$10.00
New to you Dec 10 => Best new game you played this month and why
Andy
United Kingdom
Stockport
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What's the best new game you played this month (Dec 10) and why? Share your experiences of the new games you've played this month.

It would be helpful, if you could add an entry to the list even if you pick the same game as someone else.. since I use the geeklist entries to compile the summaries. Thanks


New To You Metalist 2010
New To You MetaMetalist
New To You Meta-list - old metalist (currently broken)
New To You Geeklists - Announcement thread

Other Great Monthly Lists
Your Most Played Game (and more): December 2010 - Most Played
New to your Kids December 2010 => Best new game you played with your kid(s) and why
New To You Dec 2010 => Your best new Videogame
Your best gaming experience of the month and why Dec 10
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101. Board Game: Lords of Vegas [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:345]
Jonathan Er
Singapore
Singapore
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i did managed to play a few new games last month
and of the lot, i think Lord of Vegas was the superior one

only got in one round but it was close. the top 2 players were tied for points, and it came down to the player with the most money.
i was a not so distant third.

i like the sprawling in the game and the choice to be able to re-organise and shake up the casino holdings. some interesting decision making and money can be tight


other new games this month:

Mord im Arosa
- 1 of 2 gifts from my Secret Santa. i quite enjoyed it, but nnot too sure if my friends did. had 2 games, first one 3 players, the second one 2 players.
- the tower is very interesting and trying to hear where the cubes land is quirky and fun. but the jury is not yet out on the gameplay. its very luck based but it brings a smile to my face.

Jailbreak
- played 2 games of this, but with the rules somewhat mixed up as my copy had no rules. managed to find them recently thanks to the helpful geeks on BGG.
- i like the look of the game and its a very fast 2 player game. but definitely alot is going for the cops side. pretty unbalanced

Ra: The Dice Game
- played 3 rounds of RA the dice game
- i quite enjoy it. it is luck dependent (dice, what else) but it makes you really urge the dice on to turn your way.
- scoring is not easy to teach to new comers who have never played RA, but after a round they will get it quite simply

Ticket to Ride: Märklin
- i played a round of TTR Marklin and i must say i enjoyed it equally or maybe just a little better than TTR USA.
- its fiddly yes, but the passengers and the urgency to claim each route makes you feel more into the game. you cant walk away to get a drink and not worry that what you want will be gone or not

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102. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:106] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Gudjon Torfi Sigurdsson
Iceland
Isafjordur
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Three new games this month:

Small World -

Got this one for Christmas and played two games during the holidays with my 12 year old daughter. We enjoyed this game very much, even though I lost them both! What makes this game fun are the combos which change every time you play. Simple rules, fast play and this one is a winner in our house!

Fimbulfamb (Balderdash) -

A new Icelandic version of this party game, it's fun but as always, takes perhaps a bit too long. We'll use a maximum playing time the next time we play!

Party Alias -

Another party game, this one is a variant on Alias where you have to explain words to your team mates without using the words themselves in the explanation. This time there are some twists, like movements while desribing, moods, create a story and more. Fun with the right crowd.
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103. Board Game: Disorder [Average Rating:5.20 Overall Rank:9665]
Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Disorder
There were two games that pretty much tied for my favourite game this month, but I've chosen this one as I can see it getting more play long-term - it's a quick simple filler word game, and a lot of fun. We played it and then immediately bought it, which doesn't happen all that often (although it was cheap!)

Keltis
This was the other game I played this month that I really enjoyed - I'm a huge Lost Cities fan, and this just turns that into a multiplayer game, adding a few extra twists in the process. It's at the lighter end of the spectrum, but that doesn't generally bother me.

Mr & Mrs
My parents got this for Christmas, so I asked to try it. It's very simliar to many games of that type (I'm thinking of Knowing Me, Knowing You in particular), but only works with couples, which would be a major downside for us, but I enjoyed playing it in the same way.

Bangkok Klongs
I enjoyed playing this game, but it seemed almost too balanced - almost every action nets you roughly the same points, and as soon as someone gets a bit of a lead, it's quite easy to deny them some points to rein them in. Some nice ideas, but not one I'd rush to play again.

Hey Waiter!
I loved the gameplay for this game, and really enjoyed the partnership aspect of trying to work with your partner to maximise your actions BUT there seemed to be two major problems with this game. One was the symbols on the cards were very unclear, which made the early part of the game frustrating as we kept having to check things in the rules. The second was that the end game degenerated into a "Put a hat on, take a hat off", and carried on until someone ran out of red cards - I don't know if this would happen every time, but it looked to be a distinct possibility.

