New to you a year ago Nov 10 => Has it stood the test of time?
Martin G
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Grimwold's new-to-you geeklists are the highlight of my month on the 'geek. They motivate me to review the new games I've played (and recycle my entries as comments), and they allow me to read the thoughts of some of the most insightful 'geeks on new and classic games.

But the new-to-me list is inevitably full of first impressions. I'm interested in hearing how those games that seemed so great at the time stood up to multiple plays. Did you actually play them that much after the first month? Did a game you dismissed at the time turn out to be better in retrospect?

Add an entry with the same game you chose for the New to you Nov 09 geeklist. Link to your entry in that geeklist, then write down your thoughts on the game you chose a year on. If your impression of some of the other games you wrote up that month have changed, let us know about that too.

The big games that month were the recent Essen releases, particularly Dungeon Lords, At the Gates of Loyang and Power Grid: Factory Manager - have they stood the test of time?

I'll be starting these lists mid-month, so we don't have to keep up with this list and Grimwold's (and several other monthly ones) all at the same time. You can subscribe to the announcement thread for reminders.
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1. Board Game: Municipium [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:2244]
 
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Item for Geeklist "New to you Nov 09 => Best new game you played this month and why"

I chose well this month. I've played Municipium five times since and enjoyed it each time. What makes it refreshingly different from most area control games is that the control is so temporary. The important areas move in a wave around the board, and to do well you want to ride that wave, while looking out for good opportunities to execute a couple of big set-pieces with your personal cards.

My only issue with the game is the unmitigated advantage of being first player. It gives you the best shot at the important control of the temple, and also a good chance of an extra turn - which can make all the difference as the race to the finish is often tight. I wrote at the time that Municipium "deserves to be much higher-ranked than its lowly 665". Sadly it's now down to 725, while games of a similar weight and length that I find far less interesting, like Fresco, bask in the top 100.

My second placed game was Dungeon Lords, and indeed, it's the only other game of the eight I rated that I've played again (only once). It's not the kind of game I normally like, but its sense of humour and thematic integration carry it through. Not one I'd like to play often, but I'd be happy to give it a go every now and then, as long as the players didn't suffer from AP.
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2. Board Game: Kleine Magier [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:9080]
...sure...
Netherlands
Rijen
Noord Brabant
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Has it stood the test of time? Yes! Still a fun game! Should get it played more....
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3. Board Game: Dominion: Seaside [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked]
Lori
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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Item for Geeklist "New to you Nov 09 => Best new game you played this month and why"

My top game last November (yeah, technically an expansion, but whatever) was Dominion: Seaside, and it has definitely stood the test of time. I've played Seaside approximately 46 times now, and have played it in 8 of the 12 months since. I would like to play it pretty much all the time, so in the non-Seaside months, I was only deterred by lack of opportunity.

Seaside is my favorite of the Dominion expansions so far, though it looks like Prosperity may be a contender. I found it so much more thematic than Intrigue. I really like all the nautical stuff, plus the cards whose mechanics are thematic, like Pearl Diver. The main new thing in Seaside was the duration mechanic, and I like that a lot. It's something that brought a new dimension to play, but that integrated well into the existing game, without causing a lot of confusion. I expect to be playing this for years to come.
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4. Board Game: Homesteaders [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:531]
Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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Item for Geeklist "New to you Nov 09 => Best new game you played this month and why"

Yes, I'd say so. I still like the game very much, have played it numerous times since then.

This was a great month for me, being BGG.con. Vasco da Gama and Shipyard easily could have been my choice, and both are still favourites.

Coincidentally, I just set up Shipyard to play tonight right before checking what my entry was.
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5. Board Game: Parade [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:705]
Sheamus Parkes
United States
Carmel
Indiana
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Yea, it's still good. I got a hold of the English release and I've played it a few times.

Of the slim pickins, I think it was a solid choice.

If you're a fan of fast fillers, you definitely do need to give this a go.
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6. Board Game: Hellas [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2411]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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Well, this is an excellent question, and a very good idea for a geeklist.

In my case, I haven't actually played Hellas again since that first play, which perhaps says something. In my case it probably says that I have a load of other two player games which tend to come out in preference, and this one didn't stand out enough to be an automatic choice. So I should probably give it another go and then either keep it and play it occasionally or get rid of it.
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7. Board Game: Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:590]
Jeff Wolfe
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Item for Geeklist "New to you Nov 09 => Best new game you played this month and why"

This is last year's selection, and it's the only game from a year ago that I've played since that month. I don't particularly have any nostalgia for any of the other games, so I guess this one has stood the test of time.
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8. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:434]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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As usual I posted a long entry but as I spent the first days of November I posted my entry to this geeklist way too late.

I do think choosing Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation as the best one was a good choice, even if I haven't played it too often since - it's just hard to find anyone willing to play a 2-player game with foreign text - I'm thinking I should print & create a version with Hungarian texts.

I still think Endeavor is a good game although I'm starting to get a tiny bit bored with "efficiency engine building" Euros with special buildings and adjustable player abilities. Half of the new games of Essen seemed to be like this.
Power Grid: Factory Manager is a good but very mathy game; I haven't played it since but my opinion hasn't changed.
At the Gates of Loyang - by the time I played Loyang I still hadn’t played Agricola nor Bohnanza but had played Le Havre and At the Gates of Loyang. I have played Bohnanza and Agricola since and while Loyang is pretty much the missing link between the two, I like both a bit more than Loyang.

Category 5 (6 Nimmt) was such a big success in 2009 that I even bought 11 Nimmt later. I like 11 Nimmt more, but 6 Nimmt is better as a party game.

Ticket to Ride: Europa 1912 - Since then I haven't played the game without the expansion cards so my opinion hasn't changed. I still haven't tried the warehouses though.
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9. Board Game: A Brief History of the World [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:1703]
Netherlands
Enschede
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My entry for the new to you Nov 09 list

Last year in November I only played three new-to-me games, none of which were in our collection, and that hasn't changed. We didn't play any of them again. If I had to pick one to play again, it would be my choice of last year A Brief History of the World.

