News Bits: 10/14/2013


This week’s NEWS:

Terra Mystica, Le Havre: Inland Port win International Gamers Awards [Link] The International Gamers Awards focus on gamer games rather than the Spiel des Jahres’ (and to some extent the Kennerspiel des Jahres’) more family-oriented games. And the results look like two big wins for Z-Man Games in the US. I know supply problems have hampered the first, and I’ve not played either. Anyone have any thoughts on these winners?

La Mame Games announces Coup: Reformation for Spiel 2013 [Link] Apparently I was too quick in ditching my original copy of Coup (which I love–I Kickstarted the new edition from Indie Boards & Cards), since this expansion will only work with the original art. I like the team rules in this one (with players declaring not only what their character is but whether they are Protestant or Catholic), and it seems like it’d add even more fun to the original. Maybe it will find its way into the updated setting…?

El Grande reprint in the works with Hans im Gluck, Z-Man Games [Link] I didn’t realize how fortunate I was to purchase the Decennial Edition of El Grande. I did so shortly before it went out of print. And it was fortunate, because El Grande is fantastic (arguably my favorite game). Now those vultures who have been seeking my copy in trade on BGG will have a new target to stalk. (Okay, no one has tried to steal my copy; I just clutch it a little tighter at game nights and such.)

Mechanics & Meeples posts Anatomy of a Train Game, part 3: Stocks [Link] Stock games are some of my favorite. Acquire is certainly one of my favorites in this area, but the “train game” I love to play that has at least two of M&M’s elements (route building and stocks) is Airlines Europe (Alan Moon’s rework of his own Union Pacific).

Bangor Daily News features Flip the Table podcast [Link] I’ll be honest: I’ve not listened yet to Flip the Table. (I don’t really listen to podcasts, at least during ordinary time, when I’m not doing house remodeling work.) But! I follow them on Twitter, and they are knowledgeable and hilarious. This is a nice write-up about them.

Tom Vasel (The Dice Tower) talks about consistency in blogging [Link] This segment is part of The Dice Tower News (starts at 13:57), but Tom gets at something that is incredibly hard about running a review blog: consistency. I’ve read about many people who want to get into reviewing because of the prospect of free stuff, but if that’s the only gas you’ve got, you’re going to run out of fuel quickly. Because here’s the reality: free stuff either doesn’t come or comes too much at once, and when deadlines for reviews loom, it’s not always fun to play the game you have to play instead of the game you want to play. But Tom is right on: discipline is often what’s required to keep consistency. If you’re considering getting into blogging or making review videos, take Tom’s advice to heart.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Gunship: First Strike review, Fortress America review, 7-Card Slugfest review, Futurewolfie’s game design progress] Some good stuff last week, including a two-view review of Fortress America. This week will see reviews of Bruges, Fleet, and Gravwell, as well as a new entry in our Guide to Gaming. Keep slaying!

Kickstarters of Note

  • Drive Thru Review Gen Con 2014 coverage: Joel Eddy of Drive Thru Review is one of a very few video reviewers I watch–and watch regularly. He does great work, and he’s raising money now to prepare for Gen Con 2014. Various pledge levels.
  • Marrying Mr. Darcy: I’m a sucker for games set in literary themes. This one (as the name implies) takes place in Pride & Prejudice, and it has charming artwork to match. $30.
  • The Uncommons board game cafe: This is to help a board game cafe get going in New York City. Various.
  • Castle Rising: This looks like an interesting economic game that’s seeking funding on Kickstarter. The art style is a little dark for my style, but that’s okay. 26 GBP.
  • Ninja Dice: Just about every theme has its own dice game. Well, now ninjas will. Really cool packaging on this one. $25.
  • Keep the Crown: This looks like a fun abstract (and Jason previewed it here). $40.
  • Star Realms: This is a deck-builder with player vs. player combat (think a deck-builder that’s similar to Magic: The Gathering). It’s also by one of the designers of Ascension, and it has gorgeous art. $25 for a two-player set.
  • 2014 gaming calendar: I don’t really use a printed wall calendar, but if I did, this would be the one to get. The photos included in it are gorgeous. $25.
  • Emu Ranchers (app): This is an app version of a game based on the Decktet system. We’ll have a preview up soon, but it looks like the development on this will be used as a toolkit to help port other games to mobile devices. Various levels.
  • Pandante: This is a new Poker-inspired game from David Sirlin (Yomi, Puzzle Strike). It has pandas, lying, and special powers. $35 (or $300 for the super fancy version).

What We’ve Been Playing

  • Settlers of Catan: I hadn’t played this game for two and a half years, but we had dinner with some friends who suggested that we play. Honestly, I’m not sure why I don’t play this game more often. The game ran very smoothly, and it was fun to talk over the game. There were plenty of groan-inducing moments (like rolling the 2 over and over again, and my wife being the victim of the robber time after time). I had trouble sourcing brick in this game (having foolishly placed my settlements far away from any brick regions), but I went for a heavy stone and wheat strategy, and thanks to some fortuitous rolls, I was able to build cities and trade stone and wheat for bricks (mostly with the bank), which allowed some modest expansion. Lots of knight development cards got me the largest army, and the game. I hope it doesn’t take another two years to play again. (FarmerLenny)
  • Bruges: I got in some more plays of Bruges, the newish game from Stefan Feld, this week. The games were very close, but in one of them, I pulled out my first-ever legitimate win at a Stefan Feld game! (I once won a game of Rialto, but we got a rule royally wrong, which I exploited to maximum advantage.) Bruges is a fairly brutal game, where players are thrown again and again into less-than-ideal situations, but I keep coming back for more because I like the tense decisions of the game. Expect a full review this week. (FarmerLenny)
  • Click Clack Lumberjack: My book club met this Friday, and after our discussion, one member of the group suggested that we play Click Clack Lumberjack. (He’s also a member of my Friday lunch games group at work.) I’m never one to turn down a game, so we brought it out. We were planning to play once, but we ended up playing three times–and the third game was the most intense game I’ve played yet. The first two games were won handily by the only newbie at the table (we joked that she had a tournament-ready gold-plated set at home, that’s how well she was playing); the third game lasted a while because we were all playing smartly. After the former champion knocked down most of the tree trunk in an ill-fated bid for bark, my wife was able to clinch the win. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this game is great. It’s stupid, silly fun, but it is fun indeed. (FarmerLenny)

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

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