New to you Apr 11 => Best new boardgame
What new board and card games did you play in Apr 2011? Share your experiences of the games you played for the first time this month.
Please add your own entry to the list, even if someone has already used the game that you picked as New To You... This helps with generating the statistics for the list.
New To You Metalist 2011
New To You MetaMetalist
New To You Geeklists - Announcement thread
Other Great Monthly Lists
Your Most Played Game (and more): April 2011
New to Your Kids April 2011 - Best New Games You've Played with Kids and Why
New To You Apr 2011 => Your best new Videogame
Your best gaming experience of the month and why April 11
New to you a year ago Apr 11 => Has it stood the test of time?
After claiming to be a gamer for several years now, I finally played Die Macher this month. I had been skeptical of it for quite some time largely based on its theme and that I've read that it takes 3+ hours to play. I think fellow game group member, Beau, aka badweasel, has owned the game for quite some time now and finally got around to reading the rules and expressed that he would like to try it. I agreed and approached it with as open a mind as possible. As those of you have played and enjoy this game, you already know that this game delivers. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's parts interlocked well and made for multiple ways/strategies to attain victory points. The phase in which players bid for the cards--I can't remember their names--that possibly could help your party or hurt others parties or just give you more members added a bit of randomness and made the game a bit more intense and exciting. The only complaint I have about the game is that the symbols for Nuclear Power and Industry are pretty similar and it is easy to confuse the two. I am definitely looking forward to another play.
This month I also played for the first time:
Masques: I've owned this one for probably around 3 months and finally got to playing it--that kind of seems to be the theme here. It wasn't bad, but isn't one that I'd rush out and insist everyone try. It is good for an occasional play. The symbols on the special character cards weren't intuitive and a misreading of them by me ended up giving the game to someone else. I think that is something that would correct though with more plays and a better familiarity with the game.
7 Wonders: I finally played this one face to face after many plays on JSP, so the game itself wasn't new to me, just the non-electronic format. Despite the huge card sprawl, I think I enjoy this one better face to face than online. There is something satisfying about the action of going through the cards, drafting one and passing the others.
Difficult decision as to which was my best new game this month. I've gone for High Frontier even though we only played an abbreviated game that was, in some ways, quite frustrating and very much a learning game. But it's the game I'm most excited to try again. I see it having real potential, once mastered, although it takes some getting your head around. (Reserving judgment on rating)
I'm glad I had a chance to play The Castles of Burgundy, although I think it plays pretty long for what it is. I think it's unlikely I'll seek it out too often for that reason, though I'd happily play again as there's plenty to keep you interested throughout the game. (7/10)
Taluva was a surprise, as I'm often not that keen on multi-player abstracts, but I enjoyed one play of this game and I'd like to play it again. As with most abstracts, it's one you probably have to play a few times before it clicks. (7/10)
Fast Flowing Forest Fellers is a light racing game, with some fun opportunities for player interaction. Nothing very special but perfectly entertaining as a light filler; didn't outstay its welcome as I sometimes find racing games do. (5.5/10)
Factory Fun, Space Alert and High Society.
I enjoyed my games of Space Alert the most but think Factory Fun would be my favorite game because it seems like it would fit more situations and I have been told Space Alert doesn't scale well at all (is this wrong?).
Love playing new games!
Zendo fan, Columbus Blue Jackets fan, Dominion Fan. These are 'permanent microbadges' to free up space on my microbadge row
Heading into the last day of the month, I had no new-to-me games. On the 30th, I played two new games, so I had a choice. Neither was the next Dominion, but they were both more fun than not.
Cowboys: The Way of the Gun - This is a shoot-em-up game, in which each player represents one or more Old West characters represented on a grid-map. You roll 2d6 to hit. It has a number of pre-set scenarios; the one we played was rather short.
Wasabi! - It's sort of a competetitve version of Wok Star. Thematically, anyway. Each player is trying to build recipes by placing tiles on a board. You have three secret recipes hidden behind a player screen and three hidden ingredients. You also get cards with special abilities when you complete recipes. The player-interaction element leaves a little something to be desired, regardless of whether you like high-interaction or low-interaction. One player got randomly screwed a couple of times, and when it was apparent one player was about to win, we didn't have enough information to stop her.
Board Game: Oasis
[Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:844]
This is a little of a close call in a month where I managed to get my unplayed list under three pages, but I will highlight the lesser known of the main favorites.
Oasis is an underappreciated tile laying game, with multiplicative scoring that requires you collect tokens in addition to space on the board. I finally got to the table after acquiring it in a math trade THREE years ago.....
Two plays, both with four players. My wife was not a big fan, but my adult daughter liked it well enough.
7 Wonders - one play of this game that had already been put in my pending Dominion: Cornucopia order, so a pre-emptive play to keep it off my unplayed list..... Six player game, in which I was the only person playing for the first time. I suspect it won't go over well with my wife, but will try it any way.
Bison: Thunder on the Prairie - my first Tanga purchase, just over a year ago, made it to the table at the same session as the previous two. Kramer/Kiesling once again did not disappoint, though in my copy (which I HAD punched previously), many of the tiles were a little warped and didn't fit together as nicely as one might like.
Ticket to Ride: Alvin & Dexter - my other new play of the month, belonging to the couple that my wife and I play with periodically. While I would be willing to play with it again, I suppose, it is not something I would request, and I won't be rushing out to buy my own copy.
Guido Van Horn
I had played this a few times on BSW, but could never really figure it out, my buddy brought it over and I think I finally get it, and enjoy it. I'd definitely like to play this some more.