I don't really remember how World of Warcraft Trading Card Game works, but reading my comments from last year, that probably is a good thing.

China is just another version of Web of Power, which we do own, so that isn't as interesting when it comes to giving it another try.
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10. Board Game: En Garde [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1979]
Avri
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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The simple and wonderfully thematic En Garde topped my list of new games in November 2009, and is currently my most played game in 2010. 'nuff said?

PitchCar Mini hasn't hit the table since, but I expect that to change once I start maling it out to Meetups again - I can bring this in a messenger bag where I can't fit Crokinole . . .

Ponte del Diavolo is a good game that I played quite a bit early this year, but has not hit the table in quite a while, victim to my seeming inability to ever truly grok a connection game . . .

And it is no surprise that Blokus 3D has seen no more play after making such a poor first impression. Up for trade . . .
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11. Board Game: Dominion: Seaside [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked]
Andrew
Japan
Tokyo
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The Kangaroos
Don't get me wrong, Power Grid still isn't a game I like, but I have a better understanding of what's happening and therefore can perceive more of the tension in the game. During my second game a couple of months later I was enjoying the experience - until a dud power plant draw sent me to last place.

The Platypodes
Dominion: Seaside is just as great as it was when I first played it, though Dominion: Prosperity is actually even better!

Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper remains a pleasant filler.

The Turkeys
Fury of Dracula (second edition) seemed very similar the second time round, which I really don't like in a longish game.

I can't say I found my first play of A Game of Thrones (First Edition) terribly enjoyable, but subsequent games have been even more unpleasant. The game takes a long time, and the diplomacy can become quite fraught.


No Plays
I'd be quite happy to play the following but just haven't got around to it yet:
* Ingenious - This is a solid abstract.
* Daitou - I strongly suspect that I can play optimally in a two-player game.
* Brief History of the World - It's a bit long for my taste, but it's a nice game.
* Doctor Who - This is a great game, but I just tend not to play solo games with lots of moving parts.

I have no real desire to play the following:
* Red November - Theme doesn't really appeal.
* Antike - I liked it during the first play and afterwards realised it was too static and dry an experience for me.
* Goko no Saikoro - it's pleasant to play, but mathematically calculable.
* Decathlon - This is a nice enough game, but I'd probably play something else.
* War of the Ring (First Edition) - Too long for my taste, despite the appealing theme.
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12. Board Game: Rise of Empires [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:935]
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Powers:Coleridge:Milton: Faith...must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God.
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A year ago this month, there were five new games to which I was introduced, plus one very good expansion. Despite the fact that I failed Andy and didn't write this up last year, I'll list the six in rough order of current enthusiasm.

Rise of Empires -- (1 play in last 11 months) A
(images by hemp & thirdman)

It's pretty long, which may have had a role in the single play in the past while. Admittedly, there were three plays last November; so it's not been ignored completely. I still have a lot of enthusiasm for the title. The A/B turn mechanism is even more interesting in practice than in theory; there seem to be several viable postures (military, civic building, trade) that can be taken throughout the game; and the decisions are interesting (at least to me.)

Hansa Teutonica -- (8 plays in last 11 months) A
(images by autumnweave & lacxox)

It's soulless: one plays cubes so that one can play some more cubes. But it's really well designed and engaging if one likes exercises of that nature. There are lots of subtleties: timing is interesting; tempo even more so. It's possible it will pass Rise of Empires for me in the long term, but for the moment it's a close runner-up.

Blue Moon -- (4 plays in last 11 months) A
(images by samoan_jo & funnytortoise)

Joe said it was good; I didn't believe him; I was wrong.

Blue Moon is an excellent hand-management card game. The different decks add lots of new dynamics and balances. I think this one could pass both of its predecessors if it got enough work: at this point, it's only held back by my lack of play.

Pandemic: On the Brink -- (2 plays in last 11 months) A-
(images by Outside Lime & haccpmonkey)

Spectacular expansion to a excellent game. Not my favourite kind of game, mind you; I'm discovering I'm not a huge fan of the co-op game experience (and find that most modern co-ops aren't quite as fun for me as Lord of the Rings was historically. But it may just be that I've been over-exposed. At this point, I'd prefer something with more competition. (Even if, as it often does, that means that I'm on the losing end.)

Such a Thing? -- (6 plays in last 11 months) B+
(both images by fsumarc)

A totally dorky party-game experience. Depending on the audience, it can fall flat - or, sometimes, if the phase of the moon is just right, one gets an outing like my last play where 10 of us are laughing about the game for hours afterward. So: definitely not generally applicable; but when it works, it works well.

Cartagena 2. The Pirate's Nest -- (no plays since November) B
(images by Livinus & Abundance of Flowers)

It's fun. I think I like the original better: I prefer the move-myself-back to the move-an-opponent-forward rule: there's a smaller likelihood of throwing the game by mis-perceiving which opponent should be "assisted." But definitely a game I'm happy to play again.
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13. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:586]
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United States
Indiana
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Original Comment from November 2009

Container



My original comment for this stands. This is a superb game in which players must adjust to the changing economic relations between whole-salers and manufacturers. I've played about 10 times and have a copy in my collection.

As for my evolving impression, I do think that players should be careful about who they invite to the table for this one. Some players just like producing, buying, or selling without any real consideration for how it benefits them. Generally speaking, the players immediately downstream from this kind of erratic behavior will have a very tough time. I have won more than one game of Container simply by choosing to take my seat last (testing a hypothesis, if you will). I'm more selective about when to suggest it or even to bring it to game days as a result.

To be clear, the game is far from scripted, and nobody should continue to play a particular role in the economy if they're not getting the upper hand. Wrangling the game's economy is fun.


