Also reviewed- a game that costs $100 more.
I’ve got two for you up at Miniature Market today. The better of the two is…drum roll…The Doctor Who Card Game: Classic Doctors Edition! I really thought this was going to be terrible despite the Martin Wallace pedigree and my deep love for classic Doctor Who. But it turned out to be a pretty neat game. It’s simple and not very specific to the setting/characters, but it is fun with some good design and if you know the show, TONS to riff on and talk about. Granted, fans of classic Doctor Who are fewer and further between these days so the appeal of this game might be very limited. Even more so than with the previous “boyfriend Doctors” edition. I actually kind of want to get it and the new 12th Doctor expansion because you can combine them.
The lesser of the two games is…drum roll…Food Chain Magnate. I gave it three stars and I think it definitely deserves a good, positive-leaning review…but I don’t really enjoy the game. I think it’s a terrific, occasionally brilliant economic design with some awesome supply/demand/marketing mechanics and that same kind of satirical eye that Splotter had with Greed, Incorporated. But the game just isn’t really fun, it doesn’t quite trigger the pleasure centers. It feels something like a deckbuilder crossed with an org chart crossed with a logistics game. Which may, in fact, be “fun” for some people and it apparently is “fun” for them. But I’m just not feeling it, and I like economic games. I tried to play it face to face a couple of times and both times were just a total bust…it’s dense enough with rules, and then you’ve got all of these Milestone cards with special abilities on them that sort of over-shoot the complexity mark. And it’s long, and slow paced.
But I did enjoy it more using the Boardgamecore.net web application. It automates a lot of the processes and it helps A LOT in determining where you can/can’t place things. It made the early games feel not quite as much touch-and-go, but it was still completely, unabashedly unforgiving. One botched turn and you are done. Which isn’t a big deal in an online game, but for a four hour sit-down it could be terminally frustrating.
So very mixed feelings on it…nowhere near as good IMO as Greed Incorporated or Antiquity, better than Roads and Boats.
Other stuff going on- Carl Chudyk’s Bear Valley is pretty neat, definitely an unusual take on the adventure genre with some Chudyk-y mechanics. Animals on Board is a HUGE hit with my kids. I didn’t realize Stellar Conflict was a remake of Light Speed. Piratoons hasn’t been played yet but it looks like a simpler, more family-friendly take on Galaxy Trucker. Tyrants of the Underdark just showed up but I haven’t looked at it yet.
Digging Tanks very much, just wish the expansion packs would hurry up and ship out. River is really into it, and he’s excited about building and painting more of them. There’s something kind of old fashioned about it that I love, that it’s a model kit with a simple game attached to it. There is a TON of room for them to develop this into a sort of simplified Flames of War, and I hope it goes in that direction. Now I’m looking at coming up with some cheap 15mm terrain for it.
I put together most of Deathwatch: Overkill over the past two days. Be warned that it requires a little more assembly than the other recent GW titles. There are a TON of Genestealer hybrids. Really excited to play this one, the concept is awesome. Deathwatch is sort of a Dirty Dozen-style group of Space Marines seconded from various chapters to an elite ops sort of group. They are all named characters and each has completely unique wargear and armor. One of the dudes is a mustachioed biker with a hawk, riding a motorcycle with twin-linked bolters on the front.
Betrayal at Calth continues to impress- I think it might be one of the best standalone games GW has ever done. It is the authentic Warhammer 40k (well, 30k) board game experience you have always wanted.