Several months ago I wrote about RISK:Legacy and how it had blown me out of the water. I mentioned that I had been having a hard time getting into new games, which was why the path was cleared for the awesomeness that is RISK:Legacy.
Well, today, rather than write a about a game I’ve played and what I think about it, I want to talk about my board game blues.
For about 6-7 months now I’ve been in this funk where I just don’t have the motivation to learn new board games. In my group of friends I’m to rulebook guy. You know that guy: he reads the rulebook cover-to-cover before playing and (if no one at the table has played before) is the one to teach the game. He constantly questions the legitimacy of decisions and tactics throughout the game, continually checking with the rulebook.
I’m that guy.
Once again the galaxy is up for grabs. It’s up to you, an opportunist warlord, to unite The Machine Cult, Star Empire, Trade Federation. and the Alien Blob factions in an effort to forge your Star Realm.
Will you be able to form and utilize your empire to rule, before your foe, or will you be reduced to nothing more than a backwater trader?
Star Realms is a science fiction deck-building game that puts you in the role of a small time leader of nothing more than a few trade ships and 2 attack ships in the hope that you will be able to build up a mighty fleet to defeat your enemy. For those of you who are not sure what deck building means, it’s where the central mechanic of the game is to start off with a very limited number of cards and through the process of buying cards – from a large deck that is shared between all players – you build your deck into a larger more powerful one.
I have not had the chance to sit down and really try a deck builder, so when the opportunity arose to try one out, I took it. I was intrigued by the tuck-box with the space tank on it. That evening I played three matches in a row. Suffice it to say I enjoy the game immensely.
I saw the trailer for the High Moon mobile app a while ago, and I was stoked. When Stephen Gibson (the games’ creator) sent me his rulebook for the card game I was pretty skeptical. The game had a ton of potential on my phone, but I didn’t think it would flow too well as a table top. I play a lot of board and card games and I have a good idea of what I like and dislike in a game.
Certain I would be converted, he printed out the base set and brought it to my house to teach me. I continued to be skeptical for the first few rounds of play. But as I began to see the simple-to-implement tactics of the game, and feel that every card I played (and how I played it) could turn the tides for or against me I started to really love the game.
I can’t speak from personal experience, but from my limited time with the many genres of games, I would guess that abstract’s are among the toughest to design. Your rules & mechanics have to be sharpened to a razors edge, you’ll imbue it with every little shred of theme you can manage, try to make it as appealing as possible even though some will complain about how it’s ” just a board and some pieces”, and sit back to endure the inevitable onslaught of fools wailing about how they don’t understand it.
Once in a blue moon, you’ll be granted something truly marvelous. In this case, that something is Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends, is famed designer Vlaada Chvátil’s latest offering and I believe it to be a monumental achievement of abstract gaming.
Ever struggled to figure out who’s going to start a game? Do weird rules on how to select the first player annoy you? Have an Android phone? Then grab Select Who?
This free app is a fun and fast way to select the first player. All players simply place a finger on the phone, and after a countdown, the app randomly chooses one finger, and turns the circle under it purple, designating that player as first.
I would say more, but that’s all there is too it. This app simply works, and at a price point of FREE, why hesitate to give it a shot.
About a year ago I started helping out at the Solid Board Gamers (SBG). This opened up a whole world to me, as I suddenly had access to a myriad of games, including Terra Mystica, Seasons, Castle Panic, Lords of Waterdeep, Alhambra, Neuroshima Hex, Yggdrasil, and so on. These are vastly different than the games of my childhood, as you may have guessed, based on their names.
As you may have surmised, being a gamer yourself, that The Settler’s of Catan was the game to de-virginize me. Countless hours of collecting wheat and bartering for wood showed me the light. Board games didn’t have to be collecting rent from unintentional tenants, world domination by dice rolls, or creating words on a grid. While all classics, I found little pleasure in these games. The irony is that this new world of games made those classics better for me.
Now, as an associate of SBG, I have access to their horde of boards [Editor’s note: I love this phrase, and will be co-opting it for further use]. I usually have one or two of their games in my house at a time. This has led to me learning LOTS of different games, and I was beginning to become a bit bored. I was beginning to feel like all games were just similar to another game I had already played.
Today I write about a game that, in the crux of my dilemma, stood out above the rest. In fact, it’s a variation on one of the boring classics that I mentioned earlier. Read More…