Thrifted game, brought it out once, played it three times in a row. I needed to play a slightly more cerebral player, but is a funnish 2 player match of wits, the variable set-up gives it some variety. it seems like the rules need a fix in order to be really fun.
Advance to Boardwalk
Another thrift find, only played once, would like to play again. It's pretty fun, but the dice can be unforgiving at times. I like how it can be beneficial to leave money on the table.
Pitying fools as hard as I can...
New in April:
Glory to Rome
Finally got to play this. I don't mind the art at all - in fact the really bright colors make it very easy to tell cards apart from a distance. The only thing that bothered me were the handful of "house rules" that are evidently pretty much standard (discarding 2 cards as a Jack rather than 3, changes to Circus and Palace), and yet were not incorporated into the reprint.
Riskago Express? Pretty cool economic/area control hybrid, and my first exposure to the Rondel (well outside of Finca). I was expecting a fiddlier game but was pleasantly surprised that it actually has some amount of elegance to it. Making player money private was a strange idea in this sort of game, but I'm not sure it makes a huge difference.
Kind of cheating here - I've played the "home" version of this game for 20 years (we call it the "name in the hat game". I do like the lack of prep with having names all ready for you, and a) giving one guess and b) letting you pass are nice additions for rounds 2 and 3 I think.
Survive: Escape from Atlantis
Actually played the old Parker Brothers version of this years ago, but reprint, new rules, etc. The person pieces aren't machined all that well - it's possible to tell a few of them apart by size. I can't decide which the optional "challenge" rules to use - we used the alternate dolphin rule and the blue dice - but I'm not sure which rules are "better". Either way, nice backstabby fun.
More fun than it has any right to be. So many design problems - arbitrary seeming rules (especially stealing a card when you roll 0), cards that have absolute advantage over others, and many turns when you don't have any real decisions to make. That said, almost everyone has had a good time each time I've busted it out. No one is ever going to mistake this for a strategy game, but I'd much rather play this than, say, Fluxx.
Not as fun as I was hoping, and a bit frustrating. We did get some rules slightly wrong, and later I found the alternate rule on the forums that mandated a reshuffle with 4 or 7 tiles left, which improves the game dramatically. I do want to try it again with these correct rules.
An interesting attempt to turn the classic narrative improvisation exercise in which people take turns adding one word at a time to a story. The constraint that you must be making a sentence seemed unnatural and made it hard for the game to get into a rhythm.
A game in the werewolf vein, this one has constantly shifting alliances and seems to rely on code phrases and tells that emerge during a given game session. Frankly it never felt anything other than random. Can't see wanting to play this in preference to Werewolf or The Resistance frankly.
11 Nimmnt - INC
Only played one hand of this, so hard to get a good feel for it. Has less in common with 6 Nimmnt than I expected. I usually like these kind of tradeoff/best of bad options games, but I have a hard time seeing this passing up Coloretto or R-Eco in that category.
Four new games this month and my favorite by far was this classic. I understand why Acquire, almost fifty years old now, remains in the top 100. We played the original 1962 3M version, thought be some to be the best. A great game!
Next on the list is Sumeria. We played with Sumeria: 2-Player Expansion and found that despite the super-simple ruleset, this is one devious and deceptively difficult little game with two. I am looking forward to trying it with more players, but I suspect the chaos will be greater, and maybe two is the sweet spot.
Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League was another two player this month and the third on the list. We found it to be a very enjoyable pickup and deliver game that plays pretty efficiently.
The last on the list, and perhaps the least enjoyed, was Der Pate. Despite a seeming plethora of actions and options, most of which had to be looked up every time, it seemed that the dice rolls determined the gameplay. Usually there was an obvious best choice based on the roll and often no good choices. It was not a big hit at our meetup.
Conserve energy: Play Board Games!
Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.
Shake your business up and pour it. I don't have all day.
Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus Expansion
image by Surya image by Original_CorPse
April was pretty dry for me, game-wise. The definite highlight of the month was playing Battlestar Galactica in Fullerton with a bunch of BGG friends. We added the Pegasus Expansion, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Many of the reviews I've read about this expansion have focused on Cylon Leaders, and the New Caprica board. While those are interesting, those aren't the only additions to the base game! I loved the addition of the Treachery deck: those cards add a creatively wicked dimension to the game. For example, forcing the human players to pick up Treachery cards, and when they try to discard them being able to play "Sabotage" to damage Galactica.
More character options are always appreciated, and the Pegasus itself is a challenging addition. Its locations offer higher risk/reward opportunities. And of course, there's the airlock: you have the chance to execute a player, which is a very attractive option for first-timers.
All of these options can be used in various combinations along with the New Caprica board, and the Cylon Leaders. Overall, I was quite pleased with this expansion, and am looking forward to incorporating it in future games.
Mr. Jack Pocket
image by taiwanite image by imba19
Part of the reason why April was a dry month for new games was our trip to Arizona over Easter break (yes, my sons' school celebrates Easter break instead of spring break). In other words, I was away from my collection. I took along a few games which could travel well, which included Mr. Jack Pocket.
Initially, I was underwhelmed by the contents of this toy-sized box. There isn't a lot of wasted space, but it was difficult to divine how these meager components would approximate the luxurious, tense game play of the full-sized version. Yet when the game got going, I quickly saw how alike the two versions were! True, Pocket doesn't provide the same anguish over controlling a board with multiple threat vectors (lights, manholes, and barricades). Yet it still provides tense moments as you try to limit your opponent's options.
