Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Drive-By Board Game Reviews & Thoughts: July 2014

I write for a wonderful blog/website (Opinionated Gamers) that encourages conversation between the writers... and this post is a collection of three things I've written as a part of those conversations.

There's a new edition of Chinatown coming... and I can still remember playing it for the first time back in 1999 at Gulf Games III in New Orleans. We had the rules wrong (Greg Schloesser does a nice job of summarizing these in the review I've linked to) and it still was a blast to play.

Rio Grande didn't pick Chinatown up to publish... and over the years it's been in and out of print. Here's what I added to Dale's well-written review:
Somewhere lost to the mists of time (and older computers) is my analysis of how the game doesn’t work with 5 players. (Basically, there’s not enough stuff for players to negotiate with – and luck of the draw plays a HUGE role in getting something worth trading.) I still like it with four players… but not enough to hang onto it when I got a great offer. (As for negotiation games I did hang onto, that would most notably include Bohnanza, Basari and Zauberschwert & Drachenei.)
Feld Madness

Stefan Feld is the current darling/favorite of Euro gamers... nearly every game he releases brings new waves of praise & adulation. I have not jumped on the bandwagon.

A number of us contributed to an article about our varied opinions about his designs - with the "top" games from our aggregate ratings being Macao and Notre Dame.

Here's what I said:
As much as I admire some of his designs, I feel like a lot of Feld’s work is mechanics with little or no thematic connection – and life is too darn short for that. 
  • Love it: Rum & Pirates
  • Like it: In the Year of the Dragon, Rialto (but just barely)
  • Neutral: Macao, The Castles of Burgundy, Notre Dame, Roma, Roma II
  • Not for me: Name of the Rose
Game Recommendation

Every once in a while, we dip into our mailbag and answer a reader question - this time around, a fan with a love for lighter dice-heavy games asked for other suggestions. (I can't believe I missed adding Machi Koro and/or Gelini Nightlife to my list.)
First, I’ll echo Dale’s suggestions of Yspahan Bang! the Dice Game. 
Then, I’ll add a few of my own that might be a little tougher to find (but will be worth the trouble)
  • Nur Peanuts – this OOP game from Heinz Meister is a 45 minute gambling game with some vague abstracted similarities to Monopoly – but mostly just a great way to press your luck for 3-6 players.
  • Cheese Snatching (Kaseklau) – a small box Haba push-your-luck game with cute wooden cat & mouse pieces that works great as a short filler and/or a game with kids.
  • Abandon Ship – an overlooked Knizia game which (I think) is the best of the “you can move any piece – but you secretly want 3 of them to score” family of games. The very cool sinking ship board is a plus.
And if you haven’t played Can’t Stop (the King of Dice Games), you should fix that now!

No comments: