Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Out Of The Box

Just got in an order for some new games, here are my initial impressions before any actual play -

Tempus - New Wallace title. Certainly the best laid out rules I've seen yet in a Wallace game, they are usually difficult to parse, but now that Cafe Games has the US distributorship and the box has their logo, I expect better rules to be the norm. The game looks to be a very light wargame mixed with euro elements, and a very light civ-building element that doubles as a game timer and secondary goal as being the most advanced gives you a bit of an advantage for the next turn. A reconfigurable map (without any color registration issues! Yay!) and multi-use cards add up to a very positive first impression, assuming that play time is no longer than 2 hours after familiarization. Hoping to get this in tonight.

Blue Moon City - A fairly simple game made interesting by cards that can be used as actions as well as "money". Like Around the World in 80 Days, a ridiculously oversized box for what's in it. Hope to play this evening at RCG, if Tempus doesn't come out. The Mobius-style art on the city tiles gives a lot of flavor, although I'm getting tired of the CCG-style art on the cards, along with the overly-obvious illustration credits. I expect the theme to be pretty thin on this one, as I'm not a huge fan of the Blue Moon card game.

Battles of the Third Age - WotR expansion/mini-games. Typically great components from FFG's Euro printings, although the reinforcement chits may require some trimming to get the dog ears off (and there are a lot of them). With what is effectively three games, it took a surprising amount of work to figure out which parts went with which game, a bit annoying when punching and bagging. From all reports, this is a very good expansion.

Quest of the Dragonlords - Worth buying if for no other reason than I finally have a game with worse rules than Return of the Heroes. This is a second edition printing, too. The rules have entire pages of "flavor" stories between sections, and a layout that gives you rules for movement/combat in no less than three different sections of the book. Punched component quality is abysmal, something I'd expect from a Decision Games release - thin cardboard counters that are supposed to conceal information, but that will require trimming to get the extra cardboard dog ears off. Perhaps the biggest disappointment in the order, although play may be worthwhile - the use of quests (which do have quite a bit of luck associated with them - you roll to see if the gods are amused, angry, or on the phone and that affects what happens in the quest), a "cylindrical" map, and a lot of RPG elements such as spells, items, etc, may save it. I will definitely attempt a solo game or two before inflicting this on the group. Did I mention that I was expecting a bit more from a second edition?

Arkham Horror Pharoah expansion - Like we'll ever play this, but I'm a nut for Egyptology. I expect that we'd play this with the "permanent exhibit" rules (where the cards are added into the existing game rather than replace them, as in the "visiting exhibit" rules). Not quite sure on the logic of "permanent" vs "visiting", but a fine point at best. ArkHor is a fine three-four player game, although a bit long. Perfect for those WBC West evenings when a little horror would round out the evening nicely.

Saboteur - Great filler card game that takes the best part of Shadows Over Camelot (the traitor) and makes an entire game out of it, and does it in about 20 minutes. May replace Wyatt Earp as our "summoning" game of choice, as it will take up to 8 players!

Battlestations expansions - Space Opera RPG with tactical ship combat elements, except that the players actually run stations on the ship. A definite option for WBC West evenings, and very little prep time required for the DM. Plus, you can do player vs player actions, making it more of a wargame (lite, but a wargame) if you want. A definite plus - all components from the expansions fit in the original box quite nicely, although it outweighs Descent at this point and there is no more room for anything other than dice.

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