Wednesday, May 06, 2015

#24: Anno 1701: Das Brettspiel (Mark's 100 - 2014)


Anno 1701: Das Brettspiel

Mark's Ranking
  • 2014: 24th
  • 2012: 36th
  • 2010: 16th
  • 2005: prior to publication
  • rank: 2440
  • rating: 6.75
Print Status
  • OOP
Why It's On The List
  • While I didn't like Klaus Teuber's attempt to make Anno 1503 deeper via an expansion - I thought it was bloated & made the game much too long - I think his 2nd attempt at a similar game was very, very successful. And that's Anno 1701, which feels like a cross between The Settlers of Catan & Anno 1503.
Tips & Tricks:
    • There are lots of options to harvest victory points (which can win you the game) - but you can't try to do all of them.
    • The island tile sets are nearly identical - the brown ones are just farther from the starting point.
    Extras
    • Sadly, this game has never been published in English - there are some translation issues but they shouldn't be an insurmountable barrier.
    • Not liking Settlers of Catan does not necessarily mean you'll dislike Anno 1701 - give it a try!.

    Tuesday, May 05, 2015

    #25: Africa (Mark's 100 - 2014)



    Africa

    Mark's Ranking
    • 2014: 25th
    • 2012: 28th
    • 2010: 40th
    • 2005: 41st
    • appeared on all four lists
    • rank: 2584
    • rating: 5.98
    Print Status
    • out of print
    Why It's On The List
    • A great Knizia exploration game that was sadly under-rated when it first appeared in 2002 because it wasn't the next Euphrat & Tigris.
    Tips & Tricks:
    • As much as possible, don't waste moves. You can work to set up plays so that you can make sure that each turn has two productive activities.
    • Use the "skip a turn, move anywhere" power sparingly.
    • Relocating nomads can be very lucrative point-wise, especially if you plan for it.
    Extras
    • Africa packs a lot of game into 30 minutes... it's worth tracking down a copy.
    • Here's what I wrote about Africa for The One Hundred



    Monday, May 04, 2015

    #26: Suburbia (Mark's 100 - 2014)


    Suburbia

    Mark's Ranking
    • 2014: 26th
    • 2012: prior to publication
    • 2010: prior to publication
    • 2005: prior to publication
    BoardGameGeek
    • rank: 44
    • rating: 7.75
    Print Status
    • in print
    Why It's On The List
    • A city-building game that does three things really, really well: 1) it plays cleanly, 2) it uses the Age of Steam braking system in a way that doesn't make me want to throw myself out a window, and 3) every player ends up with a city/neighborhood with it's own personality.
    Tips & Tricks:
    • Do not forget the goals... they can often spell the difference between victory & defeat. You don't have to win them - you just can't let your opponent(s) get those points.
    • Cash flow is key - you don't have to be rich (unless a goal specifies it), but you can't let yourself go under financially.
    • In some ways, the 2 player game is more swing-y than the 3 or 4 player game... because of the number of tiles you don't see in the game. (I still really like as a 2 player game.)
    • The Suburbia app for the iOS had a rocky launch but has turned out to be a lot of fun.
    Extras
    • The first expansion - Suburbia, Inc. - is an excellent addition to the game. 
    • The next expansion - Suburbia Five Star - will come out this fall (October 2015).

    Tuesday, April 28, 2015

    #27: Summoner Wars (Mark's 100 - 2014)


    Summoner Wars

    Mark's Ranking
    • 2014: 27th
    • 2012: 4th
    • 2010: prior to publication
    • 2005: prior to publication
    BoardGameGeek
    • rank: 213
    • rating: 7.44
    Print Status
    • in print
    Why It's On The List
    • Here's what I wrote a couple of years agao: "Summoner Wars is a fantasy battle board game that involves positional board play, deck & hand management, and dice combat.” What got left out of that description was just how much fun it is to play. There’s a healthy helping of randomness to spice up the game, but there’s also some real skill in playing each faction well… and Colby Dauch (the designer) deserves a mountain of praise for getting such variety out of a simple & straightforward game system. Even if you don’t like fantasy combat games, you should give this one a try."
    Tips & Tricks:
    • Each deck plays VERY differently... I can not emphasize enough the learning curve involved here. Because the game is quick, it's easy to get experience and "learn" the decks - but expect to get your rear end handed to you by an experienced player the first time you pick up a deck.
    • The easiest decks to play (this is my opinion) are Guild Dwarves and Tundra Orcs. From the Master Set (which is probably the best way to jump into the game), I'd suggest the Mountain Vargath or the Sand Goblins.
    • The deck-building aspect of the game is really nicely done... it adds another layer to the game but it's not required to enjoy it.
    • I would be remiss if I didn't mention the excellent iPad app for playing Summoner Wars.
    • There are now 2nd Summoner decks for all of the original 16 factions... and a new box called Alliances that combines factions together!
    Extras
    • I wrote an extended review of the game system as part of my review of the Master Set for the Opinionated Gamers website.

