$32.00
$18.00
$24.00
$25.00
$22.00

QWERTYUIOP

QWERTYmartin's Unabridged Insights On Play

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [8]

Recommend
27 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Q1 2016 review

Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
mbmbmbmbmb
Just a quick look at what I've been playing and buying so far this year, and a comparison to last year.

Total plays: 96 (2015 had 142, 2014 had 205, 2013 had 140)

Distinct games: 59 (2015 had 48, 2014 had 67, 2013 had 56)

New-to-me games: 14 (2015 had 17, 2014 had 14, 2013 had 21)

Dimes: 3 (3 in 2015, 3 in 2014, 3 in 2013) - Push It (11)

Nickels: 2 (2 in 2015, 8 in 2014, 4 in 2013) - Pairs (8), Onirim (5)

Everything was ticking along normally until the first week of March, when gaming came to a screaming (literally!) halt with the arrival of my baby daughter! I did have a last hurrah of a gaming weekend with some of my best LoBster mates.

And now a look at the collection.

Acquired: 3 (6 in 2015, 6 in 2014, 7 in 2013) - Push It, Deadwood Studios USA (found on a wall!), Diamonds

Removed: 2 (Deadwood Studios USA and Quacksalbe just as soon as I get around to posting them!)

Owned: 150 (excluding expansions - up from 149 at end 2015)

Unplayed: 0 (I'm counting my play of Members Only as a play of Glenn's Gallery!)

Best new-to-me: Push It - brilliantly simple and well-made go-anywhere flicking game.

New 10s: none
Twitter Facebook
21 Comments
Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:18 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
21 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

New to me FIVE years ago

Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
mbmbmbmbmb
I just put up the second annual 'new to you five years ago' geeklist. Here's my entry:

Played in all five subsequent years

Cribbage (45/21/17/14/7/10)
OK, it's never quite recaptured the more-than-weekly play of its first flush, but it's still the first game that Sarah and I reach for when we want to play to relax. In my review, I explained how for me it wonderfully combines the traditional and the modern. It also provided one of my unforgettable gaming moments of this year, when at a country pub midway through a multi-day walk, Tom and I cut the three of diamonds from the deck six freaking hands in a row. One of those very few games that I know I will be playing until I die.

Innovation (5/24/13/1/9/6)
In 2010, I'd only played other people's copies and only 4p. That was enough to intrigue but not convince me. But at Christmas in the US I picked up my own copy and it became a huge hit for me and my regular 2p opponent of the time. Plays fell away a little when Pax Porfiriana took over that slot and later when I moved away from London - the 9 plays in 2014 were all in one weekend when Matt came to visit Bristol. But it's still one of my very favourite games; and another of my top ten gaming highlights this year was my first ever play of the 2v2 partnership mode.

Metropolys (11/3/1/1/1/1)
I'm sorry to see this one has reduced to a drip-feed. I always enjoy its clever hybrid of spatial planning and trick-taker-like bidding.

7 Wonders (8/7/4/1/1/1)
Interesting to see a game in this slot that I don't really like that much. It's a testament to 7 Wonders power as a lowest-common-denominator choice: few people's favourite, but rarely raises a strong objection either. That plus its wide variety of play-counts keeps it coming to the table.

Played in four subsequent years
I'd say all of these have stood the test of time despite a missing year. In roughly descending order:

Twilight Struggle (2/5/1/3/1/0) - very sad to see this tense classic dislodged from my plays just as it's been dislodged from the BGG #1 spot. It has faced some tough competition from Wir sind das Volk, as well as the loss of my gaming partner mentioned under Innovation. But I'm convinced it's not gone for good.

Haggis (1/6/1/0/3/4) - I seem to remember being a little unmoved by my first play (it wasn't Tichu!) but still got my own copy. It then dropped off the radar for a while but has made a resurgence. Its differences from Tichu are what make it great, and it's clearly designed by someone who appreciates what is wonderful about traditional card games.

Condottiere (1/2/12/1/0/1) - a burst of plays followed my acquisition of the superior Eurogames edition. It needs a group that understands the dynamic though - it's not about the cards you're dealt, it's about who you make fight with who.