Genesis
Another game where the ideas seemed ok, but it seemed to have a major flaw in that if a couple players decided to cube-hoard rather than spend for a significant portion of the game, other players ended up just having to pass turns as they hadn't any actions available to them.
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104. Board Game: A la carte [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:1106]
nordlead
United States
Liverpool
New York
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A la carte - 2 plays - 8.25 rating
Technically it is the only new game I played this month. It was quite fun. I've won 1 out of 3 times so far (1 play in January that I won).

Power Grid: The New Power Plant Cards - 1 plays - 9 rating
I rated this the same as I did the game because I feel it doesn't detract from the game at all. It speeds up play slightly and is a great addition but isn't needed for those who don't want to spend the money. I'll also note that I technically played Power Grid: Korea for the first time, but only the Korea side as I played the China side previously.

Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot ORANGE Booster - 1 play - 7 rating
Despite not having the red or purple booster decks this deck helped the game out overall. It speeds up the game with pawns and specialty bunnies and adds some really cool weapons. I had to buy a red d12 and a d20
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105. Board Game: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:110]
Beau Bailey
United States
Missoula
Montana
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1830 was by far the best new game I played in December. I fell in love with the game when the train rush occurred and created a beautiful mess as two players struggled to survive. I hope to get plenty more plays out of this beast.

Thunderstone proved quite suprising to me. As far as I can tell, there are definitely tiers of card value with some cards being completely worthless while others are autobuys. There is probably less "game" here than in Dominion, but I think I might enjoy it more. I think Dominion works best on the computer which cuts out a lot of downtime and allows a tighter focus on the mechanics.

Hansa Teutonica has so far proven interesting, but I only have two plays. I'll need to get it play several more times to finalize an opinion, but I think it could settle around 7.5-8.

Robber Barons was an excellent TtR-esque connections game that (to me) felt like it had sufficiently more player decisions. I am not a fan of TtR but would definitely enjoy playing RB as a nice substitute.

I was not expecting anything interesting from Dragonheart so was surprised to find it quite enjoyable with some interesting decisions. It helps that I have not yet won a game (5 played against the same opponent), which implies that there is more to the game than initially appears.

Say Anything is a decent party game that falls into the same general category as Apples to Apples, but way less crappy. I'd suggest this everytime over A2A, but I'd rather play anything else over A2A.

1830 9
Thunderstone 7
Hansa Teutonica 7
Robber Barons 7
Dragonheart 7
Say Anything 5
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106. Board Game: Go Away Monster! [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:2003]
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Got quite a few new games in in December.

Go Away Monster! was a Christmas gift to my 18 month old daughter. I felt like I was kind of pushing it with this gift, and didn't think she would be ready for any kind of structured game, but it was a huge hit. It just took a few plays for her totally get the idea of laughing and throwing away the monsters, and putting the furniture where it belongs. The best part was when we returned home from our holiday travel, she found the game as we were unpacking and insisted upon playing it immediately. My wife and I have also created a competitive variant for adults to play with one or more kids. I'll link to that variant when I've had a chance to post it.

Other new games:

Aton: thumbsup I think I will like this one. Sort of like Ra Dice but with bidding instead of dice? I've only gotten a single play so I'm still not sure about it.

Genji: thumbsupthumbsdown What an oddball game--great flavor. It's not great with two players, which is the only way I've tried it, but I'd like to give it a shot with more.

Ingenious: Also still just one play, but I think I'll like it.
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107. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:67]
Patrick McNamara
United States
Jupiter
Florida
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What a December!!! I set a new record in plays for the month (with 121) and a new record for most new games played with 26. My best game of the mopnth was a close one. Cosmic Encounter just barely beats out 7 Wonders. Cosmic Encounter is a whole bunch of fun in a box. We played twice and I was thoroughly backstabbed and trounced in both games but it doesn't matter. We just had a great time with this one. Expansion will get a play very, very soon.Thanks BGG Secret Santa!!! Now for the rest:

New Games:

Jetzt Schlagt's 13 (Danger 13) 6 plays

Fun push your luck card game. Kida realy enjoyed this one. Get it if you can find it.

Battleship Express 5 plays

Good entry into the Express line. Only play with the Admiral rules, however. 10 year old had a blast!!! We played this and finished right at 11:58pm on 12/31/10, just in time to run outside for the New Year.

Sting 4 plays

Silly little dice game picked up cheap. Roll, try to match or beat the number again. You do, you get chips. You don't, everyone else does.

Risk Express 4 plays

2nd favorite of the Express games. Good little push your luck from Knizia. Get Australia first!

Monopoly Express 4 plays

Best of the Express games, IMO. Push your luck dice with great strategy. Rules clarification on the Go to Jail dice really helped.

Scrabble Express 4 plays

It's Scrabble with letter dice instead of tiles. You like Scrabble, you will enjoy this.