      Wednesday, April 22, 2015

      #28: Lord of the Rings (Mark's 100 - 2014)


      Lord of the Rings

      Mark's Ranking
      • 2014: 28th
      • 2012: 17th
      • 2010: 15th
      • 2005: 33rd
      • appeared in all four lists
      • rank: 480
      • rating: 6.83
      Print Status
      • in print (but only in a newer/stripped-down edition)
      Why It's On The List
      • There had been cooperative games before this one... but Knizia broke the mold and created a sprawling (and gorgeous) cooperative masterpiece that reflects the tensions & storylines of the books in a highly abstracted way. And my wife likes it.
      Tips & Tricks:
      • There are three expansions to the already meat-y base game...
        • Friends & Foes (which added Foes as well as two new "locations" - boards - to work through) - yes, it did make the game longer by almost half.
        • Sauron (which added several different ways to play the game, including a "one player - Sauron - versus everyone else" variant that works like a charm)
        • Battlefields (which added another board for each location... is highly abstract... and, to be completely honest, I've never actually played.)
      • Suggestion: don't combine the Friends & Foes and Sauron expansions - it's just too darn long.
      • I've played 50+ games of this... and will happily play it again if someone asks.
      Extras

        Tuesday, April 21, 2015

        #29: Ra (Mark's 100 - 2014)


        Ra

        Mark's Ranking
        • 2014: 29th
        • 2012: did not appear
        • 2010: did not appear
        • 2005: 73rd
        BoardGameGeek
        • rank: 87
        • rating: 7.48
        Print Status
        • out of print?
        Why It's On The List
        • I'm not sure why Ra jumps on & off this list... it's a splendid auction game that scales well from 3-5 players and is filled with tension and constant reevaluation of values.
        Tips & Tricks:
        • Timing is everything. Seriously.
        • My first play of Ra was 90 minutes - which was miserable and turned me off the game for a good year or so. When I finally got to play it at normal speed (30-45 minutes), it jumped considerably in my estimation.
        • There are times (particularly in the final epoch) where winning an auction simply to trade up for a better sun is a good idea. These do not happen as often as I see people making these kinds of trades.
        • There are two spin-off games from the Ra family:
        Extras
        • Here's what I wrote about Ra for The One Hundred.
        • There is an iOS app - which is OK but very slow.

        Monday, April 20, 2015

        The Lust, The Flesh, The Eyes And The Pride Of Life (The 77s)


        Well, I feel
        Like I have to feel
        Something good all of the time
        With most of life I cannot deal
        But a good feeling I can feel
        Even though it may not be real
        And if a person, place or thing can deliver
        I will quiver with delight
        But will it last me for all my life
        Or just one more lonely night

        The lust, the flesh
        The eyes
        And the pride of life
        Drain the life
        Right out of me

        Well, I see something and I want it
        Bam! Right now!
        No questions asked
        Don't worry how much it costs me now or later
        I want it and I want it fast
        I'll go to any length
        Sacrifice all that I already have
        And all that I might get
        Just to get
        Something more that I don't need
        And Lord, please don't ask me what for

        The lust, the flesh
        The eyes
        And the pride of life
        Drain the life
        Right out of me

        And I love when folks
        Look right at me
        And what I'm doing
        Or have done
        And lay it on about
        How groovy I am
        And that I'm looking grand
        And every single word
        Makes me think I'll live forever
        Never knowing that they probably
        Won't remember what they said tomorrow
        Tomorrow I could be dead

        The lust, the flesh
        The eyes
        And the pride of life
        Drain the life
        Right out of me

        In honor of my life group... and a not-so-subtle reminder to me to "stay awake",
        courtesy of Mike Roe and The 77s. (1 John 2:16)

        #30: Im Reich der Wüstensöhne (Mark's 100 - 2014)


        Im Reich der Wüstensöhne

        Mark's Ranking
        • 2014: 30th
        • 2012: 14th
        • 2010: 22nd
        • 2005: prior to publication
        BoardGameGeek
        • rank: 2914
        • rating: 6.52
        Print Status
        • out of print
        Why It's On The List
        • As much as I love Entdecker (and I loved it enough to put it in 42nd position on this list in 2012), I love this gamer-friendly take on desert nomads & the struggle for water & goods even more.
        Tips & Tricks:
        • The name literally means "in the realm of the desert sons". And while the game rules are in German, almost all of the actual components are language-neutral.
        • This is designed by Klaus Teuber - the same guy who gave us The Settlers of Catan.
        • There is one other game in this series: "In the Realm of the Jade Goddess" - which is a little more of a family game. There was supposed to be a third game - "In the Realm of the Demons" - but it was never published.
        • Water is your friend - do not (if you can help it) run out of water.
        • Camels are also your friend - you'll need some in order to win the game.
        Extras
        • I need to actually write a review of this game...