Beowulf: The Legend (6/5/2/0/1/1) - a maligned but wonderful Knizia auction game from after his golden period. The theme is brilliantly evoked not by event cards and flavour text but through the bragging and risk-taking of the auction.

Carcassonne: The Castle (2/6/0/1/1/2) - and Knizia's 2p spin on Carcassonne is my favourite too, and another game that my wife holds in high esteem.

Traders of Carthage (5/3/0/1/1/1) - one of those games for which the strategy eludes me, which only makes me more intrigued.

I'm the Boss! (6/4/3/0/1/1) - and I'm terrible at this one too, but have a better idea of why. Raucous real-time fun, best with a full table of six.

Dime and done

Campaign Manager 2008 - my most hotly-anticipated game of the year ended up being my biggest disappointment. I explained the reasons why here: 10 points after 10 plays: why I’m mostly done with CM2008

Month by month new-to-me picks
My picks for each month have some odd inclusions and some odd omissions - but I guess that could be due to clumping as well as retrospective re-evaluation.

January: Twilight Struggle - see above
February: San Marco - I tired of this and should have picked Condottiere.
March: Robo Rally - I love this game, but many hate it and so my plays have been few.
April: China - a clever area control game that I like but don't love. Why didn't I pick Cribbage?!
May: Innovation - see above
June: Blue Moon - another game that makes me miss Matt. I never got to play this as much as I think it deserves.
July: Quoridor - must have been a slow month.
August: Leaping Lemmings - and another!
September: Metropolys - see above
October: Blue Moon City - wow, I seem to have been going through a real area-majority phase this year! This one's still good, but I should have picked Haggis.
November: Alien Frontiers - another that has faded from the roster without much regret.
December: I'm the Boss! - see above

End of year top ten

1. Twilight Struggle
2. Cribbage
3. Metropolys
4. König von Siam
5. Beowulf: The Legend
6. I'm the Boss!
7. Power Struggle
8. Robo Rally
9. Blue Moon City
10. Blue Moon

The circumstances described above provide some explanation for the omission of Innovation. Otherwise, I did a good job with the top three.

The top ten also features a couple of games not mentioned as yet: Konig von Siam and Power Struggle. Both are brilliant subversions of standard Euro tropes (and yet more area majority!) but that means both are also opaque, difficult to teach and hard to play with a mixed-ability group. That's added up to a disappointing 9 plays for each. I should at least try to get them both dimed this year.
Twitter Facebook
2 Comments
Sun Jan 3, 2016 4:10 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
29 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Q4 2015 review

Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
mbmbmbmbmb
A quick look at what I've been playing and buying this quarter, and a comparison to last year.

Total plays: 149 (2014 had 123, 2013 had 99)

Distinct games: 64 (2014 had 60, 2013 had 43)

New-to-me games: 15 (21 in 2014, 11 in 2013)

Dimes: 3 (0 in 2014, 1 in 2013) - Codenames (17), Pairs (17), Baseball Highlights: 2045 (12)

Nickels: 3 (6 in 2014, 3 in 2013) - Castellion (8), 6 nimmt! (5), Beasty Bar (5)

The main event was three days away with the LoBsters in Eastbourne.

And now a look at the collection.

Acquired: 5 - G.Nome, Pax Pamir, Neanderthal, Twilight, Castellion (plus RFTG and TTR expansions)

Removed: 10 - Bison, Cards Against Humanity, Indigo, Shear Panic, Zooloretto, Klunker, Pala, Court of the Medici, Trump Tricks Game, On The Cards

Owned: 149 (excluding expansions - down from 154 at end Q3)

Unplayed: 2 - Glenn's Gallery, Neanderthal

A couple of gifts, a longstanding order from Sierra Madre and a very cheap tricktaker came in, but a minor purge meant the collection only grew by a net 5 games in 2015. It's also now handsomely housed in a new shelving unit under the stairs.

Best new-to-me: Ponzi Scheme only had one play but showed a lot of promise.

