Friday Fallout: April 27, 2012

Some thoughts on various things this Friday:

  • Didn’t expect to make it out to our game store last night, so I walked in without much plan. That’s usually a recipe for disaster, but last night it meant that I got to play Mare Nostrum. It had been about 8 months or so since I played this one, so it was nice to get it out again. We played without the mythology expansion, which is not my preferred way to play. But this was a good game. The guy teaching the game (thankfully not me) did a good job at offering advice to the new players. He also did a good job of giving them strategic tips and making them pay attention to the state of the board. I lost as Babylon, though I did a pretty good job of keeping my defenses tough. Love that game, but it’s fragility means it can sometimes fall flat. That was not the case last night, thankfully.
  • Managed to get in two games of Wiz-War, each with four players. My experience with this one comes entirely from the new FFG reprint, and I’ve only played with two players before last night. The result has been a mild enjoyment, rather than full-on enthusiasm. It was definitely better with four people, but I still think the game feels  a little too reserved for what it is. I might go old-school and do away with the maintained-spells-count-against-the-hand-limit rule. Just let the fur fly, as it were. Also, it’s a game designed for trash-talking. If you can’t do that with some conviction, well…probably oughta keep walking.
  • Listening to Jack White’s new solo album, Blunderbuss. As with most things he does, it’s pretty terrific.
  • Fringe just got renewed for a fifth and final season. I hope there’s some parallel universe where this was never in doubt, and NCIS is on the bubble every year.

Fortress: Ameritrash

For those who don’t know, I am filling in every other week for Ken B. over at Fortress: Ameritrash. I normally post my content over there anyway, but it’s an honor to be asked to fill in for someone who’s contribution to the hobby I respect so much. Last week’s article on reprints was posted there, and I’ll be there again next week too.

If you’ve never joined into the conversation there, it’s the single best site on the internet for board game discussion and analysis. BGG is a better database, but F:AT is the better community. I give the site my whole-hearted recommendation.

The Influence Must Flow

box cover

Yellow boxes are the mind-killer.

We don’t come into a game with a clean slate. We have a series of expectations and hopes that we bring into any gaming experience, and of course that will color how we view the entire game one way or the other. A lot of people say you can’t go into a game like this, but it’s the human thing to do. And besides, it would be fundamentally dishonest to pretend that those expectations don’t exist. A game review devoid of contextual clues isn’t much good to anyone. But those same expectations that give a game context can make it very difficult to respond to a game. Continue reading

The Age of Reprints

reprint

People who have played DungeonQuest are now laughing at this picture.

Last fall there was a little dust-up in the gaming world. Stronghold Games announced that they had received the rights from the designer for Merchant of Venus, the classic Avalon Hill title. The reprint was going to be true to the original release, with top-of-the-line components and artwork. Then there was a little wrinkle: Fantasy Flight Games announced that they had received the rights from Hasbro, who now owns Avalon Hill. Essentially, two different companies claimed to have the rights to print the same game. Continue reading

It’s Full Of Stars

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That's no moon, it's a space station. Why would you think it looks like a moon?

Race for the Galaxy and I have a strange history. It came out just as I was about a year into the hobby, to rave reviews of course. I got caught up in the reverie and bought myself a copy in anticipation of the first expansion. My first item of business was to try it with my wife, as I commonly did with games at the time. And she hated it. Hated hated hated hated hated it. No problem, I thought. I’ll just play it with other people. Well I tried to teach it to them too. And that didn’t take too well either. Oh, other people played it. But no one wanted to get around to teaching it to the inevitable new player who would wander to the table every time. I only ever found one regular opponent, and that put it squarely in the category of two-player games that I don’t play as often as I’d like to. I thought the expansion might inspire me to play more, but it just made the game less accessible. So Race for the Galaxy eventually found itself in the trade pile. A couple of years passed, but I always kind of regretted getting rid of the ol’ girl. Despite the difficulties I had getting it played, I genuinely enjoyed it. Trading it was a purely pragmatic move. It was then that a friend generously donated his unplayed copy to my collection, knowing my regret and enjoyment of the game. Since having it back…I still don’t play it very much.

Continue reading

Round One! FIGHT! – Yomi Review

Yomi box

Hmmm, I wonder what this game is called?

Like other high schoolers, I often would sleep over at my friends’ houses. And by sleeping over, I mean that we played Risk and videogames all night long. Our brain-rotter of choice was Tekken 3. On one occasion we played for probably five hours straight, making the loser of each match step out to face the winner. It was a cruel affair, but it was the first time that I remember attaining oneness with a video game. You’ve been there, right? You play a game so much that you do everything in the game without thinking. It tended to happen mostly with old school platformers like Mega Man, but it also happened with fighting games when you played against other players. I was never better at Tekken 3 than I was that night. I took out all comers with Jin Kazama, and I could not be stopped. Then I made the mistake of sleeping and my powers left me as I slumbered. Never again did I attain oneness with Tekken. Continue reading