Hello there! I thought I’d post an update before Ropecon starts. I’m going, again. Should be fun, this time I’ll stay for the night and won’t spend all my time playing one 18xx game.
Anyway, here’s what’s been going on in June and July. Again, a small reminder: this blog has a G+ profile, which is updated way more often.
- Town Center. Clever little game from Age of Steam guy Alban Viard. This game has you build a town center. You try to build large complexes of apartments and stores, but the trick is, you can’t place two apartment or store cubes next to each other – they must be grown using the development rules (apartments develop when next to an office, stores develop when next to an apartment). You also need to provide electricity and have an elevator to allow stacking upwards. The presentation is a bit problematic, as the small cubes tend to tumble, but the game itself is very clever. Suggest.
- Dixit Jinx. Newcomer to the Dixit family. This small game has different kind of art, sort of semi-abstract. I like it actually quite a bit. The game itself seems ok. Some issues, but nothing major – this seems to be quite a decent party game. Maybe I’ll even keep this one. Suggest.
- Cars 2: Race Champions. So, this is a Knizia title? Oh my. The quest for a decent Cars-themed racing game continues. This is a zero-decision dicefest. Too bad, my son really likes this one as well. The boy sure likes good games as well, but apparently he doesn’t care about game play as long as the theme is interesting. Could it be my son is an Ameritrasher? Ugh. Indifferent (ok, Avoid like plague, but since my son likes this…).
- Poseidon. This is a solid 18xx-like game that manages the two-hour length pretty well. Newbies should still prepare for at least double of that. If I had a need for something like that, Poseidon would be good, but as it is, this just doesn’t do it for me. I generally prefer shorter games, and if I’m in the mood for a longer game, then one of the three-hour 18xx’s is more interesting than Poseidon. Indifferent.
- Marrakech. I’ve played several games of this with my son recently. Sure there isn’t a lot of game in this, yes, but what there is is fun and very family friendly. This works well as a quick filler for adults or as a family game, even with the younger folk. Very nice. Suggest.
- Trains. Hit of the year? At least for me this version of Dominion is the bee’s knees, as it combines the well-loved deck-building engine with a train theme and board play with track-building. Basic Dominion remains at the bottom of things, but now scoring is not just about VP cards. You can also build track on the map, scoring points for cities with stations. Very nice. No more action chains, as you have unlimited actions and many actions force you to collect Waste cards that slow down your play. Very, very promising. Enthusiastic.
- Colorado Midland. This Winsome game got another chance (I played it last year in Ropecon, actually). It’s just not very interesting. I could see myself playing it at least couple of times, but to be realistic, I know it doesn’t have a chance. Indifferent.
- Takenoko. This cute family game was a big hit with my son, who loves it. He managed to win the game, too, with only some help from me. I expect this will have serious staying power. The two-player game works well, too. Very nice. The 13+ age suggestion is way off, but I understand it’s strictly from legal requirements. Based on the game itself, correct age would be 8+, though I’m not sure if a group of 8-year-olds could actually play the game without adult help. With parents involved, it’s easy for 8-year-olds. A sharp 6-year-old will do just fine. Suggest.
- Kingdom Builder: Nomads. I reintroduced my son to Kingdom Builder. He likes it quite a bit, we played three games in a row. He needs a bit of help with the strategies – the game isn’t quite as simple as some folks claim it is. I think the expansion is pretty nice. I particularly appreciate the red bits. Some of the parts add complexity and some of the nomad tiles are a bit powerful, but I think this works. These will be a part of the random set from now on. I like the slightly smaller box, which still is big enough to contain the whole game with the expansion. Suggest.
- Web of Power. Is it really six years from my last game? Sure. This was a big hit ten years ago, but it’s still a pretty good game. With three players, in particular. We had five this time, and that’s a tad much, yes. Suggest.
- Coyote. Indian Poker mixed with Liar’s Dice. Everybody has a card on their head and can see everybody else’s cards. The goal is to figure out the sum of the cards, using a “raise the bid or doubt” method. To make things more interesting, there are some special cards involved, and not just numbers. Not my cup of tea, really, but I can see how some people would really enjoy this. Me, I lost twice. Indifferent.
- Red Hot Silly Dragon. Try to collect treasure from an angry dragon. The dragon is interesting: three dice are rolled, and the dragon attributes (the power and the length of flame) are either minimum, maximum or the middle die roll. That’s clever. Unfortunately the game wasn’t really any fun at all. Avoid.
I suppose that’s most of the interesting stuff. Here’s a collection of some of the better photos I’ve taken.