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News Bits: 3/3/2014

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This week is jam-packed with NEWS. Check it out:

Board Game Geek announces the 2013 Golden Geekn winners [LinkAnd it’s a good thing I’m not a betting man, because only one of my choices made it from start to finish. (Robinson Crusoe for thematic.) Well, I guess it’s not that I bet wrong, but that I’m in strong disagreement with the bulk of the BGG community. Love Letter wins four Golden Geeks? Srsly? Did we play the same Love Letter? Okay, I’ll stop griping. Check out the awards, and let us know what you think in the comments.

Hans im Gluck prepares to crowdfund new edition of Saint Petersburg [LinkAnd they’re sweetening the pot by allowing the gaming community to nominate designers and other geek personages to have their likenesses added as nobles to the game. Sounds like a neat concept, and Saint Petersburg is a decent game. (Here’s my review.)

Stronghold Games announces three new games in its Space Cadets line [LinkIt’s a good year to love Space Cadets. Two expansions (the Die Fighter one should especially appeal to Futurewolfie) and one completely new game. These games have been well lauded, so these are games to watch out for.

Bellwether Games interviews Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim (Belfort) [LinkThe Bamboozle Brothers have had a great run lately, with games reaching market and being funded on Kickstarter. Bellwether Games gives us an interview consistent with their usual high standards.

Asmodee reveals its 2014 releases in New York Toy Fair catalog [LinkThere’s not a lot here that hasn’t been announced elsewhere, but to me, it’s compelling evidence in one go that Asmodee is on top right now. They have so many great games both in their current lineup and in their backlist. To me, they’re the ones to beat right now.

Werewolf Cards from iheartprintandplay [Link] Derek Weller of iheartprintandplay (our partner site) designed these new cards for the game. Get ready for a fun time of lying, wild accusations, mayhem, and murder… it’s time to play Werewolf! All you’ll need are a group of your most devious friends and these free print and play role cards.

11 board games that would have made better movies than Battleship [Link] And the article shows knowledge of board games outside the Hasbro pantheon! Interesting choices, these. (I’m surprised no one picked Ra. No one wants to watch Egyptian auctions?)

Glen of Couple vs. Cardboard reflects on 6th place [LinkGlen played in a store X-Wing tournament and placed six. These are, as you might have guessed from my title, his thoughts on coming in sixth. I don’t play X-Wing, but I enjoyed this article.

Brazilian edition of Coup has begun crowdfunding [LinkI like Coup. Seriously. This new edition was heating up BGG’s hotness with its sweet illustrations and graphic design, and now it’s ready to crowdfund. If you aren’t from Brazil and buy in a six-pack, it’s not such a bad deal (~$21). But for me, I’ve already purchased the game twice. No amount of revamped art will induce me to buy it again. But if you don’t have it and can’t wait for Indie Boards & Cards’ reprint, this is a beautiful version.

Theology of Games on outing introverts [LinkExcept, wait. That’s not their typical blog. That’s right! They wrote this article for the Tabletop Day blog. As an introvert, I can certainly relate to this. I am usually one of the loudest and most talkative players in The Resistance (unless I’m Merlin–my tell!).

Ed Marriott (Scoville) discusses the basics of teaching games [LinkThis is a good post, and especially helpful is his inverted pyramid of steps to teach. (It’s a nice visual.) If you want more resources on teaching games, we ran a series a while back on that very subject.

New board game recommendation site launches [LinkThis recommendation tool was put together by one of our friends, and it works really well. I tried throwing it many disparate categories, and it shot back meaningful results. Anyway, it’s worth checking out (and the designer is open to feedback–especially advanced sort options).

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Star Trek: Attack Wing review, Shelf Wear #2: Ascension, Titanium Wars review, IndyCon introductionGood stuff last week. This week will see two new reviews, a new Why, Why, WHY?! article, and a recap of Andrew’s time at IndyCon. Keep slaying!

