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Surya's game blah blah

My initial impressions on games I recently played for the first time

Archive for Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!

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Ice Cool, Avenue and 3 sind eine zu viel!

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
Michelbeke
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Ice Cool
tl;dr: great fun

At Spiel this year the published didn't cut back on putting this game out there. They had a huge booth with just this game and all tables where constantly filled.
With good reason it seems: this is a family friendly dexterity game that does allow for more advanced play. That's because the shape of the pawns allows for trick shots. Good stuff, I wouldn't mind owning a copy of this. Maybe I should have bought one!

Initial rating: 6.8/10
BGG scale: 7/10

Avenue
tl;dr: average Doodle City copy

I didn't dig in to this game before Spiel, so I just put it on my list because it was a route building transportation game. Turns out that that part is represented by a sheet on which you draw lines. Kind of like Doodle City. In fact, I would say this game is the same but different. It fills the exact same niche and thus there is no reason to own both. And while I didn't dislike Doodle City, I didn't feel the need to own a copy either.
Oh, the box is a bit over sized, and they didn't even include pens!

Initial rating: 6.5/10
BGG scale: 6.5/10

3 sind eine zu viel!
tl;dr: one of those sweet, tricky Amigo card games

The Amigo card game line is extensive and goes from excellent to pretty lame. This one fits more towards the better end of the scale.
You play cards and put them in lines, a bit like in 6 nimmt!. But you always can slide in between. The way in which you take cards depends on how many cards are in the row and where in the row it fits.
Once you get the cards, you are trying to get 1 or 2 cards of each color, but not 3, because that's bad. So timing your cards is very tricky.
If you get too many pairs early on, you will start losing them fast as you take more cards, requiring you to get even more of those colors to make up for the loss.
Good stuff, this is the way I like my Amigo card games.

Initial rating: 6.8/10
BGG scale: 7/10
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Wed Oct 26, 2016 6:00 am
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Kepler-3042, Capital and Mondrian

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
Michelbeke
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Kepler-3042
tl;dr: my kind of game!

A pure euro with a space them? Bring it on! I love it when space exploration games are more about exploration and colonising than about space battles. And there's none of that! So far, so good.
The game needs to be interesting of course and this game tries that by a 3x3 grid of actions. Next to each row and column are pictured bonus actions you can take when doing an action in that row or column. Those don't come cheap though as you have to burn one of your resource cubes to perform them, and your supply of cubes is VERY limited.
So the action system is pretty cool and the limited cube pool does force you to clearly plan every single action.
So yeah, I liked this quite a lot when I tried it. I wonder what different strategies are there to be explored, which is why I don't give it an even higher score.
During my play on Sunday at Spiel, I suddenly got up, wondering how many they had left. I was just in time and actually snatched the last copy! 3 other people in my group where disappointed as they also wanted a copy. At least they can play mine

Initial rating: 7.3/10
BGG scale: 7/10

Capital
tl;dr: average city building game

Tile laying city building games usually go on my radar. So did this game. In this case it combines drafting with the tile laying.
It works fine. The different elements of the city score in their own distinct way, leading to nice choices to be made, and unique buildings with special abilities spice things up a bit more.
I think, depending on what tiles you get, different strategies are probably possible, but one play is too early to say for sure.
But in the end it works fine but doesn't offer anything we haven't seen before, in better games.

Initial rating: 6.5/10
BGG scale: 6/10

Mondrian: The Dice Game
tl;dr: enjoyable dexterity dice game

In this game the way you roll the dice and where the dice land is a part of game play.
You're trying to collect cards with colors on them and at the end of the game you score majorities.
Pretty simple but also pretty effective. I wouldn't mind playing this again. A perfect game for rounding out an evening of gaming.