As Jack, I found it harder to grow accustomed the winning conditions in the smaller game. In Mr. Jack, not being caught by the end of the eighth round equals a victory for The Ripper: playing a "delayed game" makes intuitive sense, especially if the Inspector player is doing a good job of preventing your escape. In Pocket, there is no direct analogy to "escape;" the closest matching condition is Jack collecting six hourglasses. Hourglasses are printed on some alibi cards, and also on the turn tiles; if there is no witness at the end of a turn, then Mr. Jack captures that turn tile and its hourglass.
Thus, it was hard for me to accept "many witnesses" as a viable tactic on a turn, because I didn't want to forfeit the opportunity to earn an hourglass. Once the different paths to victory melded in my brain, the game really opened up. Mr. Jack Pocket delivers much of the same flavor as its progenitor, in a surprisingly compact box.
StarCraft: Typhon Promotion
image by djflippy image by GaryP
This promotion can be included at the start of a game, but it may not get picked. Typhon is a dead-end dive of a planet, which nonetheless can be very attractive for its command point, and for its contribution to the special victory conditions for Arcturus Mengsk and the Overmind.
It makes me think of this segment from the awesome, Star Wars-themed "COPS" parody, "TROOPS:"
Like many promotions, it doesn't add much to the game. Part of me wants to rate it lower for just this reason. However, we really enjoy the base game, and this promotion doesn't make it worse. Thus, this rating is somewhere in the middle.
image by diceman image by steveoliverc
I finally managed to track down a copy of Leapfrog, the inaugural title of Fragor Games. It's easy to see how it preceded Shear Panic. First place in one direction starts in last place for the next race going the opposite way. Simultaneous blind bidding equals race options. Players' chips remain on the board, so each one will only be played once per race. This "dwindling options" mechanism feels very reminiscent of Niagara. The fact that they all remain in view means that players will be able to see which chips have already been played; this information factors into your decisions.
The game scales up to six, although it becomes much more deterministic. At that point, the analysis paralysis starts to outweigh the fun factor. Perhaps the chips should be stacked à la Niagara after all. I suspect that four will be the sweet spot, with two frogs adding enough of a random element to mess with the most carefully laid plans. "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley" (not to confuse Leapfrog with Hameln!).
Hand and Foot
image by Barliman image by Punainen Nörtti
Our hosts over Easter had just learned this game, and were eager to teach us. Not this exact version, but played with four standard card decks. Hand and Foot is a Canasta variant, except this time you have to play through two hands of cards: your hand, and (you guessed it) your foot. I've played Canasta Caliente with this couple many times, and it's a decent game. I like the options of being able to lock the deck by discarding a wild card, or being able to play "Stop" cards on your opponents. Lastly, you can lay down a set of "Stop" cards as your last set, if needed.
Hand and Foot doesn't have those items. You draw two cards each turn, instead of one. Red threes are not "Stop" cards exactly, but they do carry a massive point penalty which discourages players from picking up the discard pile (but doesn't prevent them from doing so). You can't play a set of threes at any time, so if you have some in your hand then you're either going to eat those penalty points at the end, or else get rid of them one...turn...at...a...time.
Maybe I just saw a complete aberration of hands dealt. Maybe my mind just hasn't grasped how to alter my style of play for Hand and Foot. Either way, the team which was first to pick up the discard pile won every hand. I never got into my foot; The game was just "Hand." Each turn took me about five seconds to play, and then another ten minutes for it to come around again. I'm willing to try it one more time to see if that experience is typical, or if it can be improved upon.
the spunk plus the bomb plus the pump plus the torture instrument times frankie equalling the bang is an exclusive piece of ZTT exploitation
You don't need eyes to see, you need vision. (mj)
This game really hit me like a hammer. When we first played it, me and my son both shouted AGAIN! This is a great tactical one on one dungeon crawler game. The reason it's so enjoyable is that it's light enough to learn it in 15 minutes, quick enough to play it within an hour, but still deep enough to offer a real challenge. The clever exploring mechanics make even playing the same scenario a different experience everytime. The use of dice to decide what you can do with your characters is different for both sides but still seems very balanced. The way they ensured replayability with limited components is also worth a big compliment. In the end it comes down to the fact that this game is just very much fun to play. Lastly the components are great. Nice thick tiles and cards. The painted miniatures are also well above par.
A real beast of a game. It's a strange mix of euro and ameritrash with a dash of randomness. The result is an amazingly deep game that is captivating for the whole duration. It very much has a bash the leader feel and when everybody is after you there's not much you can do. But over the course of the game things seem to balance out. One bad thing I can say about the game is that the possibillities are so overwhelming that it is not a wise idea to play with AP prone people. Definitely a game to play with a timer as things can get out of hand quickly. Another minus is the tedious task of keeping track of dominance in all the different territories. I've heard people complain about the components. But allthough minimal they are very functional and give the game a clean and crisp look. I like them.
Campaign Manager 2008
Nice combination of a drafting game with a tug of war cardgame. The theme is well implemented but just not that interesting. The 2008 elections certainly don't have the same historical appeal as the 1960 elections. Gameplay is very tactical and there's also a fair bit of randomness involved with the breaking news cards. This can be forgiven however as this game is a rather quick filler anyway. It seems play could get repetitive pretty quickly. So I'm not sure about replayability yet. But all in all a good quick game.
The Thief of Baghdad
Very light family game. As the game almost plays itself I wouldn't recommend it for any other setting than with children or inexperienced gamers. For hardcore players there is nothing to see here. Start player has an unfair advantage and there is nothing in the rules to really mittigate this. Basic mechanics of the game work well but are just not enough for me to center a whole game around.