Lost Valley 3 plays

Fun, fun, fun!!! 3rd best new game this month. A great thematic experience as you lay tiles and explore. Many options as well. Can't wait to play again.

Sorry Express 3 plays

Ugghhh. Well, I do have all of the Express games and I needed this one to round out the collection. Soooo, it has that going for it. Bad, bad game. Avoid.

Split (Revised Edition) 3 plays

Fun rummy type card game where you are trying to match halves of cards. Good strategy in this one as how you build your matches. Fun family style game. And it was only .59 cents!

Dragonheart 2 plays

2 player card game. Lay down the right amount of a certain card to take out other cards already on the board for variable points. You can set up some nice combos for yourself in this. I like it and so does the GF.

Magical Athlete 2 plays

Christmas present fun!!! Draft a team of fantasy creatures all with different special powers and move them around a track. The interplay of the powers really makes this game shine. We were just laughing at all of the misfortune the various characters (mostly my characters) were having. Get this if you have kids!!!

7 Wonders 1 play

Wow!!!!! 7 Wonders is a gem of a game. We went through tht erules and got through a 4 player game (with a 10 year old) in 45 minutes. Easy to learn with deep strategy and tactics. Also with a ton of replayability. Can't wait to play again!

Aargh!tect 1 play

Another Christmas present that got a play on the 25th. Make caveman noises and hit your partner on the head with a club to get them to build a picture. Sounds silly? You bet it is! We had to take a timeout we were laughing so hard. We do need some rules clarifications though.

Alea Iacta Est 1 play

Dice rolling fun. Only played 2 player so we missed one of the buildings. Good push your luck with strategy built in. Get those aristocrats to have children and you should win!

Alien Frontiers 1 play

Game buddy Tim brought this over and we had a 3 player game. Another super new release! Similar to Kingsburg, but better IMO. Tough decisions but not too tough as to cause major AP. Also, seems that the game is tight right down to the last move. Time pulled it out on his last turn. Bring it next time, Tim!!

Input 1 play

Abstract classic picked up in a trade. Move your pieces in a programmed series of moves based on the piece itself. You can set up captures 3 or 4 turns ahead here. Chess players would really like this one.

Marrakech 1 play

Carpet laying goodness! Absolutely beautiful components in this game. 3 player game where I again got destroyed (sensing a pattern here angry) but didn't mind. Easy to play, easy to learn. And another good kids game.

Pieces of Eight 1 play

I have both sets of Pieces of Eight. 10 year old and I quickly learned it and had a game. The 2 sets are very different. The feel of actualy moving coins around is interesting and he liked it a lot. We will play again switching out the sets.

Stenenhimmel 1 play

One of my Grail games finally got a play!! Great stuff here. There is area control and bluffing all mixed in with beautiful bits to create a fabulous game. And this one I actually won!!!

Uno Tippo 1 play

Xmas present for 10 year old from me. He's a Uno fan. Me, not so much. But it was fun causing the cards to tip over. He has already played it a few times with his friends.

Yahtzee Hands Down card game 1 play

Yahtzee as a card game? It sort of works. Very simple to teach and a quick play. We have already made a variant where we extend the game by using both of the sets of Combo cards. Works much better.

Zapp Zerapp 1 play

A similar mechanic to Igloo Pop (shake a container with a variable number of ball bearings in it) but less chaotic. Roll the dice, pick a container with the same or less beads in it and move one of your pieces the number you picked. You can get captured and sent back if someone passes you. We played 2 player. I can imagine the chaos increases dramatically in a 4 player game.

New Expansions:


Duel in the Dark Tactical Cards 3 plays

I have completed my collection for DITD, finally! This hard to find add on gives each side cards costing variable amounts of VPs to do different things at different points in the game. This is an essential with the base game if you are playing with someone who knows the game well. And the Window card included is much simpler to understand now. Good stuff.

Duel in the Dark Baby Blitz V1 Bunker 3 plays

The V1 bunker for Baby Blitz protects a V1 from the British Mosquito for the 1st turn when it emerges onto the board. A good deterrent piece that helps an alreay overpowered German side in this expansion, IMO.

Dominion Prosperity 2 plays

Another Christmas present. This expansion really brings Dominion back to the forefront for me. I was a little lackluster on Seaside and didn't (and won't) get Alchemy. But Prosperity is just so much fun. The Platinum and Colony cards just make the game different. Big money, Big VPs, big powerful cards (Kings Court, are you kidding???) means big fun.