New 10s: none
Twitter Facebook
9 Comments
Fri Jan 1, 2016 8:52 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
28 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Q3 2015 review

Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
mbmbmbmbmb
Just a quick look at what I've been playing and buying so far this year, and a comparison to last year.

Total plays: 169 (2014 had 100, 2013 had 199)

Distinct games: 67 (2014 had 54, 2013 had 74)

New-to-me games: 15 (2014 had 18, 2013 had 27)

Dimes: 4 (0 in 2014, 4 in 2013) - Codenames (20), Pairs (20), Baseball Highlights: 2045 (16), Neue Spiele im alten Rom (10)

Nickels: 4 (5 in 2014, 3 in 2013) - Love Letter (6), Cribbage (5), In a Bind (5), Elements (5).

Nothing out of the ordinary here, but nice to see the new-to-me games down a bit. What the stats don't reveal is two great visits from geekbuddies from the US - Tom Shields and Cole Wehrle - and a weekend with LoBster friends.

And now a look at the collection.

Acquired: 6 (5 in 2014, 4 in 2013) - Blockers!, Baseball Highlights: 2045, In a Bind, Neue Spiele im alten Rom, Safranito, Codenames

Removed: 0

Owned: 154 (excluding expansions - up 6 from Q3)

Unplayed: 2 - Bison: Thunder on the Prairie, Glenn's Gallery

The collection swelled a bit as a few orders arrived. I don't really regret any of them, but I think the time has come for a purge. Especially as we're going to need the spare room for something else from next March...

I got Four Dragons played and enjoyed it, but it might become yet another of my underplayed tricktakers. One day I will play Bison!

Best new-to-me: Codenames has been a huge amount of fun. Neue Spiele in Alten Rom is great too, but since it's a compilation of 14 Knizia games, that's a bit of an unfair advantage

New 10s: Baseball Highlights, from nowhere, sealed by some hilarious plays with Tom in a tent in Wales and great 3p and 4p tournaments with the LoBsters.
Twitter Facebook
32 Comments
Fri Oct 2, 2015 8:50 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
121 
 Thumb up
2.02
 tip
 Hide

Pax Pamir: first take

Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
mbmbmbmbmb
Yesterday I had the pleasure of hosting

Cole Wehrle
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
designer
"Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation"
mbmbmbmbmb


at my place and having him teach me his forthcoming Pax Pamir on one of the first production copies, along with two other Sierra-Madre-loving friends.

One play is far too early to attempt any kind of critical assessment, but as a longtime Pax Porfiriana player, I thought I could at least set out some of the similarities and differences.

The first thing to note is that there are more of the latter than the former! This is not a re-skin of Porfiriana into a different milieu; it's a complete re-imagining of the game to suit a radically different political situation.

What stays the same?

- the structure of the deck, with not all cards appearing in every game, and four Topples seeded through the later part of the deck.

- four regimes corresponding to the different ways of winning when a Topple appears.

- the double market row from which to acquire cards and the basic actions of buying a card and playing a card to your tableau.

What changes?

- the cards are much simpler. Gone are the multiple card types and the text-based special powers, replaced by streamlined iconography. This allows the focus to shift from the cards to...

- a much more fully-realised geography, compared to PaxPo's abstracted regions and transport modes. PaxPam has a six-location map and four different types of units, corresponding to the four regimes/topple types. It is these units that will determine which empire can topple, not points on cards.

- a double-level victory condition. The players represent Afghan tribes which will not Topple directly, but rather ally themselves to one of three empires (British/Russian/Afghan). It's one of the empires that will achieve supremacy in a Topple, with the player with most influence in that empire winning the game (reminiscent of König von Siam). It's possible to change the empire that you're loyal to during the course of the game, with dramatic effect!

- a completely revamped economic system. PaxPo's economy tends to snowball with more money coming into the game through profitable enterprises the longer it continues. PaxPam is much tighter, with a near-closed economy, no regular income and many ways for money to shuttle between players. The market itself uses Bios Megafauna's pay-one-to-each-card-you-skip system rather than PaxPo's exponential cost structure.

- tight initial limits on hand- and tableau-size, which can be expanded by the play of certain cards.

