Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hunger Games Jabberjay Review

Hunger Games Jabberjay the Card Game
Designed by Christopher Guild, Bryan Kinsella, Andrew Parks
Published by Wizkids
Players 2-12 players (2-4 is one game, 5-12 is another game using the same cards)
Playtime: ~20 minutes.

The best way to describe this is if Battlestar Galactica/The Resisantance and Werewolf/Mafia has a love child.  It's a pretty fun card game where you don't have to pay perfect attention to have a good time.

Just cards, but the cards are good quality, the art is well done, but the backs of different cards look a little too similar.  Meaning there can be a little bit of confusion when it comes to what's been played.  I would have liked a track to chart what a player's previous level was rather than just a card.  This would have raised production costs, but might have made for a better game.

Each player is dealt a card, either a capitol citizen or a district citizen.  The district citizens know each other, while the capitol citizens do not know each other.  Each turn, players are dealt 2 cards, one face up, the other face down.  They then play a card face down on another player of their choice.  Once you've played both cards, you shuffle the cards played on the player to your left for tracking purposes, and then look at your two cards.  You discard the lower numbered card, and the other is your new status.  Based on what your previous status was, different things can happen, revealing your loyalty, nothing, or being eliminated from the game.
I think the mechanics work pretty well.  They're not perfect, there's some luck, and maybe too many ways to get eliminated early, but it keeps things short.  I did only play with 6, and I think this version might be better with 8 or more, since then you get more than 2 district citizens.

There's some interesting interaction.  It helps if you're able to get a read on people, but so much of the game can be played randomly.  I feel that the district citizens can work well together, but the capitol citizens don't know anything to really help them, so they're just eliminating anyone they can.  There are too many cards being mixed about, that you don't know who's playing what, so it's very hard to get a read on someone.  I played one game as the capitol, and one as a district citizen.  Fortunately for me, my district partner was a skilled BSG player, and we kinda knew how to help each other.  He made sure to play something on me, to lessen what people could do to me, where as I tried to play cards that did nothing to him.  I like the interaction as a district citizen, but it's lacking as a capitol citizen.

I don't know Hunger Games, haven't read the books, haven't watched the movie yet.  I have a lot of friends who like the series, and they said that this card game does a good job of capturing the theme for a card game.  There could be better incorporation, but it's hard to do in a card game aimed to be simple.

Learning Curve
Short.  We made a few mistakes the first time through, but everyone knew what was going on after 3 rounds or so.  This easily becomes a party game, or a game for a group of gamers and Hunger Games fans alike.

Why I like Jabberjay
The game is quick. Most choices are easy, and it's got a light fun feel to it, which was perfect for the game group.

Why I don't like Jabberjay
There aren't a lot of meaningful choices, and there's a bit too much luck.  Other players can take you out of the game very quickly, and there's no defense.  Knowing this you have to act quickly and decisively.

I wouldn't want to play Jabberjay 10 times in a night, but it's something I can see playing in those large groups when we want a fun team game.

I like Jabberjay.  I don't love it, but I think it's a fun game.  The theme doesn't do much for me, but it doesn't hurt either.  It's a fun deduction game, even if all the actions aren't trackable.  Only more plays will tell the true test, but the game is quick, and people seem to have fun with it, so that's a win in my book, and not bad for a game that costs <$10.

I'm going to add in photos in the next few days, but I wanted to get this review out quickly.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

SORRY! Well, not really, but it's the name of the game.

Today, we're talking about the classic game Sorry.  For those of you who don't know the game, here's a brief rundown.  Each player has 4 pawns that start in a safe start area.  You have to play a 1 or 2 to get a pawn out.  Then your goal is to get each of your pawns to your own home area, which consists of going through almost every spot on the board.

There's a lot of luck in Sorry, as you've come to expect from most mainstream games.  Sorry comes down to draw a card, play a card, so there's not much strategy for most of the game.  One change I've seen that allows for a great deal of strategy is to have players maintain a 5 card hand.  That way they can choose when to play a Sorry! card, when to pull their pawns out of start, and when to simply move.  It's not a perfect change, but it's a good one.

