The Village Square: January 19, 2015



We’re well into the new year and hopefully everyone is having success with their gaming resolutions. My resolution as always was to enjoy playing games in whatever form that takes – the latest hotness or a treasured classic. Time to head into town to hear what everyone else is chatting about.


Community Talk

[fifth width=”60px”]Portrait - Andrew[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]It seems the adventures are busy preparing for the upcoming Dragon’s Peak, we’ll have to let the community talk for itself this week. Hopefully we’ll have our usual colorful characters joining us around here next week.[/plain][/three_quarters][full][/full] [full][/full]

You’re Playing Wrong (League of Gamemakers)

[fifth width=”80px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Sometimes, while playing a game, you find yourself in a very bad spot. Perhaps you find yourself bankrupt, dead, or otherwise out of the game altogether. Or worse, you’re NOT out of the game, but you cannot make any progress! You sit there helpless watching your friends having a great time… Is it the designer’s responsibility to ensure bad play doesn’t ruin a player’s enjoyment of a game?[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”10px”][/fifth][fifth width=”50px”]Community (Avatar) - League of Gamemakers[/fifth][full][/full]

Visiting Old Friends (Boardgames That Tell Stories)

[fifth width=”80px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]So last weekend we did with Merry something extraordinary. We closed (literally!) all those new ‘to-play‘ games in a closet and we decided we won’t open it for a few days. Then we took old games from shelf. Those with dust on them. Those we love and we had no time to play for a long time.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”10px”][/fifth][fifth width=”50px”]Community (Avatar) - Board Games That Tell Stories[/fifth][full][/full]

Trade Mechanic Equilibrium (Dr. Wictz)

[fifth width=”80px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Ever reach a point in a trading game when players no longer trade?  That dreadful part of Monopoly where all the properties are traded into monopolies and all there is left to do is to chuck dice until someone wins the game.

Why do trade games freeze?  Trade games freeze because players no longer have any trades that make both parties better off.  When I engage in a trade both the person I trade with and myself are better off from the trade.  But, it is possible that there are a limited number of transactions within a game where that is true.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”10px”][/fifth][fifth width=”50px”]Community (Avatar) - Dr Wictz 2[/fifth][full][/full]

Designer Intent (Giant Fire Breathing Robot)

[fifth width=”80px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]In the board game world, there is somewhat of a philosophical debate about rules interpretation. Specifically, what if the rules say one thing, but the designer insists that he meant the rule to operate differently?[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”10px”][/fifth][fifth width=”50px”]Community (Avatar) - Giant Fire Breathing Robot[/fifth][full][/full]

On Controversial Themes (The Political GAmer)

[fifth width=”80px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Since I wrote my post about the morality of war games, and game themes more generally, I got lots of interesting responses with people’s perspectives about why the like certain games with problematic themes or other games they won’t play. I also came across a number of very interesting pieces on the topic… one was an interview with famed designer Bruno Faidutti on the most excellent podcast Ludology.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”10px”][/fifth][fifth width=”50px”]Community (Avatar) - The Political Gamer[/fifth][full][/full]

Game Nite Issue #1 (Game Nite Magazine)

[fifth width=”80px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]The first issue of Game Nite magazine is officially available today – and it is FREE! Visit to read online or to download as a High Quality PDF![/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”10px”][/fifth][fifth width=”50px”]Community (Avatar) - Game Nite[/fifth][full][/full]


Dragon Slayer Roundup

[fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][fifth width=”70px”]Portrait - Jason[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]The Kingswood - Thumb Preview: The Kingswood[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][fifth width=”70px”]Portrait - Andrew[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Artificium - Thumb Review: Artificium

Article: Four Years of Games[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][fifth width=”70px”]Portrait - Jennifer[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]NanoBot - Thumb ReviewNanoBot Battle Arena[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][fifth width=”70px”]Portrait - Meghan[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Robinson Crusoe - Thumb Review: Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full]


Games On Our Table

Portrait - Andrew Andrew’s Plays

Play 2014-Jan-19 - Imperial SettlersImperial Settlers – After not getting a chance to try this out in my game group I finally caved and got it for Christmas. I likewise hadn’t played 51st State despite many recommendations so this is my attempt to make up for that. I’m glad I took the chance because this is one of the best engine building card driven game I’ve played. It’s incredibly smooth, offers plenty of decisions about how and what order to play your cards, and plays great with 2. What separates this game from all the other tableau builders is the asymmetrical play based around your personal faction/deck. So far I’m incredibly impressed and hope Imperial Settlers will become a staple 2-player game in my collection.

