Archive for November, 2010

Not so much

November 18, 2010

Years ago I enjoyed Magic: The Gathering.  It swept the nation in popularity, with lots of gamers spending way too much money tracking down uncommon and rare cards, with countless expansions to the game.  After a while I burned out on the game, and I still own hundreds of cards that generally don’t get much play.

In the past few years I have noticed that my beloved hobby of boardgaming is starting to embrace a new style of games that is much more about cards.  Fortunately these games eschew the metagame of buying the better cards.  But otherwise these games do seem to embrace the idea of clever card combos and deck building.

Dominion was the game that seemingly defined this new genre of card-based games.  I have played it once, and it didn’t change my life.  About the same time Dominion came out another card-based game, Race for the Galaxy, was released.  I have never played this game, but have heard it described as Advanced San Juan.  While San Juan is okay, I would pick Puerto Rico over San Juan 10 times out of 10 times.

It’s been a couple of years now, and both Race for the Galaxy and Dominion have had multiple expansions released.  Race may be done, but Dominion seems to be going strong.  Inevitable knock-offs and derivative games have followed.

What caught my attention is that Martin Wallace has apparently decided to take a riff off of these games with his new release of London.  I just read an extensive review to London, which made it clear that it is primarily a card game.  The last 2-3 years has found me attracted to the particular style Wallace often gives.  His games are typically rich in theme, with heavier rules and punishing conditions.  God’s Playground and Brass are favorites from this design style.

Initially I was enticed by the good buzz about London.  But after making the connection to the card-based games I have largely been unenticed by, London has just firmly slipped below my buying threshold.  I will still happily play it, given a chance.  But it will not be on my copy.


Deep Six

November 17, 2010

I sold 6 games today for a song.

Bye Bye to:

Win, Place Show/Regatta/Speed Circuit – all old 3M games.  I don’t hate any of these, but they were not getting played, and my space for new games was pretty much nil.  We played Speed Circuit recently and I found myself thinking it had been surpassed.  If I want an old style race game like this, I will still have the old Parker Bros. Formula-One.  Win Place Show was fun the last time I played it, but it was not likely to get played again anytime soon.  Regatta was the least loved of the three, and I won’t miss it.

Unspeakable Words – the least said here, the better… ;^/

Carcassonne: The Castle – A 2p game and while decent, never the 2p game I would ask for.  Since I almost never play 2p games, it won’t be missed.

Sindbad – A provocative game that totally bombed the one time I got it on the table.  I liked the theme, but it was just a random run through the cards.

I sold the games in a very brief offer for sale.  The geek list on BGG was open and closed inside of 24 hours.

Birthday Game Party

November 14, 2010

Saturday was filled with friends, good times, and quite a number of boardgames!  Thanks to all my friends who came over to play a few games.  I had a great time, and I sensed everyone present was also enjoying themselves.

Here was my play list:

Kineti-Go – Terry showed up early, so we played  a couple of 2-player games to get started.  Kineti-Go is a giant magnetic shuffleboard game.  Visually impressive, and just fun to play with how the magnetic action works.  It has a high novelty factor for now, but I imagine this one will not be a long-term keeper in my collection.

Travel Ingenious – Terry and I played this sweet edition of Ingenious, perfect for 2.  I especially appreciate the way the tiles lock into position on the board.  In a squeaker, I pulled off a victory by 1 point.

Timber Tom – Bob, Peggy and Terry agreed Timber Tom would be a fun game to play, so we enjoyed the virtual hiking available through this wonderfully produced piece of folk art.  Bob proved to be the best hiker.

Ein Auge sei Wachsam – Rob taught me and the Benjamin clan this cute game about Pirating.  Basically it is a set-collection cardgame.  Andy who looks like the piratical type quickly demonstrated his inner Pirate abilities.

Greyhounds – Our same foursome played the “Bookie” advanced game of Greyhounds.  I played this earlier this year, and had really enjoyed myself.  I thought Tim and Rob might also be good choices for this game.  Everyone had some trouble visualizing how the game would work, but once we got through the set up, the game flowed nicely.  I even won!

Hansa Teutonica – Rob requested Hansa Teutonica, which was a popular choice.  Five of us had a hard-fought battle, with Rob narrowly defeating Ed.  This is my most played game of 2010, and I continue to find the game challenging.  I expect to buy the expansion map for it when it becomes commonly available.

A Brief History of the World – My third play of this game in 2010.  So for me, the game has successfully achieved its goal – making an older great game into a shorter-playing game that will be enjoyed more often.  John was our victor.  I enjoyed playing with Zack, Ed, and Alex.  I finished a respectable 3rd, not too many points back.

Tinners’ Trail – What a fine game.  While I played this a number of times when it was new, this was my first play in 2010.  Michael, Rob, and Tiffany were my opponents.  Rob managed to extract a huge amount of copper during the second turn when it was at the top of its value.  A big win for Rob!

Pony Express – Rob taught us a very silly and fun game set in the Old West.  Chester and Rob ended up in a shoot out at the end of the game for the victory.  Sadly Chester shot an innocent bystander, thereby giving Rob the victory.

Crokinole– too tired to think.  My “comfort food” of gaming was my last game in a fabulous game day.

All in all, a most excellent game party!

Pushed around on God’s Playground

November 6, 2010

Three of us played God’s Playground tonight.  I taught the game to a couple of friends, who claim Polish ancestry.  One highlight of the session was Mark telling me about the Winged Hussars, one of which is featured on the cover art of the game.

We sat down around 7:30 with the game, and I spent roughly 30 minutes explaining the game.  We finished up shortly after 10pm, so the game does move reasonably well once you know how to play.  I picked a poor path in our game, deciding to dominate Great Poland.  This is a tough row to hoe, and I still have not figured out how to make it work.

I tried the treaty three times.  This really backfired as the treaty was broken twice!  Further, I am not so sure I like it, as taking the treaty ensures you get no victory points against that enemy.

But my biggest mistake was failing to place enough estates.  God’s Playground really comes down to getting estates.  End game points are huge, and I just did not get enough of them.

With about 4-5 plays under my belt, I am now starting to feel a bit more comfortable with the rules.  I felt like I understood what the risks were around the Hapsburgs and the Ottoman war with Austria in the final two turns.  I spent far too much energy on this facet of the game, but I suspect if I don’t worry about it as much in a future game, it may dog another player.

God’s Playground feels like it ought to be a cooperative game – but it isn’t.  I am glad.  In the future I suspect some real “gotcha” type plays may emerge as we all figure out how to twist the thrashing of enemies into advantages for our own regions.

It’s an intriguing and demanding game.  I owe Alex a debt of gratitude for introducing it to me.  Thanks Alex!