Archive for Sean Torrens
NOTE: For information on me as a gamer and my background, check out the blog post entitled Reviewer Background
I've been a huge fan of tabletop Blood Bowl since playing third edition in the mid to late 90's. I was deeply into Warhammer Quest at that time and figured that even if I didn't like the game, I could reuse the figures from it. The ongoing nature of the matches and the ability to build and expand a team, with each match having significant lasting consequences on that team were very addictive. It felt alive.
I liked the board game so much that I immediately bought the PC version when it was released and have since sold the tabletop version. All the tabletop options and teams are now incorporated into it, and it does all the "mathy" stuff. Immense speed gain in this format.
I was very intrigued when I saw they were releasing a card game format of Blood Bowl. I picked up a copy as soon as it was released.
So what did I think about Blood Bowl: Team Manager - The Card Game before I played it?
Prior view of the Sports Theme: () I'm not a sports fan, by any derivation of the word. I rarely try sports-themed games since the subject doesn't hold much interest. If I do try one it's because I've liked games similar to it, or that I had read enough about it to know I would probably enjoy myself.
Some prior experience with Sports Theme: Electric Football (3), Mille Borne (5), Pitchcar (6), Formula De (6.5), Battleball (6.5), Bisikle (6.5), Car Wars (7), Blood Bowl (7), Formula D (7.5), Long Shot (9)
Prior view of the Fantasy Theme: () I've been involved in the Fantasy theme since learning D&D back in 1978. Dungeon was my first Fantasy-themed board game, Talisman was big in college and Warhammer Quest after graduation. I've only recently gotten tired of killing orcs and really focused on other genres to explore (Western-themed games are a big draw for me now, pun intended). Wrath of Ashardalon recently brought back a bit of the desire to strap on a virtual sword and spurred me to additionally purchase Legend of Drizzt.
Some prior experience with Fantasy Theme: Dungeon (4), Talisman (4.5), Tomb (7), Fist of Dragonstones (7), Small World (7), Defenders of the Realm (8), DungeonQuest (8), Wrath of Ashardalon (8), Runewars (8.25), Warhammer Quest (9)
Prior view of the category of Card Games: () I was one of the first local adopters of Magic: The Gathering and fell in love with it for many years until the tournament scene and the types of players it brought out finally turned me away. I also realized that spending my money on one game wasn't as satisfying as all the board games I could buy instead since so many new great new games were being released every year. I left card games behind, keeping only a couple CCGs and focused more on board games. I pick up an occasional card game that doesn't require buying more cards and the recent 'Living Card Game' hotness seems like a good mix of my old and new play styles but nothing from it has grabbed my attention yet.
Some prior category with Card Games: Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (5), Young Jedi (5), Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game (5), Armorica (6), Guillotine (6.5), Bohnanza (6.5), Rowboat (7), Magic: The Gathering (8), Star Wars CCG (8.5), Deadlands: Doomtown (10)
Prior view of the mechanism of Hand Management: () One of my favorite cards from Star Wars CCG was 'Limited Resources' and that card title defines this category so well. How can I best use what I have to get to my goal? Short term goals are this turn only, long term goals an be game-long choices. Using what you have dealt to you and making the best situation out of it is fun to me because of the variability it allows from turn to turn and game to game. 'One Uber-Strategy' will also not work every time as long as there is balance within the cards.
Some prior experience with Hand Management: Summoner Wars (5.5), Get Bit! (6), Neuroshima Hex (6.75), Founding Fathers (7), Race For The Galaxy (7), Cuba (7.5), Cosmic Encounter (7.5), Twilight Struggle (8), Balloon Cup (8.5), El Grande (8.5)
Review of Blood Bowl: Team Manager - The Card Game
Components: () Fantasy Flight never disappoints with components. This game is no exception. The cardboard tokens in the game are good for what they represent and the rest being cards for team and upgrades. I 'pimped my copy' by adding a bag for the cheating tokens and will try to get little footballs to replace the tokens that come with it.