2038



Though I've soured on 18xx as a whole during the last year, I continue to play and enjoy 2038. The big revelation for my group has been the depth of the opening auction to the game, which can easily take 20 minutes with 4-5 players. That auction heavily differentiates players' starting positions, so the group needs to be careful. Successive play has demonstrated that there are several ways to go, whether it's leading the way with TSI, operating a pair (or even trio) of high-profit independents, diversifying a portfolio in preparation for the eventual arrival of the Asteroid League, etc. Board position also has additional layers, as we've come to more aggressively convert potential mineheads into refueling stations or auxiliary bases just to keep lucrative opportunities away from the opposition.

2038 is a keeper. I've been playing about once every two months. Sessions are 5-6 hours but quite satisfying. The company management has a sufficiently wide range for me (speed/cargo tradeoffs, pilots, delivery bonuses for certain bases, refueling and logistical distance, etc). Mining the Asteroid Belt is also a pretty great theme.


The Princes of Machu Picchu



Johnrayjr wrote:
Is it a great game? I have no idea. I'm fairly certain it's not a bad one, and it's certainly calling me back for another look.


Well, I've played PoMP about half a dozen times, and it's a great game. The scoring system here is incredibly strange. On the board, players place tribesmen in various areas to increase access to things like llamas, coca leaves, pottery, etc. They use these resources to recruit priests of three types. These priests are then sent on pilgrimages up the mountain, and each time they reach the summit, players receive a scoring card. These scoring cards will later reward players for having tribesmen in certain areas of the board. There are also two different endgames in PoMP. In one of them, the Conquistadors arrive, and if that happens then the scoring cards have an additional "gold value" that can catapult players ahead with a x2 or x3 multiplier. Believe it or not, I've seen non-multiplied scores beat tripled scores.

Machu Pichu is quite a ways off the beaten path, and expertly designed. In my book that's a winning combination. Mac Gerdts has been reluctant to part with or alter his signature Rondel mechanism, and I wonder if that's partially related to the lukewarm reception of this game. Hopefully not, as this is my favorite of his designs.


Greed, Incorporated



Greed blew my mind the first time I played it, so it easily took the top spot last November.

The theme was rendered with pitch-black humor (one of the game's fluctuating market commodities is "blah blah"), and I genuinely expected the market-manipulation, positioning for corporate leadership, and deal-making between companies to open up with further play. I thought it would be a great game of running companies (and the world economy) into the ground for fun and profit.

I did raise a note of skepticism regarding the scoring, though, and that proved to be a big issue during my second play, so much so that no one has been interested in playing it since. Players purchase victory points twice per turn during an auction, and whatever the final price is becomes the new minimum bid next turn. In practice this just seemed to put people hopelessly out of the game fairly early, making the remainder of their play seem inconsequential and uninvolving. That's a big flaw. Maybe Splotter had specific ideas about how this escalating price floor was supposed to translate into juicy gameplay, but 6-7 hardcore economic gamers (many of them fans of other Splotter titles like Indonesia) couldn't see it. Furthermore, the negotiations between companies began to seem like a red herring to us; the real trick was to get control of two companies and rely entirely on insider trading, detonating your companies in one big chain reaction. Not exactly subtle or interesting.

So while I wanted to love Greed, I'm left thinking that it just doesn't work. Furthermore I don't have the sense that there is a block of players on BGG who have cracked the game open and can explain it to the rest of us, and that seems like a bad sign.


We the People



I've only played this twice. The maneuvering is a strong point (a small army can outmaneuver a large army and then pounce on it), but the event-play comes across as lackluster for me. I admire this game more than I enjoy it. Sometimes I feel like I'm setting up and executing a full campaign across a specific region, but too often I feel like our generals and armies are just sitting there. Only infrequently does a given move have exciting ramifications.

Unfortunately, the remake (Washington's War) is a complete train-wreck in my book, but I guess I'll cover that in more detail a few months from now.



I rate We the People a 7. I would not turn it down if suggested but there are many two-player titles I would opt for over this one.



(Almost) Everything Else



I have not played these games since November 2009 and don't miss them; my original comments stand.


Chinatown



My rating for Chinatown went from an 8 to a 3 in four plays.

Read Full Comment for Death Spiral

Chinatown reminded me of Acquire, which I did not expect. You have fewer turns but draw more tiles from the bag. Instead of spending your money on stock, you can spend it negotiating with other players in order to get the tiles and spaces you want. Instead of big payoffs from mergers, you receive steady income from businesses, which ramps up when each business reaches a certain size. Everything is public, so you can see what you have that might be valuable to the other players and vice versa. You spend six turns making deals against the randomness of the draw and see who made the most money. I rather liked Chinatown. Does a lot with a little, and plays in about an hour.

Update (3 plays): Unfortunately, I think the first play is the best play, because people only have a decent feel for what they're doing, rather than an exacting approach that takes into account all future income. In the early game, there is some uncertainty about trading because you don't know who will draw what and change the picture. But even then, I find that players can be a bit disingenuous. I'm willing to articulate exactly what's at stake on either side of a trade. Other players tend to present fuzzy, incomplete, or irrelevant math. Rarely on purpose, of course, but still.

Reading the comments on this game, my guess is that quite a few players don't/can't eyeball a trade and quickly determine its value. For them, working through future income seems like some kind of lengthy analysis that goes against etiquette. I guess ignorance is bliss.

I'm downgrading Chinatown to a 6. I think it's my first pure negotiation game, and there was a real spark for me before each trade involved the entire game-arc. It's sad that the first play is the best play. Definitely need to try Genoa.

Final Update: My rating slides with each play, and I'm out of patience. I now strongly believe this to be a flawed or problematic design. During my last play, I actually watched the game get worse before my eyes as new players figured out how to calculate the value of tiles. For a brief moment, there's an illusion that you can make deals in good faith based more on a gut feeling of what it "seems" to be worth. Once that illusion is crushed, the game goes out the window.

