum of 4 cards to lay a meld but with the right cards can play a meld with just 2 cards. The biggest difference is that when melds are played or cards are added to existing melds there will sometimes be a special effect called a divine favor. There is a different divine favor associated with each type of 7 melds which are the seven deadly sins. I tried very hard to make the card interactions to be interesting and the choices in the game to be more difficult to make than in other rummy/mystery rummy games. I hope anyone that plays the game will feel this way.

Games with an 8 Rating



Chicago Express

Now that Chicago Express has been played, I can compare it with Steel Driver which is a very similar game and fills a similar niche in one's collection. Chicago Express feels like a more open game with more choices available. Let's compare: SD requires you to auction shares at the beginning of every round whereas CE gives the players the option. SD requires that companies spend money they have if they are able to do so whereas CE allows you to build routes when you feel like or increase the companies by developing where they already have a route built. SD ends in 5 rounds regardless of what happens whereas in CE there are multiple ways in which the game could end, but it still has a maximum number of turns. I'm not even going to get into Steel Drivers end game cube grab again. While Steel Driver is not a bad game, I can't see why anyone would rather play it over Chicago Express.


Games with a 7 Rating



Twilight Struggle

What to say, what to say? For full disclosure, I am talking about the games Deluxe Edition. In terms of long in depth two player confrontational games, I can't say there is one that I would rather play. So, what's to like about this?

1) Tension! This game has it in spades.

2) Low set-up breakdown time

3) A low amount of downtime between players turns

4) Awesome components!

What is this game? Some would argue that it's a war game, however, the fact that it has VP some VP's are awarded through area majority some would say this is a euro. Who cares what it is, just play the game and see if you enjoy it.

Let's talk about the games card driven mechanism since it's the heart of the game. Throughout each turn of the game (there are a maximum of 10) each player will have 8 - 9 cards and will be required play the majority of them. Each non-scoring card will be associated with you, your opponent, or it will be neutral. When you play a card, it can be done as either an event or used for it's point value. So, why would you play cards associated with your opponent as an event? Well, you wouldn't, but the rules state that when you play cards associated with your opponent for the point value, the event will trigger regardless. Some events when triggered will be removed from the game permanently. This makes things very tricky. So how do you get out of playing nasty opponent events that are in your hand? You can typically carry one card into the next round and once (sometimes twice per round) you can chuck a card towards the space race to avoid opponents events triggering but this means that your opponent might get it when the discard pile gets shuffled to become the new deck. So, players will be forced to decide what to play, how to play, what to get rid of and what to hold. Tension!

So what would I say is the games weakness? Well, it feels as if luck can heavily swing the results of a game. There is a fair amount of die rolling and while it does create tension sometimes it can be annoying when you roll high on the space race and low on everything else. For once the die rolling randomness is less of an issue to me than the card randomness, and that's because inciting a die roll can have ulterior motives (ie lowering defcon, chucking unwanted cards to the space race, increasing required military ops) than simply trying to get the result of a good die roll.

At first I felt there was a significant difference in the balance of the USSR and USA, but now I feel that it has more to do with the randomness of the cards. There still seems to be a slight USSR bias but there are a few variants to try and negate it. Who draws what scoring card, in what order and and various board positions can have a huge effect on the outcome of the game. Overall, I would have to say that I am very intrigued by the game and will continue to crave playing it, but I'm curious if what I consider to be the games caveats will disappear with repeated plays or if I feel it will all come down to the luck of the dice rolls and cards.

This definitely has the potential for greatness.



Dungeon Twister

Dungeon Twister is a very interesting two player game. Each player controls 8 characters and 6 items each. The goal is running your characters to your opponents end line through the labyrinth or killing your opponents characters (through card driven combat ala LoTR Confrontation/AGoT). The labyrinth is not fully known until it's explored and once it's been explored the orientation of the rooms traps, open passages, and locked doors can be altered by twisting the rooms. Sounds like a thrilling dungeon crawl? Not really. It's feels more like playing an abstract strategy game, though I do feel like the designer did a good job on the theme. After all of the rooms are revealed there is literally no luck in the game and it's this luckless battle of wits that makes it feel like an abstract game.