Artwork/Layout: () The actual artwork was mostly new pieces to me; the only reuse I saw was for the linemen cards as this art is used in the intro screens for the PC game to represent each team. The character art is very vibrant with lots of good action shots. There is no artwork on either the team and staff upgrades and the 'highlight reel' cards are mostly the same art template, with the only changing section being the bottom 1/3 of the card (rewards).
Theme: () This game nails the theme on the head with a spikey football and then piledrives it into the end zone.
When I tried to tell non-gamers that I was reading the rules to a fantasy football game, they give one of two reactions:
A) They are turned off because their husband or boyfriend does that thing every year and they are already sick of hearing how some quarterback lost them 30 points in the league
B) They get excited that you like fantasy football too so they proceed to tell you how the guy they were playing last week lost 30 points on his quarterback, winning them the match.
In both instances, when I explained these teams are truly fantasy and have Ratmen, Orcs, Treemen, Dwarves, Wood Elves and Ogres the puzzled look is the same. That's pretty awesome.
This game totally captures the feel of its predecessors. You can picture each highlight reel as it takes shape and the tournaments add a whole new level of fun to each round when they come up.
Rulebook/Player Aids: () The rulebook is pretty well written and only took one read-through to get the gist of. Some of the speed of picking up the rules comes from the examples, but some has to also have come from my familiarity with the game system it is derived from. I've taught BBTM to both non-Blood Bowlers and non-gamers (who happen to like American rules football) and no one seemed to have trouble grasping it. There are no player aids but I'm not sure what it could have. Maybe a small player mat for players to put cards and upgrades on with a brief turn overview and scoring breakdown? I'm sure we will see something on The Geek very soon.
Gameplay: () Game play is very smooth and I get genuinely excited when drawing multiple cards for rewards as to what player I can draft or if I can get that Team Wizard or Apothocary to help out with future weeks. I was initially disappointed that the 'season' would be over after 5 weeks, but the game hits the 'time investment you want to put into a game like this' mark right at that point. Easy to play, and easy to teach.
Overall Rating: () This game is FUN. One drawback of the board game version of Blood Bowl is that it can only accommodate two players at a time. The box for BBTM says 2-4 players but our first game we played with 5, no problem. It scales very well. Six teams come in the base game (you know this thing is ripe for expansions, there are 20 teams in the latest PC game). The only thing we had to add was a couple 10 sided dice for the 5th player to track fans with. I don't think I'd go as far to play with 6 as the game would just get too long. I've played with 3 and 4 players as well and it was fun every time. It scales very well. Overall, I think this is one of the best purchases I've made all year!
Wed Oct 26, 2011 10:05 pm
NOTE: For information on me as a gamer and my background, check out the blog post entitled Reviewer Background
I'm always hesitant to buy two-player games. Any time I can get together with people to game, there is never just one other person (it's a terrible affliction, I know). So when I buy these, they just never get played and sit and languish on the shelf. I'd love to buy more BattleLore or Memoir '44 expansions or get Twilight Struggle to the table more often, but there is always too many people to bring out these games and they never get pulled out to play.
I was hesitant about buying this for this regard and due to the fact that I already own Mr. Jack and Mr. Jack in New York. I found myself, however, in a brand new game shop (only 8 days old) after an out-of-town conference and always want to make a purchase to help support them (we've lost our last Brick and Mortar store in our area). Its price point and box size seemed like it would be a good choice.
So what did I think about Mr. Jack Pocket before I played it?
Prior view of the Deduction Theme: This is a hit or miss system for me. Some games do it great and cleanly (Sleuth is my favorite) but some fall flat with too many variables to work through or ways that players can unintentionally give the wrong info, making all your work useless (like has happened to me in Mystery of the Abbey).
