Sing, O Muse – Bemused in Review

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The games of Jim Felli present a particular challenge to the game reviewer. We see a lot of different games cover the same basic ideas ad infinitum, so when a designer like Felli comes along, whose three designs have all been strange beasts, it’s easy to latch onto their uniqueness while ignoring some of their shaggier elements. Both of Felli’s previous games, Shadows of Malice and Zimby Mojo, were striking experiences, and I stand by my rapturous reviews of both. But I also admit that they won’t work for everyone. They were long games with lots of little rules that were easy to forget. More than that, they really require the player to meet the game where it already is. If you can’t deal with dicey abstract storytelling of Shadows of Malice, or the chaotic strategy of Zimby Mojo, both games offer very little for you.  Continue reading

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Wheels Within Wheels

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Unlike a lot of other pillars of nerd culture, Frank Herbert’s classic novel Dune is still waiting for its perfect adaptation. The 1984 David Lynch film is slog with amazing art direction, and the Sci-Fi channel miniseries reduced the scope of the novel lower than it could really bear. But if we expand the search to include other media, Dune has received two of the most important games of the last forty years. Westwood Studios’ Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty essentially codified real-time strategy games in the video game world. But Dune’s greatest adaptation might just be Dune the board game, published by Avalon Hill in 1979. 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

The Group of Ten, 2015-2016 Edition

You may recall that last year I wrote a piece about what games I would keep in my collection if forced to winnow it down to just ten titles. At the time it was just an interesting thought experiment, but it ended up gaining a little traction. My friends at DFW Nerd Nighters ended up doing a whole episode about it, their longest one I believe. This year, Nerd Nighter JR Honeycutt has released an updated version of his list from last year. Continue reading

The Rumpus Room Top Twelve – 2014 Edition

A pogo stick!

The holiday season is a time for tradition, and as we all know “tradition” is a Christmas-y word for obligation. I’ve been at my tradition for five years now, where I look at my twelve favorite games and see what has shifted over the last year. My approach has evolved some, but I do it again from scratch every year. Our tastes aren’t set in stone after all. You can see by reading my lists from 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013Continue reading

Games Of The Years

I got involved in this hobby seven years ago, and I’ve been writing about it pretty steadily for about three, with occasional pieces before that. At some point every board game writer will have to deal with the expectation to crown their “game of the year.” This is tricky for a lot of reasons. Continue reading

The Group Of Ten

Count ’em.

Once you have been in the hobby five years, you begin to look at your game shelf and say, “I have too many games.” This doesn’t actually mean you’re going to get rid of any of them or that you will stop buying new ones. Mostly it’s just an acknowledgement that, hey, space is getting a little tight, and that you’ve spent a considerable amount of money on all the games you have. Continue reading