The Game Bistro

An infrequent blog devoted to the gaming pursuits of Kevin Whitmore, host of a weekly game night at the "Game Bistro", and longtime gamer who thinks too much about boardgaming.
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Games Gone Bye Bye - The rest of the A's

Kevin Whitmore
United States
New Mexico
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Continuing my insights about games that failed to "make the cut" to stay on my game shelves:

Age of Napoleon - Phalanx Games caught my attention when they reprinted A House Divided, a wargame I hold in high regard. But they then proceeded to publish games that failed with me. Age of Napoleon was one such case. There is likely a good game in here. But the rules included with my copy left me gasping for air, and clarity. I recall finding a "living rulebook" online, and it was huge. I decided to cut my losses and rid myself of this game unplayed. I would agree to play this game. But I decided I did not wish to be the person to teach it.

Age of Renaissance - Years ago we used to play this reasonably often. It was a nice break from playing Civ, Britannia, and History of the World. But those were days of yore. My gaming situation is far different now. I host a weekly game night that has lots of different people each session. People expect to play 2 games per session, or maybe just one, if they want a long game. AoR and the other games I cite were played over 2+ sessions, at a game group where the same players were in attendance each week. I still like longer games. But AoR wasn't at the top of my list. I am currently fascinated by 18xx games. And if I need a break from those when a long game opportunity comes about... well, AoR is not the one I am going to ask for.

Air Empire - This is a game I wanted to play more than I got to. It is one of the very first Avalon Hill games, one where you basically run a spreadsheet business game. Way too dry and way too drab to entice other players, I fear.

Allerley Spielerey - This is a huge wooden crate of games by Reiner Knizia. While I was impressed by the wooden boards and playing materials, the games themselves were very abstract, and just not to my taste. I still own and appreciate New Games in Old Rome, and recommend that collection. Allerley is a very rare and expensive game, and worth inspecting if you get a chance. But I cannot recommend it for the games included.

The American Goldrush 1849 - Jean du Poel... What can I say about Jean du Poel games? Currently I still both seek to trade away and also seek to acquire some of his creations. American Goldrush 1849 was a theme that really appealed to me. But the game play was just too basic. As usual the components were of great quality, enhancing the gaming experience, but there just wasn't enough game here to keep me engaged.

Das Amulett - This is a decent game, but once I started dismembering the Goldsieber collection its days were numbered. Like so many eurogames, this game works fine, and even has reasonable reply value engineered into it. But after a few plays, it fell from disfavor and ceased to get played. This is a game that I would agree to play if requested, but would not bring to the table myself.

Amun-Re - I just recently ditched this game. As Reiner Knizia games go, this is as heavy a game as he produces. And for that reason I kept it long after I stopped playing it. But whenever the time for a heavy Knizia came about, I consistently chose Euphrat & Tigris over this title.

Andromeda - I almost miss this one. Andromeda is a quirky game. The board is beautiful, suitable for display. The central mechanism is the "Cosmic Ashtray", (not its official title), which is used to randomly shake up the playing order, if I recall correctly. I cannot accurately describe the game play, but my recollection is that this was a very luck-driven game. More of an event, than a test of skill. I would enjoy playing this again, but its a once in every 7 years sort of game for me.

Anno 1503 - I rather liked this one. Enough to buy the German expansion and even translate it into English. But as usual this game fell out of the play rotation. The game is by Klaus Teuber and draws from his mechanisms used in Settlers. Anymore this seems to be a negative with most of my likely opponents.

Arbos - I was really into dexterity games for a while. Arbos was one that passed through my hands. I think it is kind of cool to this day. You build a tree on a wobbly base. But there isn't a whole lot to this game. I understand the publisher later started including some sort of action cards to go with the game, but I never had those.

Ark - Nice enough card game. But I never played it enough to feel like I was doing anything more than checking the rules to see what would be a legal play. After a few experiences like this, I felt the game was playing me. There may be more here, but the effort to get to it was beyond my endurance.

Arkham Horror - This is the old 1987 version. I owned it for many years, and while I loved the theme, it was basically a Lovecraftian Talisman game.

Attila - Another one of my collecting jags was acquiring all of Karl-Heinz Schmiel's oeuvre. The thing about KHS is that every game is wildly different from his other games. This really impresses me, so I rather liked getting his games to see what he had done next. Attila was a minor work, in my estimation. Quite playable, but it didn't feature any groundbreaking design.

Ausgebremst - Back when Ave Caesar was an unattainable grail for me, I was able to get Ausgebremst. In essence it is "Advanced Ave Caesar". I know some folks find this to be a superior game. But I found the tuning of the "gears" (four stacks of cards that you sort) to be just a tedious addition to the game. YMMV.

Automobile - I view this Martin Wallace game as a disappointment. I know lots of folks love this game, but I am at best lukewarm to it. With the all-consuming need to sell cars each round, your free actions are severely constrained. You must build auto plants and you must sell, easily consuming over half of your actions just to establish a base to operate from. Another case of the game playing me.

While (intentionally) not complete, this will serve as my roster of A's that have departed from my collection. In no case would I be distressed if they still sat on my shelf. They are all games with some merit. For me, I want a collection of around 300 games of less. This fits my space nicely, and also keeps the selection small enough so as to not lock down decision making from my regulars.
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