Some prior experience with Deduction Theme: Shadow Hunters (5), Mystery of the Abbey (5), Stratego (5.5), Battlestar Galactica (6), Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War (7), Bang! (7), The Resistance (7.5), Shadows Over Camelot (7.5), The Fury of Dracula (8),, Sleuth (10)
Prior view of the Murder/Mystery Theme: First of all, I'm not super into murder mysteries, with the exception of the Jack the Ripper mythos. I love reading and researching about that (personal suspect: Francis Tumblety) and want to try all board games related to that specific set of cases. Outside that, it's a pretty so-so subject to me.
Some prior experience with Murder/Mystery Theme: Inkognito: The Card Game (3.5), Clue (4), Kill Doctor Lucky (6.5), Mr. Jack in New York (7), A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game (7), Mansions of Madness (7), Mr. Jack (8.5), Letters From Whitechapel (8.75)
Prior view of the mechanism of Modular Boards: Modular boards allow for so much re-playability and challenge that every game experience can be vastly different. This is actually a mechanism that can tip the scales to help me purchase a game.
Some prior experience with Modular Boards: Settlers of Catan (5.75), Hey, That's My Fish! (6), Betrayal at House on the Hill (6), Wiz-War (7), Twilight Imperium, 3rd Edition (7), Nexus Ops (7.5), Survive! Escape From Atlantis (7.75), Wrath of Ashardalon (8), Notre Dame (8.5), Deadlands: Doomtown (10)
Prior view of the mechanism of Variable Player Powers: The idea that I can 'break this rule' and you can 'break that rule' are the basic tenets of this mechanism. Setting the players apart within a game allows for variable challenges when played from a different side or character next time.
Some prior experience with Variable Player Powers: Summoner Wars (5.5), HeroClix (6), Stronghold (6.75), Forbidden Island (6.75), Small World (7), Formula D (7), Arkham Horror (7.25), Cosmic Encounter (7.5), Age of Gods (7.5), Star Wars: Epic Duels (8)
Review of Mr. Jack Pocket
This game is a slimmed down version of the eponymous Mr. Jack. I was hesitant to pick it up when I read it was being released. I felt this would be just a distant shadow of a better game or was targeted as an entry level version of the same game.
Components: () I was immediately impressed by box size. Any game I can fit in my glove compartment (4.5" square by 1.5" deep) means I can take it anywhere, and I'll have no trouble fitting it on my game shelf. Upon opening it I found the components to be of equal quality to both of its predecessors. Hardy cardstock pieces, no cards at all (I expected some due to the box size). Everything was pre-punched which was somewhat unique for games too.
Artwork/Layout: () Artwork is quite good and every character is drawn in a way to lend suspicion to them, Familiar characters make a re-appearance and I explained what they did in the base game when playing it with new players to the series. Sherlock Holmes and Watson return again, but this time as investigators, not as potential suspects. And their little dog, too! The iconography is very easy to understand after just the first round of play.
Theme: () Although not on the level of Letters From Whitechapel as far as Jack The Ripper themes, it does a passible job. As deduction games go (and the Mr. Jack mechanisms that are present, though altered) it does a great job.
Rulebook/Player Aids: () The rulebook looms as daunting as it is super thick, but initial fears are removed as it is the same rules presented in 5 languages. actual rules are 9 pages but most of that is graphical images and examples. Fans of the Mr. Jack series will pick it up in about 3 minutes; those without previous experience, maybe twice that.
Gameplay: () Mr. Jack Pocket takes one type of deduction theme and distills its essence down to very basic principles: categorize the characters into groups of innocents and suspects and keep winnowing the field until only one (of nine) suspects remain. The investigator must achieve this goal before one of two timers runs out. The Mr. Jack player tries to delay the investigator and escape into the night. It is the basic gameplay of the rest of the series, but taken in a lighter and more approachable way. Not just a rehash of the series' rules as I thought it would be.
