Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thoughts On A Few New Games - Ironic Edition

So now I've got all of these new games, as seen in my last post. I've tried more than a few out recently, and here are my thoughts in no particular order:

Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game - Excellent distillation of the computer game. I've played three player and four player now, and while it's a little on the long side I believe that brisk and experienced play could get this down to 2.5 to 3 hours. All the game needs is a display to track coins so that you can see those amounts easily for the entire table. See my earlier comments on the game in a previous blog.

7 Wonders - Two three player games with Mike and Chris and I'm thinking that this will see a lot of table time over the coming months. It will hold up to seven comfortably (assuming you have table space) and the game changes to some extent with different numbers of players. For example, with three you know that you'll see each "hand" twice (stripped down as you go, but still the same hand) so there's a chance that the card you couldn't quite purchase will show up again later, or at least force another player to burn it in their wonder or discard for coins. High marks.

Dominant Species - Another great game, possibly the best game of the year. Only one three player game with one animal each, but there were a lot of decisions to make and a lot of thinkin' needin' doin'. With five or more, I could see this being as frustrating as Le Havre with a similar number, but I'm still interested in trying it with four. I'm motivated to get this on the table at one or two of the all-day gaming sessions I hope to attend over the holiday break.

Resident Evil Deckbuilding Game - fairly evocative of the video game series, certainly the art is all there. Think Dominion but gearing up for combat instead of VPs, and you need to match ammo to weapons (in terms of quantity only) to have success. Having characters that level is a very cool element, as is multiple game versions that range from shoot at each other to a set number of turns in the game and a gimped Infected selection. Only played with two so far, and the rules are truly terrible, to the point of not even having been printed correctly (many graphics don't align right) and good luck digging the manual out of the official website, it's hidden in the tutorial section. Oh, and the storage is about as braindead as it gets. I don't know that it will beat out Thunderstone as my favorite, but I do like it quite a bit.

Fires of Midway - Follow-on title to Hell of Stalingrad from Steve "I never met a shade of orange, red, or pink that i didn't like" Cunliff. Sorry if I misspelled your name, dude. In some ways a much superior game, although there is still a roll to see if your carrier sinks at the end of each turn. Not quite as bad as HoS, but frankly I was a bit disappointed. That said, there's more to think of and more decisions to be made, although too much luck of the draw for this to be a good competitive game as opposed to just a fairly good heavily abstracted consim - this was a period of the Pacific War where everyone was learning the ropes, having not intended for this to be a war fought using carriers, and they were still figuring out how best to do it and learning mostly from huge mistakes. The winner will largely be determined to a large degree by who gets to launch planes first and gets to their target. Still, a pretty good ride and some very novel concepts and worth a look so long as you can tolerate the game having such a high degree of chaos to it.

King Philip's War - You want chaos? This game has it built into every combat roll. And a lot of *very* pissed-off Native Americans who didn't understand what the game was all about or consim gaming in general. Every time you fight, there's a chance that the battle won't happen, or that you'll get massively gimped. I think this would make a good introduction to A Most Dangerous Time, to be honest, as many of the same wacky elements are present although with different delivery mechanisms. Major kudos for a game on a portion of history I have no recollection of being taught (early American colonial era, when there was still a Plymouth colony).

I'll have a lot to blog about over the next week or two, lots of end-of-year gaming opportunities that I'm very excited about. Even better, we start planning for WBC West in January!

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