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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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Oceanos, Perfect Alibi and Relikt

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
Michelbeke
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Oceanos
tl;dr: fine family friendly strategy game

Use card drafting to get some resources to upgrade your sub and score points. It all works well and feels pretty familiar. It's also very accessible and very nicely produced. A fine package indeed. But it isn't very original or deep and I wonder how high the replay value is.

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

Perfect Alibi
tl;dr: average deduction game

This is kind of a multiplayer take on Guess Who?. Everyone has an overview of 16 possible killers and cards with innocent people. You get to ask other players how many people they have in a certain row or column.
It works fine, it's rather enjoyable but not deep and I can't see myself playing this often.

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

Relikt
tl;dr: way too chaotic

This is sort of an area majority game. You play cards with players colors next to point cards (positive or negative) and when a certain amount of cards are played next to it. This works pretty well as you can try and force the negative cards on to other players. But having the same negative card twice turns it into a positive one.
The problem comes from the action cards players can use. They can be VERY powerful. The result, especially with 5 players, is WAY too chaotic.
Rudiger Dorn has many great games, this is not one of them.

Initial rating: 5/10
BGG scale: 3/10
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Mon Oct 10, 2016 6:00 pm
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Captain Sonar, Boxes and Atlantic Triangle

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
Michelbeke
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Captain Sonar
tl;dr: Battleship done right

Battleship is... not one of my favorites. Yet this game that is clearly based on that was so much fun!
So in this game 2 teams both command a sub and try to kill the other team. The fun comes from the fact that each team really needs to work as a team. Everyone performs a different role, but they must co-ordinate in order to be successful. Each role by itself is fine, but not that challenging, but the working together is what makes this game come together as a fun experience.
The first mate role is bot that big, so I would recommend this game with 6 players rather than 8.

Initial rating: 7.2/10
BGG scale: 7/10

boxes
tl;dr: fine auction game

This game is very basic: you bid for sets of boxes that have a hidden value (though you get to look at some of them) in the hope the set is worth more than you bid for it. Whoever has the most money (cash + boxes) wins. Nothing we haven't seen before, but it does what it promises. In the end it was OK, but nothing more.

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

Atlantic Triangle
tl;dr: disappointing

Pick up and deliver games used to be a dime a dozen. Now they're not as common, but you do still see them here and there.
This game uses that mechanism to bring us a new version of the turn-resources-into-other-resources-and-turn-those-into-resources-that-can-be-turned-into-points concept. It all sounds fine and the promised 45 minute play time makes it sound like it could be short and sweet. It's not. After 75 minutes we stopped playing because we where all bored out of our skulls. The game is very repetitive. You just keep on going through the motions until someone gathers enough points. The event cards are supposed to spice things up, but they don't do enough. No, very boring

Score: 4/10
BGG scale: 3/10
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Sun Oct 9, 2016 6:00 pm
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Spirits of the Rice Paddy, Spyfall and Exploding Kittens

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
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Spirits of the Rice Paddy
tl;dr: average euro

When this game first hit BGG it was hyped quite a bit and early responses where very positive. So naturally it went on my radar.
We used the so called Rhado rule as we don't like take-that in our games, and that probably was a good decision.
The concept is cool, the way you have to lead the water to cover your rice in the most efficient way. Also, taking care of the pests and such is a nice addition.
In the end I felt like this was a game that has all the ingredients to be great, but it ends up being just OK. It works fine, it's enjoyable, but it didn't make a big lasting impression on me.
So yeah, I'm fine with this hitting the table again, but I probably won't request it any time soon.

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

Spyfall
tl;dr: unimaginative deduction game

I'm not sure why this game is as highly regarded as it is. It's accessible and pretty short, but I found it an uninspired deduction game that I didn't really care for. I'd rather play something like Shadow Hunters. I didn't hate it though.

Initial rating: 5/10

Exploding Kittens
tl;dr: Just as horrible as Munchkin, but shorter

Yeah, not my type of game: throwing random take-that cards at one another and hoping you happen to win by accident while all of that is going on. Ugh. The only thing it has going for it is that it is short.