I still enjoy Sorry, especially when I play with the 5 card hand rule.  It's a game as written that I can play with young kids, and as they get older, I'd add in the hand element to teach them some strategy.  It's fun moving pawns over the board, and oddly satisfying to get a Sorry! card at that key moment.

Sure, Sorry isn't the most grueling mental exercise, but as a way to pass time with every player having an equal chance to win, it's a pretty good game.

While we're on the topic of Sorry, let me bring up Sorry Sliders.  Sorry Sliders is a dexterity game that happens to use the Sorry name for recognition.  Some of the rules do translate, such as having 4 pawns at start which you are trying to get home, but the game is all about sliding these cool pawns that have a ball-bearing in them to slide along the track.  Once again, it's not a complex game, but still a lot of fun to be had by players of all ages.

On a personal note, I haven't been playing many games lately, my gaming family has been fairly busy, but to that end, I'll be in Santa Barbara this weekend, and have Friday night and all day Saturday scheduled for game playing, so look for a post on that either as I'm playing or in the days following.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Going Cardboard: A Documentary Micro Review

Boardgamegeek is down for maintenance as I write this, thus you get my random musings for a bit.

Let me start by saying that I am not a film critic, nor am I very good with documentaries, but this one begs for the BoBG audience.

I recently received Going Cardboard, a boardgame documentary.  I watched it last night and rather enjoyed it.   Lorien Green conceived the idea and over the course of a few years, many hours of film, and a lot of interviews, she had a full fledged documentary.  This documentary focuses a fair bit on game design with input from Donald X. Vaccarino of Dominion fame, Alan R. Moon best known for Ticket to Ride and Incan Gold, as well as Reiner Knizia who has published many, many games.  Each designer speaks of their experiences getting published, learning the market, and running things as a businessman.  Jay Tummleson, the President of Rio Grande Games, talks a lot about the production aspect of the game industry.  I personally enjoyed the bit about naming his company, and then what he looks for in bringing a game over from Germany, as well as other game designs.

Another fun aspect of the documentary was different people talking about their game collections.  It's scary to think that 200-500 games is considered a modest collection. For the record, mine hovers around 80 games not counting expansions.  It was fun to see just a bit of the largest recorded game collection which was 11,000-11,500 when filmed, and over 12,000 before the final copy was made.  I know that I don't have the space nor money for that, but it's fun to dream.

I think the best part of Going Cardboard is having something that I can show to people who might not love games yet, or know very little about them.  Perhaps all the crazies might be a bad idea, I'm looking specifically at Friedemann Friese and his green spiked hair.  The film also captures that gamers are normal people.  We get together and socialize, we don't all live in basements, and we like having a good time.  We all have other things we do, though some of my friends don't believe that I do.

Going Cardboard captures the imagination.  It gives board gamers a film to call their own.  Is it a perfect documentary? Not really.  I personally thought it focused too much on the designers and a few specific games without giving emphasis to the players or why people play.  Perhaps a sequel Lorien Green?  I still consider this an hour+ well spent in my life.  The DVD is loaded with extras that I've barely started on.  Those provide great info about a specific aspect. For instance, I watched one about 3M games back in I believe the 70's.  It was a good bit, all of 5 minutes long, but it gave me some knowledge that wouldn't have fit into the film, but worked very well as a snippit.

If you'd like to learn more, visit and perhaps by a copy for yourself.  It is a little pricey, but I promise that it is well worth the cost.  Also helps to go in it with a friend or game group and split the costs.

If you're near me and you'd like to check it out, let me know, I'd be happy to show it to you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Quarriors! Review - A Dice Fest

  • Designed by Mike Elliot and Eric M. Lang
  • Published by Wizkids
  • 2-4 players
  • Plays in 20-40 minutes

Quarriors! is a deck building game that uses dice rather than cards.  Players start off with basic dice containing either monsters or Quiddity which is the currency of the game.  Monsters require Quiddity to come into play, and Quiddity also allows you to buy a new die.  If you bring a monster into play, it has to survive attacks from all other players.  If it does, it scores points and you can cull a die from your pile. This helps you get better dice in play more often.  There's a good amount of luck here, as you'd expect from dice, but there's also some strategy in what you purchase.

