"Meaningful Decisions" ahoy!
Titus Tentakel is not a game to introduce your children to "higher" gaming concepts. It does not provide more "meaningful" decisions than Candyland. It will not prep them to play all of your grown-up games with you. It is gloriously and unabashedly silly, simple and funny. This is a game where the components are a giant red button that causes tentacles to shoot out and a bunch of pirate monkeys in little ships. It's a roll-and-move-and-then-get-knocked-off thing, and that's pretty much all you need to know. It's not a Great Game of Our Time, but I play it with my kids and we laugh and have fun with it so I'd say it's a success. It's also a good example of how great children's games are often as much about product design as they are about mechanical design. All of the above said, I think there is probably a tremendous (and undocumented) late-night drinking game variant that shouldn't be too hard to sort out. Review is at Miniature Market.
We also ran a little St. Patrick's Day "Get Lucky" feature of luck-oriented games. I picked Catan, because it is essentially a gambling game.
Man, it's the doldrums right now. Not a lot interesting releasing, haven't had many opportunities to get together with anyone...I did have a friend bring Epic over so I got to check that out. I think I really like it, mainly because it does match up with the comments out there about it being like a MTG game starting on turn seven and with every card tremendously OP. And it's all in a single box, which is cool. We ran a couple of simple drafts and I really liked how that worked out, the games were interesting and with lots of back-and-forth. I think the rulebook maybe values brevity over clarity too much, I had to keep checking it for timing and keyword issues, but it's easy enough to sit down and get right into if you have any CCG experience. Love the resource system- both players get a gold on a turn, you can spend it or lose and all cards cost 1 gold or nothing. That's smart stuff. I also really like how it streamlines a lot of the fussier elements of MTG, timing issues and so forth. I liked it enough to buy a couple of decks from a seller on Ebay, $6 a piece. Quite a bargain for a game that I think might have some legs as a sort of ersatz MTG.
Stronghold 2nd edition is turning out to be probably the best thing I've played all year. I think it's awesome. There are so many little touches in that design that I love, like how the targeting decks for the siege engines start out balanced to miss, but every time you miss you throw out one of those cards. So eventually, they become more dangerous as their crews zero in. I love how the invader resources work with three different values, but the defender gets only one time marker regardless of the value of the cube spent. I love how every battle is practically do or die, the stakes are super high. All of the options available add a lot of detail and nuance to the story, and it really sells both sides of the conflict. Both learning curves (!) are pretty high, but once you sort of see how it all works together it's not that complicated, really. An awesome one of a kind game.
I've got Valeria coming, sort of a fantasy Machi Koro thing, it looks pretty good. Hopefully a little hipsters-only obscure game called Star Wars Rebellion will turn up at MM soon and I can grab it for a review. Other than that, any suggestions? I'm not seeing much of anything worth covering lately. Thought about head-to-heading Kyle on the new Marvel Civil War Risk, but apparently it's closer to plain ol' Risk than the last Star Wars one.