Initial rating: 3/10
BGG scale: 3/10
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Sat Oct 8, 2016 8:31 am
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Mystic Vale, Islebound and Poker Dice

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
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Mystic Vale
tl;dr: a very cool take on deck-building

I thought the pure deck-building game had seen the end of it's possibilities after Dominion was cloned into an infinite amount of games. And then this game comes along.
This is not technically a deck building game as the amount of cards is constant, but it feels similar because you do add new functionality to your deck. This is a very cool idea. And it's packaged in a very nice game.
I made the choice that I liked the cards that compensated for the negative icons that make your turn end. Other players didn't go for those as much as me. It wasn't like a strategic choice on my end but those cards just appealed to me. The result was that I could go through more than half my deck on in a turn on a regular basis. That certainly helped me scoring double the next player's score.
That probably helped my enjoyment of the game, but I think that even if I didn't win, I would have liked it a lot. During the game I was having fun even if I had no idea I was winning by a huge margin.
So I would recommend this highly.

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

Islebound
tl;dr: yet another enjoyable Laukat game

How can you be a very solid game designer, very solid artist, very solid graphic designer and run a publishing business all at once? And on top of that be productive enough to put out 2 or 3 games a year? Impressive.
So far I've played most (but not all) Laukat designs and I've enjoyed all of them. Some more than others, but all of them are very solid designs that play well and are visually appealing. This game is no different.
The way in which you need to combine the different resources and crew members to perform the most efficient actions is a very enjoyable puzzle. But by that I don't mean this is multiplayer solitaire. There certainly is interaction and competition going on on the modular board.
A very solid game from Laukat again. Not my favorite of his, but certainly worth playing.

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

Poker Dice
tl;dr: a lesser Liar's Dice

Ok, so 2 players who knew the game couldn't agree on what was permitted on your turn, but overall it comes to this: you roll some dice with different suits and values on the sides and say what you have: pair, full house, whatever. The next player can either except or call your bluff. If he/she accepts, they can re-roll some or all of the dice still in the cup and make some of them public and make a new claim.
So it's a bit like Liars Dice in that you make a claim based on dice and the next player needs to decide if you're bluffing or not.
It all sounds better than it is. Where Liars Dice is a fun, challenging game, this one is a boring... I would say ripoff if it hadn't existed for longer. So maybe it's a predecessor which Borg improved on in a big way.

Initial rating: 5/10
BGG scale: 4/10
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Fri Oct 7, 2016 2:27 pm
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Shipwrights of the North Sea, Raiders of the North Sea and Saboteur

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
Michelbeke
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Shipwrights of the North Sea
tl;dr: been there, done that

This is one of those games that just feels like so many other games, just with a different theme. Gather some resources, convert them into points with 'order' cards. And in this case, it doesn't do anything new or exciting. It all works fine, but nothing about it stands out. So it's not bad, there's nothing wrong, but there's no real good reason to play this over similar games.
Oh yeah, there is a certain luck of the draw going on, but I didn't think it was too much.

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

Raiders of the North Sea
tl;dr: been there, done that, but well executed

Worker placement and variable cards to spice things up. Nothing new here. But it does work pretty well and there's some nice tention that Shipwrights was missing.
There is some good planning needed to pull off a victory because if you don't pay attention, you might lock yourself out of things you really want. The WP system where you take a worker from an other location does add a nice dimension to your choices.

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

Saboteur
tl;dr: fine family game

Believe it or not, but I had never played this game before now. It seems like everyone around me had and most of them like it but I never go to try it.
But now I have, and I must say I was completely blown away... by how it completely matched my expectations of an OK, but not very special family game.
The rules are simple (but badly written), there is some strategy, there is a good dose of luck and there is room for making plans that can fall to bits with just one card.
So yeah, fine game, does what it says on the box, but nothing extraordinary.

Initial rating: 6/10
BGG scale: 6/10
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Thu Oct 6, 2016 3:42 pm
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Can't wait

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
Michelbeke
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One week to go until Spiel starts

I've finished my long list of a lot of games to check at the show. So in case you haven't checked it and have some time to kill, feel free to check my geeklist. I try to make notes of the positives and negatives that I could find.
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Thu Oct 6, 2016 11:16 am
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Whie!

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
Michelbeke
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I've made it to 200

More coming when I have time
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Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:14 pm
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The Pursuit of Happiness, Shadow Hunters and Matryoshka

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
Michelbeke
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The Pursuit of Happiness
tl;dr: nice engine builder

Not many games have the theme of managing one's own life. But hidden under that theme is a pretty standard engine builder. Get some cards to build a bit of an engine to get a number of different resources that you can eventually convert into points in a number of ways. It's nothing we haven't seen before, but it's all put together skillfully and in a nice, attractive package.
The mechanisms in which you have to take care of your stress and happiness add a nice bit of distraction to your main strategy without complicating the game too much.
As I said: it's all put together skillfully.