Initial rating: 6.7/10
BGG scale: 6/10
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Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:00 am
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Fabled Fruit, Brides & Bribes and Ominoes

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
Michelbeke
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Fabled Fruit
tl;dr: pretty basic with a fun twist

This is a worker placement game where you gather resources that you can turn into VPs. We've seen this many times before. The fun twist is that the action spaces are printed on the cards that you turn into VPs. So you cycle through those and can even keep the ones from the end of the last game to start from where you left out.
That's a fun twist, but the game itself isn't all that special. It works very well though.

Initial rating: 6.8/10
BGG scale: 6/10

Brides & Bribes
tl;dr: solid design, not for me

When I got the first part of this explanation it sounded like a solid area control WP type of game. Then the action resolution was explained. And that's where I lost interest. Play this action to block the player, play this action to counteract the block, steal from that player... That doesn't fit my eurosnoot tastes. But I must admit that the game plays well and that the design seems pretty solid.
Disclaimer: I only played 2 rounds of the game.

Initial rating: 6.5/10
BGG scale: 6/10

Ominoes
tl;dr: enjoyable dice game

Roll a die, place it on the board. If you create a set of 4 adjacent dice of your or a neutral color, you score them. Very simple, but also very effective.
So I enjoyed it, but it's not very deep and there's not much to explore.
A nice filler to finish the evening with.

Initial rating: 6.5/10
BGG scale: 6/10
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Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:00 am
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More Spiel stuff

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
Michelbeke
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I think next year I'll have to wear a custom shirt that makes it clear what games I like.

This year I got a cold pitch for a game that went like this

Quote:
Do you want to loose your friends and conquer the world?


No thanks, I'll hold on to my friends, I told him. That's exactly the opposite of what I'm interested in hearing about a game
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Sun Oct 23, 2016 2:57 pm
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HOPE, Glüx and 3 Wishes

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
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HOPE
tl;dr: cool movement system, challenging

Co-ops aren't really my thing. I don't dislike them, but they're not my favorite thing. But I'm always up for trying new ones that look different. Especially if they are set in space!
This game features a hex board that represents a universe made of cubes with 3 different gravity planes. The way you have to navigate these different dimensions is cool, different and a challenging puzzle. Especially since you need to make sure you are being efficient or the timing system will beat you up pretty fast.
We lost our one play but found the challenge enjoyable.

Initial rating: 6.8/10
BGG scale: 6/10

Glüx
tl;dr: run of the mill family friendly abstract

Ingenious and Qwirkle have shown that family friendly abstract strategy games can be fun and enjoyable for eurosnoot like me. So I'm always looking for games that fit that same niche.
This game tries to do that, and doesn't fail, but it doesn't stand out either.
It's also mostly tactical, not all that strategic.
It was OK, but nothing special

Initial rating: 6.2/10
BGG scale: 6/10

3 Wishes
tl;dr: meh

Swap some cards until you have the perfect set and declare victory. That's it, really.
I guess it works fine with kids and stuff, but for a gamer it leaves a bit to be desired.
It's not a bad design or whatever, but it's just a bit too basic.

Initial rating: 5.5/10
BGG scale: 5/10
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Sun Oct 23, 2016 11:23 am
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Order of the Gilded Compass, Kingdomino and What's Up

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
Michelbeke
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Order of the Gilded Compass
tl;dr: the same, maybe different?

I have played Alea Iacta Est twice when it came out. I don't remember much about it, but it was enjoyable, that much I do remember. Apparently I wasn't all that impressed as I only gave it a 6.5/10. I must say that I enjoyed this game as well and it did feel rather familiar, but there also where some elements that didn't ring a bell. So I guess this game is not a straight re-theme, but more a re-implementation (OK, I admit, I'm too lazy to look that up). So I enjoy the different strategies offered by the different locations that require different ways of playing the dice.