During the game I tweeted out the shown picture of me playing the game and Ignacy himself chimed in with his gameplay advice! I love when designers are excited to see you playing their games and Ignacy is one of the most active and friendly that I’ve run into. So apparently if you’re stuck in Imperial Settlers you simply need to tweet @trzewik a picture and wait for some expert advice. Just make sure your opponents aren’t following you!

Play 2014-Jan-19 - Lords of Xidit 2Play 2014-Jan-19 - Lords of XiditLords of Xidit – I’ve only played Xidit a couple times since binge teaching it at Gen Con and it continues to hold up very well. I think a big part of this is due to being more forgiving and thus less polarizing than other programming games like RoboRally. I felt a little bad for crushing everyone but they still had fun so apparently not that bad.

Play 2014-Jan-19 - RTtA Iron Age 2Play 2014-Jan-19 - RTtA Iron AgeRoll Through the Ages: The Iron Age – I’ve finally gotten enough plays in to get used to the Province vs Port strategies. This has some lengthy debate about whether they are balanced, especially in the full game. We ended up playing a short game since that’s all the time we had but it’s an excellent way to teach. What made this game particularly memorable was witnessing my very first Invasion pictured on the right. It was rolled by a port player and absolutely crushed him. I love that Province players often want to roll disasters as part of their strategy. I finished of the day by playing two solo games and am looking forward to many more!


Portrait - Wolfie FutureWolfie’s Plays

Hyperborea - ThumbHyperborea – Okay, these are actually plays from over a week ago but people asked for my thoughts on them. Hyperborea hit the table for the first time (for me) since Gencon.  I know I’ve lauded the game on twitter so I wasn’t sure if this would be as enjoyable the next time around.  Fortunately it was. Hyperborea uses an ingenious “bag-building” mechanism, where you draw cubes from your personal bag and place on a board to unlock actions.  Certain cube colors relate to specific types of actions (ie, red for combat, green for movement, blue for science) so adding more of those colors to your bag makes you more efficient at unlocking those sorts of actions.  Then you have a big ol’ hex grid to explore with ruins and cities that unlock additional actions, and you can chain all this stuff together in a single turn to do some pretty epic stuff. You can also focus more on the board with your armies or on your tech or economic production, and while you can interact, attack, and invade other player’s territories, you can almost play the entire game off the board if you wish. It’s good balance of euro mechanisms with thematic heart (although not as thematic as, say, Twilight Imperium), and it always feels epic. We need a full review of this posted soon.

Deus - CoverDeus – I feel like there’s a new genre of games swelling up like ocean waters. I call it “Euro dudes on a map.” It’s kinda like dudes-on-a-map but instead of tactics and dice rolling and destruction, you have some sort of euro-style mechanism to expand and maybe conquer. Hyperborea gives you bags on a cube, Deus gives you cards and a wonky activation mechanims.  Basically, in Deus you have a choice between playing a card to build a building – which then activates every building action of the same type in order from first-to-last built, OR you can discard cards (“sacrifice to the gods”) to get some free resources or cash or cards, and also restock some of your building supply. Whenever you build a building, though, you have to place it on the board, which is basically a hex-grid although the spaces are technically cir- well, no they’re actually teardrop shaped. Odd, right? Anyways, the turn structure is dead simple, but you have to figure out not only what buildings to place, but where to place them, and when.  After all, you can only build so many buildings of a single type, and you only activate them when you build a new one. It’s tricky to balance a focus on one type of building to get a long sequence of actions versus building a wide spread of buildings to have options but not quite a string of power. It’s a fun premise and easy to learn, but there seems to be some depth to explore. Onward to more plays! Perhaps you’ll convince me to like eurogames yet.

I love optimization and engine games with tableau builders and card driven ones being my favorite. This usually means medium-heavy euros and medium-light card games.

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