Board Game Reviews SI san il defanso Updated May 03, 2019 5494 0
The first iteration of Duel of Ages came out ten years ago, but it’s follow-up feels like something much older. I don’t mean that in a dismissive way at all, but rather that the game eschews a lot of design trends and so-called advances from the last 15 years or so in favor of something elemental and pure. It’s a little like playing an old-school video game that bypasses all influences in the 3D age and instead steals from every game of the SNES era. I suppose Duel of Ages II will confound a lot of contemporary gamers, but...
Analysis SI san il defanso Updated January 28, 2015 6559 0
One of my strongest influences in board gaming came from noted French designer Bruno Faidutti. Aside from his many designs over the past 15 years, at one point he maintained one of best board gaming sites on the internet, his Ideal Game Library. This was a valuable resource to me as a new gamer, because it showed me two very important things: that gaming had a rich and eclectic history, and that I did not need to like every popular game. Of course, Bruno is best known for his games, which are numerous and varied. I’ve gone all over...
Gaming Scene SI san il defanso Updated January 28, 2015 6071 0
It was just over nine years ago that my friend introduced me to The Settlers of Catan. As much as any game I’ve played, it was love at first sight, a revelation, an experience like nothing I had before. Strategy, interaction, and wonderful times with my friends all in a one-hour game. I bought a copy, played it to death, and got most of my friends hooked. I assumed that was the end of it, and I never bothered to look further into the hobby.
Board Game Reviews SI san il defanso Updated May 03, 2019 3753 0
Relic Runners is a game that dwells in the shadowy realm of the okay. It has absorbed too many lessons from modern game design to be anything close to bad. It’s a surprisingly thoughtful design, one that has gotten a little bit better with every play. Still, I’ve yet to play it with anyone who was wowed by it. The response when we finish a game is almost always “not bad,” or “alright.” It’s too competent to be ignored, but too bland to make much of an impression.
Rants & Raves SI san il defanso Updated January 28, 2015 4246 0
As I’ve written previously, this summer some friends and I started a “Magic: The Gathering” league, where we each buy the same number of boosters on a monthly basis and add them to our pool of cards. We then meet on a regular basis to run the decks against each other, and we play a lot on the side as well. The league is now in its third month, and has actually started to grow and become a bigger deal than I anticipated. So far official league play has consisted of two meetups where everyone plays everyone else, a...
Gaming Scene SI san il defanso Updated January 28, 2015 5650 0
I hate playtesting games. A big part of this is because 90% of all designed games aren’t worth publishing in the first place, and I frankly don’t need to play someone else’s take on deck-building or worker placement. My gaming time is too precious to waste on polishing someone else’s game, especially if it’s not a very good one. Besides that, I just don’t have a lot of patience for the process of design and playtesting. I don’t know how other people can stay engaged with a design long enough to see it through to completion, so I have...
Board Game Reviews SI san il defanso Updated May 03, 2019 3594 0
If I’m really honest with myself, I sometimes resent playing games with non-gamers. That’s not meant as a slight against anyone at all, just the admission of a selfish gamer. I always worry that I’ll pick something complex that they won’t like, or that I’ll have to hold their hand through the whole experience. The fact that this usually isn’t a problem doesn’t keep the fear from rising up in my throat. I am jealous of my game-playing time these days, so it takes effort to get over myself and just play something. To do that, I keep...
Board Game Reviews SI san il defanso Updated May 02, 2019 3756 0
People love strategy and decisions, but they present a real danger of making a game more trouble than it’s worth. I’ve been generally positive on Victory Point Games, whose small-box games have covered an enormous breadth of topics and mechanics. Moonbase Alpha had all the earmarks of something I would like, from a cool 1970s sci-fi theme to dice-based combat. And yet in practice it was irritating and overwrought. It complicates things it doesn’t need to and presents strategic opportunities I didn’t really need.
Board Game Reviews SI san il defanso Updated April 25, 2019 5776 0
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...
Board Game Reviews SI san il defanso Updated April 25, 2019 3896 0
Escape: The Curse of the Temple is not a perfect game, but it has one thing that is a good sign: I always want to play it again. It’s like an enormous tin of cookies that you keep eating until you realize that half the tin is gone and you actually feel a little sick. I went to a game day a couple of weeks ago, and taught the game to a friend or two. We played, no joke, about seven times right then and there. There’s no such thing as only one game of Escape. It only exists...