Pack of Flies
This is an almost totally random blind bidding game. All the mechanics boil down to is second guessing your opponents. The more people play, the less information you have, the more random it becomes. Just a bad, bad game. The flies are nice though.
Memoir '44: Pacific Theater
Imperial Japanese Army and the US Marine Corps command rules add a whole different feel to the battles. And it is one I'm looking forward to explore more. Will have to see if the other new stuff added in this expansion is also worthwile.
Survive: Escape from Atlantis! The Giant Squid Mini Expansion
Great expansion that adds even more chaos and mayhem to this game. And I mean that in a good way.
Mr. Jack Extension
Nice set of extra characters which add some variety to the base game. Nothing fancy but a nice addition to the base game.
Power Grid: Brazil/Spain & Portugal
Spain map: Good map with a really strange nuclear development. Not sure it affected our game very much so I'm not sure what this map adds to the game. Maybe the Brazil map has a more distinct feel. The extra box for all the expansions is nice though.
Power Grid: Warehouse
The warehouse does add some tactical decisions with regards to exhausting fuel supplies. But in the end the influence of this expansion is very tiny. The randomness of the other two cards is something I don't want in Power Grid. Certainly an expansion you can do without. Only for the Power Grid completists.
Board Game: Haggis
[Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:444]
A few new ones for me this month:
Haggis - - WOW. WOW WOW WOW. I was totally blown away by Haggis, both with 2 and 3. This game is incredible; it has all the fun of Big Two or Tichu, but for two or three, which is the normal gaming group for me. I can not overstate how much fun this game is. This feels like what all the two-player variants of climbing games were trying to be; I cannot imagine improving on this game.
Risk: Godstorm - - I love dice combat games - Memoir 44, Risk, Nexus Ops, Axis and Allies, etc. Risk especially, despite it's simplicity and luck factor. It's more the experience of playing than actually winning, I think, that appeals to me. Also, the nostalgia.
Risk: Godstorm amplifies that by limiting the game length and making it as chaotic as... hell! Seriously though, the game is a blast, and was a ton of fun. It's not going to top Nexus Ops just because it's so random and luck is a much bigger factor here, but it's still a winner to me.
Resident Evil Deck Building Game - - I'm not a fan of Dominion, but the idea of building a deck to DO something is appealing to me. I liked Dominion all right when it came out, but I was always left feeling like I didn't get the point of the game.
A buddy visited this week and we squeezed in a play of this. Totally worth the time - this wasn't the most polished game I've ever played, but it was a lot more fun than Dominion. I think my wife agreed, which means that our copy of Dominion may be on the way out in exchange for Thunderstone or RE.
Battleball - - Got this from the 'I'm thrifting For You!' geeklist - THANKS AGAIN! - and wanted to give it a try. Wasn't the best game I've played, but I'm really excited for the advanced variants on BGG.
The Game of Life: Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man's Chest - - Marginally better than the original Game of Life, but not nearly as interesting as Twists and Turns (which is a halfway decent game once you learn what the lifepod will ACTUALLY do [the manual is wrong]). I thrifted this for parts for a copy of island trader, and the wife wanted to play it. Who am I to say no, even to a game of Life?
Clash of Cultures
I am playtesting this in its 'beta' version. This is Christian Marcussen's next game after the success of Merchants and Marauders. I have played this game a bunch over the last three weeks and I am impressed. This is a really good civ game stuffed into 3-4 hours. It has everything you want in a civ game, city building, culture, exploration, an ample tech tree, and combat. The way the modular board works during exploration is pretty unique and when the board is 'built' there are actually interesting decisions. To be made. The tech tree is massive, offering 12 categories with four advances in each category. The city building aspect is simple and intuitive, similar to how easy it is to form a settlement.
As cities get bigger, they can collect more resources, but if you activate a city more than once its mood changes from happy to neutral to eventually angry. Happy cities produce more and angry cities produce almost nothing. This mechanic encourages you to activate your city once per round but allows you to splurge and activate it multiple times.
Overall the game is easy to pick up (for a civ game), all the mechanics seem to interlock nicely and even though they are all fairly intuitive and simple as individual pieces, as they add up it can be a little difficult to keep all the balls in the air. I am sure that this and a few other small issues will get resolved during further playtesting.
Overall, it kicks ass and I cannot wait until this gets released.
I've taught this to a dozen or so people and the response has been mostly overwhelmingly positive.
I've only played the first scenario so I don't have a lot to go on yet, but it is immensely obvious that this is a solid game. I am a sucker for miniature skirmish games and this is one of the best to come around in a while. The order tile mechanic limits your options but it is those limits that make the game engaging. Having these random order tiles creates a "fog of skirmish" that is pretty exiting. Normally in this type of game you can calculate exactly where each model can go and what it can do, how well it can shoot, the random order tiles bring the unknown back into the equation. And it does this better than any game so far.
Claustrophobia is a pretty cool 'dungeon crawl'. I love the damage system for the heroes and how quick and easy the game is to pick up and play. The components are top notch and I am shocked that with components so nice and pre-painted miniatures this comes from a small publisher.
I played a demo of this at Gencon a couple years ago and it wasn't described as well as it could have been(or its possible that I was sleep deprived) and I missed the attack options. Imagine my suprise where in this seemingly dry euro, someone starts blowing my shit up. I was immediately soured and it quickly dropped off my radar. But then soemone brought it out at a recent game night and I knew that I needed to give it a second shot. Well, I am glad I did. It is a decent worker placement, with a little bit of competition and a smattering of conflict.
The random chit placement adds a little replayability, but really I don't think your strategy is tied that closely to the token placments. Sure, the token placemnet will alter your choices on where to place your workers; but overall if you (for example) like a shipping strategy, you are not going to have to abondon that strategy based on the token distribution.
