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Eggs and Endorphins

Recent games

7/7/14 01:37 pm - Recent games

I went to Dexcon this past weekend. It was a lot of fun, and I tried 3+1/2 new games (at least), 2+1/2 at least I really liked (I enjoyed Automobile and would play it again, but economic games are hardly novel to me at this point).

Scoundrels of Skullport: I like Lords of Waterdeep, though it's hardly a serious worker placement game (due to the high variance on the Intrigue and Quest cards, there's a lot of randomness there). But Scoundrels makes it a much better game, IMO -- the new buildings generally give more to everyone, so everyone can do a bit more (which makes extra actions slightly less critical, and also makes the expensive plot quests from the original game more worthwhile overall). It also dilutes the obligatory mandatory quests with more "help everyone" Intrigue cards--and provides more ways to play Intrigue cards than the very limited Waterdeep. (it also provides more ways for people to dig themselves into a very deep hole, but then that's the nature of in-game decisions). The addition of 40 point quests makes quest and resource depth a lot more interesting, overall, and I liked the game a fair bit running on a "wealth" model rather than a "scarcity" one (for various reasons, I ended up spending most of the game with far more Thieves and Warriors than I could use, which was a refreshing change).

Thebes came out in 2007, but was new to me. It uses a lovely time track mechanic (plus a great theme; love the archeology); the same one used in Village, but the game itself is very different, as you run around Europe learning about the old world, lecturing, and picking up extras like shovels, research assistants, and cars, then head for the old world and decide how much time you want to waste spend digging up dirt (and the occasional artifact). Then head back to Europe for more lecturing (if you're lucky), and if you found the good stuff and people are still interested, putting on shows of what you've found. The classic approach seems to be to max out your knowledge, then put in time on a few good digs so you get lots of artifacts, but I managed to more than squeak out a win by doing a lot of lecuring (lectures use trianular numbers, so 6 lectures got me 21 points), developing a really good shovel, and randomly digging for a week or three each at every single site to see what appeared when I pulled 3 or four tiles.

Bora Bora I actually learned back in Feburary, but I liked it then, and just ordered it; it's a worker placement+action economy game (more or less) with some interesting action mechanics, as you can take multiple men and women into your village, but only one type of male action and one type of female action can be used (in addition to your workers) in any given turn.

Also, there's Trajan. Trajan isn't worker placement, exactly -- it's an action economy game where the central mechanic is mancala, as you make moves on your personal mancala circle that determine determine what action you take, move the global time track forward (so a big pit can let you control the pace of the game -- or force you to end the turn when you'd rather let it continue for a while), as well as letting you qualify for bonus tiles.

Finally, there's Andromeda, which I tried out after Lisa's game last Saturday in June). I'd seen this a few times, but never tried it; it's good! It's a meld-making game where you build up material on various planets and use it to try to take stations near those planets by earning a certain number of pulls via a lotery system -- all your pieces pulled get to occupy one of the three stations near the planet, while all opponent's pieces pulled result in them being sent back to earth (so no station for you, but less competition next time). It was really fun, and choosing to save special cards for endgame vs spending them, and making early points vs using melds to develop, all felt like real choices.

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