2011 is shaping up to be another super year for game playing. My goal is to get down to under 100 unplayed games by the end of March 2011 (my B-day). Games getting played in January include:

Sorry Revenge Card Game
Pictureka Card Game
MindTrap
Wobble
Pocket Civ
How to host a Dungeon
Stonehenge (Knizia 2 player game)
Sim City the Card Game


See you next month. Have fun playing!!!




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108. Board Game: Power Struggle [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:553]
BibKamp318
Belgium
Beerse [near Turnhout]
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4 new games this month

The goodies

Power Struggle d10-8


One of my new games bought at Essen 2009, so waiting to be played for more than a year.

The game mimics behaviors in a larger company:
• New departments are set-up within 6 divisions
• Division Heads are assigned each round [based on majorities in departments]
• Directors are appointed to the Board Room [with new Directors pushing out the older ones when the room is fully occupied]
• Chairman is selected from the Board of Directors
• One can buy shares
• When being replaced, Division Heads can become Consultants of go the Board Room
• One can gain Influence
• Main departments can be created [these can’t be closed and can exist without employees, so just 2 department heads]
• …
• And last but not least: bribery & corruption]
All this does ring a bell and reflects real life in a working environment …

Each division head has a privilege, where some of them are impacted by Motivation. One player can offer bribe the another player for this privilege: the nice thing is then that the Privilege reward is typically higher for this other player [when the bribery is accepted].
Action cards are drawn randomly, but the head of Communications selects which one will be used and in which orders [within certain limits].

There are 6 ways to gain a VP and a player wins is he is the first to achieve 4 out of 6: Influence, Shares, main departments, Corruption, Consultants, beating your Archenemy [one of the players].

The 16 pages of Rules initially caused a raised eyebrow and sighs and I read them 3 or 4 times before actually playing it. Don’t be scared though: the “flow” of the game is straightforward and even the detailed rules makes sense.

I only have 1 3-player game so far, and this is an appealing game: focusing on just 1 or 2 things will NOT result in victory. You need to do [very] well in 4 out of 6 ways to score VPs to win and it is exactly this which makes it an exciting development /race.

The game won a “Game Designers” trophy a few years back – rightfully so.


League of Six d10-7


Unexpectedly a pleasant surprise.
Interesting bidding mechanism, rewards can be defined by yourself: when you win the auction you get a token with 2 or more arrows which you put on the board section you have won with the arrows pointing to what you will gain.

On a 2nd board rewards are then used to gain influence.


The mediocre


Amyitis d10-6


Did not convince me: sort of worker placement/bidding at the same time.
There are much better games in that category: Pillars of the Earth, Caylus, …


The couldn’t care less


Spank the Monkey d10-4


Party game and I simply don’t like this category of games.
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109. Board Game: Darter [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:6682]
Gary Heidenreich
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
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I chose Darter (played 4 times) this month as I figure there would be a lot of people selecting Glen More. I feel Darter needed a bit of love. I found it to be a solid abstract...you can come up with tricky situations and it gets very tense for a quick game. The wood pieces and large vinyl board are awesome. It does only play two (or my copy does) and am finally glad I was able to get a copy

My other new to me games...

Glen More - 3 times. This game is quite good in it's own right and could have easily been the game I selected. A quick cube pusher from Alea. This one feels like part of the series with the quality of the game. You can take different paths to victory and the games have been close. It also scales well as my plays have been with five, three and two players. It's also very easy to learn and teach.

Shanghaien - 2 plays. A cool little dicey two player game. Some good choices in the game and it's quick. A nice filler.

Leaping Lemmings - 1 play. I liked the look of this one and it's a solid race type of game.

The Speicherstadt - 1 play. I liked this card drafting game. Unique auction system and quick.

Terra Nova - 1 play. A multi player abstract game. I only played with two but there was a lot of thought going on. Numerous people at the card social saw us focusing on the game and mentioned it looked like we were playing chess. Reminds me of Hey! That's my Fish, slightly.

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110. Board Game: The Stars Are Right [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1703]
Jason Birzer
United States
Burke
Virginia
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The Stars Are Right: 5

Simple card game where you are trying to summon horrible creatures based on the night sky. You have the ability to modify the sky to try to meet the needs of the card. Personally, I think the game is a little too random at times.

Lords of Vegas: 6

I'm strangely attracted to dice games, tho they have a tendency to hate me. For all the dice in the game, tho, the action is limited to reorganizing Casinos, so luck doesn't hit as hard in this game as it could have. That being said, I didn't see a lot to bring me back to it.

Straw: 6

A lightweight filler, basically trying to load up a camel with goods and try not to break the camel's back. Strategy can be a bit tricky and more often than not I ended up on the wrong end of the stick.

Thunderstone: 7

I've been wanting to play this for a while and finally got an opportunity to. It is definitely a different twist on the "Dominion" genre of games and generally liked it.

