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Surya's game blah blah

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

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

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HOPE, Glüx and 3 Wishes

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Wishes
tl;dr: meh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

X nimmt!
tl;dr: mind bending variation

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

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

Dice Stars
tl;dr: Qwixx in space!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Medici
tl;dr: solid classic style auction game

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

Initial rating: 7/10
BGG scale: 7/10
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Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:42 pm
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Oceanos, Perfect Alibi and Relikt

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

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

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

Perfect Alibi
tl;dr: average deduction game

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

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

Relikt
tl;dr: way too chaotic

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

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

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

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

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

boxes
tl;dr: fine auction game

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

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

Atlantic Triangle
tl;dr: disappointing

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

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

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

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

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

Spyfall
tl;dr: unimaginative deduction game

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

Initial rating: 5/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

Islebound
tl;dr: yet another enjoyable Laukat game

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

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

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

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

Initial rating: 5/10
BGG scale: 4/10
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Fri Oct 7, 2016 2:27 pm
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