 Kickstarters of Note

  • Alchemy: This is a game about making potions and being a cool alchemist. (We also previewed it here.) $25.
  • Games of Art, Fantastiqa, Petite Pastiche: Eagle Games is running a Kickstarter (preorder?) for three rerelease games. These all look like decent new editions. Various pledge levels available.
  • oddball Aeornauts: Perhaps the most portable card game ever? Quick playing and fun for two players.  (Here’s our preview.) $25.
  • Kingdom Builder: Big Box: Does a Spiel des Jahres-winning game really need to be Kickstarted? Probably not, but that isn’t stopping Queen Games. The price is steep, but there are Kickstarter-exclusive player tokens, if that’s worth the extra cost/prepaying. (Also, here’s our review of the base game.) $85.
  • Mob Town: This looks like a nice, lighthearted family game…about animal mobsters. $25.
  • Pairs: This is a new game from James Ernest (Kill Doctor Lucky), and it looks super simple to play. It’s a press-your-luck game that he’s pitching as a pub game (and that, from the looks of it, easily supports gambling, if such is your bag). This is already funded and reaching stretch goals (new decks). $16.
  • Character meeples: MeepleSource.com has become known for their custom bits, and they’re Kickstarting funding to create new meeple designs. The campaign has already reached many stretch goals, unlocking new meeples. (Here’s our interview with Cynthia Landon, one of the founders of Meeple Source.) Various pledge levels available.
  • Tokaido collector’s edition: I’ve not played Tokaido because the game looks a little simple for my tastes. So I was especially surprised to see that this game is being given the deluxe treatment with minis and so on. Looks beautiful, but maybe a tad overproduced. (Then again, what do I know? I’ve not even played it.) $75+.
  • Hoyuk: This is a tile-laying game that has won some awards and looks beautiful. $50.
  • Lineage: The Martial Arts Strategy Game: This one looks very nice. You’re a martial arts master trying to pass on your knowledge to your student to preserve your lineage. $39.

