Monday, August 16, 2010

New Games (or new to me, at least): Part Six

The ACTUAL final installment...here's the previous installments: Part One (A-B), Part Two (C-D), Part Three (E-I), Part 4 (K-M) & Park 5 (N-Ta).

  • Tobago - I was really disappointed that this wasn't nominated for Spiel des Jahres... I like the treasure map building mechanic coupled with the push-your-luck nature of the treasure draws. (I do think there are some ways to make this more gamer-friendly - but they would come at the cost of the light touch that works so well currently.) [review copy provided]
  • Twilight: The Board Game - It was a gag gift for Shari & so should be judged in that light. And even with that oh-so-friendly scale, it's a lousy game. Avoid.
  • Valdora - Another abstract "move about & collect stuff in order to collect other stuff" game... and yet I enjoyed it. Not enough to try & play it a second time and/or buy a copy, but I wouldn't object if someone asked to play.
  • Wool Rules - Another dice game in the Zoch/Rio Grande "small square box w/Doris M art" series. I think the game design is essentially solid - but it has some gamer-y elements that make it tough to teach non-gamers & some random elements that make it hard for gamers to like. Still, glad I own a copy. [review copy provided]

And eight games I played since I made the list:

  • African Park - A simplified version of my beloved Ark... with a card drafting mechanic that reminds me a bit of Zooloretto. A good little filler.
  • Dominion: Seaside & Alchemy - By this point, you've either decided you like Dominion (the winner of last year's SdJ) enough to buy all these boxes of cards or that you don't need to invest that much in plastic to sleeve 'em all. I fall into the second group, but I did have a very enjoyable game of this with friends who are much bigger fans than I. I see the appeal but I don't have the interest.
  • Exit - An old Milton Bradley abstract game that pre-dates Haba's Highly Suspect & uses the same board-tilting mechanic. I'd picked this up a long time ago at a thrift store & finally got to play it with my son - it's not going to set the gaming universe on fire but it's a very interesting game with a nifty gimmick.
  • Fresco - Earlier, I was sad Tobago wasn't nominated for the SdJ. Now add that I'm sad that Fresco didn't win... Dixit is a perfectly fine party game but Fresco manages to combine great thematic elements & clean game mechanics to make a very enjoyable game. I really like that 3 expansions come already packaged in the box!
  • J├Ąger und Sammler - Imagine that you somehow placed Hey! That's My Fish & Africa into a supercollider - this is the new particle that would result. There's a bit of "hunter & gatherer" theme sprayed on top of that as well. The result is actually a very enjoyable game of set collecting & balancing your options.
  • Life on the Farm - As dire as it sounds. Monopoly-esqe with content about how hard farming is... not doubting that farming is hard, but if I want to explore that in games, I always have Agricola.
  • Settlers of America: Trails to Rails - This is the Frankenstein of Catan games - there are mechanics from Settlers of the Stone Age, the train variant in Das Buch, the ship-building/discovery element from the Anno games, the extraordinary build rule from 5-6 player Catan, & even the common Poverty house rule. What emerges is a really neat set of ideas that takes way too long to play. I'm a huge Settlers fan but I won't be coming back for this one any time soon.
  • Zauberschwert & Drachenei - Surprisingly, the rules in this Adlung card game are easy to understand. (If you've messed with many Adlung card games, you understand my shock at this.) While it's got a fantasy theme, it's really a resource management/auction game. I'm looking forward to adding the first expansion in & giving it a go with a bit more complexity.

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