Overall Rating: () Congrats to the designers for taking their excellent original game and producing a great jumping-off point for new players to both the series and to deduction games in general. I can see using this as a gateway game for players new to the hobby game market and as a filler to established game groups. It even makes a nice lunchtime activity with a co-worker or family member. Its size allows for play in the back of a car or on an airplane, so the hunt for Jack can happen practically anywhere. I am totally keeping this in my collection.
Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:35 pm
NOTE: For information on me as a gamer and my background, check out the blog post entitled Reviewer Background
I bought Castle Ravenloft when it first came out thinking it would be the game to fill the void left by one of my favorite games of all time, Warhammer Quest. WHQ was so great because you didn't need a game master or any sort of preparation like most other board games of it's type, and the replayability was HUGE.
After buying and playing Castle Ravenloft about 6 times I came away feeling unfulfilled and it kept me from trying out Wrath of Ashardalon until this week. The lack of a campaign game or any sort of continuation just made it seem like another quick hit dungeon run. I had read reviews about how Ashardalon was different but I didn't feel confident enough to spend the money to get a copy. This week I discovered that a friend, who I don't game with that often, had bought it a while back and managed to borrow it to try it out with my game group.
So what did I think about Wrath of Ashardalon before I played it?
Prior view of the Exploration Theme: This is one of my favorite things about dungeon exploration-type games. The "what's around the next corner" tension and having to overcome whatever obstacle is presented is great to me. In fact, it's the one aspect I look forward to the most in Massively Multi-player Online games as well. Board games sometimes have trouble making this work as well, though. There is usually a lot of set-up and prep time directly proportional to the amount of exploration you get but too much of the set-up (for any game) always takes away from it's rating to me.
Some prior experience with Exploration Theme: Betrayal at House on the Hill (6), Niagara (6), Lost Treasure (6), Doctor Who: The Game Of Time & Space (6), Mansions of Madness (7), Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game (7), Incan Gold (7.25), Nexus Ops (7.5), Merchant of Venus (8), Tobago (8.5)
Prior view of the Fantasy Theme: I've been a Dungeons and Dragons roleplayer since 1979 when I was exposed to 1st Edition at the age of 8. The theme stuck with me and I was in constant search to find other ways to venture into that kind of world, which eventually took the form of board games. Recently, I've noticed the non-stop killing of orcs and goblins, rescuing princesses from dragons and saving kingdoms from marauding giants has gotten a bit stale for me. New games of this type can often briefly re-ignite this spark though.
Some prior experience with Fantasy Theme: Talisman (4.5), Elfenland (5), The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (5), Summoner Wars (5.5), Castle Ravenloft (6), Dark Tower (7), Kings and Things (7), War of the Ring (7.75), Small World (8), Warhammer Quest (9)
Prior view of the mechanism of Co-operative Play: I love co-operative games, but like many other players, I hate the games where one person tells everyone else what they should do on their turns. I try my best to not be that person so that I don't taint others' opinions of the specific game and the genre as a whole. Games where you have a specific role in the group and relying on others to fill their role while they rely on you for yours... too cool.
Some prior experience with Co-operative Play: Ghost Stories (6.75), Lord of the Rings (7), A Touch of Evil (7), Mousquetaires du Roy (7), The Isle of Doctor Necreaux (7), Arkham Horror (7.5), Shadows Over Camelot (7.5), Space Alert (7.75), Defenders of the Realm (8), Pandemic (9)
Prior view of the mechanism of Modular Boards: As mentioned earlier, Warhammer Quest set the bar pretty high for me. It was the first time I'd seen modular boards in a board game and really liked the amount of re-playability and flexibility it allowed. I rarely think this mechanism can be done wrong in a game, though sometimes it is not optimized to take full advantage of it's design structure every time.
Some prior experience with Modular Boards: Dominant Species (3), Stratego: Legends (5), Pitchcar (6), Battle Cry (7), RoboRally (7), Deadlands: Range Wars (7), Tikal (8), Invasion from Outer Space (8), Runewars (8.25), Memoir '44 (9)
Review of Wrath of Ashardalon
Since I had played Castle Ravenloft and this game is SO similar to it's predecessor, I will often compare and contrast to it. If you have played neither of them I'll do my best to explain.
