Review: Quantum

Space games, and more specifically 4X games (eXplore, eXploit, eXpand and eXterminate), are kind of the final frontier for me. They do contain most of the aspects I love in gaming, but most of them seem to be too long for the final payoff. They tend to follow the same pattern, with players building up their forces, turtling in the corners to go into a massive combat which, most of the time, is really unsatisfying. On the other hand, the parts that work are so thrilling: the building up of technology, the slow build up of your empire as you gain more resources and build an economic engine, the figuring out of different strategies and the alliances. So much fun.

pic1727619_tThere have been many attempts at the perfect 4X game, similar to the quest for the new Civilization game that doesn’t take 18 hours to play. Many have taken the brute approach (Twilight Imperium comes to mind) and some have tweaked the formula just a bit, attempting to make a playable 4x. And then comes Quantum, a game that prides itself on its modular approach and the speed at which it can be picked up and played. Does it succeed at what it sets out to do? Is it really a 4X game or just another game that uses part of the formula? Let check it out!

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10 X 10 in 2014 Challenge: March Update

March is over and so is the first quarter of the year, and this means that in order to keep up with the 10X10 in 2014 challenge, I need to have played at least 25 games so far. The good news? I’ve pretty much kept up.

The same games are getting played, which is good since it means that players in my groups know the games already and I don’t have to explain them as much as usual. The bad part is some games remain unplayed so far.

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Review: Pay Dirt

In board games, there are some themes you expect to see all the time, such as trading in medieval Europe or trains, and the same could be said for wargames, with games about World War 2, taking a lion’s share of all games out there. There are themes, however, that one is genuinely intrigued when they see them, such as chemistry (Compounded), bureaucracy (Ad Acta) or time travel (Legacy: Gears of Time).

pic1829538_tThere are also themes that become special because of the angle the game takes and Pay Dirt is one such game. Not only is it about gold digging in modern-day Alaska, but the game seems to take a different approach to it, namely that of reality shows such as Gold Rush. While theme in and of itself isn’t necessarily a selling point for me, it does help a game stand out, even more if it is well incorporated in the game. Does Pay Dirt strike it rich? Let’s find out.
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The Purge: March Update

So last month I started a major purge of my game collection, putting up 10 games to be given/traded/sold/exchange for something. The idea was not to necessarily sell them, but rather find a good home for games that either didn’t really grab me or that I was fairly sure would not hit the table in some time.

Well, this is the second instalment of the purge, with another 10 games being put up, all in the goal of culling 100 games from my collection by the end of the year. Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean that my collection will go down by 100 (it currently stands at 502, not counting expansions) but rather that it will hopefully stay at around that 500 number (hopefully a little lower). I’ve got new games coming in every month so if I can get rid of a little more each month, maybe I can go under 475…

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Review: Russian Railroads

By now, it should be no secret that I’m a big fan of trains as a theme for a game. I just find that, as a theme, there is so much to explore there, be it from the track laying point of view, the engine and economic engine point of view, the moving of goods point of view or from the corporation and those who run them point of view. I’ve yet to see a game that combines all of these points of view (the 18XX family comes close, but doesn’t cover the actual transport of goods), but one can dream. It is such a strong, rich theme that a lot can be done with it.

Russian Railroads - trains and worker placement. What more could you want?It is not often however that a game takes the trains theme and doesn’t include building tracks on a map. That is exactly the angle that Russian Railroads takes, casting the players in the roles of rail barons who try to build railroads out of Moscow towards other Russian cities, but without having a map of Russia involved, and opting for worker placement as its central mechanic. How is it? Great (it is, after all, on my 10X10in2014 challenge list)! Why? let’s find out, shall we?

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10X10 in 2014 Challenge: February update

Another month and the challenge keeps going well, with 7 games played, for a total of 17. It’s a little under what I would have liked since I figure I need to play on average a little over 8 games a month to be able to finish the challenge on time, and I would love to play 10 a month to insure that I do complete the challenge, but even with only 7, I’m still on pace.