The game is not completely devoid of luck/randomness/chaos. At the beginning players will secretly arrange 4 characters on their end line and put their remaining 4 characters and item tokens on the face-down dungeon tiles. One this is done the players use action points to reveal rooms, move in the labyrinth and start combat. The initial orientation of the room is random and this can play a big part in how the game plays out. When a player reveals a room he places everything in the room, how he wants with the exception of his own items. This is where the randomness of the tile orientation can suck. If I have a bruiser revealing a tile that's next to him, but there is a wall between him and the revealed tile, I wouldn't be able to place my opponents squishy character next to him and start combat. This sounds good but then maybe my opponent reveals a room and there is an opening to the newly revealed tile and he's able to do this. There are other ways in which the chaos can take the enjoyment out of the game a bit.

With the expandability of this game and the way it works, it's basically the miniatures game I've always been looking for, without the crazy high price tag. If you're going to try this game I would like to pass on a word of advice: both the games rulebook and I strongly recommend that you use a timer as so that the game stays within a manageable time frame.

Basic Dungeon Twister: This section is to talk about the differences between Dungeon Twister (DT1 for future reference) and Dungeon Twister Prison (DTP for future reference). It should be noted that these game are not only base games but also expand one another. All of the expansions for Dungeon Twister will work with either game.

This is a pretty cheap game to acquire and has an interesting mix of characters and items. In fact it's MUCH cheaper than DTP. I would say it easily worth how much it costs. I think I prefer the mix of characters and items in DT1 compared to DTP. I believe that the included dungeon tiles of DT1 has a little more open feel to it compared to DTP. Finally, I think the significants of the luck of what you reveal has less impact in DT1 compared to DTP.




Dungeon Twister 2: Prison

Dungeon Twister is a very interesting two player game. Each player controls 8 characters and 6 items each. The goal is running your characters to your opponents end line through the labyrinth or killing your opponents characters (through card driven combat ala LoTR Confrontation/AGoT). The labyrinth is not fully known until it's explored and once it's been explored the orientation of the rooms traps, open passages, and locked doors can be altered by twisting the rooms. Sounds like a thrilling dungeon crawl? Not really. It's feels more like playing an abstract strategy game, though I do feel like the designer did a good job on the theme. After all of the rooms are revealed there is literally no luck in the game and it's this luckless battle of wits that makes it feel like an abstract game.

The game is not completely devoid of luck/randomness/chaos. At the beginning players will secretly arrange 4 characters on their end line and put their remaining 4 characters and item tokens on the face-down dungeon tiles. One this is done the players use action points to reveal rooms, move in the labyrinth and start combat. The initial orientation of the room is random and this can play a big part in how the game plays out. When a player reveals a room he places everything in the room, how he wants with the exception of his own items. This is where the randomness of the tile orientation can suck. If I have a bruiser revealing a tile that's next to him, but there is a wall between him and the revealed tile, I wouldn't be able to place my opponents squishy character next to him and start combat. This sounds good but then maybe my opponent reveals a room and there is an opening to the newly revealed tile and he's able to do this. There are other ways in which the chaos can take the enjoyment out of the game a bit.

With the expandability of this game and the way it works, it's basically the miniatures game I've always been looking for, without the crazy high price tag. If you're going to try this game I would like to pass on a word of advice: both the games rulebook and I strongly recommend that you use a timer as so that the game stays within a manageable time frame.

Dungeon Twister Prison: This section is to talk about the differences between Dungeon Twister (DT1 for future reference) and Dungeon Twister Prison (DTP for future reference). It should be noted that these game are not only base games but also expand one another. All of the expansions for Dungeon Twister will work with either game.