- two actions per turn rather than three, which makes springing surprise Topples considerably harder! On the other hand, certain actions are keyed to each of the four regimes, and these can be taken without counting towards the limit. Also, apart from the basic acquire/play card actions, all other actions are only accessible via tableau cards.

Summary

All of this conspires to make a game that is familiar enough to PaxPo players that it is reasonably easy to teach (aided by a very clear rulebook and useful player aids), but still feels like a completely different game - and I expect one that is more about long-term strategy and less about tactical opportunism.

I'm sure I'll have many more thoughts once my copy arrives and I get to play some more. How well does the empire/player distinction work at different player counts? Will I miss the crazy wonkiness of PaxPo's special powers? Wah, no speculate action! But for now colour me highly intrigued.
Twitter Facebook
25 Comments
Sun Sep 6, 2015 10:23 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
33 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

New to me June

Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
mbmbmbmbmb
Excellent

Baseball Highlights: 2045
Wow, I haven’t been this instantly smitten by a game for a while. I love the way it abstracts almost all the details of baseball away but still captures the feel of the game so well. The basic idea is that you play a series of five-minute mini-games with 6 players drawn from your deck, but after each game you get to upgrade one or two of your basic cards to more powerful ones. The slow but steady increase in strength gives the game a wonderful arc as well as an array of possible strategies and constant reassessment of your own deck against your opponent’s. Impressively, six card plays each can result in vastly different games, from pitching battles decided by the odd run to 10-9 slugfests. I have a copy on its way from the US (thanks Tom!) and can’t wait to explore more.

Sylvion
I’ve had a little run of solo gaming this year, kicked off by Onirim, so I had to try the sequel. It’s a more involved game and greedier with table space, but similarly addictive. Playing a dozen times in quick succession, one of the things that must be really hard about designing a solo game strikes me. Games have a learning curve and in a multiplayer game the players hopefully get better together, allowing the challenge to be maintained. But in a solo game, the game has to do that, and if the designer is not allowed computer AI, that's tough! The way Shadi Torbey tackles that problem (in both Onirim and Sylvion) is by adding a huge number of options for tweaking the difficulty settings as you learn the game. It works well, and it needs to – the game is so much more fun when you’re on the edge of losing than when you’re winning easily.

Good

Blockers! - one of those nice two-rule Euro-abstracts with some randomness and hand management, by the designer of Zendo.

Odin's Ravens - and another clever hand-management game by a designer I’m becoming a big fan of: Thorsten Gimmler (Aton, No Thanks). I especially liked the way you can play cards from your hand into a first-in-last-out stack for later use.

Auf Teufel komm raus
Polterfass - Apparently, these Zoch games have been big hits at London on Board recently and I can see why. They’re quick, characterful fillers with plenty of bluff and dickery -- just how I like it!

OK

Midnight Party - Kramer sees how little he can get away with and still call it a game, and it turns out to be a hoot.

Too Many Cinderellas - a sort-of-deduction micro-game which feels a lot like Tobago in a tenth of the time. Thematically dubious/hilarious too.

Orongo - a recent Knizia that feels like an old Knizia. It's pretty good -- a closed-economy auction combined with route-building and blocking. The abstracted Easter Island theme is typically Knizia too. Unfortunately, the production is poor. Tiles that should stand out from the board don't and the bidding markers are cute but impractical shells that roll around.

Meh

The Grizzled - a co-op about the hardships of French troops in the trenches in WWI illustrated by one of the cartoonists killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack. It's beautiful to look at, but I didn't find the gameplay exciting or evocative of the theme.

Limes - everyone calls it Carcassonne crossed with Take it Easy, but that’s because it is. I’d rather play either of those any day though.
Twitter Facebook
12 Comments
Wed Jul 1, 2015 3:40 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
24 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Q2 2015 review

Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
mbmbmbmbmb
Just a quick look at what I've been playing and buying so far this year, and a comparison to last year.

