2 Games Played, 4 Games Ordered

This past Tuesday night Alex brought a new game of his, Rush ‘n Crush.  I’d never heard of it, but since I like to try most every race game, I was happy to give it a whirl.  It has a lot of spaces and tactical positioning similar to Formula De, but it also has a variety of combat attributes:  machine guns, flamethrowers, mine layers, as well as ramming rules; all of which interact with vehicle hit points and heat gauges.  In addition there is a unique movement system, dice based, that gives you a predictable amount of forward movement, coupled with an unpredictable amount of lane changes. 

One big issue with the copy we played upon was the extreme warping of the otherwise nicely produced game boards.  A concern is that this is at its heart an elimination game.  Our 1-lap race took most of an hour, and one of the players was reduced to spectator for the last 30 minutes of the game.  All in all, I don’t think any of us really loved it, and I won’t especially angle for another play.

The other game I played on Tuesday night was Beowulf.  For some reason this game doesn’t get too many fans.  But as someone who has multiple translations of the poem, including John Gardner’s interesting variant story called Grendel, I am especially appreciative of the theme.  The game has a nice play-by-play of the various episodes named by the board.  I think they could have done a better effort at embellishing the commentary, and that is on my list of things to do someday.

The other players included Sally, Jason and Michael.  Beowulf was well received by the table, and Michael exclaimed that we really need to play this more often!  I felt like I was doing very well through most of the game, but I foolishly got involved in the earlier Dragon episode, draining my hand of valuable cards I needed for the heroic battle.  I ended up taking the double wound at the end, which pushed me into the zone where each wound costs you 5 points.  With that big deficit, I ended up trailing the leaders significantly.

A great game, where the theme really works for me.  But I will admit, it is my love for the story that carries the theme.  The actual game activities, flipping cards, playing cards do not especially feel heroic.  I am tempted to call the theme a motif.

Tonight I got a note from Funagain Games, announcing that all sales for Friday, Jan. 15th will have all net profit donated to the poor souls of Haiti.  With that push, I have just ordered four new games:

Little Amadeus Maestro – This is an update to Maestro, which I once owned, and have been sort of regretting letting go.  This will be a fun reëxamination of the game, but hopefully with prettier game components.

Zapp Zerapp – I played this last in 2000, and have wished I could play it again.  It is not a game that will ever inspire a lot of play, but I think it has enough merit to finally add to the collection.

Rise of Empires – I was dawdling on this one, but no one else around Albuquerque has gotten it yet, and while mixed, several reviewers are enthusiastic.

Greyhounds – This is a used copy of the old Hans im Glueck game.  This is another game I have previously owned.  My first reaction was not good.  But some comments from friends opened my eyes that the game might have more to explore than I first guessed.  Worth another look, in my opinion.

Rise of Empires and Greyhounds were marginal purchases for me, but padding the order to get to the free shipping from Funagain, along with the knowledge that the profits were going to the aid effort gave me the liberty to spend a little more freely than I would otherwise normally do.

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