I'm going to start with the bad.  The dice bags are a bit small for my hands, but they are high quality.  Now, the transition is to awesome.  130 custom engraved dice in the base game, and more in each expansion.  The dice are a bit small, I think they're 12mm when most people are used to 16mm, but I find they work just fine at that size.  All the dice come in a metal tin in the shape of a die, which is nice, but hard to store with other games.  Amazing components and a 10/10.

The Mechanics of Quarriors aren't great, but they are good.  Every creature die has several faces (typically 3) for the creature with different levels of attack and defense.  The other sides are Quiddity, so you'll always get something from a die roll.  You then spend Quiddity to activate creatures, and buy a new die.  Then you attack every other player.  If they have a creature with more defense than your attack, the creature takes the blow and lives on.  If they don't then you kill their creature which causes them to put the die in their used pile.  This goes on until one player gets enough glory points to win.  
The problem here is that players don't have much control.  You can have the perfect set of dice, but roll all Quiddity and you're stuck.

The original rule of buy only 1 die got frustrating since only a specific spell card allowed you to buy more, but I believe that an expansion has modified that rule.  I give the mechanics an innovative but lacking options 6/10.      

Starting three cards that are in every game
The interaction in Quarriors! is a bit subtle.  Sure, there's the obvious attacking and defense with your creatures, but even the way you buy dice is affected by the actions of your opponents.  If someone buys a lot of high attack monsters, you might choose to buy more defensive ones, or choose to go after the same things to beat their own attacks.  This is certainly a game a subtleties, and the creature and spell interactions take a while to see.  
I'll give it a 7/10

Quarriors has about the same theme interaction as Dominion.  Sure it's there, but it's not really integrated into the game.  The creatures give it a bit stronger theme, but it's still very generic.  The one part that does differentiate it is the use of terms like Quiddity and a whole bunch of Q's.  I give it a bland 4/10.

Just a few creatures

Learning Curve
Short learning curve.  Why?  Dice are easy and understandable.  It may take awhile to get the strategy, but the game is teachable in under 5 minutes.

Why I like Quarriors!
I really enjoy the dice variety and the options present.  There don't seem to be dominant paths, but there are some good ways to play.  It's a bit more random than Dominion, but I like that for the style.

Why I don't like Quarriors!
I feel that the game is playing me, not the other way around.  Maybe it's the group, but I feel that there are few meaningful choices.  Turns are fairly obvious aside from what to buy, but I feel that the buys are less meaningful than Dominion because you just have to keep buying creatures and spells.

There's good variety with the creatures and spells. There are 53 different creatures and spells.  Some of them use the same dice, so they can't be in the same game, but there's good variety.

Will you like it
If you like randomness and rolling dice while liking a deck building game like Dominion or Thunderstone, then you'll probably like Quarriors!

Somehow Quarriors! feels like less than the sum of it's parts for me.  I like the dice building aspect, I like the dice, I love the variety, but it just didn't come together for me.  Perhaps I needed an expansion or two for the game, maybe I need to play it not with 4 players.
Overall Quarriors! gets a 6/10 for me.  I'll still play it, but it's not my favorite thing.

Want to buy Quarriors or some expansions and support BoBG?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I'm Not Dead Yet: A Rattus Review

  • Designed by Henrik and Åse Berg
  • Published by Z-Man Games
  • Plays 2-4 players
  • Game time is 45 minutes on the box, which actually holds true in real life.

Not to be confused with Ratatouille, the beloved Pixar film, this game features rats in the black plague timeframe.   Now, if you're skeptical of the theme, don't worry too much, the game doesn't really involve rats, just some rat tokens.  The goal of Rattus is to have the most cubes on the board at the end of the game, but this is easier said than done.   There are special power cards which help you do different things, but they are also another way to have cubes removed from the board.  Players must carefully weigh the pros and cons of holding a power, because once taken, the power is yours until someone takes it from you.

The Components in Rattus are good quality.  Each player has a supply of 20 cubes in each of 4 colors - Red, Green, Yellow, Blue.  Green and Blue look rather similar in bad light, so be careful with those, but the cubes do their job.  They're small enough to fit on the board, yet big enough to move around for someone with large hands like myself.  My board suffered some warping, and still doesn't exactly lay flat, but it's not severe enough to be a problem.  The character cards are sturdy cardboard and move around easily.  The rat tokens are prone to accidental flipping, but they are sturdy disks.  There's nothing striking about the components, but they're all fully functional, easily identifiable, and aren't going to break anytime soon. A very sturdy 9/10 on the components.