7 Wonders: 9

I got to play this three times. Personally, I probably could play this a lot. It is pretty quick to pick up and it is always a challenge to get the right cards you need to win.
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111. Board Game: Dominion: Intrigue [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:21] [Average Rating:7.86 Unranked]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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I received Intrigue this Christmas, and it was an instant hit with my regular Dominion players. I really love the added level of strategy you get with having to make choices on how to use some of the action cards. I also love the hybrid victory cards that do something useful for you during the game.
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112. Board Game: The Barbarossa Campaign [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:2111]
Tim Parker
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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I learned four new games this month and of the four this was the best (although the competition was stiff).

I purchased this game due to my long (25 years) interest in the Eastern Front of WWII. This game is very cool easy to learn and play and every bit as challenging as any game I have ever played regarding the Eastern Front. This game lets you be the Supreme Commander of the OKW (or OKH if you prefer ) It is a very clever system that lets the player blitz his way across the endless Steppe and run into those endless Russians as he attempts to conquer Mother Russia. I can see this one coming out frequently in the coming months and years! thumbsup

I also learned We Must Tell the Emperor a very simple (but no simplistic) grand strategy game of the entire war in the Pacific 1941-45. The game lets you make strategic military decisions using Victory Points State of Siege system but this one also requires you to manage your resources as well. This is short, sweet and fun

I also learned The Fires of Midway. Thus far, I have some mixed feelings on this game. I really like the combat sequence and the battle to attack the enemy and save your own carriers as well. I do have some concerns over the search mechanism and the action cards, but perhaps that will rectify itself with more plays.

Finally, I also learned the latest in the DVG leader series: Hornet Leader Carrier Air Operations. This game is the latest (and greatest IMO) of the Leader Series. Lots of campaigns, lots of options, lots of planes and lots of weapons. Very cool
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113. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:89]
Peter Hendee
United States
McKinney
Texas
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December 2010
Rating after one play

Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game - 7

Choose your engine (war, culture, technology, gold) and build it before anyone else builds theirs. A bit long (holds down my rating) but much play can be done simultaneously so down time wasn’t a hassle. I normally don’t like the war aspect of Civ games. Maybe it was OK this time because I played Germany and never lost a fight.

========================================================================
Vegas Showdown - 6.5

Build your casino by winning auctions for different types of rooms.

========================================================================
Revolution! - 6

Simultaneous choice of which characters to activate. When multiple people choose the same character, the person who allocated the best resources to the character gets to activate it. Everyone else wasted their resources. Characters give victory points, more resources, and they help fight the area control battle for end of game victory points.

========================================================================
Zombie Dice - 5

Push your luck dice game. Roll for brains but stop before you roll three shotguns or you are blasted and lose the brains you rolled that turn. Quick; can be played in ten minutes.
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114. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:415]
Neil Henning
United States
Nutley
New Jersey
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It was a good month for new games for me and some really good ones. It is hard to choose but I think Container was my favorite after one play. I loved the components in this game, very well done, The game is easy to teach and I love the blind bidding. I played with four people but I would think because of the blind bidding it would be even better with five. I also liked it because it was unlike any other game I have played.

A close second would be Taj Mahal which I really enjoyed alot. Again it is a rather simple game to teach but there is enough depth to keep me very interested.

Third would be El Grande. A fun area control game that I played with five and saw quite a few lead changes.

Commands & Colors: Ancients Expansion Pack #2 – Rome and the Barbarians was new but not much of a difference in it from C&C:A to overthrow the top three this month.

Other new games to me this month were Dominant Species (I have to say I am not sure why everyone loves this game. I kinda found it a little tedious),
Peloponnes and Telestrations I don't need to play again.
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115. Board Game: Memoir '44: Campaign Book Volume 1 [Average Rating:8.20 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.20 Unranked]
JP LaChance
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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This was my only new this month but it is a GREAT one!
My son got this for Christmas from me and we broke it out on the 26th, 27th, and 30th. Great fun! If you are a MEMOIR fan and you have the tile expansion you need this book!
I can see hours and hours of fun in the book
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116. Board Game: Imperial 2030 [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:101]
Bjorn De Swert
Belgium
Tessenderlo
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We made a little mistake in our interpretation of the rules, which made this game last for way too long. But I still liked it. We need to play this again with the correct rules soon.

Cosmic Encounter

We only played a simplified version for our first game and as such it wasn't terrific. I hope to play a full version of this one with another group soon. (I think this one is quite dependant on the group you play it with.

League of Six

Nice euro game with some interesting mechanics, but nothing amazing. I wouldn't mind playing again, but I probably won't request it.

Tsuro

Beautiful components, but our game was only a two-player game and it ended in a draw, so I wasn't impressed. I think it's better with more players.

