News Bits: 5/12/2014


This week’s NEWS:

New York magazine explains why you don’t like Monopoly [Link] Their answer: you’re doing it wrong.

Board games make front page of New York Times [LinkThe anthropological pieces introducing board games to the uninitiated are in general getting better, but seriously: must every one be framed in the context of digital games?

Grant Rodiek (Farmageddon) gives suggestions for exercising design creativity [LinkJust like other muscles can be strengthened through exercise, Rodiek suggests that our creativity can be as well. He gives some exercise suggestions to get your creativity going. (Another [physical exercise]suggestion: take a walk.)

The Opinionated Gamers begin their Spiel des Jahres predictions [LinkThe Opinionated Gamers deserve credit for being willing to go out on a limb during awards season, even if they’re not always (often?) right. In any case, I enjoy these discussions and their rationale. (The real nominees will be announced later this month.)

iheartprintandplay offers simplified 7 Wonders expansion wonder cards [LinkI mentioned before that I love the design on these, and now the full set of wonders is available. These look super handy for traveling with. I may have to get my PnP skills together to make these.

Bruno Faidutti (Citadels) examines board games and technology [LinkBut not in the way you might expect. Faidutti wonders aloud why he is willing to accept e-books and digital games but not digital board games. For what it’s worth, I’m with him. I used to be an avid defender of the “smell and touch” theory of physical books, but after reading The Brothers Karamazov on a device that is no larger than a mass market paperback, I am almost completely converted–if all things are equal, I prefer a digital book to a dead-tree one. Yet I don’t much care for board game ports to a digital environment. In that case I really do miss the tactile nature of the game.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Eminent Domain: Escalation review, Medieval Mastery review, Rogue Agent review, Flick Wars previewLots of great stuff coming this week too. Keep slaying!


Kickstarters of Note

  • Heavy Steam: This is a minis game set in a steampunk world, but it looks surprisingly Euroy. It’s intriguing, to say the least. $75.
  • Eggs and Empires: A new trick-taking game from the designers of Fleet (our review). This looks like Libertalia distilled. The wonky theme is throwing me, but the game looks decent and the theme might be okay for you. $16.
  • Flick Wars: Flick Wars is the newest Kickstarter from Print & Play Productions. It looks like Ascending Empires (which won our Game of the Year award for 2011) with a much shorter playtime. Check out our preview here. $35.
  • Pull!: A trick-taking card game about trap shooting? Looks like a decent game, and this is the kind of project Kickstarter was made for. $16.
  • Yardmaster: The hype train has been going full-steam on this 2014 Ion Award winner, and I can’t sort out whether it would be fun or too simple. In any case, if you’re looking for a family card game, you could probably do worse than this, and I love the art. $15.
  • I Say, Holmes!: This is Victory Point Games’ first Kickstarter project, and the game looks really cool–a storytelling deduction game set in the world of Sherlock Holmes. The game comes with some neat upgrades, including an across-the-board increase in card quality. $35.
  • Evolution: This campaign is for North Star Games’ first strategy game for gamers, and it’s a revamp of an older design. (We reviewed the old version, but the new one looks nothing like it.) The art looks great, and the gameplay looks interesting. $50.

What We’ve Been Playing

  • Glory to Rome: I got in my first game of Glory to Rome for 2014 this week. We had four players at the table, and I took a building-heavy approach (after completing my Scriptorium, which let me finish any building by adding a marble material to it, early). It looked like I was going to ride this all the way to the end until one opponent began filling his vault with some well-placed merchant-enhancing buildings. But the player who won it all took a balanced approach, yet his win is not without controversy. The building that game him at least nine of his points in a single turn (enough to catapult him to first place over his other opponents) was from the Imperium card set, and we were playing Republic. Hard to say who really would have won, but hey, the game is fun regardless. I need to play this one more, since once you know how to play, it is so smooth. Just fantastic. (FarmerLenny)
  • Eldritch Horror: After Arkham Horror has started to burn out on my group due to it’s extensive playtime, my cthlulu-obsessed buddy picked up Eldritch Horror and we managed to fit in another play this weekend. While the two games (Arkham and Eldritch) are similiar and you could argue complementary, in my opinion Eldritch is a vastly superior design. It streamlines so much of the clunkiness of it’s older brother and adds a lot of exciting mechanisms to keep all the nasty, nasty stuff that happens to you exciting. In our game, half a dozen adventures went insane or bit the bullet; one of my characters got murdered by thugs when they came to collect on a debt I had picked up earlier.  Still, we were working our way through the last of 3 mysteries we needed to solve when Cthulhu awoke.  It didn’t take long for all of us to lose our sanity to the immense darkness we faced, but what finally did us in? A Dark Pact made by one of the players earlier in the game to gain a bonus came back to haunt him, and resulted in him being devoured.  As he was the last man standing, the game… and the entire world… was lost. But we had a good ol’ time doing it. Expect a review soon. (futurewolfie)

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

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