What We’ve Been Playing

  • Blueprints: I got to give this game another shot over lunch this week, this time playing by the correct rules. (The only points that matter are the ones awarded for your buildings on the cards, not your building’s score from round to round.) I tried a new strategy each round, and I was generally able to stick to the middle of the pack and pull off some of the special building awards. This strategy put me in second. I lost to the new player, who was able to secure the first-place award in each round. This game was fun before, but it’s much better playing by the rules. I’m surprised it took as long as it did (the full lunch hour), but it’s still a worthy choice to keep around. (FarmerLenny)
  • Parade: Friday night was February’s big game night at Futurewolfie’s, and I arrived before everyone else (the bums), so I pulled this game out with Wolfie and his wife. The game is pretty thinky for a filler game, but the rules are simple, so the Wolfies played like pros. Or, I should say, Wolfie’s wife played like a pro. The goal in the game is to avoid taking points, but Wolfie, unfortunately, took too many cards of one color thinking they’d cancel out at the end of the round, but his wife collected more of the same color, sticking him with the points. The game ended up a tie between me and Wolfie’s wife, but she won on the tiebreaker (I had collected more cards). I think Parade is a fantastic filler game. I’ll review it sometime soon. (FarmerLenny)
  • Inkognito: Once the others showed up, we had four players exactly (it was a small game night), so we played Inkognito, a reprint of the old deduction game by Leo Colovini and Alex Randolph. While the game advertises 3-5 players, it’s really a four-player-only affair, with the players divided into two teams. The twist is that players don’t know who their teammates are at the beginning of the game, nor do they know what mission they’re trying to accomplish. They must move their pieces around the board, investigate other players, and deduce the other players’ identity, build, and mission, and then complete their own. This was my first time playing, but I was pretty excited to be sitting at the table. I hung back in the early game, trying to be inconspicuous, and it worked: no one was asking for my information. Wolfie soon caught on, so he tried to get me to tell him about my identity. Through the use of the Ambassador, I learned who Wolfie was (he showed me two cards, one of which was fortuitously my own–it didn’t take much deduction on my part). In his further questionings I was able to trick him into thinking I was his partner. Through process of elimination (and because he slipped me his mission card), I found my partner, and our mission was remarkably simple, given our board position: land on the Ambassador. We completed our mission early and celebrated profusely. I didn’t know what to expect from this one, but I had a blast. Part of this is the metagaming aspect (we were all being silly and pretending this was really a carnival on STARSHIP VENICE), but the game itself had a lot of interesting stuff to think about. It was fun to be boisterous on the outside while calculating on the inside and trying to simultaneously learn who others were and keep my own identity a secret. I would definitely play this one again. (FarmerLenny)
  • Euphoria: I backed this game when it was on Kickstarter, and I was able to get my first four-player game in. Euphoria is set in a dystopian future where players are trying to wrest power from their overlords and rule the dystopia themselves. They do this by enlisting workers and trying to keep them stupid, while also courting powerful recruits who can lend their hands to your plans. And…the game worked. I liked it, I think. But I had very high expectations, and they weren’t exactly met on this play. (I had tried a two-player game as well, but I wasn’t expecting much from the two-player mode.) The game is gorgeous, as was expected. But it also felt like it could have been streamlined more. One of the factions (the Wastelanders) was hardly used at all in the game (nor was it necessary to visit their section of the board), and it was far too easy to avoid other players entirely. I liked some of the thematic touches–managing worker knowledge was a tricky decision, as was when to recall workers–but the rule that lets you place multiple workers with the same knowledge seemed to grant huge benefits randomly. I’ll definitely play this one again, and we’ll see if tempered expectations improve it. This is one I really want to like, if only for the atmosphere. (FarmerLenny)
  • Dominion: The two other players took off after Euphoria, so Wolfie and I got in two games of Dominion using Guilds. It’s refreshing to play against someone who knows the game well. In our first game, we tied completely, but we used different methods to reach our scores. In the second game, I was able to pull off a victory by buying early and often (not always a winning strategy, and one that would have lost had the game gone on any longer). One thing I learned in these two games: Guilds is awesome. That it wasn’t even nominated for a Golden Geek is ridiculous. It’s evidence, unfortunately, that Dominion fatigue has set in, which is a shame. Dominion is still an excellent game, and easily one of my favorites. (FarmerLenny)
  • Inkognito (from another perspective): This was my second play of the game, and my suspicions after the first play were proved accurate: this game is designed to be a 4 player game, and is much more fun with 4 than 3. In this outing, my identity was discovered quickly and quietly by opponents, who then led me on into confusion until they completed their mission – my true partner and I were both totally in the dark. We had a lot of fun – as ‘Lenny mentioned, I shifted the location of the board from Venice to Starship Venice (and later Submarine Venice in a post-apocalyptic world) so we had a lot of fun. I had another chance to play with my parents, and I’m starting to notice a trend; one team gets lucky and discovers the identities of their teammates, and are able to lead the other team on into confusion. Perhaps with more experience players can stay up neck and neck, but as it’s gone, things have been a little lopsided. At least missions are easy to complete once identities are discovered.  (Futurewolfie)
  • Euphoria (from another perspective): This was my first go at Euphoria. I tend not to prefer eurogames (surprise, right?) but I love the theme of this game. Even though it’s still a euro, which means the theme is only very loosely connected, the wooden bits were beautifully shaped and the art is great, and it doesn’t take much effort to imagine yourself building up your dystopian society. So, this might be one of my favorite Eurogames, primarily because of the theme (and I feel like most worker placement games are very similiar in gameplay, so one with a decently implemented theme that appeals to me can score a lot of bonuse points over the others). But Farmerlenny is right – unlike Viticulture, the first game from Stonemaier, placements did not feel limited.  Even though many placements allow workers to be “bumped” – so you can always have access to them, but at the penalty of giving your opponent a worker back without them spending an action, which is an interesting feature – it was pretty easy to avoid bumping opponents and still get what you needed.  Despite the dystopian setting, resources felt abundant and easy to access, but I think abundance can be fun – and the unique starting powers add a little excitement into the game. MY biggest complaint is probably the graphic design of the board – I feel like it could have been way more clean and organized with much more distinct placements, costs, and benefits from said placements.
  • Dominion: Guilds (from another perspective): I actually got Guilds a month or two ago, but I only just got it sleeved and the first time I played my own set (not Guilds itself) was friday with Lenny, and again on saturday with my wife. Guilds is exciting, shiny, and fun, and also very heavy – with the ability to OVERPAY, and the option to save or spend money, you have a lot more tough decisions to make on your turn. But there’s one thing I learned about myself and Guilds; I just can’t bring myself to NOT buy the fun, shiny cards that get you shiny coins, or overpaying ridiculous amounts for cards.  It’s just too exciting right now, even though it doesn’t lead to the best or winningest strategies, and except for my one tie with  Lenny, I lost every game. WORTH IT.

I'll try anything once, but my favorite games are generally middleweight Euros.

Discussion2 Comments

  1. It’s funny, because that’s how I play with each new Dominion set too. “New and shiny!” I guess you just play newer and shinier than I do. 🙂

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