Components: () Much like it's predecessor Castle Ravenloft, the amount of material you get for the money is really quite worth it. 42 plastic mono-chrome figures, 200 cards and bunches of boards and chits. If the figures had been pre-painted it would have been beyond worth the price, but I'm sure the price-point would have had to go up and they would have cut into the sales of the secondary market on D&D minis. Not a good idea to alienate the stores that make money with those.
Card quality is decent but repeated shuffling of the Monster and Encounter decks will show wear quickly without sleeving. Sleeved cards won't fit back in the box very well though as there are pre-molded spots in the insert for the cards to go that cradle them pretty snug as it is.
The thick card-stock board design (thicker than Memoir '44 terrain tiles) is very hardy in composition. The boards are quite clever in their 'puzzle-locking' design and allows for significant replay, while still allowing for variety in walls and pillars for terrain in each hallway and room.
Artwork/Layout: () Well, the image artwork is pretty sparse. Some stock images from the Roleplaying Game's Player's Handbooks of the characters (though this can lend familiarity to players who have tried one and are reluctant to try the other). The only other art is on the monster cards in the form of black and white representations of their figure. There are NPCs that you encounter for specific scenarios that somehow merit the only splash of color artwork in the game's cards. Magic items and Encounter cards have no artwork, but then again, this isn't a collectable card game and trying to make artwork for all of those cards would only raise the cost of the game in the long run.
Theme: () C'mon, it's Dungeons and Dragons. It's a time-tested theme and this game does a great job of continuing that feel. I make sure to read all the flavor-text on the cards and in the scenarios to make the theme even richer. A game that makes you want to 'roleplay' your character and speak as though he or she would? In a board game? That's a sign of good, immersive theme to me.
Rulebook/Player Aids: () The rulebook got much more clear in this game and I really like the addition of the FAQ on the back page (and noting that they collected the questions from players after the Ravenloft came out). We used it twice in our two games. Some of it is based on the overall rules, some on monsters and cards specific to Wrath of Ashardlon.
The player aids were unchanged from Ravenloft and do a good job of detailing a player's choices with the use of one double-sided card per player. This keeps the game flowing, but I'd love to see designers put page numbers on player aids, where specific sections can be looked up quickly, for greater detail, when a question arises.
Gameplay: () At it's root, this is a distilled 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Roleplaying experience in board game form. Gameplay got way better since Ravenloft with the addition of Chambers and Campaign mode, though.
The chambers make the dungeon experience more visceral. Ravenloft had tile after tile lain together to just create really long hallways. It didn't matter which way you went, the tile you needed to get to would also pop up between the 9th and 12th tile. In Ashardalon, the tiles can get pulled from the bottom of the deck and put on top, severely hampering your progress. This has the effect of making you want to play quicker and smarter to explore the deck from the top down before it gets diluted with tiles from the bottom. Ashardalon also adds a simple game mechanic: doors. They may be open or closed, depending on scenario and your Rogue will earn his pay picking locks. Once you get to the chamber tile you seek for that specific scenario/adventure it'll create a much larger room out of pre-set 'chamber tiles.' Good stuff.
Campaign mode is really what sells this game for me. Presenting the chambers as a series of on-going adventures in which you may carry gear from adventure to adventure is perfect. The gold value on the bottom of the cards which allow for purchase of gear "between adventures" also is fantastic, but a bit of a disappointment as the Ravenloft treasures have no such values.
The added ability to switch power cards between the adventures, essentially 'training', allows for inclusion of powers from Ravenloft if you are playing one of the four classes shared amongst both games. We felt the class powers in the new game were a little less powerful, but the monsters more so.
Overall Rating: () This game is a much more rich experience than Castle Ravenloft and really seems to bridge that gap I was looking for between pen and paper D&D and Warhammer Quest. It plays faster than WHQ and has less prep than D&D. No Dungeon Master is needed, much like WHQ. Carrying your character forward into another adventure with the accumulated treasure and gold to see if he or she can survive again is very addicting. "C'mon! Let's go do just one more chamber tonight!" Sure, if I want a ROLEplay experience I'll play D&D, but if I want a ROLLplay experience and a fun dungeon crawl, this is my game of choice now. It's what I was expecting with Ravenloft, honestly.
I really liked this game. I ended up buying it from my friend who says he had gotten it for his group and they never even wanted to give it a try.
Wrath of Ashardalon has renewed my interest in the Fantasy genre (about a 7 or 8 on the scale listed above after playing it), got me to take Castle Ravenloft off my "For Trade" list and made me eagerly look forward to purchasing and playing Legend of Drizzt in the coming months!
I was fortunate to receive a "Special Advanced Airmail Copy" of this game in the mail from Mayday Games with the request that I review it on BGG "for others who are trying to make an informed decision about the game."
I got to thinking about how I would write this and came up with this blog idea. For information on me, check out the blog post entitled Reviewer Background
So what did I think about Eaten By Zombies before I played it?
Prior view of the Theme: I don't much care for zombies. I don't like zombie movies or TV shows. I think it is unnecessarily gory and they are either very slow and dumb or very fast and powerful. The only thing that can make the genre interesting seems to be the need to add more gore.
Prior experience with Zombie Games: Zombies!!! (I rate it a 4.5), Zombie Dice (7), Last Night On Earth (8.25),
Prior view of the mechanism of Deck-Building: I'm an admitted Fanboy for deck building games. My buddy and I are toying with an idea for one ourselves. I don't care as much for ones with less player interaction, but do like what the game achieves and watching my decisions build. Shuffling, though? Not so much.
Prior experience with Deck Building: Dominion (5.5), Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer (6.5), Puzzle Strike (7), Thunderstone (8.5), Quarriors (9)
Prior view of the mechanism of Hand Management: I like this mechanism quite a bit and how just the quantity of choices with the card interactions allows for so many individual choices in each game and so much more replay-ability from game to game. There are just so many games (and plenty I have played) in this category that this is just a smattering of my history.
Prior experience with Hand Management: Gloom (5.5), Battlestar Galactica (6), Biblios (7), Innovation (7), Shadows Over Camelot (7.5), Cosmic Encounter (7.5), Magic: The Gathering (8), Memoir '44 (9), Pandemic (9), Macao (9), Deadlands: Doomtown (10)
Review of Eaten By Zombies
Components: () This is the best card quality, packaging and overall look of any deck building game I've played yet. The card quality is on par with Pandemic, if not better. The box is a perfect storage solution and the card dividers even have extra information printed on them for the card they represent. The external look of the game box is that of an ammo box and helps with the theme of survivors of a zombie apocalypse. The randomizer cards are one of each of the actual piles, so you don't have extra randomizer cards taking up room in the box. Just put one of each of the 'Swag' piles into the randomizer pile and you are ready to go!
Artwork/Layout: () Artwork on the cards are pretty good with the requisite blood spatter and splotches of muck for effect. The 'attrition/flee values' for the zombies are printed on 'directional arrow' road signs at the bottom of each card. I felt these should have been numerically left justified so that when stacking zombies in 'The Horde' the numbers are easier to read and the Horde takes up less room. Minor squabble, but there it is.
Theme: () The gameplay itself does a decent enough job of capturing the feel of survivors scavenging for supplies to fend off the inevitable onslaught. Not sure what more could have been done to make this better, but something still felt... lacking.
Rulebook/Player Aids: () The rulebook is laid out well, but needed more examples. The graphic for road signs denoting fight, flee, draw and scavenge left out the scavenge sign. The player aids that come with the game don't point out some easily overlooked points (such as where you can take Attrition from during the fight or flee "penalty phase" or how many cards must be lost when failing to fight or flee, among others).
