News Bits: 3/11/2013


News, news, news. Here it is:

The Wall Street Journal examines Days of Wonder [LinkThe Wall Street Journal ran a piece about Days of Wonder last week. It’s an interesting window into one of the giants of board gaming. It speaks of their intentionality behind releasing only one major game per year. Are board games mainstream now that they’ve appeared in the WSJ as well?

Bruno Faidutti talks Mascarade [Link] Micro deduction games are all the rage, with Love Letter and Coup being surprise convention hits in 2012. Mascarade falls in this line, but it looks even more interesting to me (and supports up to 13 players!). I will watch this one with great interest.

More Kickstarter advice from Stonemaier Games [Keeping it personal, Project updates] Last week I posted a link to Jamey Stegmaier’s launch-day advice. This week he posted two interesting follow-ups–one on making Kickstarter personal and another on what makes a good Kickstarter updates. I will say again that I appreciate Stegmaier’s sane approach to these topics. These are must-reads if you’re considering running your own Kickstarter campaign.

Play this, not that! [Link] Cracked ran an article on six board games that ruined it for everyone. Warning: Salty language ahead. Still, this was a good piece, and it recommends some alternatives for popular games that aren’t so popular in the hobby gaming world.

The Little Metal Dog Show interviews Antoine Bauza (7 Wonders, Takenoko) [Link] Another interview with Antoine Bauza.

Deck-building vs. solo play [LinkGeekInsight of Giant Fire Breathing Robot talks about the difference between building a deck for a customizable game and playing solo. He says he likes the one but not the other. I used to be a heavy CCGer, but I’ve since moved on. In my old age, building a deck outside of game time no longer excites me. I’d rather enjoy the game with friends and put it away once it’s over. I love Dominion (a straight deck-building game), but only because the deck-building happens “on the clock,” as it were. In contrast, I enjoy solo games, but only insofar as I view them as puzzles. They are not replacements for games with others, and once I feel like I’ve “solved” the puzzle, I move on to something else. 

Last week on the Dragon [News Bits, Zoneplex review, Hugs review, How do I make a great trade?] Some great stuff last week, including two reviews and another article in our Guide to Gaming series. Check it out if you missed it!

Kickstarters of Note
This week on Kickstarter:

  • Evil Intent: This game looks interesting. It failed its funding the first time (though the reason looks like the way-too-high goal), but it’s back with a vengeance and almost funded now. $45 gets you the game.
  • The Card Game of Oz: I love the artwork for this one. It looks a little like a CCG-type game, so it won’t be for everyone, but it does look like fun. $40.
  • Legacy: Forbidden Machines: This is the expansion to Legacy: Gears of Time, a time-traveling board game that was successfully funded on Kickstarter. I’ve not played the original, so this one isn’t really tempting me, but I know the game has its fans. $27 for the expansion.
  • Dungeon Roll: This game blew past its funding quickly. It’s a quick dice game with a fantasy theme from Tasty Minstrel Games. $15. (Friend of the Dragon BGJosh wrote a good preview here.)
  • Triassic Terror: Do we really need another board game about dinosaurs fighting to be the dominant species? The answer is yes, particularly if plastic dinosaurs are involved. This one’s expensive but looks great. $60.
  • Deadwood Studios: I’m so glad Jame Ernest is back at it. I played the original Deadwood many moons ago. This new edition looks great. $40

What I’m Playing
I was able to get together with some friends this week to play some games.

  • The Manhattan Project: The first time I played this game, I thought it was okay. We played with five, and I thought it had a lot of downtime. This week I tried the game with three, and this game is awesome. I think three is the sweet spot because there’s enough competition for placement to keep things interesting, but not so much competition to feel overwhelming and not so many players to have to wait so long for your turn. The game was tense, with all three players being within building one bomb for the win. If I hadn’t won on my turn, each of the other two players would have won on theirs. This was a phenomenal gaming experience, and I’ll be writing a review of the game soon.
  • Sunrise City: I played this over lunch with some guys from work. The rules are simple, but the game forces you to think in a different way through its odd (and very cool) scoring system. It took them a few turns to get into the flow of things, but they ended up tying for the win. (Alas, I was far behind.) This is a great game for which a review is also forthcoming.
  • Salmon Run: I previewed this game when it was on Kickstarter, and I got to play a prerelease copy of the finished product this week. I have to say, it is one of the most beautifully produced games I’ve seen, at least in terms of the cards. The cardstock is some of the best I’ve seen, and it just looks great. I was also able to try the game with more players, which was better than playing with two. I like the game, but I think the sweet spot will be for family gamers. It’s a game I’d love to play with my niece and nephew, but I probably wouldn’t play often with my gamer buddies.
  • Dominion: Dark Ages: I’ve played with Dark Ages a lot on Androminion, but I haven’t played in person much. We played a four-player game with lots of junk attacks, giving curses and ruins. Needless to say, the game was a slow, uphill battle. I had 14 points at game’s end and came in third place (I never drew enough money to buy a province–yeah, it was bad). Two guys tied for first with 24 points.
  • The Speicherstadt: I got this game in trade sometime in January, and I was able to get a second play in over lunch on Friday. (The game is a Euro game, pure and simple, and most of my friends like thematic games, so this doesn’t see much play.) The game was tense the whole way through and was just a phenomenal experience. I love the auction, where players determine the price for a card by piling their workers on and setting the demand. I know it’s fashionable to like Stefan Feld, but this game is a brilliant take on the auction game. He deserves mad props.

Unrelated Awesomeness of the Week
Phillip duBarry (Revolution!, Kingdom of Solomon) received his personal copy of his new game Courtier this week and celebrated by examining reviewers’ various (mis)pronunciations of the title. An examination of psychology, indeed!


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

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