My opinion went from meh, to I'd play it again. I increased my rating for a 5 to a 7.
Road Kill Rally
Road Kill Rally is a silly silly game. The idea is to win, but you get bonus points for shooting not just other cars but pedestrians including bonus points for running over elderly. This is of course all good light fun. Its a pure diversion from reality. It does offer a few interesting decisions and some tension but overall not something your going to want to pull out every week...for a few reasons.
Working through some kinks in my design - but finally got it to the table. Lords of Baseball is a card driven game that plays as an economic game based on the game of baseball. Owners take control of an entire organization and try to build up strong Farm Systems, Front Offices and winning teams to score points. When the pieces and playtesting are finalized, I'm hoping to self-publish to start.
The Downfall of Pompeii
I had a good time with downfall. I thought the game played very smoothly and as far as theme goes, it played into everyone having a good time. I thought this was a game that would qualify as a gateway game, but also interesting enough to keep serious gamers entertained. I like the way the game is split into two unique halves. Good game.
Voll in Fahrt
A cute little train racing game with a fun-to-say name. Essentially a dice-fest, but despite that there are some strategies that you need to utilize. There is a possibility for kingmaking, but in the game I played that was not the case. There is a definite chance of "gang up on the leader" - but if you're the leader you can't really complain about that. The key aspect of this game is the moving tracks.
Rating 6.5/10 based on the moving track element.
I was easily talked into a game at a local game meet. I had heard about this game and thought I'd take the opportunity to at least try to learn it. I have had hit and miss feelings on other Wallace designs, but if someone is willing to teach a game I'm always willing to learn. I was surprised at how quickly I picked up the mechanics of the game. I was not surprised to finish as far fourth as I did. Strategically, I made several poor moves - but I grasped the game play. The game felt a little slow. I'd give it another shot, but I don't expect the rating to rise all that much.
Rating 6/10 based on one learning (for me) game
I study games and gamers at the Technoculture, Art and Games research centre at Concordia University, Montreal.
I hate bowling. It's just multiplayer solitaire.
Played this for the first and second times last week. I enjoy dice games and found myself really enjoying this one. While having everything dependent on the dice sounds too luck-driven, it actually leads to a lot of agonizing choices. Really dig it so far.
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After reading the rules to Merchants of the Middle Ages (the Z-Man English reprint of Die Handler), I thought the game seemed rather disjointed and pieced together. When I actually played it, it impressed me more than I was expecting and played fairly smoothly. It's a very solid, good investment / market game that can be a little unforgiving of mistakes (which I like). It seems to take just a little longer than it should to play though. I currently rate it a 7.5 out of 10.
Other new games this month:
Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League - Pretty decent 2-player pick up and deliver game where each player is dividing their attention between picking up goods, travelling to other planets, adding special powers to their ships, and delivering goods. 6.5 out of 10.
Music Frenzy: The Music Game - Roll and move music theory trivia game with good questions but practically no game. 3 out of 10.
Conquest of the Empire - I`ve just played the Classic version so far. It`s something of a simplified Axis & Allies game but with some interesting army movement decisions since units can only move with a leader piece guiding them, and each player only has a maximum of 5 of those leaders. 7 out of 10.
Yeah it's here! Really it's right here.
Always so late to the party.
It was actually a very busy month for me for new games.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Mystery at Hogwarts Game I rated a 5 after one play. Just another Clue rehash, not that I have anything against clue, it's just nothing that I get excited about.
Waldschattenspiel was another game that got a 5 after one play. It's really a gimmick game and I knew that going in. I had been looking for it when my kids were smaller, but they are older now and I've finally gotten a copy. It claims to be a 15 minute game, but after over an hour we ended up calling it quits. My son did point out that we hadn't glued the hats on and even though the rules imply that they are for flavor, the extra height on them may make them easier to spot. Plus, we were all playing the game as 'gamers' not as 'young kids'. I think this is a pure kids game.
Nightfall I rated a 6 after one play. Although that might be generous. I did find how you play off each other and that when playing you need to think about what your opponent on your left might be able to play off you. But, overall it was just another deck building game to me.
Travel Blog I rated a 6.5 (means it will be a 6 or a 7 in the future) after one play. I had a few friends that really liked it, but I kept hoping for more in the game and it just didn't have it. It will probably only get a couple more plays and find it at a 6 rating with not much more to say about it.
The Mines of Zavandor I rated a 6.5, just an overall 'ok' game. Not sure I want to try and explain why.
Mord im Arosa I rated a 7 after one play. I have to say, I was 'somewhat' disappointed by it. Not much though.
First of all there really is no 'deduction' part to the game. It really is listening to how far you think cubes fell in the tower and hoping your guesses are correct.
Still quite a bit of fun. The only problem is that the game end trigger is to have all one person's cubes out of their supply or 10 of a person's cube on the scoring board (scoring is actually bad here). So, the problem becomes that you can take cubes off the board and back into your supply. So, in the one game we've played, it easily stalled with people that were getting close to emptying their supply or getting 10 cubes scored, would just get cubes removed from the score board and back into their supply.
So, everyone noticed it was dragging and all basically wanted it to end, but being as we were all gamers we didn't want to lose. Finally, I just made someone score to end the game, even though it meant I couldn't win. If I would have prolonged the game, I might have been able to pull off a win.
Dragonmaster was rated a 7 after one play. I never find anything at thrift shops. Sabrina found a complete copy for $1.