Here's the game. Get a power if you want one. Put cubes on the board. Move the plague piece. Add new rat tokens to adjacent regions. Conduct the plague in the plague region. Next player's turn.  There's a lot that goes into each step, and there are many strategic choices, but these mechanics are not innovative.  The board set-up works well with the mechanics, and everything goes along smoothly like a well-oiled machine, but it can feel a bit like you're going through the motions.  There isn't that one time where you can do something unexpected and take a huge lead because everyone else can pretty much do the same thing.  There is some luck with what icons show up on the rat tokens, but other than that, the game is almost entirely strategic.  I give these mechanics a solid but bland 6/10.

The interaction in Rattus is fairly direct.  You can steal a power card from any player you want, and you know who has cubes in a region when you move the plague there, so you can target a specific player or players if you really want.  You're not guaranteed to actually hurt them, but you do have the opportunity.  Interaction exists, but it's not a huge factor in the game to me, so a 5/10.

If you hadn't put the dots together to see that Rattus takes place in the middle ages, then here you go.  It's the time of the Bubonic Plague. Disease is everywhere and everyone is doing what they can to avoid it.  Kings hide in their castles, Knights divert the plague the best they can, even Witches use their "powers" to avoid the plague in their own areas.  The theme of Rattus isn't crucial to the gameplay.  It would work as something else, though I'm not sure what. As is, the theme does blend into the gameplay nicely.  The board has an old look to it, the rats are dispersed throughout the game, and things work well.  It's not an amazing theme, but it is different than many other games, so it gets a 7.5/10 for me.

Learning Curve
I give Rattus a Medium Learning Curve.  It isn't an overly complicated game, but it does take a game to see how everything works together.  You have to see the end to understand why the beginning works, and the entire game for that matter.  It also takes time to know what powers to take and which ones not to based on the state of the board.

Why I like Rattus
The theme is different, the gameplay is solid, and most games are fairly close in the final scoring.  To me, those are all things I like to see in any game.

Why I don't Like Rattus
In the base game, there aren't enough power cards to play it often.  This is fixed with the Pied Piper Expansion, but the base game of Rattus is incomplete without that expansion.

Rattus has enough to offer for several game plays even without the expansion.  The dynamics change based on the number of players.  Adding even one new player to the mix will change the way people approach powers, and that gives it some legs.  Still, the options are limited, and the same 6 powers will be in every game.  The expansion changes this and gives 2 additional powers of each type, so you far more variety, which leads to better replayability.

Rattus is a good game.  It made my top 10, but I fear that it's losing it's shine.  I recently acquired the Africanus expansion, so that may get it to the table again, but it seems like the novelty wears off after a bit.  I still like playing the game, but it takes a group who's willing to have some fun with the theme and doesn't mind attacking each other, both directly and indirectly.  It's a solid game, but it's an 8/10 overall for me.

Amusing story
There was one game where one player decided to never take a power card.  She ended up winning the game, which strikes me as a potential flaw to the game.  Perhaps it was just the mix of powers, or that the rest of us attacked each other a bit too much, but it was a little odd to me.  It was a valid strategy that game, but she tried it again and didn't do nearly as well.

Final Thought
Sometimes a game with an odd or unique theme can turn out to be a winner, but not always.  Take your time to examine the mechanics of a game, and make sure that the theme alone isn't a turn-off for you or your game group.  

Want to buy Rattus or an expansion and support BoBG?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Life: If only it were as easy as start with a car, get a job, get married, get a house, have kids, retire.

