Review: Eminent Domain: Microcosm

Space, the final frontier, or at least the latest frontier in micro-games. Not too many micro games do space well (there is Pocket Imperium that is quite neat however) and even less do hand/deck management. Granted, there aren’t many hand-management games out there in the first place, with it being similar to deck-building. In hand-management, you grow your hand of card and thus what you can do, but you never shuffle your cards.

Eminent Domain: MicrocosmEminent Domain: Microcosm not only does space and hand-management, but does it in a micro-game kind of way. The latest in the Eminent Domain line (which right now only includes Eminent Domain and expansions, but will soon add Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers), it plays really well while maintaining the main flavor of Eminent Domain. Is it fun? Let’s check it out!

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Quick Impressions: Post GenCon part 4

This is the last of my post GenCon acquisition. There was just so many new games that made their way into my collection around that time frame that what started as being just a series of very quick impressions about them turned into a 4 part series. Either I got too many games during that time or I’m just not fast enough…

Keep in mind that this post is just that: quick impressions. This is often after having read the rules and pushed some pieces around, and in some cases getting one play in. I don’t consider that enough to be able to fairly evaluate a game so please keep this in mind. My opinion about these games is likely to change as I get them to the table a few more time.

Enough small talk, let’s talk about new games!

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Quick Impressions: Post GenCon part 3

I haven’t had a chance to play a lot of new games lately although I’ve been able to get a few solo games to the table since being on vacation. Been playing a lot of RAF: The Battle of Britain, which while it tells an interesting narrative, kind of fails as a game so far. I have only played the Lion set up however, where you take the role of the RAF against the Luftwaffe bombing campaign and it feels very much like a Pachinko machine so far. Once I get a few games of the Eagle scenario (you play as the Luftwaffe this time), I’ll do an in-depth review. I’ll be back doing some reviews soon, with Dead of Winter at the front of the line. In the meantime, enjoy these quick snippets!

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Quick Impressions: Post GenCon part 2

In the first part of the post-GenCon quick impression, I talked about a bunch of games that I had a chance to play a few times, not quite enough to really do an in-depth review of. This time around, I’ll be looking at some more games that I’ve only played once or twice, along with a bunch of games that I’ve only had the chance to read the rules and push a few pieces around solo. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring them to the table soon and give them the proper time they deserve. Hopefully, none of them will be horrible…

It’s always interesting to see how people feel after even just one play, especially since sometimes it’s the only chance players will give a game. Don’t make the first impression because the players didn’t fully get it or errors were made in the rules explanation and, what would have normally been a great game simply isn’t. On the other hand, some games that are horrible still make a decent enough first impression that they are invited again to the table, only to disappoint. Where will the following games fall? I’ll only be able to tell once I get them to the table a few times. For now, let’s just see what kind of first impression they make.

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Quick Impressions: Post-GenCon

I know that a lot of board gamers put a lot of stock in Essen as being the great big convention that has all the new releases, but for the last two years it is starting to feel like there is a shift, or at least a change in the board gaming world. To me at least, GenCon seems to be the place where lots of new, interesting games are coming out. Add to this the combined effect of all the KickStarter projects that are trying to come out around the same time and August is feeling more and more like Christmas.

This is my roundabout way of saying that a lot of new games showed up at my house in the last few months and I haven’t had a chance to play them enough times to review properly or simply haven’t had a chance to play some of them yet! So, instead of a review, I offer to you, dear reader, Part One of my 2 (or 3) part series of quick impressions. Strap in, because there’s a lot of games to cover!

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The Purge: August-ish Edition

August is GenCon month and it’s killing me. Between all the new stuff that’s coming in because I backed it on Kickstarter and the new shiny coming out of the con itself, there’s just so many new games coming in that I thought seriously of dumping 20 games this month instead of 10, but I stuck with 10, which is still a lot of games.