I'm not a huge trick taking card game player. But, this was fun (others are too, just not my preference). Very easy to play. We only played a quarter of a game though, so I'll have to see. But I think once we understood it after the first hand or two that it wasbgoing to go quickly.
For play with ylu family you should pull it out and give it a try. Especially if you all play any traditional card games. There are three levels on play. I'd just go for expert play.
Wongar rated a 7 after one play. hhhhmmmm, I may end up liking this more then first impression.
First impression is that there isn't much new to the game. Simple game play. Pick a card and do it's action. Arrange for optimal scoring for yourself. Rinse and Repeat.
But, if I had to pick one genre as my favorite, it would be area majority. And this one has three of them going on in each area. So, it might grow on me.
BITS rated a 7 after one play. I bit easier then FITS, but I may like it more because it might be a bit less frustrating for new players.
Pergamon rated 7.5 after one play. Great smelling game
not a whole lot of components, but a nice quality
As for game play. It's played in 12 turns. When setting it up you wonder how long those turns can go. Wellthey go quickly. There really are only three decision points. The first on is somewhat a risk reward choice which at times can be interesting. One is simply a spend now or later. And finally if to make one or more exhibits. While I could be wrong I really think the final decision is only a last turn choice. The money question is minor.
So really there in one decision point.
So if someone is looking for a 'deep' game, this isn't it.
That said, it's easy to teavh, plays quick and is a fun romp.
Overall it's an very 'ok' game. Nothing new and exciting. But, I was up for a second play the same night.
Tinners' Trail another rating of a 7.5 after one play. I have a love hate with Wallace I really respect his designs (and own a lot many unplayed), I want to like them and on paper they seem like I would. But they often fall flat on me.
I love thebes and was excited by thetiming mechanism in this game. But, once in play it just didn't seem to make much difference because there wasn't enough difference in time costs.
In some ways I wish there were more ways to bring more minerals into the game. But that wouldn't as thematic, would it? Plus, it might make it less 'tight'.
But overall I really emjoyed it. I think more then I noted after my first play. I look forward to another play and think it going to be a really quick fun game.
I did win (a come from behind for a two point win), but I didn't realise how important an early pass is on that last turn and should have been blocked from the top investment in the last turn. The player before me didn't take the second investment and could have. So, I was able to. If not I would have lost the game by 1 or 2 points.
Probably my favorite Wallace.
Rattus Rated an 8 after one play. Did I mention I like Area Majority games?
Very 'clean' good fun. A quick romp though Europe. Simple system that can get you a good area majority game in under an hour.
Sun, Sea & Sand Rated a 8.5 after 2 plays.
Simply, one of the most fun I've had in a long time.
What looks like it should be a simple worker placement game, turns out to have a lot going on. While there is a bit of a scripted opening, we've seen in out first couple games some variation after turn one. With some interesting choices.
I've never thought of Cwali as 'top notch' in game quality, but I was a bit disappointed in the quality only in that the 'main board' has a small flap that folds out from the board. The board being fairly thin with this folding piece looks like it may 'break off' easily. If they wouldn't have made it fold (or made it two pieces) I don't think I would have noticed how thin the board is.
The game really made me realize though, that I think I may like their games. I own 5 of their games (although only have played 4 of them). Of those four I rate them 5, 7, 8.5 and 9.
I went back and revisted my 8.5 rating of Basketboss and brought it up to a 9. In 2010 I only rated 2 games a 9 and in 2009 only one.
I've rated Sun, Sea and Sand an 8.5, which if you all remember that means I haven't settled on a final rating and will either rate it an 8 or 9 after a few more plays.
Shogun: Tenno's Court Rated a 7 after one play. There are 'two' expansions in the box. Tenno's Court and Samurai.
I had a harder time teaching the base game then teaching the expansions. They are really simple to add on to the game.
Tenno's Court is a way to get special actions. Some are way more powerful then others. But, they make turn order selection more interesting. Often times you seem to be just as worried about what bonus you need then going first or last. This makes first very important on some turns so adds to the decision factor. Plus it takes cubes off the board or out of the tray to do.
Samurai gives you 'stuff' each turn you successfully maintain presence in 4 or more regions. While on the surface it seems nice to encourage diversity, I'm not sure the game scoring doesn't already do that.
Everyone seemed to like the expansions. I'm not sure I like Samurai. The game can be tight and the expansion seemed to help make it easier to get everything collected. I guess this is in order not to be as punishing on new players. But any time they add something to make a game easy, I think it just makes experienced players even more powerful. One of the 'stuff' that you can get are 'cubes' into the tower. So, it seemed that everyone always had enough people in the court every turn and/or plenty of food/gold.
I might suggest not playing with that 'mini-expansion'
The thing I like the most was that the expansion came with a full set of cards from the base game. So although I've only played the game half a dozen times, I appreciated that touch. (I wish a BSG expansion would come with a full set of cards)
Board Game: Parade
[Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:639]
Parade (4 plays)
Played three times with my non-gamer wife and once with a friend after reading Ben's review entitled What You're Missing: 2-Player Parade. While the game is pretty light, it will certainly warrant repeated plays. Also, despite how light it is, there is a fair amount of screwage in this game, which I also liked (even though I was on the receiving end much of the time!). We are having some friends over this Thursday to try playing it as a partnership game.
Mystery Express (1 play)
The theme of this game is very good but I didn't really enjoy it, partly because I did so poorly at it. I could be convinced to play again, but only with a variant that changes the way the time cards work. The game felt like a very convoluted shell game to me, though I think I would do better with repeated plays.