Initial rating: 6.7/10
BGG scale: 6/10

Kingdomino
tl;dr: run of the mill tile laying game

In this game players bid for 'domino' tiles and place those in their 'kingdom' to score them. But they're not really domino tiles, they're just tiles with 2 landscapes (sometimes twice the same) and you have to have at least one side of those tiles match an already present tile. You score the size of each group of identical landscapes by the amount of crowns on them. Simple and effective. And rather enjoyable. But not very deep and it doesn't really offer different paths to victory.
So fine to play a couple of times, but nothing more than that.

Initial rating: 6.3/10
BGG scale: 6/10

What's Up
tl;dr: memory, but as a game

I don't consider memory to be a real game. It's a memory exercise. What's Up does add just enough rules to make it into a game as it's not just memory, it's also a set collection game.
It's easy, has pleasing art and it's extremely inoffensive. It's also still memory, and that's why I didn't enjoy it that much. But it's fine, and does what it promises.

Initial rating: 6.2/10
BGG scale: 6/10
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Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:00 am
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Rhodes, The Networks and Burke's Gambit

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
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Rhodes
tl;dr: better than expected

In the past The Game Master has put out some solid games, but their own titles have always fallen short from greatness. Opera initially felt really solid, but after a couple of plays a big flaw surfaced and it was a disappointment.
So my expectations for this game where not too high, but I hoped to be surprised. And I was. Of course, I've only played once, but this felt really solid. It plays well, it seems like there is room for different strategies to work.
The only thing that has me a bit worried is the way the end game snuck up on us. It's probably just a first play issue, but none of us where really prepared when it happened, and some scores where really hurt by this. But I expect this to not be an issue with repeated plays.

Initial rating: 6.9/10
BGG scale: 6/10

The Networks
tl;dr: one of the better in the genre

So far I've been mostly let down by games in which you have to make movies or television programs. But this is one of the better ones. The rules are clear and clean and the is some nice planning going on.
I must say I enjoyed playing this game.
The publisher is really proud of the graphic design and art. I can see why, it's stylized and has a distinctive style. But I'm not a fan.

Initial rating: 6.8/10
BGG scale: 6/10

Burke's Gambit
tl;dr: I'm not sure this game works as it should

This is a social hidden trader game where, at the start of the game, no one knows who the infected player is, and the traitor wants that infected player to survive until the end while the other players want him out. Sounds good.
The way you select actions is by taking a die from a bag and rolling it. The result tells you what action to do, but you get to choose on who you do the action. You can also re-roll if you want, except if you roll the 'get closer to earth'. If that is rolled 3 times the game ends.
In our first game the first 3 rolls where that result and the game ended before anyone knew who was what or who was infected. A game shouldn't allow this to be a possible situation.
So we tried again. In this second game someone found out I was infected and that I was the traitor. This was then confirmed by someone else. The only thing I could do to save my chances of winning was to die so the infection would jump to someone else. Then I could win as a dead player. But I never got the rolls to do that, and there was nothing I could do to stop me from losing.
So that sucked for me, but the other players didn't find it very engrossing either.

Initial rating: 3/10
BGG scale: 2/10
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Fri Oct 21, 2016 6:00 am
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Adrenaline, X nimmt! and Dice Stars

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
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Adrenaline
tl;dr: fast paced killing spree

OK, now games with killing and stuff are not my thing. Except when they are. And this one works for me. Pick up some weapons or power. Shoot some opponents. Reload your weapon. Simple and fast. This is what the death match mode in the Doom: The Boardgame expansion should have been.
So while this is not really my genre, I had a good time playing this and would happily play again. Good design.

Initial rating: 7/10
BGG scale: 7/10

X nimmt!
tl;dr: mind bending variation

6 nimmt! has been around for over 20 years and is regarded as a classic with good reason. This game takes the same mechanism, but adds a step between the taking of cards and the adding of the cards to your score pile. And the result is great. It adds a lot of new things to keep in mind and strategically playing a low card to take a row is now a much more important aspect of the game since you not only have to look at the bull heads on the cards, but also their value.
So I would recommend this. It's different enough!

