Small Box Games Rides Again
I haven't heard from John Clowdus in a while but out of nowhere he emailed me and said "hey, I'm sending you my new game". It was great to hear from him- he's a super cool dude and fun to game with- and I am on record as a Small Box Games fan. John does some really, really interesting work that isn't quite like anything else out there. If you haven't played any of his designs, I heartily recommend Omen, Agoniste, Wax, Hemlock and whatever else you can get your hands on from him. These are some really neat games. Soulfall is his new one (reviewed here for No High Scores) and it's another good one. If the Ico/Shadow of the Colossus art doesn't rope you in, the sort of weird but compelling gameplay will. There's quite a bit going on in this design, don't be fooled into thinking it's some kind of microgame.
Lift-Off is still getting some play. I like it, but I think it has sort of a similar problem that Kemble's Cascade had. It's a little over-designed. It tries to be more than a Survive! style family game so it has a couple of "strategic" elements that sort of rub wrong against the simple, fun concepts. This moon phase thing kills me. It's easy to understand, but in practice it just overcomplicates things. Basically, the position of the moon around the planet affects a couple of costs in the game. So there's this "sophisticated" layer over the simple movement/payment scheme. That said, I really like that it's highly interactive and you can either rely on others to help you get your guys off the planet or try to stake it out on your own. There's room for some light dealmaking, empty promises and jerky behavior. It's good, but I would have liked to have seen a more family-oriented variation from the designers at least.
Hoping to get the Spartacus and/or Sons of Anarchy expansions out this weekend with the gang...but that kind of depends on if Forbidden Stars shows up, in which case that is going to be the only option unless we have more than four.
I've been piddling around with the new Tigris & Euphrates...it is a really great edition of the game. It looks nice, I like that it has the optional variants and a double-sided board. The tokens make more sense than the cubes did, but I'm still torn on the monuments. I liked those old chunky wooden ones. The plastic ones look cool and all...but I dunno. Either way, it is one of the greatest games ever published and I'm OK with retiring my HiG copy after 17 years of service.
Hoping to do some solo Eldritch Horror this week some time. A new co-worker is all up into Lovecraft, pulp horror etc. so we've been rapping about that stuff and it's put me in mind of it.