Things may slow down around here as we prepare to celebrate Christmas with our families but the Village Square has never been busier!
Dragon Slayer Roundup
Games On Our Table
Spellcaster – I’ve been looking forward to this quick tactical card game from RnR Games ever since my Essen preview. My initial reaction from reading the rules was that it reminded me a lot of Star Realms and should appeal to the same crowd. After finally playing it I’m holding to my initial assessment and think Spellcaster has the potential to be a big hit for the same reasons as Star Realms (quick, cheap, compact). It’s amazing how many tough decisions Spellcaster is able to cram into such a short play time. The really innovative elements is the shared tableau that only allows for one card to be active from each type (color) of magic. Like any good tableau builder this is a lot of synergy between the cards but in order to pull off combos you’ll need more than the two actions you get per turn. This means you’ll need to broadcast part of your strategy and see how your opponent reacts to it before you can attempt to execute it. Fortunately a lot of the cards are reactive in nature and reinforce the back and forth nature of the game. This also adds in a natural catch-up mechanic that nicely balances draw luck with stalling out games. So far I’ve played 8 games in total and have been very impressed with what Spellcaster has to offer!
Lagoon – This game took most of the first play to wrap my mind around. It’s that the actions are all that complicated but the strategy itself is quite unintuitive at first. The board expands as you explore new tiles and then eventually you’ll be tearing it apart in order to work towards the end of game scoring. The tricky part is that the scoring is conditional based on which color there is the most of left on the board when the game ends. The strategy in Lagoon deals with manipulating the board and the position of your druids. I’d like to give Lagoon another try before I decide how I feel about it. I generally like the strategy in my games to be little bit more intuitive and can’t tell whether the decisions will be natural once you get past the learning curve.
Among The Stars – I’ve wanted to try Among The Stars for a long time, basically since it was released. I finally got the chance to play it last week and was very impressed with the spatial element that it brings to drafting. I was particularly impressed with how well the 2-player game played.
Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age – I planned to try this one out solo before I taught it to someone to ensure that I had all the rules down but I had a friend over that wanted to try it out so we gave it a shot. I enjoyed the original game (The Bronze Age) but after several games found that it didn’t offer as many meaningful decision as I would have liked. The Iron Age seems to make several improvements by simplifying goods and giving players more choices for how to spend their resources. I’m planning to play some solo games in the next couple of weeks to see whether this iteration can stand up better to repeated plays. My initial expectation is that it will.
Twilight Imperium (3rd Edition) – Twilight Imperium is probably my favorite game. I think I’ve gotten more hours of enjoyment out of this single game than any other game in my collection. Of course this is in large part due to the 8-to-12 hour duration of a single game, since I only get to play it a couple times a year. However, I’ve also spent plenty of time outside of actual gameplay studying rules and FAQs (for my enjoyment), and creating tools to assist in gameplay and organization of the box.
This past saturday I was as happy as a clam at high tide to get another game of Twilight Imperium out on the table, the first since my beautiful baby daughter was born. And oh, what a doozy…
— Continued in the detailed Session Report —