The main issue here is that overwhelmingly, people don't WANT the deal-making to be as deterministic as it is. So you basically have a camp of fans who outright ignore the way the game works, or who make a game out of misrepresenting the way the game works (swindling) and then you have everyone else who does the math. Once you've played a couple of times, I can't imagine that you'd want to be at the table in mixed company, regardless of your angle on the game.

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14. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:72]
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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Here's my New-to-You post from last November followed by my thoughts on each game now in italics.

I like this new monthly geeklist. This particular entry, however, is going to suck.

LOVED IT!



Tigris & Euphrates: Just got this in a math trade this week. I'm really intrigued after my first game (a 2-player game vs my wife.) It's not as complicated as I'd expected, but the rules are not intuitive at all. I'm really excited to get more plays of this. I asked my wife how she felt about it and her answer: "confusing." We'll see.

Now: I adore Tigris & Euphrates. It's in my top 10. Unfortunately, the opportunity to play it with the 3 players who love the game like I do are pretty limited. Usually the player count is wrong for T&E, which is a shame. I want to play this more than I do.



Can't Stop: I've had only 2 plays of this so far, but it seems like a really fun little filler. It's a nice change of pace from the usual stuff we play. The best part is that I found it for $2 at Goodwill!

Now: As it turns out, I can stop. It's a nice, light filler. I like it, but it doesn't claw its way to the top of the pile very often.

Liked it!



TrainSport: Austria: this was my first crayon train game and I liked it more than I expected to. There was more randomness than I anticipated with the route cards that come up, but that means you need to try to have a network that is wide enough to reach most place of the map. I could also see trying to dominate part of the map, blocking others out and ignoring any routes that don't fall into your network. I'd be interested to play this again, or to try similar games.

Now: Good game, but not one I own and with so many games owned between my buddy and I, this hasn't earned a second play from me since last year.



Masons: My wife and I played this for the first time last night. It seems like a nice blend of luck and decision making. I like the pieces and the look of the board as it fills up and cities form. It seems like a nice, cozy little game when you want to relax and do some thinking but not too much. It's reminiscent of Carcassonne for me in some way.

Now: Nice game. Not special and not played often. It's among the candidates when I want a laid back, low-key game.



Batt'l Kha'os: I demoed this for Z-Man games at my FLGS last week. I wasn't too impressed at first, but additional plays have revealed a bit more depth than I originally saw. It's a fun, tactical little filler.

Now: Sigh. Good game, I could see it becoming a great game if played many, many times against the same opponent. That hasn't happened and likely won't.

Not so sure...



Spinnentwist: Neat little abstract about trying to get your male spiders to have sexual intercourse with the queen spider before she can eat them. Cute, fun little game. Unfortunately, this is one of those abstracts where, even though I understand the rules fine, I struggle to make decisions every turn and find the play experience a bit frustrating.

Now: Traded away. Another abstract. Nice enough, but when my GIPF games aren't getting played often, most other abstracts aren't going to stand much of a chance.



Roma: We acquired Roma in a recent math trade. We've gotten one play in so far, and I could see it going either way. It seems like it has a LOT more luck than we're used to. That doesn't make it a bad game, just means I have to adjust my mindset and expectations accordingly. My wife seemed pretty unimpressed, so this may or may not get a chance to prove itself. We're too busy playing Battle Line lately.

Now: Traded. Not a winner.



Rise of Empires: Feels a lot like Endeavor, but longer and more complex. I don't mean that in a good way. It's kind of fiddly, and while it's not exactly bad, it doesn't provide enough fun for how long it takes.

Now: Haven't played it again and don't want to. Uninspired game. If I get the chance to sit down for a 3 hour game, it's sure not gonna be Rise of Empires.



Rhumb Line: Much like Spinnentwist above, it's a neat little abstract I admire but don't really enjoy. Some abstracts simply click with me (Quoridor, YINSH, Blokus) and some just don't (Khet, Hive, Rumis.) I'm not sure why.

Now: Yay! Haven't played again. Many other 2-player abstracts I'd rather play.



Lascaux: Strange little auction/set collection game. Doesn't do much to distinguish itself from all the other games out there. Not a bad way to spend an hour, but there are better ones out there.

Now: Yep. Another so-so game I haven't revisited.



Battue: Storm of the Horse Lords: A game where you uncover the map as you go. Between the cards everyone is dealt, the fact that the value/difficulty of the tiles are hidden until you go after them, and the dice rolling there's just too much randomness here for me. Not a bad game or anything, but not really my sort of game.

Now: Did play this again, at someone else's request. Here are the comments from that play:

Didn't finish it, knew we wouldn't have time. Lots of dice and wild swings in fortune from the event deck of cards. Mark gets a card and loses most of his army. Paul gets a card from the same deck and draws 4 loot cards. HOORAY!


Nothing made it onto my shit list this month. Next month I'm planning on playing, among others, Neuland, Agricola: Farmers of the Moor and Yspahan.

Yeah, nothing made it onto the shitlist. That would have been more interesting. It was essentially T&E and a bunch of unremarkable games.
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15. Board Game: Last Train to Wensleydale [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:1397]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.
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Item for Geeklist "New to you Nov 09 => Best new game you played this month and why"

My Test of Time rating is if my thoughts stayed the same or not or incomplete if things haven't become any clearer.

Last Train to Wensleydale
Test of Time: INC

There’s still a lot about this game I like. I loves me some auctions, and the one here affects two (!) different turn order tracks. I also absolutely love the way you choose to sell track or not at the end of your turn and the implications thereof. The problem with the game for me is that it can be extremely unforgiving and overly limited. Since cubes aren’t replenished in any way during the game, a bad setup (like the one we had last week) can mean that once you fall behind, there’s just no friggin’ way you can climb out of that whole because there just aren't any points to be had. Furthermore, the map is such that you may bid well and get to move first on the build track order, but then other people can box you in (happened to me) and have track that you can’t ever sell off.