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117. Board Game: Power Struggle [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:553]
Christopher Bird
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Power Struggle - 9. I like games where you get what you give, to an extent - it's what makes the mechanical dryness of a game like Battlestar Galactica or I'm The Boss come alive. Power Struggle has that (the bribery mechanic alone had us laughing our asses off), but it also has a good strategic ruleset that makes it feel like I'm The Boss had sex with Caylus and produced a weird mutant baby that carries with it the best of both worlds. The archenemy mechanic produces secret goals, and I'm a fan of secret goals because anticipating other players' needs makes for a tenser game; the bribery mechanic introduces a twist on role selection (since bribing people essentially becomes, in some cases, a victory condition) that only adds to the brainburning. What a great goddamned game this is.

Prolix - 8. Successfully manages to do what many word games do not - encourages larger words and rewards larger, more complex vocabularies. The strategies for this game are relatively simple (steal words only when advantageous, pointwise, to do so), but executing them is far more difficult in practice when you've got the timer working against you. Tense and quick fun; great filler.

7 Wonders - 6. I know this is BGG's new hot favorite game, but speaking as a longtime former Magic: the Gathering drafter, this feels like weak sauce to me. The pleasure of drafting, as a play mechanic, is in anticipating the table and figuring out what other people want and need. 7 Wonders shoots itself in the foot in that regard, because you know what other people want and need, and they know what you want and need. The entire game basically boils down to a "pick the best card for the strategy you developed over the first three cards/when you got your Wonder at the start of the game" exercise whenever you play with more than four players, and when you play with four or three it's only slightly more involved. It's not an unfun game by any means, and it's fast, but this is straightforward, largely non-thematic, and really lacking in depth given how deep drafting, as a mechanic, can be.

Squint - 6. Pictionary with pre-supplied drawings turns Pictionary from a game of pure creativity to one where there's a pattern-recognition element to it as well. It's fun and chaotic, but surprisingly difficult as a result of its play style, much moreso than any of the "draw this and make people identify it" genre, and in practice I think that can frustrate people.
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118. Board Game: Say Anything [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:542]
David
United States
DURHAM
North Carolina
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If you had told me what my new games of December would be, I would not have predicted my favorite of them would be Say Anything. No knock on the game, but I am not usually a party game fan and when playing a party game, I like a little more ability to play a agme rather than have a laugh - I expect that part to come out anyway. But we played this with another couple and had an absolute blast - if you have ever played Apples to Apples and thought it was barely a game then Say Anything might appeal. A similar way of scoring really - if your answer gets picked you score - but also the other players get to bet on which answer will be picked so they can score too. Plus (and this is a big part of it for me) the answer you give is limited only by imagination and quick-wittedness, not the random deal of cards you are dealt. Big laughs, good game.

I actually had another North Side Game which I won on Dom's recent geek list giveaway. I picked Wits & Wagers as my prize, as I do love some trivia game - my family played them a lot growing up - and I was intrigued by the idea of a trivia game where knowing the answer is not the be-all and end-all. Of course, many of the questions are not really something you know, more have a feeling about - calculated guessing if you will. The addition of a gambling element is fun too. But while it went over fairly well with the folks I played it with, it fell short of the high of Say Anything. My wife felt it was just about lucky guessing, which is perhaps harsh but fair. I'll be keeping it for those right moments but since the rest of my family lives a long way away, that won't be often. I think they will like it quite a bit.

We also played another party game, GiftTRAP. I didn't know much about it and I thought it OK, though I am non-plussed by the scoring system being limited to reach the finish line. Why not keep going? Our game, as a result, ended in a 3-way tie, with 4 players. Hrmm.

The final new to me game was the one I expected to headline my contribution this month. I saw an offer for Phoenicia on Tanga and found out my friend owned a copy. So he brought it over and we tried it out. That first game (a 3 player) was decent and he kindly left it with us to try out as a 2 player. Those games, however, fell rather flat as one player got a slight lead, so began an inevitable cycle toward their victory, as they could always get the card in auction that they wanted (plus they controlled the auction as Overlord and could pick the auction according to their need). So as a player I was either helpless or utterly dominant - neither position is very satisfying. I could see playing it again as a 3 or 4 player game though. That might shake things up so an early lead is not insurmountable.

On the plus side, it has made us more interested in re-visiting Sceptors of Zavandor, to see if this overcomes this problem. I was hoping for a short Sceptors from Phoenicia so I could get it to the table and explore it. It is harder to find the time for a 3-4 hour game, especially played infrequently enough that it is always a learning game.
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119. Board Game: Paris Connection [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:999]
Matthew Galer
United States
Atlanta
Georgia
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2 New games in December for me, each only played one time. I thoroughly enjoyed both.

