Life Isn’t Fair – DungeonQuest Review


This battle is going much better for this wizard than it ever does for me.

A lot of games today are difficult. I remember the first time I played Agricola. The constant pressure to accumulate food was like a cracking whip, driving the game forward come hell or high water. Used properly, innate difficulty in a design makes for a lot of good stuff. It can add tension and really juice up decisions in-game. But when it’s overused it can be a drag. Euro designs are often guilty of this. I have a friend who loves the games of Stefen Feld, but most of his stuff leaves me cold for this reason. It’s just not much fun for me to eek out a couple of extra gold to take a slightly more powerful action. Oh hooray, I lose a little less ground than usual this turn. It’s getting bad in more American designs too. Games like Middle Earth Quest and the Lord of the Rings card game both give the rack an extra crank. You spend as much time struggling against the game as anything else. This is true even in games that aren’t cooperative. It becomes an question of who can manipulate this system the best, and I’m just not very interested in that. Continue reading

Avast Ye Gamers – Merchants & Marauders Review

Box cover

Yaar, I'm...not attractive.

The smell of the salt breeze. The creak of rigging in the air. You’re in sight of the port of Tobago, when you see a ship off in the distance, on an intercept course. Word from the crows-nest is that the ship has run up the fleur-de-lis. The French Navy! You order the crew to man their stations and load the cannons. As the larger ship draws closer, volleys of fire are exchanged, shattering masts and shredding sails. All at once, grappling hooks sail from the enemy ship. They’re trying to board! As the enemy pours onto your ship, your crew fights to the last man. Will you survive long enough to protect your precious gold and valuable cargo? Continue reading

Child’s Play

space hulk

This isn't a review of this game.

Like many gamers, I live in hopes that my two-year-old son will one day want to play games with me. A lot of gamer dads harbor this wish, because it means that we will have at least one other person to play games with us when we’re too busy being dads to actually get together with our friends. I like to think that he and I will one day create opposing armies in Summoner Wars, and run them against each other. I want to teach him Settlers of Catan, finally proving to his mom that it’s an awesome game. And if he becomes appreciative of history like me, I’d like to see how well he does at stuff like Twilight Struggle. This is such silly speculation when he’s only two, but a lot of other gamer dads would be lying if they said they didn’t think about these things. Continue reading

Willie Hears Ya, Willie Don’t Care – Haggis Review


No joking! I'M from North Kilt-town!

A while back, I reviewed Tichu, the classic climbing game. For those who don’t feel like finding the review, let me save you the trouble: it’s a terrific game. You should buy it, okay? But here’s its one weakness: it requires four people. Yeah, I know you can play Tichu three-handed. But that’s pretty clearly not the way it was meant to be played. It involves dummy hands, switching partnerships, and individual scoring. It works, but it’s not ideal. And forget about even trying Tichu with two people. It doesn’t work. So what is the short-handed Tichu addict supposed to do? Continue reading