Initial rating: 7/10
BGG scale: 7/10

Dice Stars
tl;dr: Qwixx in space!

There's more and more Qwixx rip-offs and this is yet an other one. Roll some dice and cross off some stuff on a score sheet. At the end we score every item and make the total. So nothing new here, but it works great and the dice selection and the stars are a very nice touch.

Inirial rating: 6.8/10
BGG scale: 6/10
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Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:00 am
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Spiel stuff

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
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I've finished my geeklist with my Spiel haul

I've also started my geeklist where I gather my first thoughts on Spiel releases

More initial thoughts on what I splayed at Spiel coming soon of course, but there's some random thoughts

- There was more floor space and more booths and more games then ever, yet the fair seemed more crowded then ever, especially on Saturday. Maybe they should make the corridors wider next year... and use even more halls.
- Why do publishers clear out their booth after they sell out? Don't do that, idiots! I still might want to play your game and get a copy later!
- Queen needs more demoers, most people seemed to learn the games by going though the rules. That slows down the process and lowers the capacity.
- Some publishers still haven't figured out how to make a successful booth. It's been done so many times, but there are still people that don't get that if you have an empty booth and one small standing table with a game on it, people are less likely to play then if you just cram your booth with tables with chairs.
- The power Asmodee is now having on the industry is starting to show in bad ways. The worst offender was of course the fact that they tried charging €100 for a game that others where selling at €60. They had the same production cost, so they where just pocketing the €40 extra. There's not excuse for that.
I hope some of their partners decide not to work with them anymore because I can imagine companies like Feuerland not being happy about their pricing. After all, it's Feuerland that invested in developing the game and Asmodee had to just translate and print.
I think I hate this company now.
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Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:16 pm
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FIelds of Green, 3 Sind Eine zu Viel! and Medici

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
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Fields of Green
tl;dr: the same but maybe slightly better

I've always liked Among the Stars. It's like 7 Wonders, but adds a spacial element and, most of all, it's set in space!
Now this game has been ported to a more generic (but also more popular) farming theme... and it's an improvement. The reason for that is not so much the rules changes, which might or might not be better (I need more plays for that), but the fact that it is more thematic. In among the stars you build some kind of space casino and it gives you points for purple. Whatever that means. But in this game you need water to grow food and food to grow animals. That makes sense. It just makes the game easier to grasp. Not that the other one was hard, but this one is just slightly easier in that regard.
But in the end the games are very similar and I don't feel the need to own both. If you own neither and don't care about the space theme, then get this version.

Initial rating: 7.5/10
BGG scale: 7/10

3 sind eine zu viel!
tl;dr: heavier than expected

Most Amigo card games are pretty light to ultra light and fast. This one is not as fast. In fact, it's pretty thinky! You want to make sure to get all 7 colors in your tableau, but if you get 2 of each card too early in the game, you're going to loose a good amount of points later in the game. So the timing is essential. It's a nice puzzle to solve.
Repeated plays should tell me how good this is, but for now, I can say: it's good enough to own and play.

Initial rating: 6.8/10
BGG scale: 7/10

Medici
tl;dr: solid classic style auction game

Yes, believe it or not, I had never played this game before!
I know it's hard, but try to remember that time when there was a designer called Reiner Knizia, and he was putting out classic after classic. Every new game with his name on it that was announced instantly went on any Euro gamer's radar. Man, that time is long gone, and sometimes I long for it. Just goes to show: I'm getting old.
So Medici was first put out at the height of his career. And it shows. This has everything a classic Reiner has: simple rules, well oiled play, nice depth of choices to make. Today he does the same except he develops his games to death so all fun is gone. I did find this game a bit long with 6, but the competition is very tight, and the auctions pretty tense. It made me remember why we used to love Reiner's designs.

Initial rating: 7/10
BGG scale: 7/10
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Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:42 pm
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