Total plays: 184 (2014 had 169, 2013 had 204)

Distinct games: 73 (2014 had 69, 2013 had 105)

New-to-me games: 27 (2014 had 17, 2013 had 31)

Dimes: 3 (2 in 2014, 2 in 2013) - Witness (22), Pairs (16), Sylvion (12)

Nickels: 5 (4 in 2014, 5 in 2013) - Onirim (8), The Game: Are you ready to play The Game? (7), Go/Stop (6), Abluxxen (5), Love Letter (5)

A pretty standard quarter by all these metrics. LoBstercon made up for an April that was otherwise occupied by moving house, and boosted the new-to-me plays as usual. Solo gaming continued with Sylvion and I got to host my first games nights in Bristol!

And now a look at the collection.

Acquired: 4 (7 in 2014, 5 in 2013) - Witness, Basari: Das Kartenspiel, Go/Stop and Sylvion

Removed: 4 (Basari, Venture, Monad and Master Merchant)

Owned: 148 (excluding expansions - no change from Q1)

Unplayed: 4 - Bison: Thunder on the Prairie, Glenn's Gallery, IceDice, Four Dragons

No net change in the collection size, but I do have a few orders in the pipeline (Baseball Highlights, 2xIceDice to complete my Zendo set, In a Bind, Blockers, Pax Pamir and Neanderthal!) so need to look out for opportunities to chop. Zero change in the unplayed list either.

Best new-to-me: on plays Witness and Sylvion should take it, but I hugely enjoyed my first experience of Baseball Highlights 2045 and can't wait to get my hands on my own copy.

New 10s: I upgraded Cosmic Encounter and Tichu after further plays at LoBstercon and elsewhere confirmed that I'll never get sick of them.
Twitter Facebook
19 Comments
Wed Jul 1, 2015 9:37 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
35 
 Thumb up
1.01
 tip
 Hide

New to me May

Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
mbmbmbmbmb
Three decent fillers without much to choose between them, so I'll go with the one I played more than once.

I'd barely heard of The Game: Are you ready to play The Game? before its Spiel des Jahres nomination, but it sounded quite interesting and it's playable with a 6 nimmt! deck. I cranked out a couple of solo plays, one game with my wife and two with 3p at games night. Solo it feels like playing patience. It's more fun with the group communication element, though the constraints are much less interesting than those in Hanabi. The basic rules also seem a bit too easy; I 'won' all but one of the games. That all sounds a bit negative - I did enjoy the simplicity of the rules and the camaraderie it inspires.

Arboretum seems like a gentle affair of building your own display of eye-catching trees. And then you take in the scoring rules and it becomes a knife-fight with agonising decisions about what to discard each turn. The on-the-table play feels like a two-dimensional Lost Cities, but the card-hoarding for majorities reminded me more of Biblios. I think it's probably at its best with 2p, so you don't have the problem of choosing which other player to target.

And Deep Sea Adventure is another entry in the cute-but-mean genre, and another beautiful production. Like Incan Gold, it's a push-your-luck affair of deciding whether to venture on for greater rewards or turn back to keep what you've got. But instead of being able to get out instantly, you have to fight your way back up before the collective supply of air runs out. Very clever.

Go/Stop is also Japanese and pretty, but I can't rate it after one play with 3p. This Raj variant will clearly be at its best nearer the top of its 2-6 player count.

Finally, one dud. Relic Expedition doesn't seem to know who its audience is, combining the chaos and silliness of a family game with the sizeable rulebook and fiddly chits of a serious Euro.
Twitter Facebook
9 Comments
Mon Jun 1, 2015 10:21 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
52 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

New to me April

Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
mbmbmbmbmb
April was a strange month. A house move meant I’d only played four games in total until the last week. But then I went from famine to feast with three days of gaming heaven at the seaside with a hundred of the London on Board crew.

The best

After eight years in this hobby, I’ve played so many variations on a theme that anything I can describe as ‘unique’ makes me sit up and pay attention. That’s why Witness takes the prize this month. The executive summary is co-operative puzzle-solving via the medium of Chinese whispers. Each of the 64 cases takes around 10 minutes, with initial information being presented to all players before each reads their own piece of personal information. Over four rounds of whispering to the other players, the team attempts to ensure that everyone has all the information they need to (individually) answer three questions posed about the case.

