My first play of a Small Box Games game, and Bhazum seemed pretty good. The second play started to introduce a bit of strategy and I think this will need multiple plays to see what emerges, but it's nice and quick and has a fair amount of interaction without being a straight 2-player battle.
After one 2-player game and one 3-player game, I really can't see myself playing this again. The game was okay, but the map just makes it a race for a single spot. Too few fun decisions and too imbalanced to be interesting for me.
This game seemed very fiddly when playing, and could really drive some severe AP with all the combinations on offer in every turn. I'm going to have to give it a few plays and hope that knowledge of the cards speeds the thing up a bit but after one game this hasn't grabbed me.
Very Euro, and not really my kind of game, but still it has a great mix of mechanics, a decent pace, and keeps things interesting all the way through. I like the fact that there's never a reason to pass in action selection, and that helps cut down on runaway leader problems: if you have nothing else you can do, you draw cards. Then you're likely to be able to do something next round.
So, Pantheon's not for me, but I can see it's a really good design.
I feel like this game is almost good. I like the idea, but it just seems that there are a few mechanics that are there for the sake of mechanics but don't quite fit with the theme, and as such the decisions don't always flow. Some of the choices also didn't seem to have clear enough benefit vs penalty information.
For example: if you play your "good" cards early, then next turn you will be left with your "bad" (or just worse) cards, but since they come back to you the following turn anyway you'll be cycling through them pretty evenly as it is. Therefore it always seemed best to play the best card from my hand as it needed to be played at the time and not worry about the future, and I don't remember once looking back and wishing I'd kept hold of my 4 movement points and not played them last round.
So I think that's the biggest thing that stopped me enjoying it more: I felt I was always reacting to board position and never had a reason to plan an over-arching strategy. Not that I thought it was a bad game, but I think I would be more likely to go for a more traditional train/network game like the heavier Union Pacific or the lighter TransAmerica rather than Spectral Rails which seems to fall somewhere between the two.
A play of the prototype, and only the basic (beginner?) game, this seemed to pack in a lot of Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) but played in about an hour - which was impressive. I found a few of the decisions maybe a bit too obvious, but this was the beginner game and I have a feeling that the advanced game opens it up to a new level.
There was more to this horse-racing game than I expected on first sight. It looked like a dice rolling race game but turned out to be more about bluffing and maximising possibilities vs minimising potential losses. The interesting thing was that the more your opponents paid careful attention to your moves and analysed things, the more likely you were to be able to bluff them. Towards the third round it was starting to feel a bit samey, but then it only took 45 minutes even with a few first-timers like me.
I'm not sure what I made of this. I think it takes a while to get to a point where you can really play the game rather than being a passenger, and until then it can be a bit dispiriting as without planning and mitigating then the luck of the draw can be very harsh.
This isn't as good as I hoped it would be, as a big Godzilla (or pseudo-Godzilla) fan, but I still enjoy the game as a filler. It's okay as long as you treat it as an opportunity to interact with goading and praying to the dice gods; as a pure game, there really isn't much to hold onto.
Another game that I wish was just a bit more fun than it is. The resource-management and empire-building side of the game seems to heavy for a dexterity game, and the dexterity is probably to random for a lot of hardcore gamers. Although there are only two words that sum up what's wrong with this game, as there are a lot of good things, but those words are: too long.
This wasn't as much chaos as I'd really expected. Probably best with friends after a couple of drinks, and I can only see it working with 5 or more players. But good fun and I'd definitely play it again.
Klaus Teuber obviously learnt a lot between designing this and Catan, as they're worlds apart. I think I spent the last half of the game making no decisions whatsoever and just rolling dice. It was a bit grim.
This was an instant hit for me, and not just because I won. Lots of luck and randomness, and somehow quite a lot of fun in watching people pick up points, or seeing how closely they avoided them. Completely different mechanics, but I think of it as being at a similar level and for a similar crowd as Coloretto.
I quite liked this one, although strategies seemed hard to follow through with. Quite a lot of vindictive play and super-powerful cards, and it doesn't feel like the most elegant of designs for that, but it mostly works. The fairly large amount of small text and the exploding combinations are the biggest downsides, though.
Somehow this manages to capture a lot of the backstabbing of something like Diplomacy but in a fraction of the time. Really one of the nastiest games I've played, but nasty in a fun way... Not something for someone who bears grudges and the heavy amount of deal-breaking would put a lot of people off. Very un-Knizia, I thought.
Another fairly entertaining light-ish game that I knew nothing about. Good things: turns come round fairly quickly and there's quite a bit of interaction. Bad things: seems to be a bit too long, and dice rolls can really ruin your day. But approach it with the right attitude and it's not bad.
The first thing that comes to mind after playing this is "wasted opportunity". It doesn't have much theme and the whole thing just seems to be optimised towards the end goal and making sure that the it's always a close-run thing. It seemed to lack a lot of the tension of other co-ops (e.g. Pandemic, or even Lord of the Rings) as we never seemed to be on the edge of failure until the last turn or two.
Since the series and the characters are so engrained in the collective consciousness I would have loved the opportunity to play out one of those characters, but since it all just comes down to "ooh, your character can give people cards" type mechanics it all seemed a bit dry.
I'm not sure what I make of this. It's got some aspects of Citadels, which I wasn't a fan of when I played it, but does run along quite quickly and does have some high points. I don't think it'll ever make it onto the "must own" list by any means but I'd play again.
So far it's turned out that I'm not a fan of resource management Euro games, but I found that Key Market had something about it that meant I wasn't just biding my time after an hour and just hoping the game would end soon so I could write off my last place. I came last, but the winner (in a three player game) was actually a surprise, and although I won't be actively looking out for another play I certainly wouldn't turn it down if it came along.
I have a soft spot for games that are really kids toys (see Animal Upon Animal) and this really fits into that with the coloured blocks and the small wooden pieces, but there's also a lot to think about. Hopefully my copy will arrive tomorrow as I think it's so irresistable I'll be able to get non-gamer friends addicted as well.
I'm not sure I'm going to be playing this with the same group week after week, but this is definitely a great one to own and play with once in a while.
This is a game I'd been intrigued about from brief descriptions: a fair amount of chaos, lots of interaction, and team play! It turned out to be not quite so much chaos as I expected, largely due to unfamiliarity with card text and other rules, but was pretty good fun. There's a lot of luck in the game, but so much luck that it seems to even out over the course of a session. There's enough happening that you're almost guaranteed at least one miserable failure and one stellar success each game, which creates some great moments.
I've only played the simplest scenario and looking forward to trying something a bit more complex.
I'm a great fan of Carcassonne - I think it's one of the best game designs ever made. Carcassonne: The City adds a whole load of new rules around walls historic buildings. It certainly changes the game and the tile placement rules are tweaked enough that the cycle of placing and returning meeples seems to be a little faster paced than the original.
In short, The Castle isn't going to displace the original, but it's definitely a good game and offers a more complex experience for anyone who's feeling burnt out on the standard game.
Played as a two-player game, and not too bad for a light Euro. I feel like Tom Vasel's negatively toned review may have been the nail in the coffin for this commercially, though, which is a shame since he seemed to like the game but just thought the theme was a bit over-used in games. I'll have to try with 3 or 4 to get a true idea of the game, though.