Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You tell me: your most played games....

Writing a blog about board games means one should try and play a variety of games, not only to remain knowledgable and up-to-date, but also so one doesn't keep posting about the same damn things all the time.  Unfortunately, our group of friends tend to get hooked on certain games.  There was a good 5-6 months where we ONLY played Dominion and for the last  year or so every evening has ended with a couple hours of Tichu.  This last month I've found that all I've wanted to play was Agricola (which is quickly becoming an all-time favourite, up there with Ticket To Ride and Acquire). 

What game is your group obsessed with?  Which games do you keep going back to night after night?

RELATED:  Dominion: Prosperity is now available and I can't help but want to play it.  More treasure and bigger points could get us back into Dominion....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

First (and only) play: Sumeria

In a recent post by GamerChris, he describes Hansa Teutonica as a "soulless Eurogame" but states that he still quite likes it (as do I).  Well, Chris, if you want soulless Euro, have I got the game for you!  Reiver Games' Sumeria by Dirk Liekens is a cube-pushing, mind-numbing game of subtle, ineffective tactics that is about as dry as the desert it's board portrays.

The rules themselves are pretty simple.  Try to get a piece in the city of or a majority of your pieces in the top 3 of 8 regions by the end of each of the 6 rounds.  Add a piece, remove a piece, or move and possibly jump a piece over others to get to another region.  Every region you enter or remove a piece from usually changes the ranking of 2 of the 8 regions.  And therein lies the problem.  With each move from each player changing the ranking of the regions, often the top 3, it is nearly impossible to plan more than a turn or two ahead.  And when one is the first player in the round with a set number of turns before scoring, it is almost guaranteed that the players after you will completely change the top 3 regions before you get to score.

I suppose one could say the scoring mechanism is kinda neat, grabbing one or two of 4 different types of tiles which increase in value depending on how many you get (1, 3, 6, 10, etc...)  But this is hardly original, having been done many times before in MUCH more interesting games like Knizia's brilliant Taj Mahal, for example.  And since you barely have any control over what regions score anyways, it's impossible to plan to grab a certain tile over another.  You just grab whatever tiles you are able to and the choice is pretty much thought-free.

We played one 4-player round of this almost luck-free game and it gave us all a headache (but not in a good way).  You can analyze and plan all you want, and we tried, but in the end you realize that everyone can completely destroy those plans in the turns between yours and the scoring.  I suppose one would have more control in a game with 2 or 3 players, but to be honest, the mechanics of the game just aren't interesting or enough fun to be worth trying. 

At least it was easy to explain...

RELATED:  At the same games night, we played Tigris & Euphrates, another Euro by Reiner Knizia.  Every time I play T & E, I'm reminded of just how fantastic the game is.  This abstract representation of civilization-building and conflict boils everything down to its bare essence and leaves a deep strategy that still feels thematic and is, most surprisingly, a hell of lot of fun. Easily in my Top 10 games of all time and proof that strategic Euros do not have to be dry and soulless.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bridge nights...

...well, not really, but Tichu nights!  The last couple weeks we've had 12-13 people over playing Tichu.  It's been quite a lot of fun and we've already introduced some newbies to the game.  In a couple weeks, we may have enough for four tables.  I think we may need a bigger apartment.

I'm starting to feel like the homemaker hosting Bridge nights from days of yore.  I plan to make some lovely appies from Gourmet Game Night for the next evening.  May as well get me an apron with dragons all over it...

ASIDE:  BGN points us to an well-written article about Eurogames in which Settlers is referred to as a 'Monopoly-killer'.  Oh, if only.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The title of the latest Munchkin expansion...

...made me giggle this morning.  BGN announced it here.  Mind you, I have no interest in the game as it's far too random, chaotic, and long for my tastes.

Kinda reminds me of the famous cookbook for zombies and Cthulhu baddies:  the Nom-nom-nom-icon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I love my new job...

Brought games to the office today and we played three rounds of Wits & Wagers over lunch.  Looks like we're gonna set up a regular office gaming lunch every couple weeks now because everyone was so interested.  Lovely.

Friday, November 12, 2010

National Gaming Day

Many libraries across the world are celebrating National Gaming Day tomorrow Saturday, Nov. 13th.  Check out the link here to see if your local library is having any events.  There will be board games and video games galore, including many generously donated copies of the delightful Wits and Wagers thanks to North Star Games.

I gotta say I've got mixed feelings about this event.  Now here me out:  On the one hand, I'm glad that board games are becoming more mainstream and libraries are realizing how great they are for teaching tools, social interaction, and all-around fun.  On the other hand, the more popular hobby gaming gets, the more new games will be designed and released each year.  And I barely have time to play all the ones I own.  And I can't seem to stop collecting more, no matter hard I try.  Oh, sweet agony...

(Thanks to Luke at North Star Games for the tip)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How to explain the first game of Agricola to beginners...

Don't tell them how the final scoring works until... well... the final scoring.  Trust me.  I now have a partner willing and interested in playing Agricola a second time.   YES!!!

Oh and don't tell them how each action works either until they ACTUALLY have the option to take the action.  Seriously.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The battle of the bands...

That is, RUBBER bands. Remember how much fun it was to shoot elastic bands in elementary school? Well, this new game Battle Bands is looking to revive that bad habit and add some cool customization to the game. And to top it off the elastics are shaped like really friggin' cool monsters!!!

Each different creature comes with a corresponding element and description card adding some depth to the simple game of shooting elastics at other elastics.  Certain colours beat other colours immediately, otherwise the creature with the highest strength wins.

Having received this game in the mail, I must say at first I didn't think I was the target audience...  But having opened it up now, you can't help wanting to play with the colourful elastic characters.  I'm looking forward to playing this with my 6-year-old nephew when I get back home at Christmas.  Although the 37-year-old I live with looked pretty excited when I opened up the box.  Maybe we'll try it before then.

For more info you can check out their website here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The word on the street is...

If you're in Chicago near the end of November, you should stop by and check out the Chicago Toy and Game Fair Nov. 20-21st.  This is one more event that I have heard about too late.  But I actually live within a day's drive of Chicago and I've heard the city is beautiful.  So next year, next year...

Out of The Box Games, makers of the great "10 Days In..." series of games, also have a word game Word On The Street which I've heard good things about but have yet to play.  They'll be having a championship for WOTS using an enormous 50 foot version of the game.  Fun.  If you're curious about what that looks like, see below.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

First Play: Dragonheart...

In fact, the first three plays - one right after the other right after the other.  We just had to play one more game.

If you like Lost Cities and/or you like Jaipur, you're pretty much guaranteed to like this game.  What it loses in strategy compared to those two games, it gains in sheer speed of play and simplicity of explanation.  Simply put, you play cards which can capture other cards which can also capture other cards... and so on and so on.

Simple and delightful and another reason for my partner and I to turn off the TV and spend some more quality time together.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I feel like this might be fun if I ever had any chance of winning...

BGN announced the latest game in what seems like a new trend in game mechanics - "paint-mixing" (Fresco by Queen Games being the first, of course).  Hmmmm.  Well, I suppose it's a bit more thematic than "deck-building" or "worker-placement".

Unlike Fresco which is a worker-placement game with an element of paint mixing, the main idea of Pastiche is to mix colours together to come up with secondary and tertiary colours and use these colours to paint works of art.

Ugh. The game actually sounds like it could be fun but if you're colour-blind like me, you realize the nightmare that THIS would cause.  I was once seen wearing pink pants to class and I was totally oblivious.  Turns out my favourite white pants had been washed with a red shirt.

I may just have to sit and watch others play this one....