Choices of what to drop is starting to go to games that I’ve own for a while and either I’ve actually never played or that I really don’t think I’ll get around to play. I don’t think I have very many “games that I really don’t like” anymore in my collection, apart maybe from the occasional dud that I’ve just picked up. Rather, I’m starting to cut games that I figure have a very low chance of be brought to the table, which does feel good. Getting rid of games that I kept simply because they were sort of ok and “maybe one day” is a very good feeling. Will I ever reach 600 games? Not this year, unless I decide to do a massive purge. If I manage to bring the collection to under 700 and clear out one or two games for each new game that comes in, I’ll be happy.

Well, let’s see know how the last month fared…

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Review: Sail to India

Either there’s been a lot of discussion about what is and what isn’t a micro or I hang out with people who are obsessed with board games. No matter, I find that quite a interesting discussion. Apart from those who deny that they exist at all (let’s call these people Jason), most of the definitions seem to give more of an insight into the person than the games themselves. There are those who claim that simplicity and game length defines a micro; others claim that footprint and components define a micro; other claim that they are nothing new really, that they have been around for a long time. There’s some interesting conversation to be had, that’s for sure but at the end of the day, micro or not, they are games and they live or die by whether they are interesting and can stay interesting.

Sail to IndiaAEG is one company that has been doing real well with this resurgence of the micro: first came Love Letter, then Agent Hunters, with Mai-Star and Cheaty Mages following closely. And then the moment I’d been waiting for some time, the release of Sail to India, a micro-sized game that contains a huge game. Is it a micro since there isn’t a lot of components and the footprint is fairly small? Maybe, but on the other hand, the game is meaty and the playtime is around 1 hour, even with experienced players. But more important, is it fun? Let’s find out! Continue reading

Review: Thunder Alley

I have to confess that I have no great love for racing games in general. For me, those that don’t focus on the race per se are far more interesting and successful (like Royal Turfthan those which try to recreate something that is really all about reflex and endurance. For me, they all feel like an exercise in getting the right roll/card more than being able to recognize a key moment and take advantage of it. Well, that was true until now…

Thunder Alley coverI’ve been talking a lot about Thunder Alley in the last few weeks and with good reasons. Not only is it relatively easy to explain, it also accommodates up to 7 players and keeps everyone on their toes. I never thought I’d say this about a racing game, but it’s quickly is making its way in my top 10 of the year, if not top 10 of the last ten years (I should do such a list at some point). Why is that? well, let me tell you all about the NASCAR game that wasn’t a NASCAR racing game…

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Time Lapse Replay: Thunder Alley

I’m not a car guy. It’s not even that I’m not a fan of cars or that I don’t follow car culture, it’s that I don’t enjoy racing video games, boardgames or just watching it on tv. Heck, I don’t even have a driver’s license. Now, I know a little bit about cars (I did work in a gas station, which was odd), but they just don’t interest me.

Thunder Alley coverSo why my interest in Thunder Alley? Well, it is a GMT Games publication and as such, does suggest that there will be a little more tactics, a little more strategy than just a simple racing game. The designer was also familiar to me (he also did Manoeuvre), which had some interesting twists on old mechanics. Also, it promised an interesting experience for 2 to 7 players. I don’t have many games that can handle the higher player count, so if the game promises to be fun and simple, I’ll at least give it a go.

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Review: Pack O Game, featuring GEM

Way back when I was in college I used to have two different games in my bag at all time, just in case we’d want to play something while we were at the pub instead of being in class. The games were fairly simple: Red Empire and Car Wars the Card Game. While they were somewhat portable, the boxes were ditched fairly quickly in favor of plastic bags, making them even more portable. As I got older and the games I played became more complex, I stopped carrying games in my bag unless I knew I was going to play something that day.

Pack o game A funny thing happened a few years back. Not only did I get back into gaming in a more serious way, but a bunch of small (micro) games started coming out, with of course Love Letter at the forefront. Not only were these games simple, but they were small enough that I could carry one or two in my bag at any time. Well, someone has gone and done it a step better: Chris Handy has come up with the Pack O Game, a series of games so small that you could carry all six of them in your bag without making the smallest bump. Small is good, but are the games any good? Let’s check it out!

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