It’s December and that means end of the year recap season. Get ready for some lists, musing on this year’s releases, and how they compared to other years. Last week was a bit quite due to some sort of American holiday. Since I live in America I wasn’t around town much, I wonder if anyone showed up at The Village Square?
Community Talk[fifth width=”30px”]–[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWRRRR!!!!![/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”100px”][/fifth] [full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”]–[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]…[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”100px”][/fifth] [full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”]–[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Where is everyone? I brought this guy back.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”100px”][/fifth] [full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”70px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Sorry Kenith, everyone’s at home. Here’s the town log if you want to read about what happened this week.[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full] –[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Friend and fellow designer Kyle Van Winkle asked me if I’d ever written about a moment where I thought I had a killer idea or mechanic, only to find someone else has already done it. The answer, is that I’ve been in that situation, but I hadn’t written about it.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]
So this week you are going to tell us why to make Custom Dice? Isn’t it obvious? Because they are cool.
That is certainly a factor in why to have custom dice in your game. But there are some fundamental things that custom dice allow you to do that you can’t do with a traditional die.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]
MVP Boardgames[/fifth][full][/full] –[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Emotion plays an interesting role in game design. On the one hand, people tend to do their best work when they are excited and passionate. On the other hand, strong feelings of pride and attachment can cloud your judgment, make it difficult to empathize with others, and ultimately lead to an inferior game.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]
Nothing Sacred Games[/fifth]
In late 2011 I tried again, making a time travel themed deckbuilding game. It went over well; I think everyone liked it but me and ace playtester Mark Levine. I felt like it had two pieces that were both good but which didn’t work well together. The move was to break it up into two games: a deckbuilding game, and a time travel game. And the time travel game was easier so I made that one first.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]
Donald X. Vaccarino
Board Game Geek[/fifth]
Dragon Slayer Roundup[fifth width=”140px”]–[/fifth] [third]
Games On Our Table
Biblios – This weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving with my wife’s family and I brought along a bag of games for the occasion. Biblios is one of my brother-in-laws’ favorite games so it was an obvious choice to start with. We started up a three player game and ended up playing 6 games in a row. The following night we played another 5 times. Biblios is probably my favorite filler and it manages to pack a lot of interesting decisions into a very short period of time.
Take It Easy! – This is my all time most played family game by far. It has all the great elements that make it easy to teach and accessible with a good dose of luck to keep everyone engaged. My three year old daughter even helped me call out the pieces during one of the games. I’m looking forward to the day when she can join us for her very first game.
Blockers – This is the most recent addition to my family game collection and I’ve really enjoyed playing. Think Scrabble meets Blokus. Each player tries to play their tiles to the board forming the fewest groups possible but the board fills up fast. I like playing with the full 5 player count to keep things nice and crowded.
X-Wing Minis – It was Black Friday at my local game store, and I managed to snag an E-Wing and a TIE Phantom on the cheap. Of course we immediately had to head home and put it into play, so we did. With a 150-pt build I had a squadron of TIE fighters on one flank and the Firespray with the TIE Phantom on the other. My opponent chose to ion-turret-loaded Y-Wings with an A-Wing and a missile-loaded E-Wing. It was quite the dogfight, with my tie fighters taking out his A-Wing in the first round of combat. My Phantom was dodging willy-nilly around the board, using the decloak action to avoid obstacles when he got hit by the Ion turrets. Eventually I whittled his forces but I only had a damaged Firespray and one TIE left when I finally achieved victory.
Hanabi – Hanabi is a great game that my wife and I love to play together, although we’ve played less since becoming parents. But over thanksgiving we had a chance to play, and it turns out that perhaps sleep deprivation doesn’t help so much in winning. After a shoddy 18-pt game, I said we should try again later. We did… and scored 18 points again thanks to some unfortunate early discards. Okay, one more game ought to do it since we just needed to get back into the swing of things, right? Sadly, our final game netted us only 15 points. Sheesh.
Ca$h & Guns – Given the holiday weekend I had some people over for games and got more than I expected. So we played Ca$h & Guns and this time used the special role cards. The roles were fun, although some of them were a bit confusingly worded and I’m still not sure we played it right. Anyways, for some reason I kept being a target despite my limited number of cards, and I was killed off in the 5th round or so. Would be interested in playing with the roles more, they’re not too complex and they just add a little twist to the action. I think we’ll start to see a lot more discussion and arguing over who people should shoot at as we play more – and probably more bluffing (ie, “I’m going to shoot Josh this time, guys,” then play a Click card) which will ultimately make the game more exciting!
Tiny Epic Kingdoms – After a few players had to leave early, we pulled out this nugget for another foray into fantasy micro-kingdom building. I still wish the races and landscapes featured were actual tiny things instead of just… being in a small box, but oh well. Since we had some experience playing, the game moved along much more quickly, which is definitely the way to maximize the fun – it’s a little dry to sustain long periods of analysis. It’s not a bad game, but I try not to think of it as a 4X. It’s better that way. The game ended with a 3-way tie at 14 pts, and though I made it through the first tiebreaker round this time, I lost thanks to the fact that i only had a few meeples on the board. Expect a review of this game in the next few weeks!
Sheriff of Nottingham – This popular game has been shouted from the rooftops in the past few weeks so I was eager to give it a try. It doesn’t exactly fit in with the types of games I normally enjoy, but it looked all right, and I had high hopes. And I was NOT disappointed. Like For Sale is auctioning distilled down to it’s most basic form, and Coup does the same for Bluffing, SoN takes bribery and puts it front and center with no distractions. The rules are very simple and easy to explain, and the game gives a TON of wiggle room to both the players and the sheriff in regards to bribing and bluffery. Don’t have an honest set of cards? No problem, you can bluff – and if that doesn’t work, you can try to pay off the Sheriff. The nice thing is that you can almost always make it worth the Sheriff’s while to let you pass, while still making money on your side of things. Also, you always get to keep the stuff you declare legally even if you had other contraband, so there’s a lot of motivation to stuff your bag full of contraband. The real excitement comes from the interaction from other players – sure you can always bribe the sheriff, but the other players might bribe him or her to inspect you, so you’re never sure to get past. I’m looking forward to future plays, and trying this one out with my family.