Rubbing is not racing this time out.
Wow, I just realized that somehow I've blown off posting here for two weeks in a row. Lazy!
Anyway, I have two reviews for you to make up for it. One is for a great game, one is for a lousy one. The great one is Grand Prix, which is Jeff and Carla Horger's follow-up to Thunder Alley. They've moved the racing action to open wheel, Formula-1 style motorsports and for the most part the transition works really well. The game is faster, a little looser and the scoring is completely different, which changes things up quite a bit in terms of how you play your cards and manage your teammate. There are also NPC cars now so there is a full grid every game. I'm not sure which of the two I like better, but right now I think TA is just slightly the better game. Word on the street is that their next racing design is going to have combat, so that is something to look forward to.
The bad game is The Others, one of CMON's highfalutin multi-million dollar Kickstarter mill titles where they shower you with junk to encourage you to keep your pledge. It's a stupid, ugly game with a terrible setting. Unfortunately, it also boasts some pretty impressive and quite innovative concepts as far as the "all against one"/"overlord" style design concept goes. It's too bad that they aren't in a better game that doesn't play out like another tired-ass co-op dungeoncrawl. Or in one that isn't like a discarded idea for a Vertigo comic circa 1995. Pete bought my copy at a tremendous discount and I will be glad to never see it again.
Now, last week I got a mysterious and quite unsolicited package in the mail from Amazon. An anonymous F:ATtie sent me a copy of Black Fleet, which absolutely delighted me because it was one of the games I had wanted to check out during the ERP but I never got around to looking at it. As requested, I will do a full review of it in the next couple of weeks but I have played it a couple of times and it's really good! It's a smart, slick design that is TOTALLY in line with ERP values- which is to say it plays an feels like a classic German game. It's designed by Sebastian Bleasdale, who is sort of in Knizia's inner circle and has worked with the Great Man on a couple of designs. It shows in this one because it has that really focused sense of design. But it gets a little squirrely in how there is kind of an upgrade path. It kind of plays out like a very, very streamlined Merchants and Marauders. Liking this one quite a lot, but the three player game was sort of missing something. Another player.
Speaking of Knizia, I have Victory Point Games' newest and it is actually a Knizia title. I requested a review copy without actually looking it over, so I was pretty surprised to find that it is actually a re-release of Tower of Babel. Now, I liked Tower of Babel quite a lot and I think it is a dramatically underrated Knizia title, so I was very happy to see it back. There are some changes, the most obvious of which is that is now a space building thing, but it is mostly the same game. Which is nowhere advertised on the box or ad copy. Review on this one is coming too.
I've got a couple of things cued up as we head into the holidays...I'll be covering the Bloodborne card game (which looks very iffy) and the new version of Kaleidos (which I love). I've also got the reprint of Escape from Coldtiz on the way as well as TMNT, which I'm doing with Charlie. And probably Conan, which I have a feeling I will dislike.