The reason for the incomplete rating is that I like the game enough that I’m going to invest in First Train to Nuremberg as I really like the new 3P board and the extra ways to score points for passengers. I think the game needs more ways to score points in order to give players a sense of strategic options and that feeling of “next time I want to try X” which is currently lacking in the game for me.

Goa
Test of Time: YES

I love this game. One of my top 5 games (note: I probably have 10 “top 5” games). I’m so glad to have a slightly beat up copy that I bought used and just love the way this game comes together.

Union Pacific
Test of Time: YES
A great game to have in one’s collection for 6P. Plays very well with a large group and offers good tension and different ways to win. I’m not going to pull this out over many games in my collection, but as a 5 or 6P option, it’s excellent. Plus, I find that it straddles that line b/w gamers and newbs very well.

Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! – Kursk 1943
Test of Time: YES
Yes, I’m still digging this game system and am greatly anticipating the new releases scheduled to come out shortly.

Hermagor
Test of Time: INC
I still can’t figure this game out, and I’ve played and won the game twice. I don’t know what I did exactly. I’ll play occasionally, and that’s how I felt a year ago.

Runebound: Sands of Al-Kalim
Test of Time: YES
I still love the Runebound experience. I love romping around a fantasy world, killing things, getting cool swag, and leveling up. Sure, it’s solitary, and I like to play 2P due to the downtime, but this system is so damn customizable that you can tailor it to your tastes more than any game I can think of. I play with house rules cobbled together from BGG and my own, and the experience is in the “just right” category of porridge.

This expansion, in particular, is my favorite. I love the whole day/night movement aspect and the quests instead of just killing things. That there are expansions with different plots and endgames is part of what keeps this game fresh for me. I realize it’s not for everyone and would never try to convince someone of it if the downsides (like downtime) are too prominent for them, but for me, this game is escapist fantasy at its best. That it’s made by my favorite designer is the proverbial cherry on top.

7
Test of Time: INC
Oh man, I forgot about this game. What a mess. I think there’s an interesting area majority game here, but the designers tried to make some coop hybrid that didn’t know what it wanted to be. I like the card-tapping mechanic and I like the way you mess with each other with the “sin” cards and the battle for area majority on the quests. I posted some house-rule suggestions and have been meaning to test them out. Has it been a year already? One of these days, I swear…

Tales of the Arabian Nights
Test of Time: NO
I like Tales, I do, but I thought it was a game I could enjoy every now and then whereas I think it’s a game I don’t miss playing and would be happy to play it once a year or even less. I’d have to play with the right group, preferably people that haven't played before to re-experience it vicariously. Nothing wrong with the game per se, it’s just that the experience of it is like a joke I’ve already heard. Funny the first couple of times and then it’s like, “yeah, I heard that one already…”

Dungeon Lords
Test of Time: YES
I won’t ever play this game again. Why? It knows why!!

Tempus
Test of Time: YES
Just so distilled as to be bland and disinteresting. I see what Martin was trying to do here, but sometimes less is so much less as to not be enough.

Titan
Dungeon
Test of Time: YES
I’m glad I tried this classic, but there’s not enough arc here to justify the 6+ hours of move, recruit, battle, move, recruit, battle.

Automobile
Test of Time: YES
I have a strong dislike for games which are about which player can out-calculate the others. I played once and have had no interest to retry. Funny, a friend of mine was jabbing me last night that Martin Wallace could smear goo on a board and I’d love it. Not quite.
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16. Board Game: Greed Incorporated [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:1661]
Mike B
Netherlands
Utrecht
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In november 2009 I played 6 new games, 3 of them from my own collection.

Unfortunately I haven't played any of them again.

I'd love to play Greed again, as well as Last Train to Wensleydale. Both are very high on my (admittedly quite long) 'want to play again list'
And Battlestar Galactica is still on my wishlist as well.

I wouldn't object to play any of those other 3 'new-to-me'games, but there are better games out there. That's also the reason that I put The BoardGameGeek Game on my tradelist.
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17. Board Game: 1960: The Making of the President [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:157]
Ben
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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November 2009 was the month in which I bought my first-ever modern board game. Because my wife was worried that my enthusiasm for the hobby would quickly wane, my first order contained a mere 3 games.

1960: The Making of the President


Then: If you had put a gun to my head at the end of November, I probably would have told you that 1960 was my favorite new-to-me game. It was very different than anything I had played previously, but it was eminently understandable, and it hung together well. The first several plays, I would read the flavor text of each card as it was played, enhancing my immersion in the theme, and those last few cube-pulls hoping to swing Illinois (it was always Illinois) seemed nail-bitingly tense. It was an easy 8.

Now: It took a while for 1960 to grow stale. Once it did, though, it sank like a stone in my personal ratings. The early plays were often interesting because I was new enough to board games to enjoy just exploring games without a developed strategy. My first move in my first game of 1960 was to take control of Vermont, because I went to college there. Once I got familiar enough with the game to understand the scoring, the game was no longer one of exploration, but rather a simple tit-for-tat cube trade in several large states. I don't mind move-countermove games if players have room for creativity in developing moves and counters, but 1960 felt like it played out with the same script each time. Over time, the issue track began to dominate our attention, and soon we were spending far to much time sequencing the cards in our hands and running through influence marker permutations. We stopped reading flavor text, but the game still went one for 2.5 hours with no chance of a quicker ending. My last game was particularly unpleasant, as mywife and I seemed to only draw each other's events. We spent the whole game playing defensively -- to the extent we could -- and when it was over she compared the experience to being kicked in the stomach. It sat on the shelf for a few months after that, but was then traded away.

I currently rate it a 6: I think some parts are very well-designed, I would play it again if asked, and I think it can be fun under the right circumstances.