There are caveats to my recommendation. You need exactly four players, all with good short-term memory and a love of logic puzzles; if one player consistently lets the side down, it can be frustrating (both for them and for the others). And after completing around a third of the cases (in not much over a week!), I’d like to have seen a bit more variety; most are variations on the standard matrix logic puzzle. But returning to my original point, I haven’t played anything like it before, and right now that’s my main motivation for trying yet another new game.

Would like to play more

There’s always a filler hit of the weekend at LoBsterCon, and this time it was Beasty Bar, a cute variation on the ‘queue game’ (think Guillotine or Family Business), themed around animals trying to get into a nightclub. Each of the 12 animals has a special effect, which you use to jostle ahead in the line and evict your rivals. It’s almost entirely tactical but a lot of fun, aided by the luridly amusing artwork.

A Fake Artist Goes to New York is a hybrid of Spyfall and Pictionary, and it’s brilliant. Players take turns adding a line to a collaborative drawing of a named object, but one of them doesn’t know what the object is and has to convince the others that they do!

I’d been wanting to try Maria for a long time, as the combination of spatial play on a board with managing a hand of cards often appeals to me. And my recent obsession with Wir sind das Volk made me even more keen to sample another Richard Sivel design. My first play at LoBsterCon was... overwhelming. I was France, and got into lots of fights with Austria which ended up draining our cards and letting the third player walk into our undefended territory for the win on turn 5. It was one of those games where every time you do something, you learn why you shouldn't have done it that way. I barely engaged with the political subgame at all; it was enough trying to grapple with the huge map. I did really like the way the board interacts with the cardplay though, and I'd definitely play again. I just don't know if that'll be soon enough that I can learn my lessons.

Basari: Das Kartenspiel does exactly what I hoped: condenses almost all the gameplay of the board game into a tiny package. Like the original and Edel, Stein & Reich, I enjoy both the psychology of the blind action selection and the structured bartering.

Don't care if I play again

Quartermaster General seemed to be the hit of the con -- it was being played constantly. But I found my game a bit boring. I was Britain and spent most of the game building ships in the North Sea and then losing them again. Meanwhile Russia did much the same with armies in Ukraine. I had a couple of cards early on that let me teleport to Australia and India and scored some points for that. And that was about it. I disliked the way you score an incremental (2-6, usually 4) points at the end of every single turn (and that we kept forgetting). That niggle was only reinforced by the game ending in a 250-250 tie. But I was assured that it was an atypical session, and I'd be prepared to give it another try. It is at least simple, snappy and unusual in playing with 6p and in teams.

Colt Express was sold to me as RoboRally-lite, but the action programming is nowhere near as brain-burning; it’s more of a lightweight ‘see what happens’ affair. The production is fantastic and it’s another that works well with 6, but it’s not something I’d go out of my way to play again.

Bling Bling Gemstone did its job of late-night convention-brain dexterity game just fine but I could never see myself being excited to play. Likewise RattleSnake, though damn those magnets are cool!

A friend just got a bunch of new games in a trade and was keen to get The Golden City to the table. I'm generally positive about Schacht so I jumped in. These phrases from my geekbuddy analysis will give you some idea of the game: "Standard eurogame, but I don't mean that in a bad way. Everything feels familiar"; "just another Euro game, but with just enough going on for it to be interesting"; "A good, solid, game that plays quickly and painlessly"; "Probably a decent game to introduce eurogames to nongamers"; "Pleasant game composed out of smoothly-fitting parts"; "a rather generic euro that neither disappoints nor impresses";"Perfectly functional".

Yep, we're firmly in family Euro territory, with absolutely nothing I hadn't seen before (a bit of bidding, a bit of area control, a bit of set collection, a bit of secret goals), but it works... fine. I can't see this being anyone's favourite game, but neither can I see it being anyone's least favourite.

And Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India was another hodge-podge of familiar Euro mechanics, which I think I’d have liked more had I played it a few years ago. I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t have the cleanness of execution of my Kramer/Kiesling favourites like Mexica.

