Serious Partying

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I wouldn’t call Codenames the best game I’ve played in the past couple years, but it’s probably one of my most-played. This is partially due to its length, short enough that almost no one plays just one game, and its flexibility with player numbers. It handles ten people as well as it handles four. I’ve even gone higher than that, and it’s been fine (your results my be different). But probably the biggest factor has been that it can be pulled out with just about any group at all, regardless of experience level. These days I bring it to just about any gathering where games might be played. If people have played it before, they’ll probably play it again. If no one has heard of it, it almost always ends up with someone asking me where they can buy a copy. It’s cheap too, so people don’t balk at the price like they do with most hobby games. Continue reading

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An Emergency Buyer’s Guide to Talisman

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Now that Talisman is going out of print due to Fantasy Flight’s loss of the Games Workshop license, players are already snatching up copies of the fourteen expansions. This makes the choice to put together a buyer’s guide a somewhat strange one, since FFG won’t be offering these titles at all after February 2017.  Continue reading

This Month on the Review Corner: September 2016

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Besides my reviews on the Rumpus Room, I also write reviews for the Miniature Market Review Corner. Here are some highlights from the past month from that source. Go check them out!

My Reviews

  • Costa Rica – This is a nice little tile-laying and push-your-luck game. It gets the tile-laying part right, but the push-your-luck is a little thin for me.
  • Spells of Doom – Of all of the mage-dueling games out there, Spells of Doom is definitely one of them.
  • The Dragon & Flagon – Most gamers I know are lukewarm on programmed movement, but this new game by the Englestein clan made a believer out of me. Highly recommended.

Continue reading

Star Wars: Epic Duels Retro Review

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Many board gaming hobbyists have a story of how a rare game just kind of fell in their lap. I know a couple people who found complete copies of Dune in thrift stores. One friend of mine had a copy of Star Wars: The Queen’s Gambit literally given to him by someone who found it in their garage. While I’ve never had anything quite that lucky, I did end up with a copy of Star Wars: Epic Duels for a mere $35, which is a far cry from the prices that game commands today. I’m glad I have it too, because it’s a lean, fun action game, exactly what a Star Wars game should be. Continue reading

Zimby Mojo in Review

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There is an assumption that if a game is chaotic and wild, it is inherently dumb and silly. That’s not an unfair assumption, because it’s almost always the case. But there have been a few games that look in the face of chaos and force players to roll with it, to create contingencies and take risks that won’t necessarily pay off, but are still necessary. Strategy games almost always tempt players to find a sure thing, and when sure things don’t exist players inevitably will complain that the game is random, or unbalanced, or something like that. But a few games have soared precisely because they force players to surf the waves of chaos, rewarding the players who do so boldly and effectively. Cosmic Encounter does it, Dune does it, and Zimby Mojo does it. It’s a huge beast of a game, one with a bizarre premise and a ton of rules, but as I kept at it I found it more and more rewarding, both in the memorable sessions it produced and in the surprising nuance found in its strategy. Continue reading

I’m tired of campaign games.

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I feel like I’m the last board gamer who has not yet finished Pandemic Legacy. I was among the first to get the game when I reviewed it for Miniature Market, but here we are nearly a year later and our group is still roughly 2-3 games from finishing up. (For those wondering we are on our second game in November.) I do like the game a lot, especially the whole legacy mechanic, which feels cutting edge and different from anything else in how it shapes the game itself. That’s pretty cool stuff.  Continue reading