This game is a lot more expensive than DT1. DTP is $64 vs DT1's $26 at one online store. What does this extra money buy you? You get standard magic-sized cards compared to DT1's mini-cards (ala Arkham Horror items). You get plastic mini's with really nice sculpts vs. DT1's cardboard stand-ups. This last point is kind of a non-issue for me as I always just use the tokens instead of stand-ups or mini's. DTP comes in a much larger box. This extra box space is filled with a nice insert which allows the storage of future expansions. Finally, it gives you the components and rules necessary to play the solo version of the game. It should be noted that these solo components are not compatible with DT1. In conclusion I think you get a lot more game for your money with DT1. Beyond that, if you compare the components of DTP with another Asmodee game by the name of Claustrophobia, which are of similar cost, Claustrophobia smokes DTP in the worst kind of way. Yes, I consider DTP to be the superior game, but way to drop the ball with the components when you do a side by side comparison.

As for the mix of characters and tiles, they're interesting. I do feel that the mix of characters in DTP has the potential for worse room 'luck/chaos/whatever'. How so? Colossus can kill most characters it gets near. The Telepath can kill most characters it gets next to with the exception of the Colossus and another Telepath. If you reveal a room with containing your Banshee and an opponents character and one decent trap, you can kill an opponents character for 2 action points. If it weren't for the room reveal chaos, I think that this would be a stronger set of characters and items than DT1.

I have read the rules for DTP's solo game and they sound interesting. I haven't played it yet however, so I can't really comment on it's merits. Others have liked it, and I will post more about it when I get a chance to play it.


Games with a 6 Rating



Claustrophobia

The components for this game are amazing. As good or better than FFG quality, if you're looking for comparisons. This game really puts Dungeon Twister Prison's components to shame. It bears saying since they are made by the same company, they have similar components and they are similarly priced. Beyond the components, I hear this has been compared to Space Hulk. As I've never played Space Hulk I can't really comment on this but if it is a worthwhile comparison, these are my thoughts: I like the theme better in Claustrophobia. The game is cheaper but still gorgeous. The mini's are pre-painted and do not require removing from plastic. As for my overall opinion, it's a decent dungeon-crawling game for two with the 'lovely' randomness of dice. I like that it has various scenarios and that it plays relatively quickly, but it's not something I feel the need to own. I could definitely see some people going ga-ga over this game though.




Bonnie and Clyde

Another Rummy game. I would probably rate this one about a 7 if it weren't for the absolutely horrid design of the game. It was so horrible that I had to get my gf to do a re-design of the game through artscow. As for the actual gameplay. It's interesting in trying to find Bonnie and Clyde and then getting the car to move to to various locations so you can get them, as well a s score bonus points for melds that are laid. It seems a lot easier to get points in this Mystery Rummy game and the 100 point games almost goes to quick. I would probably recommend 150 or 200. Again, there are better Rummy games out there, but this one is decent if you play with functional cards.

Games with a 3 Rating



Zombie Fluxx

Who would have thought Fluxx and it's various incarnations were cooperative games? They're not you say? The last time I played this game, everyone but one person were trying the end the game as quickly as possible by handing victory to the first person they could. Sometimes this one player prevented that from happening and other times the game wouldn't let it happen. This is the worst co-op game I've played. As a competitive game, it equally fails.
32 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
19. Board Game: El Caballero [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:2357]
Michael
Germany
around Ulm
Alb-Donau Kreis
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
El Caballero is a clever tile laying game. I find it much more challenging than Carcassonne, which I also like. We played this game and all liked it. It doen't have much to do with El Grande, so people who don't like the latter, should try it, too.

Another new game was Big City. I was a bit disappointed, because I expected more. Not so much strategy in there. No bad game, but also not so great.
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
20. Board Game: Chaos in the Old World [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:108]
Fat Tony
United States
Waterloo
Iowa
flag msg tools
badge
Nothing like family, friends and games...and music and beer...and pizza and bean dip...and actually having time to play games...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hands down, my January favorite. I played in a 4-player game as Khorne and loved every minute. This game has a lot of elements that, taken separately, I'm a big fan of - variable powers, variety through lots of cards, different goals and victory conditions for each player, and one thing in particular that needs to appear more often: the possibility of all players losing. And it really isn't that difficult to learn - I'd put it as a step above Nexus Ops in terms of complexity. My wife just bought me a copy of my own, and I expect many more plays in the future.