Will actively avoid playing again

Nothing this month. I think I'm getting pretty good at just saying 'no' to games I suspect I'll hate.
Twitter Facebook
22 Comments
Wed May 6, 2015 12:13 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
48 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

New to me March

Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
mbmbmbmbmb
The best

In January, Onirim showed me that I could enjoy playing solo. Navajo Wars was getting rave reviews from my geekbuddies and sounded right in the niche of detailed historical/political simulations that I've been enjoying lately (see also: Eklund and Wir Sind das Volk). I was able to pick up a copy in the UK maths trade and so far I've managed to play four times - no mean feat for what's been a 3-5 hour-long game!

Here's the report I wrote after my third play:

Quote:
Wow. I'd worked my way through the tutorial and the training scenario and decided I was ready to try a full scenario - the Spanish era. On Saturday, I had a game in which everything went well, and I won a 'major victory'. I'd really enjoyed the immersion and narrative the game offered, and I was becoming less reliant on the rulebook, but the end was anticlimactic. I'd heard the game was really hard! So, back to the rulebook, and I discovered a few minor errors I'd been making and one major one. I also had to admit to myself that I'd allowed myself a few take-backs and minor cheats that probably added up to quite a big help.

So on Sunday, it was time to sweep up and start again. And it was like night and day. The order of cards and the (genius) enemy AI threw me off balance from the start and I never recovered. From half-way through, I knew I'd lost, and it was going to be a bitter struggle to even survive to the end of the game. Playing the part of the Navajo families as they struggled to maintain their culture, knowing it was ultimately doomed, was harrowing. I don't think a game has ever made me feel quite like that before. I remarked to Sarah that it felt like reading a really good book, only you get to influence what happens.

This is an extraordinary design. It's certainly not for everyone - the rules overhead is large, each game took around 5 hours, there's a lot of dice-rolling, and well, it's solo. But if you think you could cope with those things, I'd really recommend the experience. I love that you don't play the conquering heroes like so many games; you play the losers, gradually getting run over by an unstoppable force, and just trying to maintain some dignity.


The good

Mysterium - hey, this is neat! It's a co-op deduction game, but where one player is the clue-giver ('ghost') and the others are the clue-interpreters, and the clues are all given using Dixit-style artwork cards (and no words), which can be discussed by the detectives. Genuine whoops of excitement when we figured out a subtle clue. I want to try being the ghost!

42 - two trusted geekbuddies are always going on about 42 - the Texas domino trick-taking game. And they're right, it's damn good! The neat thing is that each domino can be played two ways e.g. the 6/2 is either the 2 of the 6 suit or the 6 of the 2 suit. It's 2v2 partnership too, which I always enjoy.

Spyfall - finally, a social deduction game that I didn't hate. One player is the Spy, the others are all given a card showing the same location ('school', 'police station', 'submarine' etc.) Players take turns to ask each other questions, with the aim of catching out the Spy without giving away the location. Unlike other social deduction games I've played, the focus is not on elaborate chains of logic but just pure laugh-out-loud silliness.

The not-so-good

In the Shadow of the Emperor feels like one of those transitional Euros like Princes of Florence. There's still some interaction (area majority, voting and even some direct attacks) but you can feel the inflexibility of strategic pathways setting in. I won 26-24-23-18 and I can't see the point spread ever being more than that, given the scarcity of VP opportunities. Lots of 'clever' mechanics to admire but oh-so-dry. And I tend not to be a fan of perfect information Euros.

The jury's out

Mottainai went straight to the top of my wishlist, due to Carl Chudyk's status as minor deity. A friend had already printed out the beta release so I got to try a couple of 2p games. And, well, I'm not quite sure what to make of it yet. It's definitely more like Glory to Rome than Innovation or Impulse, and GtR is my least favourite of the three. It feels like a streamlined GtR rules-wise, but it's possible too much of the lovable craziness got excised too. I'll be following its development.
Twitter Facebook
11 Comments
Sat Apr 4, 2015 8:54 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [8]

Subscribe

Contributors

Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.