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

Shadow Hunters
tl;dr: Wherewolf with more rules

I'm not a big fan of Wherewolf and similar games. I feel they're too group dependent. This game tries to overcome that by adding cards to bring more structure to the game. And it works quite well. And it's pretty enjoyable. But while I surely didn't dislike playing this game, it's not my favorite genre and will never be. Still, a solid design.

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

Matryoshka
tl;dr: enjoyable card game

This is one of those abstract card games that are a dime a dozen. In essence it's a numbered-color-cards game but this one has a slapped on theme to grab your attention. I'm not sure it adds anything, but it is a very playable and rather enjoyable game. I'd be glad to play it again, but despite the theme it doesn't really stand out a lot.

Initial rating: 6.5/10
BGG scale: 6/10
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Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:16 pm
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Inhabit the Earth, Hit Z Road and Animals on Board

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
Michelbeke
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Inhabit the Earth
tl;dr: enjoyable puzzle

I really like the puzzle this game gives you: how can you combine the resources and special actions to gather the most points? Should you migrate to a different continent? Should you just increase the capabilities or change the special action?
There certainly is a significant luck of the draw, but that's part of the challenge: working with what you get. I guess you can get really hosed by drawing the wrong cards for your strategy, but I think in most cases you'll be able to figure out a strategy that works.
The only real issue I have with the game - other than the less than attractive graphic design - is the instant game end. It feels very unfair it you've had one less turn and would also have been able to end the game in the same round. That really blows. I don't see why Richard wouldn't allow the other players to finish the round and score some additional points. The difference can be dramatic.

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

Hit Z Road
tl;dr: too luck based for me

Turn order in this game is crucial. Turn order is auctioned off every round. So people with more resources, have an advantage. So they're more likely to go first and get the best loot. So they get more resources. It seems to me, and my co-players that there is a tipping point. If you miss the first spot on an auction, and the next rounds don't let you compensate for that, because of the way the cards come out, there is no way to catch up and the rich keep on getting richer.
Maybe one play is not enough to figure out a way around this, but I didn't find this game interesting enough to want to try again. It's just not the type of game that gets my juices flowing in the right way. Bid for turn order, do the best you can with what you have and hope the next round goes well. It's not very deep and strategy is a bit limited. Nope, not for me.

Initial rating: 6/10
BGG scale: 4/10

Animals on Board
tl;dr: fine family game

Split a set of animals, or buy a set of animals. The trick is that you only get money by splitting, so you have to split enough before you can afford to buy, but that might give other players the chance to buy the set you want... or divide it further.
Scoring is done for sets of animals. Bigger sets score more. But sets of 2 don't score at all.
So yeah, simple rules but tricky game play that works great with families but that has enough to keep a gamer's interest.

Initial rating: 6.5/10
BGG scale: 6/10
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Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:41 pm
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Doodle City, Cleopatra and the Society of Architects and Diavolo

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
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Doodle City
tl;dr: fun pass time

This is a simple dice game and while there are some strategic choices to be made, it is mostly a luck fest. If people (or you) don't roll what you want/need, then you're screwed.
But it's enjoyable and doesn't last long, so who can fault it for that?

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

Cleopatra and the Society of Architects
tl;dr: solid euro

This game has been out for 10 years now, and I finally got around to playing it for the first time. Pfew, finally off the list
The basics of this game are pretty standard euro fair: get cards and use the resources on those to build different things. The different things require different combinations of those resources and score you points in different ways.
There are 2 twists in this game: half of the cards in the draw pile are face up, half are face down, which adds some nice tension if you really need something specific. The other twist is of course the corruption you get for doing certain things. And the player with the most corruption loses automatically. Luckily there are ways to get rid of some corruption at end game scoring.
It plays well, there are some nice choices to be made, the production is quite nice (a ton of plastic, I would have preferred wood) and it's playtime is very appropriate. Solid

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

Diavolo
tl;dr: more a pass time than a game

This game is so light and luck based that it's more of a pass time than a real game. It's not annoying and it is very, very short, so you can't hold that against it, but there are better games that fill the same void.

Initial rating: 6/10
BGG scale: 5/10
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Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:05 am
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