Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Touch of Essen and a Dash of Miscellaneous


I know I’m a little late with comments about Essen since that was a whole MONTH ago, but this is the first chance I’ve had to voice my thoughts so set your Wayback Machines to Oct. 25th.

Sitting in my quiet home in South Dakota reading the Essen reports and GeekLists felt a little like 4 days of Christmas where I can only watch while others open their gifts. It was fun but I want something new and fun in MY hands. Instead I sit in the corner making a Wish List of goodies that I want while everyone else is playing with their new toys.

The top two to make my list caught my eye because of their Carcassonne-style of tile laying: Taluva and Gheos. They would have made my list for this reason alone unless the verdict on them had been a total thumbs-down but many good things have been said about them. They both start with the simple tile laying but their play is quite different from Carcassonne and each other, and there’s more direct attacking of your opponents than in simple Carcassonne. Don’t bother wrapping those; just stick a bow on them.

Another game that is a definite buy for me is Yspahan. I haven’t tried Ys or Mykerinos and I didn’t care for Caylus but the rules for this one just clicked for me. It sounds like a lighter game but with lots going on to give you several choices on your turn, and a touch of nastiness.

There are a few others that people have oh-ed and ah-ed over that I think my family would like: Mr. Jack: a little deduction combined with making the right moves. Is it too hard to win as Jack?

Der Dieb Von Bagdad: a light game but is it too light? From my experience with Queen games, it’s got a 50/50 chance of being a winner.

On The Underground: I like path/connection games but I’ve heard comments that it takes a lot of time to figure which path is the correct one for the tourist to take.

Die Baumeister Von Arkadia: this looks like a lot of fun and challenging but will constantly setting up the next player to benefit from your move leech the fun out of it?

I’m going to wait for some more people to try them before I put them on my Wish List.
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My game shelf is near to bursting so I’ve been thinking of weeding out some of them. This is a tough decision to make but most of us get to this place sooner or later. There are some great games in my collection but, sadly, they don’t appeal to my family and/or myself and will never get played. So they should go and make room for other games that WILL get played, right? Right. So I’ve added them to my For Trade/Sale list.

Kontor. An area majority game that I should by all right like but I don’t. The areas aren’t scored by a simple majority but by the difference between them. I had a hard time dealing with that twist for some reason and it sucked the fun out of it for me.

Acquire. I got this in a trade because of all the people who say it’s a wonderful game but I cannot get myself to put it on the table and play it. I read the rules and think, “meh” and put it back on the shelf.

Medina. I enjoyed this a few times when my daughter and I played the 2-player variant but it wore out its welcome very soon. There are other games I’d rather be playing than this game of chicken.

Tikal. I know. How can I not like Tikal? To me, there are just way too many options and too many Action Points to spend. This makes for a very analytical turn as you plan all the ways you can spend your points and drags the game down to a crawl.

Tigris & Euphrates. Again, I hear many groans. But I’ve played this online many, many times and have finally concluded that I’m never going to “get it”. This leads me to feel frustrated and who needs that?

Whew! That’s enough weeding for one day. Mustn’t overdo.
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I’m not really much on bidding games so I’ve steered clear of Ra but a recent computer version by Gabriel Rocklin (Snapper) has given me the chance to try it out. I was very surprised to find that I really like it.

“Why,” I ask myself. Why is this one fun when it’s nothing but auctions? The answer seems to be that it doesn’t take several plays to understand the worth of what you’re bidding on or how important it’s likely to be to another player. At its heart is a set-collection game where you’re not going to be able to collect everything you’d like so you have to decide on a balance between losing points and gaining them. The disasters add another dimension to this decision which seems vitally important to the whole game.

I persuaded (forced) my husband to watch a game as I played, explaining as I went, and he ended up getting into it, offering advice and pointing out the pros and cons of a set of tiles to be auctioned. Oh, joy! He likes it, too. Guess it goes on the To Buy list.
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I received my copy of Die Macher in perfect condition even though the shipping box had a 5-inch crunch on one corner. The quality of the components isn’t bad; not top notch but better than many. My one main complaint is in the graphics chosen for the Policy/Opinion cards. I would have liked them all to have one simple icon like the Genetic Engineering tomato or the nest egg representing Social Security rather than the tiny detailed drawings on several of them. We had a hard time with two of them especially: Economic Redevelopment and Nuclear Power Development.

The game itself is amazing. It totally immerses you in the theme of controlling a political party during a heated election. I especially like the Media control which gives you some control over public opinion and let’s you ignore opinion polls that would hurt you. All of your actions blend together and intertwine, making for tough, important decisions every step of the way.

I’ve only gotten to play one 3-player game and I know it’ll be much more competitive with more players, but we all had a great time and were amazed at how smoothly this complex game actually plays. The only real drawback to this game is the length of time it takes to play it; not because it seems to drag on but because that means there’s 3 or 4 other games that I’m not playing. And you know what we gamers say…

So many games and so little time.
Mary

3 comments:

Gerald McD said...

Interesting lists, Mary. Good luck on freeing-up and re-filling the game shelves. It's tough to get rid of good games, even if they don't get played. I've been through the process, and survived it, but I still have some games that I just couldn't part with, for nostalgia's sake.

Scott said...

Mary, you may have just done a great thing (at least according to my wife)! I've done some minor weeding, but never put any icons in the trade pile. You (may) have given me license to do just that with E&T and Tikal. I just have to decide that the incredulous, "You don't have that?!?!" exclamations won't bother me. For a while in late 80's early 90's, I had a goal to own every game. I've become more realistic, so it's time to stop saving games just because they should be in any "real" game collection.

Scott said...

Mary, you may have just done a great thing (at least according to my wife)! I've done some minor weeding, but never put any icons in the trade pile. You (may) have given me license to do just that with E&T and Tikal. I just have to decide that the incredulous, "You don't have that?!?!" exclamations won't bother me. For a while in late 80's early 90's, I had a goal to own every game. I've become more realistic, so it's time to stop saving games just because they should be in any "real" game collection.