Today we're talking about the classic game LIFE.  I have to be honest upfront and say that this is one of my least favorite classic games.  My sister loved it, but to me, the biggest choice was which path to choose when they went separate ways, and if I should buy stock in a number or not.  To me, the game was far too much luck, and no choice, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

There are a few things to like about the Game of Life.  It is a fairly accurate portrayal of the major events that can happen in one's life.  It does reward going to college, so that's something positive to take away.  It does require one to get married before having kids, and not to play any kind of personal view card, but being married before having kids is a good value to teach kids playing the game.  The board is visually appealing, especially with the hills and buildings giving it a 3D view.  In the version I have, the pieces are of good quality, the people pegs fit in the minivans without issue, and the tokens and cards are high quality.

As for the negatives, there are many.  A player is completely at the mercy of the spinner most of the time. Spin high consistently and you'll finish early, but the odds are you won't have enough life tiles to actually win.  Spin low consistently and you won't get bonuses at the end, but you should have a lot of life tiles to make up the difference and then some.  That brings me to the next point, life tiles.  The distribution is too random.  Someone could get 3 tiles, and each have $250,000, while someone else gets 6 tiles at $50,000, and is nowhere close to the person who only got three.  In addition, the job pool is fine, but determining salary based on a random pull is just an odd choice, same thing with the house.  In fact, it's better to have the cheapest house possible because there's no appreciation or resale of the home at the end.  It's a great idea for a house, but the mechanic makes no sense.

I don't want to bash Life too much. It was a game that my mom and sister would actually play, and that resulted in some good family time.  It is an easy enough game to play with young kids, and it gives people a journey to go through.  There isn't a lot of competitiveness or player interaction here, but it's kinda fun to watch what other people are doing.

One improvement I would offer is to use a d6 for movement instead of the 10 spot spinner.  It would make the game a bit longer, but it would also keep players closer, and give more chances to earn life tiles.

There aren't many hobby games that use the theme or the mechanics of Life, so it's hard to find a comparison.  Games where you roll the dice, or spin a spinner and see what happens just don't make for strategic gameplay.  The closest game I know of is This Game is Bonkers, but that's only in mechanics.

I have played and enjoyed Star Wars Life, but copies are hard to find these days, and only getting harder to find.  If you like Life and Star Wars and you see this at a garage sale or thrift store, PICK IT UP! It's worth it.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Keystone Games

Many people enjoy playing board games, but the main question is how to start a collection of games.  Sure, it's "easy" to go out and buy 20 different games, but that costs a lot of money.  A lot of people are very careful with how they spend their money these days, so I want to take a look at games that give you a lot of bang-for-your-buck, and that give you a good variety of games.

The goal here is to give you some ideas for games that give you different play experiences, work for a good player range, and don't cost all that much money.  Consider this the starter set of games. It can be expanded, games can be interchanged, but these are good ones to start with, and games that will give you a good collection.

Now, not every category is relevant to every person, nor is this list comprehensive, but I feel it's a good place to start.

The Short Family Friendly Game
We need a game or two that is short enough to play while dinner is close to ready, or a game before bed on a weekday.  Some good suggestions: Incan Gold, Can't Stop, No Thanks!, High Society.
For this, I recommend Tiki Topple.  The production quality here is excellent, and the game plays in under 30 minutes, typically closer to 20 minutes, but can be made shorter or longer by changing the point total to win.  For more on Tiki Topple read my spiel on it in the  Top 42 list.

Party Game
Every gamer needs a good game they can pull out with a large group of people and have a good time playing.  It shouldn't be too long, and certainly not complex, but it should be something to get people talking.
Here, I offer a few suggestions.  Apples to Apples is a good one to get people talking.  Werewolf or Mafia is great with a group of people who know each other, also great for a large group.  Tumblin' Dice is a lot of fun, but it's rather expensive, so it loses out on the Bang-for-your-buck aspect.  Wits and Wagers works well for a more intellectual gathering.  All of that being said, if you have to own just one party game, Say Anything gives you the best bang for your buck.  It's ~$20, you can find it in most Targets and Toys 'R Us, as well as various online stores, and it was designed to get people talking about the questions.  It's a great way to get to know other people in a fun and creative way.

Co-operative game
I think that a lot of people view boardgames as only competitive endeavors, but there are dozens of games where players are required to work as a team in order to achieve victory.  I own several of these games, and I enjoy the ones I have for the most part, but the best one in terms of Bang-for-your-buck is Forbidden Island.  It's the cheapest co-op game I own, but it's also on the same level of fun as the rest.
Some other co-op games that would be good for a collection, Pandemic, Space Hulk:Death Angel the card game, Defenders of the Realm.