Le Havre


Then: Le Havre was supposed to be the anchor of my game collection. I had played and loved a friend's copy of Agricola, which at the time was the highest ranked game here on BGG. My expectation was that Le Havre would provide a similarly exceptional experience, while being something I could call my own. But my first few plays, I didn't really understand the game, and it was therefore overshadowed by 1960. It was much more complex, lengthy, and fiddly than Agricola, and I couldn't see how it all came together. Did I want to build buildings? Buy buildings? Get the wharf out early? Ship late? It was all a bit much, and much too slow developing, especially in the full game. I gave it an 8, but it was pretty much just herd mentality. Everyone said it was good, so I must just be missing something.

Now: Okay, I was definitely missing something. Le Havre is still far from my favorite game, and I eventually gave in and purchased Agricola anyway. But Le Havre did eventually click for me, and I enjoy exploring its depths. Initially, I much preferred the short game, but as I got better at the game, length was less of a problem and the opportunities for stratification available in the long game are now well worth the extra hour.

I don't play it often -- probably close to once a month -- but it's a strong enough design and enjoyable enough when it gets played that I can't rate it any lower than an 8.


2 de Mayo


Then: I threw 2 de Mayo into my order because it was inexpensive, was a 2-player game (I anticipated most of my games being played against my wife), and was from a first-time designer, which I thought was cool (I also tend to collect "debut" novels). I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with just how "minimalist" this minimalist wargame was, which is probably the only thing that kept it last on the list. I thought the simultaneous secret order system was neat, and the subtle strategies in the card play gave me something to chew on. I also just dig the idea of asymmetrical victory conditions. On my third play, I read the intro explaining the war, and it greatly raised my appreciation for the thematic elements of the game. It was all really quite beautiful. I gave it an 8.

Now: It's hard to enjoy playing a game that no one around you likes playing. My wife refused to play with me after I read her the intro story. It turns out, she's not comfortable with the idea of historical wargames, and looked like she wanted to cry when she found out that her French (which she picked pre-game) were slaughtering innocent Spaniards. My other primary opponent really disliked the simultaneous secret order system. Where I appreciated the deduction involved, he thought it felt like a coinflip -- he would arbitrarily guess my move and hope he was right. Over the last year, my appetite for complexity has also grown, and the shallowness of the game (which seemed to play out similarly each time) started to bother me. I wasn't drawn to play it again because I couldn't think of anything else to do strategically than what I had done the previous games. Once I came to grips with the idea that my appreciation for it was so tied to the idea of owning something off-beat and unique, as opposed to the value of the game it provided, it was eventually sold. I'm a game player, not a game collector.

It now sits at a 5 in my rating system, which is the entertainment equivalent of watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother . There's nothing affirmatively bad about it, it just sort of happens.

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18. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:113]
Dave Kudzma
United States
Millsboro
Delaware
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Hansa Teutonica

Still stands as a 10. Has over 30 plays in the last year and I'm REALLY looking forward to the new map.

Steading has my attention. I even went back and bought a previous redesign, Africa, as the new Norenberc looks wonderful

Dungeon Lords

Remains a 10 as it still captures everything I loved about Dungeon Keeper on PC. While it has only seena handful of plays it's still a fine game full of flavor; play time is the only thing holding it down.

Gates of Loyang

Antiquity Junior remains a 9 and saw over a dozen plays this past year. Its' play time also holds it back but we are big fans of Antiquity, so that made it easy to bring it to the table.

Homesteaders

Anther title with great depth and short play time. This has also seen dozens of plays since it's purchase. It remains at the original 9 I gave.

Peloponnes

Still a solid 8 especially with expansion tiles that it came with and more on the way that reportedly make the game even better.

Lessons learned here: Never play with 6, 4 is the sweet spot.

Das MotorSportSpiel

This saw 8 plays in the last year and the rating rose from an 8 to a 9. The dice flipping system and timed turns make this a racing game like no other. The price is high but very worthwhile if you love to race.

Terra Prime

After 4 plays this one hit the trade pile. The game just starts to get good as it comes to an untimely end.

Savannah Tails

While I love and still play Snow Tails I thought a lighter, faster, albeit more chaosy version of it would be a great fit for our group. After just a few plays we realized we could just be playing Snow Tails instead with marginally more play time, especially for the added fun we would have. This one was given away to one of our group that was moving away, and she had some real love for it. I'm glad it went to a good home. I would still maintain, however, that if you're not a fan of Snow Tails because of how thinky it can be but still liked the idea that Savannah is a perfect fit for you.

The Board Game Geek Game

This one still sits at a solid 7 and after about 8 plays has gathered some dust. I still wouldn't refuse a game but it's not something anyone goes out of their way to pick either. Thinking about it now I'm inspired to play it again, and that's always a good sign.

Space Pirates

Played at BGG.Con, I never went out of my way to buy a copy. It's a very interesting and chaotic flicking game that does allow for some skill to create strategy. Perhaps on a good trade it would be worth while but not something I would buy. It still sits at a 7 though I wonder how fast I would tire of the novelty and regret a trade/purchase.

Pack and Stack

This was a surprise to me, and played briskly it can be enjoyable. It does have the "had stuff as fast as you can" element, which my beloved Galaxy Trucker does with far better flair and substance.

I'm not going to buy or trade for this, though I would likely not turn a game down.

Colonia

Still overly long. Still a completely random luck fest. Still the worst Henn design EVER.

Revolution

This has seen several more plays and that's the best I can say: it's a blind-bidding game that's worth an occasional play. If it saw regular time it would easily wear out it's welcome, but played in measure, it's fine. It remains a 6.

Archaeology

Someone else in our group owns it and very rarely we will play it because he enjoys it. It's a 5, wadda want?

TOTAL LOSERS

Vineta

Pick an areas to put claimers, hope for points, hope we don't make the sink!!! yuk It's a 5.