Industry (1 play)
This played like 7 Wonders the board game, and I felt exactly the same way about it: I abhorred it. The game is completely devoid of theme and amounted to nothing more than a boring exercise of converting one or more resources into other ones, for no thematic reason whatsoever, over and over and over again. The game board artwork is extremely busy and made my eyes and head hurt to look at it, but to do well you must be able to take it all in. I can see where repeated plays would make this a little easier, but it's still awful. The only thing I enjoyed was the auction mechanic. I would rather not play anything than play this again.
At the Gates of Loyang (2 plays)
Played this game twice, once with three players and once with four. The 3-player game was very enjoyable and made me want to play more, but I did not enjoy the 4-player version at all and would not put myself or anyone else through that again. I am looking forward to playing it more with either two or three players in the coming weeks. Great components, great artwork, and great theme.
Key Market achieved nickel status in the first month of play. In fact, we played it twice the first day and really enjoyed this one and the different choices and strategies that can be employed to win this game depending on the guilds in play. I found it fascinating to watch us progress as players as well and come to realization that retirement of a worker is frequently not the optimal choice even late in a game as well as a better understanding and utilization of the market. Fascinating game!
BITS is another fun game that bears some semblance to FITS but uses dominoes style pieces where you are trying to build shapes or avoid shapes to earn or avoid losing points. Found it fun and we played it twice in a row the first time and played a full four rounds in about 20 minutes the second time. Not everyone agrees here on BGG, but I think it is different enough from FITS that having and playing both is worthwhile.
Mord im Arosa is a fun, gimmick of a game. The cube tower and trying to listen and "deduce" where the different cubes landed so you can accuse your opponents and make them lose their cubes is a fun gimmick/mechanic. However, I would recommend playing with aggressive players and less defensive as the game could go on longer than desired if people keep trying to take their cubes off the clue chart. Another fun side game you play with this one is line the tower parts up in a row and then play lob the cubes and try to make baskets but this one could potentially be hazardous in that you could lose your wooden cubes!
Lots of decent games new to me this month that didn't necessarily stand out of the crowd includes the following:
Isla Dorada I really enjoyed my first couple plays of this one despite the overwrought figures. If there was some way to keep game time down to 1 hour and play using advanced rules at all times, this one would potentially move up to a 7 for me.
Chronicle is a neat little trick taking card game that can be quite chaotic but also involve some planning. Try to meet the objectives while preventing others from doing so OR take all four evil cards to earn double points. Each card has a special action which is usually taken as you play the card (assuming you play the lead suit; otherwise you play your card face down and do not take the action).
Chaos in the Old World is a game where I really appreciate the mechanics of the game and the asymmetrical abilities and card decks but the theme is a real turn off for me.
Cardcassonne is fun if played with 4-5 players. I did not enjoy my play with 2. Interesting take by Schmiel on Coloretto with little connection to Carc outside of perhaps the theme so to speak.
Der Pate is a vicious game of mafia family battles where most of your family will end up floating in the Hudson or in jail. I really like the dice mechanic used here (four different colored dice in which you choose one die for income based on pips but then won't be able to take that color of die action in the next three actions...roll again after income and choose an action related to color and number of pips, roll last two dice and place accordingly). I find the game enjoyable, but there is a lot that can happen to your gangsters that you can do little about in between turns.
Egizia is one that I had decided not to like before trying. Well, my last game day I was in a game group that decided to play this and the other group was playing a less interesting game so I went with this one and am glad I did. I enjoyed my play despite it being a stone poor game (3 stone cards were not in the game!). However, I do have some concerns with the sphinx cards and am uncertain as to my thoughts about said cards and luck of the draw.
Grimoire is an interesting Citadels type game except that everyone has access to each power at all times. Of course, if you pick the same spell as someone else, you will fall back in turn order and the opportunity to draw the best cards from the display. Each round your potential list of options increases by one. There appears to be several viable routes to victory. If you don't care much for take that or double think, avoid this title.
Famiglia is a fine two player "deckbuilding" type game but one that doesn't really excite me. In all honesty, I'd just prefer to play other games in that vein including Dominion before this one.
Flowerpower is an OOP Kosmos two player I'm happy to own, but not one that I will seek to play often with gamers. This is a good one to pull out with "non-gamers" and looks great after it is complete but the game play is, well, rather vapid. Sure, there are some decisions to be made but I feel most are rather quite obvious.
Thankfully, I was able to avoid playing any truly horrible games this month that were new to me which is always a potential hazard...
Games, games and more games!
Wow, what a simple idea, yet it turns into a really good quick game. I've only played it with 5, and would be interested to see how it works with more.
There were aspects of this game that I liked, and aspects that really irritated, and it went on a bit long for how light it was. It was fun to play though, although I wouldn't rush to play again.
If I was playing adults I might find this game really annoying, but to play against my two children, aged 3 and 5, it's a lot of fun. My 3 year old in particular jumps up and down with excitement every time a ball falls through a hole.
Wo ist Jack the Ripper
This game sat on our shelves for a couple of years after we acquired in in a Maths Trade as a sweetener, and we finally played it this month. It wasn't worth the wait. It's a very light game, with lots of luck, and it's not even all that fun to play, so you just wonder why you're bothering.
I can show you anything, on my belly belly belly screen. Skyscrapers! Taxicabs! Traffic Lights!
5 New to Me games this April.
Mansions of Madness was the best this month. Highly thematic, terrific components. I have a love-or-hate relationship with Arkham Horror. I've had great 2-3 player sessions, and several 6 player sessions where I would've considered gnawing off my arm to escape.