Team game/co-op with a Traitor
Sometimes you don't just want to work together as a team, winning and losing together, so here's a category for you.  For me, three games really stand out for this category: Shadows Over Camelot, Battlestar Galactica, and The Resistance.  This category boils down to what you want out of the traitor mechanic.  The Resistance is the shortest game, and you're trying to figure out who's against you, so they can't hurt your ability to win.  I don't own the Resistance, but it seems like a good time.  Shadows Over Camelot is a great theme implementation. The game boils down to finding the one traitor, if there even is one, and deciding when to win certain quests, and what can be lost.  Battlestar is pure theme, with some decent mechanics.  It's probably the most balanced of the games with traitors, but there's still a lot of luck. My advice would be to get The Resistance.  It has a good player range, and it's the cheapest game of the three here.

Dexterity Game
Here's a category where even the best strategy can be mitigated by how well you can do some physical task.  The best known game in this genre is either Crokinole or Pitch Car, but both of these get fairly expensive.  So let's take a look at some less expensive dexterity games.  Catacombs blends flicking with strategy, but even then it's a bit expensive.  Pitch Car Mini is another good option, still pricy, but feasible. Ultimately this category comes down to 2 games for me - Bisikle/Roadsters and Sorry Sliders/Sorry Sliders 2.  Roadsters has the better quality components, but Sorry Sliders 2 just seems more fun. There's a lot more you can do in terms of hazards and track arrangement with what comes in the box.
Therefore, the pick for dexterity game is Sorry Sliders 1 or 2.

Random Skills Game
This is for those games that involve some kind of skill that isn't normally seen in games, but that people use in life sometimes.  These typically aren't high strategy games, but they have their place on our gaming shelves.  Two games come to mind for me: Dixit and Aargh!Tect.  Dixit is a game about telling a concise story as a clue so that at least one, but not all, players can figure out which card is yours.  You also have to figure out other players' clues when you aren't giving them.  This isn't all that abnormal, but the story-telling aspect isn't seen often.  Aargh!Tect is unlike any other game I've ever seen.  There are two teams competing to arrange pieces to form the building that the manager has. The manager has to give directions to the builders, but the manager has an inflatable club, and can only use caveman language and certain motions. When players get it right they get 1 tap from the club, but when they get it wrong, it's 2 taps.
If cost wasn't an issue, Aargh!Tect would be my choice based on the experience alone.  You grow to fear the club coming down on you, but it's all in good fun.  Dixit is the cheaper option, and probably better for some groups, so it's really up to you.

2 Player Only Game
There are a lot of 2 player games on the market, and many of them are good games.  These aren't my forte  since I rarely play only 2 player games, but I have a few I like, and some others I know enough about to recommend.  I have four 2-player games that I play every so often: Memoir '44, Mr. Jack, 1960:The Making of the President, and Twilight Struggle.  All three games have good parts and drawbacks for me.  If you like political games, either 1960 or Twilight Struggle is a good call depending on if you want to focus on US Politics or Global Events of the Cold War.  Mr. Jack is good if you're looking for a deduction game, but it lacks great replayability in my mind.  Memoir '44 is a good WWII game with pretty good mechanics, and a ton of expansions.  From what I've heard, Lost Cities the card game is a great two-player game.  It's been described as a great couples game.  So even though I haven't played Lost Cities, I'm going to recommend it as the 2 player game to own.

Introduction Game
There are three big games when it comes to intro style games, and I don't think you can go wrong with any of the three.  Those three are of course Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride.  They're all good games, but if I had to pick one that works to teach people about hobby boardgames, I'd have to choose Ticket to Ride.  Your mileage may vary of course,  but the variety of Ticket maps gives players more options.

Advanced - non brain-burning Game
I suppose we can call this category the next step games.  There's a lot of games that could fit in here, but I'll give you a few of my favorites.  Small World and 7 Wonders both fit here.  Yes, I know a lot of people say 7 Wonders could be an intro game, but I really think it's a next level game.  Kingsburg would also be a good fit, though it has a fair amount of dice, it also has strategy.  Any of these games would work well depending on your predilections, but my choice here is Cosmic Encounter.

