It’s been a good, long while since I’ve done a New to me blog post and a lot of games/expansions have come in since. Between the post Essen/GenCon releases and the Kickstarter games that all came out right before Christmas, I may have picked up too much stuff, but hell…
Craziest day? Right between Christmas and New Year, I got 6 different packages of games. Most of them were one or two games, but still! That’s a lot of gaming. Some exceptional games in there too!
Let’s look at the better/more interesting games to come in. I won’t be looking at (most) expansions, since a lot of them are the simple, little expansions that are available on the BoardgameGeek store. Some of the games (Freedom: The Underground Railroad, Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia, Hegemonic, Russian Railroads, and Trieste) I’ve already talked about in either my 10X10in2014 or my Year in review article (part 1, 2 and 3). Expect reviews of them in the coming weeks. I’ve done a review of Council of Verona already and there should be reviews of the last few (American Rails, Trains and Stations, Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy) as soon as I can get them to the table another time.
Guts of Glory (Self-published) by Zach Gage: What’s not to love about this game? The art is great and the theme, competitive eating in a post-apocalyptic world, is just this side of crazy. As much as an art piece as a game, I’m very happy I got this on Kickstarter when it was looking for funding. Zach Gage isn’t that well known in the boardgame world but has been doing a number of art video games at NYU for a little while (and a small iOS game called Ridiculous Fishing) and it’s quite interesting to see what other video game people are doing in the boardgaming world.
Eminent Domain (Tasty Minstrel Games) by Seth Jaffee: I’ve got this as one of the many Kickstarter rewards over the Christmas holidays along with the first expansion, Eminent Domain: Escalation and it immediately made it to the top of my “to be played soon, why haven’t I played this yet?” pile. A nice mix of a deck-builder and Race for the Galaxy, this promises to be quite an interesting game, although I fear a little bit of a lack of player interaction with the base game. The expansion seems to be promising to fix that, so we shall see.
The Hunters (Consim Press) by Gregory M. Smith: Pre-ordered this when it was first announced since I’m always looking for a good solo wargame experience. I’ve got one submarine simulation already (the daunting Steel Wolves) and was hoping that this would be a little simpler and I’m not sure I was right. The rulebook is quite long and the game seems fairly abstract but there’s something interesting about it. It will probably hit the table once I’ve finished playing B-29 (for the 10X10in2014 challenge), unless RAF steals its place…
Star Realms (White Wizard Games) by Robert Dougherty and Darwin Kastle: A deck builder in the Ascension mold (which Dougherty worked on), this one falls squarely into the fast/easy category. Not sure how long it will end up sticking around in my collection, but it might just scratch that short/simple niche. At least the artwork is pretty even if the cards feel a little flimsy to me.
Where Art Thou Romeo? (Crash Games) by Michael Eskue: another micro game (5 cards total!), this time only available from the publisher or Kickstarter. A simple bluffing game, this was actually originally a add-on when backing Council of Verona. I skipped it the first time it was available but when it came back as a KS campaign, I backed it since I like Council. Very simple, very short, even if it doesn’t prove that great it won’t matter much since it now lives in the Council of Verona box which I do like a lot.
Archon: Glory and Machination (Artipia Games) by Nikolas Sakaloglou and Sotirios Tsantilas: A beautifully illustrated game, this is another Kickstarter game that I was expecting, but I had slightly forgotten about. It’s a strange feeling when you get a game, you know it sounded interesting but not until you read the rules that you understand (again) what made you order it and this one appears to be part of that category. An Action-Selection game where there is a bit of planning ahead and where having the most of one of three separate category nets you victory points. Intriguing and very near the top of “to play soon” pile.
Shadows over the Empire (Artipia Games) by Babis Giannios: Another KickStarter game from Artipia, and again, beautiful artwork. The game centers around these nice, big cards that represent various people in the city and the players will need to place influence token on them to try and get to the main character in the middle of the grid to control them while having placed all their influence token. Simple game with a nice system to scale up the challenge if the players want to. Should be a nice filler, if it does prove to be a short game.
Age of Industry Expansion: Belgium & USSR / Great Lakes & South Africa (Self-Published) by Claude Sirois: I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about expansions, but these are pretty nice: two sets of maps (from the BoardgameGeek store, with two of the maps being 2 players. I’ve quite enjoyed Age Of Industry in the past and this will help to bring out the game more often. The quality is quite good and the price is right. If you like Age of Industry, they are well worth the look.
Coup (Indie Board and Card Games) by Rikki Tahta: wow. Tiny box, packs a huge punch. This is another in the new trend of micro games, being only 15 cards and 50 tokens. Behind this hides a simple-to-teach game of bluffing and strategy that offers more depth than Love Letter. I’ve played this once already and I expect it to hit the table very often, especially since it can accommodate more players than Love Letter. Is there a new king of micro games?