Other new games:

Vikings - not bad, but definitely a typical Euro. I did appreciate that there are multiple valid paths to victory.
Tinners' Trail - this one I liked. I'm a Martin Wallace novice, and I've been told this is one of his lighter offerings. I was a little hesitant during the rules explanation, but I had a lot of fun and managed a solid second place. I'd play again for sure.

I also got to properly break in my copy of the Clash of Kings expansion for A Game of Thrones, using most of the components - we only had 5, so no House Martell, and we left out the one-time orders. The alternate House cards are great, fortifications are great, siege engines are okay, and the ports are, of course, necessary. I also finished a play-by-forum game of Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game using the Pegasus expansion, which I enjoyed, but admittedly won't have a real feel for until I play it face-to-face.
23 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
21. Board Game: Power Grid: Factory Manager [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:813]
Scott Pizio
United States
Fall River
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Another year, another support drive, another silly Over text
badge
Which way to the nearest cliff?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Power Grid: Factory Manager 4
Finca 1
Priests of Ra 1
Taj Mahal 1
Tulipmania 1637 1

There were several new to me games. As you can probably guess by number of plays Factory Manager was the best new to me game. It is possible that Tulipmania may have challenged it for best new game if I had gotten it before the last week of the month.

New acquisitions:
Agricola: Farmers of the Moor, The Republic of Rome (VG reprint), Tulipmania
17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
22. Board Game: Full Metal Planète [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:1764]
Mike B
Netherlands
Utrecht
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Not so much playing in january for me. Only 18 plays (disturbingly low amount) of 15 games. Only 3 (4) new to me.

4 gameplays where 4 hour long games though, like most of the new ones. So gamewise it could have been 100 plays if I traded in 1 long game with gaming sessions of Looping Louie or something similar...

Hispania
is an obscure Britannia variant, located in Spain. A great epic game, which thanks to the owner and geekbuddy's player aids was quite playable too.

We had a great time playing this "sweep through history" game. But for me being the only one to never have played Britannia, I had a hard time "keeping up with history" because besides what's happening in all the different rounds with possible invasions of other players and new races being added to the board, you have to keep track of WHERE you (and the other players!) score points. Because that changes too.

Maybe if I had played Britannia before I could have fallen in love with this grand game, now I was too busy clinging on to call it my game of the month... But great game anyway, loads of take-overs, grand stands and all. And the occasional unfortunate bad rolls of dice that took more men from me than I'd liked...


Rise of Empires
It's pretty rare I don't buy a new Wallace game blindly. I didn't buy this one immediately thanks to a well written review by a geekbuddy who stated the game was disappointing.

Another geekbuddy invited me to play his copy so I gladly took the opportunity. After playing the game once I don't feel disappointed, but not the usual WOW I get from a fresh Wallace either.

Negatives: Gameplay feels a bit fuzzy. We didn't get the feeling of having a bit of control on the game. Or game with 5 took 4,5 hours, which is just an hour too long for what it is. But maybe it was the newness of the game, or the slowness of play.

Positives: As with all Wallace's, there are various interesting strategies/tactics possible. The new "what you do in turn A, you have to do in turn B" mechanic is frustratingly nice.

We did enjoy our play. I guess I might buy this one eventually when found cheap.


Roads and Boats
I finally managed to get this monstergame on the table after a one player session a year and a half ago...

Definitely not a game for players who detest "fiddly" and "long" games. I like deep games, which is hard to do in short games. And I don't mind fiddly so much, and I think this is a great economic "engine building" game with some nice twists. My wife thought it was too long and too "multi-player" solitaire, but I think that was because we we're quite busy figuring out the game (what to do? what strategy to follow? can't do it all!) and we we're playing the "easy" beginner's scenario. So not too much screwage in this game. Which is very possible, I can see how this can be a very hard and interactive game.

And who doesn't like a game that has donkeys as a first means of transportation?