The Dark Tower

I think of the random "classic" games I have played Dungeon Quest does the "have random stuff happen to you" MUCH better, and in a fraction of the time. It also doesn't require batteries; which the set in the BGG library died half way through the game, and everyone was thankful. This is also a 5.

Dragon Keeper

An obscure kids game that Dontanville insisted he ad to try.

Here's the premise: Your're trying to get dragon babies back to their dragon mommies. The cards are color coded. The key ability spaces on the board lack those colors and you have to guess which is which. The game is good for less than one turn, when we quit.

It was good for a laugh, but remains a 1.
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19. Board Game: The Next President [Average Rating:7.18 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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This was the game I picked out - and one that's still safely in my collection. Of the others I mentioned, only Armchair Cricket is also in my collection still (though Ultimate came close - it just hit my trade pile). Actually, Armchair Cricket was better on a second play, and is reasonably secure - but The Next President I am still really enjoying.
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20. Board Game: CrossFire: Rules & Organizations for Company Level WW2 Gaming [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:4340]
Murray Fish
Australia
Canberra
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They explained everything in detail and at great length. After they finished I sat, despondent, contemplating a bleak and empty future. "I’m glad you’re depressed" said one. "It means you’ve understood the situation.”
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That was then

Quote:
Crossfire

Played this for the first time last week. We used a Russian Civil War scenario with the"Iron Division" taking on a Red Guard company in Latvia. The game played well and after some very agressive house-to-house fighting the Reds held the key area.

A very different approach to WW II miniatures gaming.

Quite a good experience and well worth trying if that sort of thing interest you.


This is now


I haven't played Crossfire since.

The chance has not really presented itself, but by the same token I haven't actively sough out a game of crossfire either.
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21. Board Game: Shipyard [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:459]
Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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November last year was trying out all the new Essen games we'd ordered, so there were a lot of new games that month.

Best new game last year: Shipyard, then Peloponnes
Now: Shipyard, followed by Peloponnes
(Nice to know my first impressions were good!)

Games listed in the order they were listed last year.

Shipyard
Initial rating
Current geek rating: 10

Plays in first 6 months: 11
Plays in next 6 months: 4
Initially a speculative purchase to fill up an order, but I loved it from day one. Would play this a lot more if I could, but now that the initial excitement has died down, other players are more keen to play other games rather than this one. This was the real hit of Essen 09 for me!

Peloponnes
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 8

Plays in first 6 months: 17
Plays in next 6 months: 7
This was another real favourite from Essen 09 - with the right crowd it's a great 20-30 minute filler (even with slower players I find it rarely goes above 45 mins), and it has the bonus of playing well with 5. Doesn't come out as much as initially, but still gets suggested regularly and we've just bought the new expansion.

Time's Up! Title Recall!
Initial rating:
Current geetk rating: 10

Plays in first 6 months: 4
Plays in next 6 months: 0
We're big Time's Up fans, and play it at least once a month as a rule. Surprised we haven't got this version out for 6 months, but we choose which we play on a die roll, so we've obviously just been unlucky (or I've recorded plays under the base game by accident). I find this just as fun as the person version, better with some groups and worse with others, depending on their knowledge base. Seems slightly shorter than the person version, possibly because the titles are more memorable for the later rounds.

Vasco da Gama
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 7

Plays in first 6 months: 5
Plays in next 6 months: 1
This was my husband's favourite of the Essen releases, and got played a lot initially, but didn't seem to have enough replay to be played regularly much after that. I'm sure it's one we'll keep in our collection for some time, but will probably only come out a couple of times a year.

Power Grid: Factory Manager
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 7

Plays in first 6 months: 6
Plays in next 6 months: 1
This was one of the most popular initially, but doesn't seem to have that much replayability, and also is very much best with 4, or maybe 5 (can drag a bit). With 3 or 2 it loses something.

Priests of Ra
Not played again - my friend traded his copy away, and I don't know anyone else who has it.

Dungeon Lords
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 7

Plays in first 6 months: 4
Plays in next 6 months: 2
This one is now on the trade/sell list. Although it's a great idea, it's too long for what it is.

Tobago
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 7

Plays in first 6 months: 5
Plays in next 6 months: 2
This one is light and never going to be a favourite, but fits its hole very well, so I can see it finding a regular spot in the collection.

Opera
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 5

After 2 plays we decided this one just didn't work and it was traded away.

Ticket to Ride: Europa 1912
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 8

The initial rating was given on the basis of the warehouse aspect of the expansion, which we didn't like. However, if you just consider the new tickets, then this is a great expansion to my favourite Ticket to Ride map, that has increased replayability (the problem of memorising the few long tickets has been removed).

Agricola: Farmers of the Moor
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 4

After 3 plays we decided we wanted to go back to the base game, so it was traded away. It was spoiling one of my favourite games!

At the Gates of Loyang
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 6

Traded it away.

Fzzzt!
On the trade list. Not played again since. Didn't work.
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22. Board Game: Power Grid: Factory Manager [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:723]
Steve K
United Kingdom
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Item for Geeklist "New to you Nov 09 => Best new game you played this month and why"

What I said then:

Quote:
Newborn lovechild of Power Grid & Industrial Waste. First play lasted waaay too long, but subsequent plays were much quicker (3-player in 45 minutes). At first blush, it appears to be a spreadsheet exercise of buying tiles to improve your numbers. The more I play it, the more I appreciate the critical element of which tiles you choose to place into the market, and how to balance your purchases, especially if you can work with (or against) other players’ intentions. Initial replayability doubts are also proving false: each game feels quite different.


8 plays in November 2009. and since then? Zero. Nada. How come?

Well, the basic answer is that nobody asks to play it. I quite enjoy the game but everyone else seems to see it as nothing but a soulless spreadsheet-emulator euro.

Other "new to me" games from November 2009 that have fared better:

- Parade 10 plays then, 20 plays now.
- Pinguin-Party 5 plays then, 20 plays now.
- Hansa Teutonica 3 plays then, 10 plays now.