A Study in Emerald (Treefrog Games) byMartin Wallace: ok, this was one I needed to get. A Martin Wallace heavy game based on a story by Neil Gaiman, inspired by HP Lovecraft‘s Cthulhu mythos. How many different buttons of mine can you push at the same time? Yes, there is a awful lot of bad Cthulhu stuff out there but this one seems quite interesting. Deck building, secret roles, area-majority. Lots of interesting stuff, but some of the rules have needed clarification and the game ending can be quite brutal (if the lowest scoring player is on the same side as you, you lose no matter what, but who’s on your team is secret…). Should be hitting the table very soon, so we shall see. It will at least prove to be interesting, me thinks.
The Agents (The Agency) by Saar Shai: I was really looking forward to receiving this Kickstarter game. The art is amazing, the gameplay looks very interesting (play a card and decide, by how you orient the card, to gain the power of the card or the victory points) but, like many, I was very shocked by the way it was shipped. Simply thrown into a box with no packing material, the add-ons were all smashed up and two corners of the game box busted. Luckily the cards are plastic and hence are in perfect condition (which ultimately is the most important part). Will the game hold up to the art/card quality or will it be more akin to the way it was shipped, rushed and in poor shape? Only one way to find out.
Le Havre: The Inland Port (Zman games) by Uwe Rosenberg: I’ve had my eye on this game for some time as Le Havre is perhaps my favorite Rosenberg game (yup, I like it better than Agricola). It looks like a nice exercise in optimization as there is no luck and the only thing that stands in your way is the other player. But boy how the other player can mess with your plan! The rondel concept (which is the same as Ora and Labora) is well implemented here and it should make for some intense 2 player fun.
Space Cadets: Dice Duel (Stronghold Games) by Geoff Engelstein and Sydney Engelstein: This is the only party game that I own and I’m fine with that. This is the craziest, most hectic, loudest game that most people will own, as two team of players attempt to pilot spaceships and kill each other. Lots of fun, but make sure that the players have some time after the game so they can catch their breath. I haven’t played yet, but I’ve refereed a game (we were an odd number of player) and it was as much fun to watch as it was to play. Or at very least, those playing seemed to have a lot of fun and I had a great laugh.
Blueprints (Zman games) by Yves Tourigny: A different take on dice games, I got this to play with my lovely wife, Tanya, since she loves her some dice games. I like the idea of using the dice to physically build structure and the way the points are scored is very different. It looks like it scales well for 2 to 4 players, seems simple enough to explain in a few minutes and the materials are really nice (except for the dice bag, which is a bit on the small side). I will most likely do a short review once it has hit the table a few times.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf (Bezier Games) by Ted Alspach and Akihisa Okui: I never thought I would actually buy a copy of Werewolf, but I just had to get this one. A full game of Werewolf in just 10 minutes, and there’s an app so that you don’t need a ref? Sign me up! Ultimately (see what I did there?), I could have just used a regular deck of cards and used the app and I would have been fine, but I like Bezier Games and this was cheap.
Pixel Tactics / Pixel Tactics 2 (Level 99 Games) by D. Brad Talton, Jr.: Small, highly portable tactics game that is fairly simple? And it’s card based but has multiple uses for every single cards (5 different functions!)? Wow. How could I not buy this. I love the artwork, but am not a big fan of the packaging. Yes, it is made to look like a SNES game box, but that means that the card packs have to be split into two, forcing you to have a paper band around the decks. I have almost brought it to the table a few times (have I mentioned that I have a big problem with bringing 2 player games to the table?) and by gosh, I will soon.
1825 Unit 3 (Tresham Games) by Francis Tresham: Hey look! an 18XX that I didn’t have. Actually got this in a trade. I have been very curious about the first few 18XX games and this is one part of the 1825 series. I say one part since there are two other units (which are really other parts of the map of England and Scotland) and countless extensions but this one has the distinction of being one of the few honest-to-goodness 2 player 18XX games. Very very curious about it.
1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties (LMN+B) by Mike Hutton: A continuation of the 1860 experiment, this time in East Anglia, England. There are many small changes from “traditional” 18XX games and it plays on a very small map (37 hexes). The biggest change for me is both the way the stock market works (it is non-linear, meaning that there are jumps in the stock prices) and the random selection of companies that will operate in the game. I predict headaches at the end of the game, but the best type: deep concentration headaches. Love it and should be playing very, very soon.
Le Fantôme de l’Opéra (Hurrican Games) by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc: I like a good deduction game and since this is part of the Mr Jack series, I’m hoping that it will scratch that it. While I did enjoy Mr Jack Pocket (review), I did find that it lacked a bit in the deduction side of things and I am hoping that this will do a better job of it. It seems simple enough and with lots of interesting decisions. Now to try and get it to the table…
Legacy: Gears of Time (Floodgate Games) by Ben Harkins: Time travel, real time travel with its consequences and paradoxes, is a subject that is largely absent from boardgames. Sure, there’s games about the result of time travel, but none where the players do actual time travel. This is such a game and, from reading the rulebook and reading reviews, it appears to do the job fairly well, with a ruleset that is not too complex. I like the way the game forces you to only go backwards in time and how scoring is done. It does appear to be a brain burner, with trying to see what you can score and steal from your opponent.
Ok, this is the longest list of games/comments I’ve done ever. I guess there’s a lesson in there. Wish I could figure it out, but oh well…