Brain Drain Game
Here's a category for those times when you want to sit down and play a game for 2+ hours and really get into it.  I know these kind of games aren't for everyone, but sometimes it's nice to have a complicated game to play.  I've personally only played one of these, Agricola, and I enjoyed it. So Agricola is my recommendation.  Personally, I'd rather play a variety of games than one brain-burner, but Agricola is still a good one to have around.  Some other games that fit the category here: Puerto Rico, Brass, Le Havre, Caylus, Twilight Imperium III. None of these games are cheap, but Agricola is reasonably priced and has a lot of replayability in the box.

Card Game
This isn't for your traditional deck of cards game, but rather for a game that is all, or essentially all cards.  This includes the better CCGs, like Magic and Pokemon, Living Card Games such as Call of Cthulhu, Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, as well as deck-building games like Ascension, A Few Acres of Snow, Thunderstone, and my personal pick Dominion.  The base game is very reasonably priced, and has 3,268,760 differ possible card sets.  I'd say that's good variety.  

Dice Game
The last thing that every collection needs is a dice game.  There are many games that use dice, but this is for a game that makes dice the main or only portion of the game.  There are a lot of good games that are basically just dice, LCR and Liar's Dice come to mind; but the best dice game I've played is Roll Through the Ages. It's fairly inexpensive and has a lot of variety and strategies to it.

Here's the list of my recommendations
  • Tiki Topple
  • Say Anything
  • Forbidden Island
  • The Resistance: Avalon
  • Sorry Sliders 1 or 2
  • Dixit
  • Lost Cities
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Cosmic Encounter
  • Agricoa
  • Dominion
  • Roll Through the Ages 
If you wanted to start a game collection, or boil a collection down to 12 games, I think this list would give you a good variety of themes, styles, and player range (2-10).
Is this comprehensive? By no means.  I don't even own 3 of the games, though I've played 2 of them.  
I suppose my main point here is, when you're looking for new games, variety is key.  Expansions to what you own are great, and take up less shelf space, so that gives you more of the same type of play experience.

Sorry for the short novel on building a collection, but I feel it's a necessary thing to have.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February 2012 Monthly Update

Welcome to March!
February only saw two good game days, so the play count was down.  I logged 14 game plays not counting expansions, bringing the running total to 50.  It's a little behind, but March shows a lot of promise with Spring Break allowing Aaron to return home for some Risk Legacy.

I acquired two new games, Ascending Empires and Twilight Struggle, as well as Dominion Hinterlands.  I also have a preorder for the new Cosmic Encounter expansion, so that should arrive shortly.

My unplayed game count is now at 14 due to playing Ascending Empires and Twilight Struggle from the new games.
  • Tales of the Arabian Nights (soon)
  • RoboRally (soon)
  • Zooloretto 
  • Coloretto (Soon)
  • Descent (Summer hopefully)
  • Scrabble Slam 
  • Monopoly Express 
  • Clue Express 
  • Battleship Express 
  • Crappy Birthday
  • S'quarrels 
  • Risk 2210 AD (Risk Legacy takes precedent)
  • Settlers of Canaan (no rush since I have other means of playing Catan)
  • High Bid 
February saw the 2,000th page view for this blog which is incredible in under 3 months, thank-you all so much for that.  
I finished my top 42 list, so that was exciting to get through. I spent a lot of time on random musings articles, but also found time for some reviews on
  • Scrabble
  • Clue
  • Risk
  • Scary Tales
  • Wits and Wagers Party
February was a slow month because I only got a new camera on the 20th, plus I was spending a lot of time on the custom work for Star Trek Fleet Captains.

March should hold a full review for the following
  • 7 Wonders
  • Rattus
  • Star Trek Fleet Captains

I plan on taping a how to play video for 7 wonders, since there have been some requests.  This will take time, but hopefully it will be out soon.

Also, a huge boost to the viewership from with my reasons we play games article.  I think reaction to the work here has been mostly positive.  I can't thank each of you enough for reading, commenting and voting in the polls.  I hope you'll continue reading and commenting, and if you haven't commented, feel free.