SNCF gets the nod as the best. Really enjoyed all aspects. Building, investing, bluffing, guessing. Alot of fun, and takes only a short amount of time to play.



Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game was also very enjoyable. Played this one solitaire, and will definitely be playing this again that way. One of the most fun solitaire games I've played in awhile. Good amount of decision making, but not so complicated that it gets bogged down in AP. Will probably try multi-player someday.

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120. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:134]
Lunar Sol
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thumbsupthumbsup Ghost Stories

Got this for Christmas and we've probably played it about a dozen times already. Fantastic coop experience. I think what really makes the game sing is that players can die, but not simply due to combat loss. The sense of camaraderie as a teammate starts to get overwhelmed and lose Qi is fantastic, creating ample opportunity to rescue one another, and make personal sacrifices for the good of the team. Outstanding art really competes the package.

I also received a copy of White Moon, but I haven't really gotten to incorporating it yet. Certainly looking forward to it, as we haven't quite managed to legitimately beat this one yet on the easiest setting.


thumbsupthumbsup Pandemic

Ok, I've played Pandemic before, but this month my wife got her own copy so I was finally able to really take a good look at it. Another fun coop. I haven't yet played it on a hard enough difficulty to really enjoy a good, tense experience, but I really love the thematic niche it carries, which will probably keep it in my rotation long after someone else does it better.

thumbsup Ticket to Ride: Europe

I've played Ticket to Ride before as well, but never the Europe version. While I find the game series a strange kind of engaging, but boring, I will say I found the train stations to be an excellent addition that made things a lot more interesting. Still not my favorite game, but I won't deny the appeal as a good game for the non-gamers.


thumbsupthumbsdown Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game

I'll admit I didn't have the best experience with this. I got a couple of zeros in the first round and spent most of it watching from the couch. There's a lot of neat mechanics and I like the overall idea, but as someone who generally enjoys managing probability and dice variance, I just find the dice themselves too variable and their results having far too great an impact on the game. Your personal choices are pretty limited and there's far too much lag to allow players to react and support one another. It does seem like a pretty solid single player game though. Controlling multiple groups of marines seems like it would create a pretty compelling game.

thumbsdown Alibi

Kind of a neat game. Better than Clue I suppose. I think the morning and noon icons are terribly similar though and the game can really fall apart if any one player takes a bad note. The game we played was pretty heavily soured for me when my guess was wrong because another player had eliminated things incorrectly. It probably wouldn't be SO bad but being the first player to correct incorrectly results in a -39 point shift, which is particularly harsh when everyone else makes the same incorrect guess. I'd also be careful of the crowd I play it in, as there's a lot of room to parse questions and manipulate the rules. It's ok, I guess, could be a lot better. I might just see if I can houserule it into my own thing. Outside of the time icon, there's nothing wrong with the components.
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121. Board Game: DungeonQuest [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:924]
Wulf Corbett
Scotland
Shotts
Lanarkshire
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I got this in a trade just before Christmas (arriving here on the 23rd), and the tiles needed a bit of tidying up, so I eventually played my first solo game in the week after Christmas. Now I see what the fuss was about... A really quick, simple, totally luck-dependant game that fills a half hour or less a game (often far less... )

Best trade I've made to date. I played a few FtF games on Monday too, which proved equally enjoyable (but no more winnable...)
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122. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:19]
John Newall
United States
Lehi
Utah
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Just the two new games this month, but they are doosies!


7 Wonders - 1 play - 8/10

This was a fantastic game. I don't see it going up my rankings much higher than this but I think that reflects that it is a great game right out of the gate! One play with my wife and brother-in-law and that seemed to indicate that playing with more will play just as fast, but be that little bit more fun! When there's less chance of a card making it back to you (or no chance in a 6 or 7 player game) then decisions will get a lot harder.

Although I don;t see it getting stale I also don;t see me getting any more excited about the game. We'll see though, Puerto Rico and Power Grid had a fair to middling first impression on me and definitiely shot up my ranking after a few plays.


Sorry! Sliders - 3 plays - 7.5/10

Another great game. This time one that my kids (6 and 3) absolutely adore and can play along with us. We don't get bored by it (3 plays in less than half an hour is phenomenol) and the kids can fairly compete with us, without us having to handicap ourselves too much. I hope to get this out a lot more often for the boys.



New games purchased (or gifted to us - including the kids games) this month:-

7 Wonders
Sorry! Sliders
Endeavor
Acquire
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Beyblade
Gobsmacked!
Hisss
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123. Board Game: Jaipur [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:90]
Brian Boyle
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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Only one new-to-me game this month and not any of my SS presents blush
(saving them for later).