Gameplay: () I really enjoyed the refreshing ability to buy cards directly into your hand for use next turn, but that took some getting used to. I kept trying to put scavenged swag into my discard pile and then filling my hand back up from the deck! Also nice was the cards lost to attrition go back to form piles for others to buy, including YOUR starting cards. I think everyone had a bite of my sandwiches at some point.
The swag cards were not that different from each other in game effects and might not allow for very many differing gameplay interactions. Perhaps expansions would add more to the mix.
Once we got past the confusion of some of the rules and exceptions to when and where you had to take attrition from, we found the endgame to be very "Kingmaker" heavy. One player can easily decide who wins, especially in a 4 player game once one player succumbs to a Horde and can direct the Zombie Horde's abilities.
Overall Rating: () All in all, it's an above-average game. I'm not sure it's really for me, though. I didn't care too much for the theme before hand and this game didn't change that view at all. It serves as a low-level, almost entry-level, introduction to deck building games. It plays fast enough and once you get the rules and quirks down, it only gets faster. We played a full game in about 30 minutes with 4 players.
The disappointing, nearly scripted ending to the games we played didn't seem to leave a lot in the way of strategy or surprise-ending wins. If you are looking for something like that, I'd steer clear. If you are looking for the next step up from light party games (like Zombie Dice, to stay in the genre) then this game might be right up your alley. Then again alleys are never good things in zombie flicks...hmm.
Anytime I read a board game review I have to try and figure out if the reviewer has similar or divergent tastes to mine. How long has he or she been playing games? How wide is his or her exposure to different genres? Does he or she like or dislike similar games going into the review of this game?
Here's a bit about me as a gamer so you can get an idea as to my tastes and gaming background.
I am a 40 year old male gamer with 300+ games in my collection. I have been gaming since about age 9 when I was exposed to Dungeons and Dragons. I've played RPGs for about 25 years though currently I am not playing any. I had a bunch of board games throughout college mostly with a fantasy theme (Talisman, Mummy's Tomb, DungeonQuest, HeroQuest) and got bit hard by the board gaming bug with Settlers of Catan and Warhammer Quest in the mid 90's. I then began to 'collect' games as they came out and as funds allowed.
I work closely with several fellow gamers locally to coordinate purchases so that our local "game library" grows and doesn't have many duplicates. We borrow games from each other to introduce to smaller groups that each of us plays with more frequently.
I have grown my local board game group over the last 3-4 years and now can boast 46 people in our group, some that come every month, some only occasionally. We play as a large group once every month and usually have some sort of theme attached to the evening (games with boats, horror-themed, games with food in the, etc). This group allows for a diversity of games and opponents.
I also have a weekly group that meets one evening a week for about 6 hours that only comprises 3-4 other gamers. This allows for a more intimate exposure to games with repeated plays as well as repeat opponents.
My plan with my reviews is to try and explain my background to the theme, genre and mechanics of the game within the context of my previous experience of each. I will rate each of these attributes on a scale of 1-10 and explain with detail my view on each and then site some examples of games I have played that fit that category (along with my rating of each game at the time of the blog posting). If anything, it'll get me rating more games than I currently do...
Then I will play the review game (usually twice with different groups if possible) before giving my closing thoughts on the game afterwards. This may cause a game to alter my ratings for a game's theme, components, mechanisms and so on.
I will also give it a rating of 1-10 using the BGG scale that is outlined on the site. If a rating would be more than an even integer (which I tend to do) I will display as the next highest number.
I will only review games that are new to me as games I have already played are figured into my background already and wouldn't hold any validity in this review design.
I hope this helps you get a feel for how I view the game in the greater context of my game experience. Then you can judge if you feel similar and if you would like it or not.
-Berix / Sean
Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:12 pm