This month also marks my first game dropped/changed. I’m thinking that there might be a second game that I might drop from my list, but for now, one game has been switched for another. Let’s check out what I played and what is being replaced.

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Review: Province

Ah, small, micro games how you got my heart and what looks like the heart of half of the boardgame designers community. Not a week goes by without a new micro game being announced or showing up on Kickstarter, with Tiny Epic Kingdom, Burgoo, Where are Thou, Romeo? and Coin Age (just to name a few) leading the way. And you know what? I’ll always at least check it out. Why not? For under $10 (yeah, shipping is always expensive to Canada), you can hopefully get something that’s at least fun for an hour or two.

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It is now Laboratory‘s turn to joins the fray (actually, it’s their second time as their first was a 1-card “CCG” called Shift, which I am unfamiliar with) with a micro resource management/rondel game, Province. How good can it be, with its small board, handful of tokens and very short playing time? Sure, the artwork is reminiscent of the more popular resource management games out there, but it looks so… simple. Simple? Yeah, it is. Easy to learn? Yeah, you can say that. Easy to win? Sure, I’ll show you how easy it is to… lose. Let’s check it out.

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The Purge: The getting-rid-of-games Challenge

I got too many games. My wife tells me this and I actually agree, but the thing is, I love getting new games, learning new games and playing new games. I’m trying this year to get at least some of the games I really like back to the table a few more times than usual, but it still doesn’t change the fact that I have too many games and this situation is likely to only get worse as new games are arriving all the time at my house.

Unless I turn my office/game room into a Tardis (not likely) or get a storage space (which would only delay the issue instead of solving it), I need to get rid of some games. Now, this is something I tend to do annually, doing a small purge and getting rid of 10-15 titles. I’m also a regular participant in the local Math Trade, which actually doesn’t help as it only replaces games instead of reducing the pile. This year, I’ve decided to do something more drastic: I’m going to try and get rid of 10 games per month, for around 10 months. Yup, following the 10X10in2014 challenge, I’m going to do a 10outX10monthsin2014.

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Review: Lagoon, Land of Druids

It’s sometimes hard to say why you decide to back a game on Kickstarter. Sometimes, it’s just the attitude of the designer/publisher and some of the buzz on Twitter or around the game that puts the bug in your ear. Sometimes, it’s the mechanics that look interesting at first blush, or the subject. Sometimes, and for me this is not as common, it’s the art or the minis.

pic1896033_tIn the case of Lagoon: Land of the Druids, the art attracted my eyes a little bit. It was nice and kind of stood away from the typical fantasy art. And then I started to see some buzz coming from Unpub 4. So when it came to Kickstarter, I took a look. Didn’t check the video (I find these less and less interesting since they tend to have little to do with the actual game/mechanics and more to do with “carnival barker” type thing) but what really caught my eyes was the fact that the designer/publisher had put up the entire game as a print-and-play, which I proceeded to download. The game looked interesting and what’s more, it was a simple matter to print it and try it out. What did I think? Let’s check it out.

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Kickstarting Some Games: Lagoon, Tiny Epic Kingdom, Scoville and more!

I haven’t done one of these posts in quite some time as I am trying to reduce the amount of projects that I back on Kickstarter. I’ve slowed down somewhat, but I am not that particularly successful as I’m still backing quite a few projects. One of the aspects that help me with this is the shipping cost to Canada, which through no fault of the people creating Kickstarters, is becoming outrageous. A lot of the time, while I might want to help out and back a project, the cost of shipping is so high that I end up waiting for the project to successfully fund, hoping to be able to buy it from a local retailer once it comes out.

This bring out a dilemma: do you back it, giving the creators money directly and maybe getting some exclusives at the same time or do you wait for it to come out, maybe check out the early reviews and pay less from an online retailer? For me, it’s always a question of just who is putting out the game in the first place. If it’s a larger company or someone who I’m pretty sure will actually put out the project, I’ll wait and pay less. If it’s something that looks really neat or a project from a first timer, I’ll back it a lot of the time, simply to help out. Let’s check out the latest batch of projects that I’ve backed.

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