If I hadn't done a soloplay this would be available for the new-game-of-the-month title, but now it feels too much like cheating to call it that.


Which leads me to Full Métal Planète. Another game I finally got on the table after finding a mint copy on ebay for an amount of Euros I was willing to part with.

I choose the wrong player group to play it with though, since I was the only one really enjoying this nasty combination of economics and warfare. Even though I got thrown out of the game as early as in turn 11 because I neglected a player who was close enough too much. Man, I really would like to play this again: the rules are easy enough, the game is quite interactive with plenty of turn-angst, the parts are lovely. And if you're the only player who likes a game out of the whole playing group, with all kinds of negative comments, and being thrown out of the game as well, it must be a really good game for me.
So despite my gaming friends moans I declare this to be my "new-game-of-the-month"

24 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
23. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.32 Overall Rank:5]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
badge
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
No contest this month, because I played a game that may well become my 5th perfect 10 alongside Tigris & Euphrates, Ra, Brass and Race for the Galaxy. Twilight Struggle was the last game in the top 10 I hadn't played, and since I've always been interested in that period of history I'd been really looking forward to getting round to it. I swapped my copy of El Grande for it in a UK math trade and played a couple of times face-to-face and four times online (using the excellent wargameroom app) this month. It has got inside my head more than any game I've played in a long time. I absolutely love the multi-dimensional hand-management and the way each turn is almost a mini-game (which works particularly well online as you can play episodically). There's something about 2-player games that make you really care about winning or losing, and playing the same opponent repeatedly has allowed us both to develop our skills a lot, especially avoiding early war wipe-out when playing as USA. Our latest game has just entered turn 7, poised on a knife-edge, and I can't wait to see what happens!* I have slight worries about the flat dice rolls, and it can be a really long game face-to-face, but those are minor quibbles about an undeniable masterpiece.

Next best was King of Siam, a minimalist area control game. I love games where the strategy is much more complex than the rules, and after a couple of plays this definitely seems to be one of them. Each player only gets 8 actions in the entire game (though it does only last 30-45 mins), so they have to be chosen very carefully. The interesting thing is that the cubes on the board don't represent players, but independent factions, and by increasing your personal influence over a faction you reduce its power on the board. There's something almost Zen about it all, and I'm really looking forward to trying it again, though it will have to be with a well-chosen group of players.

Filler of the month was Saboteur, which took over the closer slot at my games club from 6 Nimmt for one week only. Lots of nastiness and laughs.

Middling ratings for Colossal Arena, Lowenherz and Alhambra. Colossal Arena is a Knizia betting/bluffing game which I quite enjoyed, though was a bit turned off by the theme. I liked the action selection mechanic in Lowenherz, but wasn't blown away by the whole package. And I knew Alhambra was a gateway game, but there was less to it than I expected. I wouldn't choose it in preference to Ticket to Ride.

Had one game of Conquest of the Empire at my games group's monthly Sunday session. For me, games have to be really exceptional to play for 4 or 5 hours rather than 2-3 shorter games. Unlike Twilight Struggle, this one wasn't. The alliance auction is interesting, and the combat system is quite neat, but there was way too much downtime with 6 players.

Out and out dog of the month was Linwood. It's horribly unbalanced and essentially roll-and-move. Avoid.

* Update on that game: it all ended rather oddly in turn 8. My opponent (as USSR) was dealt both Tear Down the Wall and Grain Sales to Soviets. I headlined Red Scare/Purge, and he failed to notice this meant he could no longer space race those cards. Once DEFCON got to 2, there was no way he could get rid of both of them, and so he lost. Bit of an anticlimax, but another lesson learnt!
30 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
24. Board Game: Antiquity [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:199]
CassSoren
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I learned several new games this month. Of those, I had two outstanding favorites. The first is Antiquity. There was a lot I liked about this game. The second was Thunderstone which was a pleasant surprise. I didn't think I'd care for it because I'd read it was supposed to be a lot like Dominion but fiddlier - so why not just play Dominion. Instead, I found a game that shares little with Dominion.
18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [6]  |  
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [6]  |