Saturday, June 30, 2012

Aloha from Hawaii....

No, no, I'm not in Hawaii.  Man, I wish.  But I've sure been playing a lot of it!  And I had originally thought I'd write a full review but the Opinionated Gamers have done such a good job, I think I can just direct you there for a full description.

Fact is, I'd heard of Hawaii last year but it wasn't even on my radar until I'd read the OG reviews a couple weeks ago.  Interestingly, they mention and I had already seen Tom Vasel's scathing (attempted) takedown of the game on BGG.  I like Tom Vasel's contributions but I gotta say I pretty often think he's got it all wrong (Railroad Tycoon, anyone?).  And on this game he was VERY wrong.  Feel free to disregard his review completely.  :)

This a brilliant, tricky, extraordinarily well-designed game that is quickly entering my top 10.  There are lots of pieces and setup and the rules are a bit of a chore, but once you get going the players catch on quick and the hour will fly by.  I've played with 2, 3, and 4 players, and every game has been wonderful.  The more players the better as the battle for tokens gets fierce but it seems to work well with any group.

Don't miss this one - the design is elegant and tight, the gameplay lasts the perfect amount of time, and it scales brilliantly for any number of players.   All that and it looks just freaking gorgeous.  Just an awesome medium to heavy weight game that you'll want to play again and again. Click on the pictures to look at huge images of all the beautifully produced components...

The board all set up pretty
The various place tokens
Round tiles
Building villages tile by tile

Friday, June 22, 2012

Today in wildly inappropriate games for children...

I feel like this might be an interesting way to start a LONG and very nasty evening of Risk...  "THE WORLD IS MINE!!!!"

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

On The Horizon: Starship Merchants...

Age of Steam is one of my favourite games ever but rarely gets to the table due to length and complexity. But when I hear Thom Lehmann of Race For The Galaxy fame has co-designed a 'pick up and deliver' style economic game that plays in about 45 minutes, I must admit I get excited. And after looking at the pictorial playthrough available on BGG, I'm pretty certain I'll buy it on sight.

I'm very curious to see whether removing the network/map aspect from a pick up and deliver game will remove the fun for me. I doubt it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A brush with celebrity....

My new claim to fame is that Wil Wheaton, online blog celebrity and former 'Wesley Crusher', was playing our current fave Lords of Waterdeep about two tables down from us at Origins this past weekend while we played Goa.  A friend of mine even pointed out that you can sort of see him behind us in the upper corner in the white jersey:

I say all this not because I'm TOTALLY starstruck but more as an excuse to post his latest awesome Tabletop episode featuring my favourite - Ticket To Ride.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A weekend at Origins...

We just got back late last night from Columbus and another great game convention.  This time two gaming friends of ours joined us which gave my partner some relief.  He likes board games, but not enough to spend all day swooning over and playing them.

Goa with the guys
As usual, I bought a bunch including the new Z-Man Games re-print of Goa, which was utterly abstract but thoroughly engaging, and Morels, a lovely independently produced 2-player card game about harvesting mushrooms, which I'm dying to try.  There were tons of booths set up in the trade show and Mayfair Games had a major presence.

Collapsed Saturday night on the giant Settlers of America rug/game board
We also had some great meals and wandered the lovely city.  And for the second year in a row, I had chocolate-covered bacon with my breakfast (I think a visit to The Jury Room will now be an annual pilgrimage.)
Asmodee's gorgeous new version of Evo is streamlined and ridiculously fun.
Overall, a great day and much more enjoyable with friends who are willing and wanting to game the entire day away.  I think it'll be a longer visit next year....

Best Origins-themed drink menu ever at Barley's Brewpub
Kelly, Daryl, and Shane - this is for you!

Amazing miniature tables as always

The haul, including Friday for my brilliant mother

Friday, June 1, 2012

First Play: Through The Ages...

Played my first game of TTA a few nights ago and including the rules explanation it took us about 5 hours.  Yes, that's right.  For a 2-player game.  I knew this going in, however, and had read a 37-page quick start guide beforehand (I know, I'm really selling the game, eh?)

The daunting score tracks
And I haven't yet decided what I think.  I knew it would be epic so I had set aside an entire evening.  However, I had read that this was one of the greatest civilization building games ever.  Um, no.  It is in fact an utterly soulless Euro game of action point allowance, card selection, and resource management.  Sure there are leaders and wars and armies and...   blah, blah, blah.  This is about as dry an exercise as they come.  The awful artwork on the cards serve only to add a splash colour to a very tight game of cube-pushing, tableau-building, and accounting, accounting, accounting.

My third wonder
But I enjoyed it.  While it was my turn, that is.  When it was not my turn, I made dinner, did dishes, and folded laundry.  Seriously.  Never will I ever play this with 3 people.  Oh man.  And I wonder truly whether there are other games that do this just as good but in a much shorter timespan.  Resource management: Agricola.  Action points: Tikal.  Tableau-building: Saint Petersburg.  Simple, card-based battle: Tempus.  Excessive amounts of accounting: Black Friday. The big question is whether I should play one game with all these aspects combined when I can play all the shorter games in the same amount of time.  Well, I definitely want to play the game again and find out.  I guess that says something.

My tableau near the end of the game.  Tie game!