Hasbromance

Conquest of Nerath

In Soviet Russia, Nerath conquers you.

Last August I made a trade for Conquest of Nerath, the D&D-themed conquest game from Wizards of the Coast. For months it sat on my game shelf, mostly serving as a toy for my three-year-old son. It was hard to deny its appeal in that regard, but it wasn’t until just this last week that I was able to scare up the four people that so many have recommended. True to my expectations, I had a great time. I have a history of not caring much for dudes-on-a-map games, mostly because I’m kind of an impatient gamer. Conquest of Nerath didn’t disappoint in that regard; we were attacking each other immediately, swapping territories until one team hit the victory point threshhold that ended the game. There wasn’t a single mechanic I hadn’t seen elsewhere. I have played lots of games where you roll dice to conquer territory, and I’ve seen plenty of conquest games where you get victory points for your trouble. It was one of those situations where it wasn’t so much what the game did, but how well it did it. It was like watching a brilliant pianist performing a song that someone else wrote. The fact that it’s not original doesn’t diminish the performance. Continue reading

Rumpus Room Top Twelve – Parallel Universe Edition

Imperial

When I posted this year’s Top Twelve list to Facebook, a Euro-fan friend of mine noted that our two lists of favorites had now totally diverged. It’s true too. I started out as a fresh-faced fan of Eurogames, and then cynicism and darkness crept into my soul until only the deep embrace of dice could soothe my fevered brow. Continue reading

Waterdeeper – Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport Review

Scoundrels of Skullport

They’ve come for your cubes!

Lords of Waterdeep was one of 2012’s best games, and it did it by not doing anything too fancy. It valued straightforward rules and intuitive strategy over originality and cleverness, and it ended up becoming one of my favorite eurogames of the last few years. Since it was able to achieve so much by consolidating the strengths of its genre and executing those strengths impeccably, it’s fitting that the Scoundrels of Skullport expansion operates on much the same principle. Instead of introducing a slew of new mechanics and complications, it falls back on the core strengths of the original game, while introducing a ton of new content and one very well-executed new mechanic  so good, it feels like it always belonged in the game. Continue reading

The Best Games of 2012

It's a major award.It is the sworn duty of every board game writer to come up with a “best of” article at the end of every year. This is carved in stone, from the beginning of the internet. I’m curious sometimes what would happen if someone were to NOT give their year-in-review article. I suspect that the internet would proceed as it always has, but I worry there’s a slim chance it sends us plummeting to a fiery death. I think it might be better not to risk it. Continue reading

Questing Cubes – Lords of Waterdeep Review

box cover

I know what kind of game it looks like. It’s not that kind of game.

So how “new” does a game need to be? Does it need to bring something to the table that has never been seen before? Or is it simply enough to work well and engage the players? On one hand, there’s already a lot of bloat in the board gaming hobby. Games are often endless rehashes of the same ideas, if they aren’t full-on expansions in the first place. But if the game is enough fun, it hardly matters if its been done before. I find myself asking this very question with Lords of Waterdeep. Continue reading

Geekway to the West, 2012

After a few months of anticipation and several nights without enough sleep, I’m finally back from my escapade to St. Louis, and the Geekway to the West con. This was my first con, since it was well within driving distance for me. After a good friend of mine talked it up  last year, I decided that this year I would make the trip myself. Was it worth the miles driven and hotel prices? I would say that it absolutely was worth it, at least eventually. Continue reading