However, Jaipur is a great game and has become the only game my non-gamer spouse has requested to play unprompted. Yes, move over Balloon Cup, Lost Cities and all those other supposedly-spouse friendly games that went down like the proverbial lead balloon in our household...

Jaipur is the "real deal" (for now at least).

Quick with the right combination of luck and limited but nevertheless interesting decisions each turn. Hit the sweet spot for the missus and me.

Rating 8 - possibly going to a 9.
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124. Board Game: Merchants & Marauders [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:136]
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Lots of new games this month.

The Good

Merchants & Marauders


Pirates and rumors and quests, oh my! Really enjoyed my first play of this, almost in spite of myself. From a "gamer" perspective, it's a bit of a mess - huge swings of luck, wildly imbalanced ships, cards, and special powers - but who cares? Nobody ever said that piracy would be fair! Games that don't worry about balance and fairness, but tell a story like Betrayal at House on the Hill, Arabian Nights, and Arkham Horror will always have a space at my table, and this fits right in.

7 Wonders


On the other end of the spectrum, here's a game that doesn't really tell a story. You are nominally advancing a civilization across three ages, but really you're just collecting icons so you can get points, other icons, etc. However, it is a masterpiece of slick, efficient game design, and the fact that 6-7 people can learn and play it in 45 minutes (and subsequent games can be as quick as 20-30), and that every decision you make matters (even if sometimes retrospectively) makes this a winner for me.

Claustrophobia

Really cool 2-player dungeon crawler. Unfortunately my wife didn't care for it, though I'm not really sure why. I'm going to lean on her to try it again some time. The story behind the game is really neat, and I want to try the campaign scenario they've put on their website.

Haggis


I really like Tichu, but I don't end up with 3 other people to play it with very often. On the other hand, my wife and I play games fairly frequently. This takes Tichu, removes the partnership element, and adds a push-your-luck element with public wild cards that really makes it work for 2-3 players. One of those games where I read the rules and thought "that doesn't seem like it is going to work", and then it does, and then I have no idea how the designer came up with the idea, so hats off to him.

Alien Frontiers



Dice-as-worker-placement-mechanisms are the new hotness. I liked it in Alea Iacta Est. Not so much in Stone Age or Kingsburg. I think this falls in the former category. Also helped by looking fantastic.

The OK

Wok Star


This is *almost* on the good side, but the problem is that it doesn't feel like it has a lot of replayability. I've played 4 games of it and they are feeling a bit samey. The ideas of the mechanics are great, and the events are a good attempt at mixing it up a bit, but they don't change the fundamental flow of the game (well, other than the one that lets you redistribute recipes, but that is the only one). The fact that the players get to decide what recipes they get and when, while it makes sense thematically, feels like it gives the players a little too much control, taking away from the "the game is out to get me" feeling that good co-ops really foster.

Chang Cheng

It's OK! I found this inoffensive, with some interesting possible nastiness to it. The existence of a memory component doesn't really endear it to me though. Probably for trade/sale at some point.

Excape

A clever, simple little game with tradeoffs and somewhat non-intuitive decisions? It must be Knizia! And it is. The definition of filler, and I think I have better ones. But if someone really likes rolling dice, this could be a winner.

Blockers!

A strange little tile laying game. The strangest thing about it is your sheer range of options - you can really place anything at any time, and you can't really effectively "block" anyone, which is what I keep looking to do. I only played it 2 player, so maybe not the best experience, but I've given it away now anyway...
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125. Board Game: Gonzaga [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1549]
Jason Ober
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
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This was kind of a feeble month as far as gaming, and as such a feeble month for new games with only 3 hitting the table, one of which was a repeat.

Gonzaga - This was my favorite right off the bat. It's simple to explain, has some good tension, neat pieces, and just interesting mechanics overall.

Neuroshima Hex! - I've been toying with this one for a while, and finally got it for Christmas. I've only played once, Moloch v. Hegemony, and I found it very interesting. I'm looking forward to trying out the other armies and figuring out if I have a favorite.

DungeonQuest (third edition) - This is the repeat, having owned and played (a lot of) the original. This is mostly improved. The cards are better, the rooms are clearer, the random sun timer is a great touch and makes the ending (if you're alive) that much more tense. I'm still undecided on the combat. It definitely takes longer, but while I never got a chance to fight in the game we played, I enjoyed watching the fights as a spectator. Hopefully it won't turn into drudgery. The only other (very little) nitpick is the dragon cards. The sleeping dragons are fine, but I'm not a fan of the "eye open" awake dragon card. I want to see him spewing fire, dammit!

That's all for this month. Hopefully January will get some more games off of the unplayed shelf!





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