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23. Board Game: Dungeon Lords [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:191]
Richard Rutten
Netherlands
Nijmegen
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My original entry.

Dungeon Lords Then thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup Now thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
Original comment wrote:
This game not only is about monsters, it is a monster itself! There are so many possibillities that it's almost impossible to grasp everything in a first play. Then you will have just scratched the surface of the wonderous world of Dungeon Lords. The intricacies of the game, the realization of how all the elements work together will slowly grow on you, after a lot of plays.

The game is deep, very deep. Every decision has it's downside, every action has to be maximized to just survive in this game. There is so much stuff you feel you have to do and so little time to do it in. Add to that the simultaneous action selection where you are constantly second guessing the actions your opponents will take to maximize your own and you have another winner by Chvatil. This guy is quickly becoming my favorite game designer. Very high recommendations!

I still stand by my original comments. I love this game and have played it 3 times since last year. May not seem like a lot, but with 500+ games begging for attention this is pretty decent for a heavy game like Dungeon Lords.

At the Gates of Loyang Then thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup Now thumbsupthumbsup
Original comment wrote:
Played this once as a two player game and really liked it. However I cannot imagine playing this with more than two as the downtime would just turn it into agony. Still as a two player game there was enough interaction and strategic and tactical decisions to be made. No real brain burner but a lot of different options to maximize. Game can be a bit fidly with all the veggimeeples moving around but it certainly is manageble. Replay value seems good with all the possible card combinations so I'm looking forward to trying it again, with two!

Haven't played it again since last year but then I don't own the game myself. Still enthusiasm seems to fade away slowly to get this to the table again. I would certainly still play a game if someone offered.

Day & Night Then thumbsupthumbsup Now thumbsupthumbsup
Original comment wrote:
Very interesting tactical card/boardgame. You have to balance your actions between playing spells and getting new ones. All the while keeping an eye on the board position because you are trying to get nine adjacent tiles to build a temple. You're trying to get the best of the interaction between different cards in your deck. The two decks are very different but stil seem balanced. At first this game may seem a high quality abstract, but the mystical theme is very well incorporated in a lot of aspects of the game. Recommended if you like tactical two player games. I'm not quite sure about the replayability yet. Allthough the fact I'm very eager to play again should say something.

The original eagerness has not resulted in more plays for this game. I still would like to play but getting two players games on the table is just hard as my wife only enjoys multiplayer games.

Gambit 7 Then thumbsupthumbsup Now thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
Original comment wrote:
A really good trivia game. Some of the questions are so goofy nobody could possibly know the answers. But you can make an educated guess, and you can bet on the answers with your knowledge, your gut feelings or you could be playing the odds. Whichever way you play this game it makes for a fun 20 minutes. The short playing time is also a bonus, this game does not outstay it's welcome like so many trivia/party games do. Good family game! Too bad the components of this version look really cheap and crappy compared to the original Wits and Wagers. This is not something to be expected from Days of Wonder.

9 plays in total since last year. For me this is an extraordinary amount of plays for a party game. And it's fun every time. Liking this better and better.

Ca$h 'n Gun$ Then thumbsupthumbsup Now thumbsupthumbsup
Original comment wrote:
Very light but fun and action packed game. If you think shooting your friends will create some bad feelings don't worry too much. The game is so quick that you just start over and hope for better luck next time. Esspecially good with some trash talking at the table. The variants add some additional ways too play the game but I like the pure game of chicken the best.

Played 6 times since last year. So this game is still going strong. You do need the right people to have fun with this though.

Um Reifenbreite Then thumbsupthumbsup Now thumbsupthumbsup
Original comment wrote:
Pretty decent racing game which surprisingly captures the spirit of a cycling race very well. There is an enormous amount of luck involved with the dice and the events. However it's not a total luckfest because the energy cards together with clever movement add enough tactics to keep the game interesting. Scoring is a bit too elaborate for a game of this weight.

No plays since last year. I would like to play again but it somehow never hits the table. Will have to see if the situation improves or it will hit the trade pile.

The BoardGameGeek Game Then thumbsup Now thumbsdownthumbsup
Original comment wrote:
Light set collection game where you are a game publisher trying to sell your own games and buy the games of the others. The trick is to get complete sets to maximize the bonus points. There are some interesting decisions to be made regarding placing your games in the shops and moving your geeks around to score the best deals. When reading the rules I thought this would be a total luckfest. After the first play this does not seem to be the case. Takes a bit long for a light game but this could be due to inexperience of the players.

No plays since last year. Seems unlikely this will hit the table again as it's just not a very interesting game. Will still keep it in my collection as a collectors item as it has my avatar on it.

Power Grid: Factory Manager Then thumbsdown Now thumbsdownthumbsdown
Original comment wrote:
Allthough I rate Power Grid very high this game could not enamor me. The game is basically one big challenge to be the most efficient. That would not be a problem if Factory Manager would amount to something other than just a tedious exercise in accounting. This game is not prone to analysis paralysis, it is analysis paralysis! The only way to play it well is to calculate all your options ad infinitum. So the game works, the mechanics work but it's just no fun at all. Unless you like accounting of course.

Nothing really changed in my opinion of this game. I know for sure now that I will never ever play this again. That's why it has an extra thumbsdown.
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24. Board Game: Gambit Royale [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:2042]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Gambit Royale (Played 1 more time since November 2009) - I really enjoyed this game. Sadly, my wife did not share that feeling, in fact she said she would never play it again. I think the somewhat random nature of the game made it annoying to her, because you can't really have any guaranteed plans. Someone can always play a card that will mess up what you thought was going to happen, and that lack of control really bothered her. As a result, when we were facing some financial difficulties I added this game to an auction I held. I figured I had other games that would give me a similar feel, which Rikki wouldn't refuse to play. I don't really miss it yet, but I would gladly play someone else's copy if they suggested it.
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