Wednesday, November 14, 2012

By the way...

I'll be emailing people this week about the game giveaway.  Thanks for all the responses!!!!

A brief review of Knizia's Indigo....

It's interesting to be playing and enjoying Reiner Knizia's Indigo a week after reviewing You Are The Maniac.  They are very different games but both very reminiscent of earlier titles, Maniac being basically a re-skin of the earlier Guillotine and Indigo being strikingly similar to Tsuro and Cable Car before it.  But whereas Maniac offers nothing new (or at least interesting) to the gameplay of its predecessor, Knizia tweaks Tsuro's formula just enough to make it a fun, nasty, and surprisingly engaging little game.  And he's definitely done this before with lighter titles like when he re-mixed Blokus to make Callisto (which I have to admit I prefer), when he expanded on Peter Burley's classic Take It Easy! with Take it Higher!, or even when he turned Tetris into the clever F.I.T.S.

The gameplay of Indigo, as always with Knizia, is deceptively simple.  Players add tiles in turn to expand the routes on the board and gems travel those routes until they land at the outside of the board, rewarding the players whose control markers are there.  A few little wrinkles, though:  certain gems are worth more points than others and players share the spaces on the outside of the board.  So if you connect a gem to your wall, you'll often be awarding another player with the same points as you.  Of course, if you must you can just crash the gems into each other so no one gets the points, which will cause many groans and objections from the other players.

Because the points remain hidden till the end and players often share the points, the game causes quite a bit of haggling and harassment considering how short it is (~20 minutes).  It's not deep by any stretch but the games I've played have been quick and nasty and interactive.  And of course, since it's a Ravensburger game, it's lovely to look at as the routes on the board expand.  Definitely recommended if you're looking for a fun, nasty filler and thought Tsuro could have been just a little bit smarter.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A short review of 'YOU Are The Maniac!'

They say that imitation is the sincerest from of flattery.  In that case, I'd like to think the publishers of Guillotine, a quick and humorous little card game that has been out for over a decade, should be very flattered.  I've only played Guillotine once a couple months ago but I only needed to read the rules for YOU Are The Maniac to realize that it's pretty near the same game.  Oh, the theme is different and Maniac adds a few new twists (plot twists, final girls, etc.) but the inherent gameplay is pretty much the same.

Basically a line-up of victim cards is made (horror movie victims in Maniac, French aristocrats in Guillotine) and each turn a player may play an action card then takes (kills) the first victim card in the line-up.  The actions do things like re-arrange the order of the victims, force opponents to discard cards, switch hands, etc.  Now certain cards give more points for certain victims, some cards combine to provide bonuses, etc but in general that's the game.  And in both cases it's featherweight-light and very short.  If either of these games lasted more than 20 minutes, I would cry tears of sheer boredom. 

Where Maniac diverges is by adding more chaos to the formula.  At certain points, plot cards will need to be drawn, and the final victim on the wall is always worth a hefty ton of points.  And if you're into the theme of horror movies, it actually is quite amusing.  In our game the Final Girl was killed in Part 1 but then escaped and showed up in Part 2 (the second round) and I immediately pictured Jamie Lee Curtis making to Halloween 2.  But these chaotic elements definitely remove what miniscule control one has over anything in the game.  Again, short game, thank god.

I guess your enjoyment of the game will hinge on a few things - theme, originality, and lightness of play.  The horror theme actually is a bit amusing and the characters add some amusement.  But if you own Guillotine, I dare say you don't need theis game.  It's pretty much the exact same game re-skinned but confused by some extra rules.  They are so similar that even The Count and Countess cards in Guillotine are renamed as Prom Queen and Prom King and score exactly the same in Maniac.  Yikes.  As well, as I said, it's very chaotic and random so this will aggravate anyone who doesn't like that sort of thing.

But if you're looking for a card game with a horror theme, I'd say this is dripping with it. It's being launched on Kickstarter here for 7 more days so you can contribute and have a copy sent to you (it's already reached its goal).  I dare say you should grab a copy before the Guillotine people find out....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Reminder of game giveaway!

Haven't had many responses to the game giveaway.  You've got one more week to shoot me an email.  Check out the details here

Currently it looks like I may be shipping multiple games to a very few lucky people who responded.  That's fine with me!

On a totally unrelated note, my sister just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl yesterday evening.  Congratulations - one more future gamer in the family.

Friday, November 2, 2012

HammerCon 2012

HammerCon IV, Southern Ontario's largest game convention for gamers by gamers, is this weekend at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Hamilton, Ontario. The convention features a variety of roleplaying, board games, LARPs, tournaments, and Protospiel North designer event.

Im excited to be posting from Hamilton, as I eagerly await for the doors to open this evening. If you have any time this weekend to pop in, I highly recommend it. You can purchase a weekend or day pass at the door. Also, here is a link to the program if you are interested in checking out what is going on: HammerCon Program

If you do come, please stop by and say hi. I will be running the Great Canadian Board Game Blitz on Saturday from 1-8pm. Otherwise, you can probably find me in Pavilion "A" where the Protospiel North events (board game designers) will be happening. Hopefully I will make a few posts this weekend, and get some exclusive interviews with board game designers over the next couple of days. Stay tuned!

-- Daryl Andrews

Sen-Foong Lim teaching his game Belfort at HammerCon 2011

Inappropriate Facebook humour...

I warned ya in the title....