I found Mansions to be a better game. I like the uravelling of the stories clues and watching the investigators make frantic plans of action. I played as the Keeper twice, and this is probably the most rewarding position, but am eager to play as an investigator. 2 plays in and one win for the investigators and one win for the Keeper. Looking forward to more plays.
Ingenious: Travel Edition is a fun mini version of the original. My wife and I have enjoyed several games of Ingenious this past month and should make the regular rotation. Simple enough rules for anyone to understand quickly. Parts are well made, but obviously small. The scoring pegs especially take a bit of concentration to fit in, but this is a minor complaint. Nicely done.
Neuland is a game I had been looking forward to trying out and finally picked up in a math trade. First off, yes, the rules provided are a big mess. Luckily, there is a wonderful simplification of the ruleset in the BGG files.
The game is essentially building supply chains in order to build out your 'coat-of-arms' tokens. So far, only 1.5 games played, both with only 2 players. The half game was started late at night, and honestly, the game requires your concentration, so the game was packed up. Even with the simplified ruleset, this can be a tricky game. Looking forward to playing with more than two to see how it plays out.
KIDS GAMES (exploring with my 3.5 year old son)
Somehow I had avoided playing Candyland when I was a kid, so this truly was new to me. Now Candyland has no choices or strategy. Draw a card on your turn and move to the next matching colour square (or two). And my son LOVES this game. He gets it, he likes it. And since he is having fun, Daddy likes it too.
The Kids of Catan
Compare with Kids of Catan. A lucky thrift store pick-up for me. The parts are incredibly well made - wooden houses with painted roofs, little bundles of wheat, brick and wood, and a turntable board.
Now Ethan is still a bit young for this one, and it shows. He has some difficulty in realizing a full set of wheat, brick and wood is needed for building one of his buildings. He would much rather just build a small village with the pieces. So this one is a miss.., at least so far.
Board Game: Mamma Mia!
[Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:969]
[Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
The Hoagland Family
We took a little vacation to Lititz, PA this month, so how could we not put in an order to Game Surplus? We got this, along with Sole Mio!, Zooloretto Boss, and Ingenious: The Challenges. We have loved them all, but Mamma Mia! is the hands down favorite new game around here!
Lots (for me) for this month! I have to give the top honor to Planet Steam. We played twice and the first time I floundered about. The second time I lost by 4 credits. The thinking is a bit complex but everything is transparent enough that you can work it out eventually. The only complaint I have is that it takes a long time to play (and forever to set up), but with 4 it still feels like your plans need a few more turns to fully bloom.
Sylla is a close second (and may end up surpassing PS eventually-it plays a lot quicker). Another game with a lot going on, but it's not hard to keep track of it all and you don't feel like you're juggling 8 different balls.
Stronghold is fun, but I think it's maybe a shade too complex for what it is. A level or two of fiddliness could be removed and make an easier-to-learn game that is just as strategic. But it's still something I look forward to playing more.
I played a friend's copy of 7 Wonders and enjoyed it, but it felt feather-light. I don't know that I felt compelled to play again to try and improve, like in the games I listed above.
Asara was a fine game that just rubbed me the wrong way. I started out strong and suddenly I was being passed by all the other players and couldn't figure out any way to catch up. It wasn't a bad game, but it sort of pissed me off.
1 - 2 player game via Vassel.
Finally got to try Alien Frontiers with a friend over vassel, and I was not disappointed. This game's a blast, to play. Decisions every turn, and a tight back and forth struggle to gain and maintain ships, and planet locations. Lots of fun. Can't wait to play with a physical copy.
Ascension: Deckbuilding Game
1 - 4 player game
Deck building game that keeps things pretty light. While I enjoyed this one more than I had anticipated, I don't like it as much as Dominion. Certainly a decent alternative when we want to deck build in another universe. One note of interest, apparently we were using the "rat king" expansion or whatever. It game into play and was an interesting twist on the game.
1 - 6 player game
My first time ever playing Citadels. I was pretty luke warm on the game, but that could've been because I kept getting assassinated/thieved, lol. A decent, quick, fun design that plays a large crowd.
Heimlich & Co.
1 - 2 player game
Having only played one game with 2 players, I certainly haven't experienced this game to its potential. Looking forward to having a go with more people.
Moto Grand Prix
1 - 6 player game
Solid components but a rather hum drum game experience. There was some excitement as things got tight near the end, but I felt it was a mostly fairly boring affair. Apparently there are some advanced rules that might make things more interesting, but I'm not exactly in a rush to find out.
I only played one new-to-me game this month, Age of Steam Expansion #3: Scandinavia and Korea which was a blast. Age of Steam isn't something that is played often on Tuesday nights, but Tony and I were able to convince Dustin to try it.
Tony and I were close most of the game, but he was tricked into bidding too much, which didn't allow him to continue a link, which I was able to claim. This connection gave me needed six ships without using the Ferry action.
I think this one edges out Tammany Hall for the best new game of the month. Acutally, all the new ones I played this month were good (and there was a fair amount, too).
Australia had great movement while playing. Score an area(s) and work on redeploying your men elsewhere to score again. I thought it was great with two and I think with 3-4 it will be quite awesome.
Klickado - A fun dex game of sort of a reverse pick up sticks. Instead of picking up sticks from the table, you are placing sticks suspended from a magnet.
Aliens: This Time It's War - a two player card game that has a TON of tension. This will be officially released with a different theme is my understanding. I hope the new theme will work.
Australia - see above.
Don - an auction filler game with a unique restriction on bidding. Well worth the play.
Tammany Hall - area control that is somewhat unique. The theme is awesome as I love that time period in history. Great five player game.
Vikings - Another cool game. Long term thought and short term tactics are key.
All good new games this month!