Monday, January 25, 2010

The latest from Days of Wonder...

We have been playing a whole lotta Small World lately cuz, well, it's just so damn fun. In fact, this could be said for almost all of the Days of Wonder games that I've played (Ticket To Ride especially).
So I was quite happy to read this detailed article from BGN describing Days of Wonder's April release, Mystery Express.

Another deduction game from DOW sounds just fine by me...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oh Canada...

Alright, I think it's pretty clear how much I despise the game Monopoly (consider the title of the blog you are perusing...) And yet they STILL keep making new versions. Gah! Cat-opoly, Hockey-opoly, you name it, they've done it. What it makes me feel like playing is "Punch myself in the face"-opoly.

But you can't stop progress, right? (Or is that sales?) So against my better judgment, I direct you to the website for the upcoming Monopoly Canada Edition. They are deciding on the best Canadian cities to use and you can vote for your favourite Canadian city to be on the new board.

I've a feeling Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa will be on there but perhaps with enough votes you might see a Red Deer, a Brandon, or even my hometown of Prince George, British Columbia. Oh, the excitement is killing me.

Warehouses in Ticket To Ride...

Played the Europa 1912 expansion for TTR: Europe last night and was disappointed. Seemed to lengthen the game without adding all that much to the strategy. Unlike the passengers in TTR: Germany which I love, the warehouses just seemed frustrating. We found that people waited longer to build track in the hopes of getting cards in other's warehouses but it didn't seem worth it (at least not for me). Although I will say that the person who got the most from the warehouses did end up winning the game. It also caused all five players to bunch up around the warehouses on the board, adding to the conflict. Maybe we need to try it with a different map, like the US one...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Short review of Jaipur...

A little 2-player game came on the market recently and had been getting some good reviews. More importantly, it had been compared again and again to Lost Cities, one of my absolute favourite card games and possibly the best 2-player card game out there. I am happy to say that Sebastien Pauchon's Jaipur from the Gameworks line is as good as and, depending on your tastes, perhaps even a little better than LC. Here's why.

Components and Rules

The cards and pieces are of a high quality and I have no complaints. The game is simple so there isn't that much needed but the cards are still nice and colourful and do the trick. The rules themselves are easy to follow and very well-written. There are a few little details that one needs to remember like having to take ALL camels and hand limits and such but they are all laid out clearly. After a couple rounds, you shouldn't have to refer to the rules again. Verdict: High-quality and very usable. Excellent.

Gameplay and Strategy

So what do you do? In a nutshell, you are trading to get sets of cards which you trade for corresponding tokens. For example, discarding three gold cards gets you three gold tokens. Simple. On your turn, from the market you can either draw a coloured goods card, take all the camels on display, or trade two or more goods for goods in your hand and/or camels. Or instead you can trade in a set of the same coloured cards for that many tokens of the corresponding colour.

It's all pretty simple but a few things complicate it. For most goods, the first tokens taken are worth more, often significantly, than the later tokens of that colour. There are bonus tokens for trading in three or more of a set, larger sets being worth more points. You have a hand limit of seven cards, not including camels, and there is a bonus 5 points at the end to the person with most camels. All these little details turn a simple game into a surprisingly strategic little hand of cards. It's not deep but it's definitely tactical and requires at lease a couple of neurons firing. You need to watch your timing for taking early high-valued tokens and you also need to be careful not to let too many cards be revealed in the market for your opponent. Definitely not brain-burning but thoughtful nonetheless. Verdict: Fun but tactical. Trickier than it looks. Great.


As I said, this game is very good. In fact, I think it's just great. It has a back-and-forth feel like Lost Cities but a lot less of the headache that goes along with it. It does miss the planning aspect of Lost Cities but I think Jaipur actually makes up for it by being even more fun to play and easier to score at the end of a round. If you like simple, 2-player card games that are lightning-fast and full of some thoughtful decisions, then this one is for you. I think it's just fantastic.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The deal...

Okay, so my partner has made a deal with me that I won't buy any more new games this month if he promises to learn and play some of the old games that him and our group always refuse to play. Sounds good to me. Tigris and Euphrates, here we come! Maybe a little Caylus this month, too....

Friday, January 8, 2010

Have your game and eat it, too...

In what seems like an ongoing series of post about games and eating (see the chocolate monopoly post), here's a few pics from a fun little post with a hundred game cupcakes. Ah, eating and gaming... two of my all-time favourite activities.

(Thanks to my sister and cousin for pointing this one out.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The true "death" of Monopoly...

My particularly clever and witty sister sent us some interesting gifts this past holiday. One of them was Monopoly. At first, after opening it I was annoyed and thought, "You read my blog... You know how I feel about this game!"

Then I realized it was CHOCOLATE Monopoly. Awesome.

We consumed Park Place, Boardwalk, and the Reading Railroad a couple nights ago. So long, Monopoly. You were delicious.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's a Small World after all...

My partner received Small World from Santa this year (well done, Santa!) and we have now played it 5 times since then. He won't let us play anything else right now and I guess I can see why. It's fun. A lot of fun. I will say, though, that despite the strategy I find it quite chaotic in the sense that your final score is often determined as much by the actions of others as by you. Still, I see myself giving it many more plays since History of The World has always been a favourite of mine but just takes way too long.