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Last post Author Topic: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective  (Read 39314 times)

mouser

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Hi all,

In the last couple of years I've become increasingly interested in board games, and exploring what makes different games fun.  I thought that I might start posting some thoughts as I try out different games -- to help others who have similar tastes find games they might enjoy.

The most important thing I've learned so far is that in the world of board games, there are widely varying tastes -- and a game that is perfect for one person may be near unbearable for another.

First some preliminaries that are very important, to help you figure out if my recommendations will help you:

  • First, I'm not a hardcore gamer, and I really dislike intense competition and strategic battles that don't involve some luck.  I've never liked chess and i don't like to keep score when playing tennis.  I am much more interested in the social experience of playing a game and having fun and laughing and being surprised.  Perhaps it tells you something about the anthropology of games that someone like me who is quite anti-social is interested in games for the social experience of it.
  • Second, I need a strong theme to enjoy a game.  Theme refers to the flavor and story that is laid on top of the abstract mechanics of a game.  Some people like abstract games and the theme is not important to them -- only the choices and mechanics matter.  For me, I need to feel like there is some kind of story or adventure taking place; the feel and the look of the pieces make a difference to me.
  • Third, I have a very low tolerance for tracking tons of tiny little details and counters, and hate the delays in looking up charts to figure out complicated interactions.  Some people love this stuff, but for me, the simpler the mechanics and the less bits and pieces i have to fiddle with, the better.
  • Fourth, it's important to me that the game can be learned and enjoyed on the first or second playing.  From a practical standpoint this is important if you are playing with new people regularly, but this is the one aspect of my hunt for the best board game that I'm not very comfortable with; if games are anything like music, I would hate to think of the great games I am missing out on because their appreciation only starts to develop slowly and deeply over time -- and how many shallow games i may enjoy at first and then quickly grow tired of, like pop music. But ideally, i'm interested in a game that is great fun for novices, but becomes a deeper experience over time
  • Fifth, I tend to look for games that can support more than 2 players, and I'm a big fan of cooperative and semi-cooperative games.  I have found that asymmetrical games, where players have different abilities, is a great way to ensure that competition in the game is not stressful.
  • Lastly, I'm always looking to find board games that involve novel mechanics, so I can think about what makes the game work and why, from a game design perspective.

Ok so if you match the following profile then these micro-reviews are for you:
  • Casual gamer that is more interested in a fun/funny social experience than in an abstract battle of wits like chess.
  • Theme and story, look and feel are of high importance.
  • Want games that new people can learn and enjoy quickly.
  • Want fast moving games that don't require excessive table lookups and fiddling with too many counters.
  • Like asymmetric, cooperative gameplay.
  • Are interested in game design issues.

NOTE: I am not going to write full reviews or guides for these games here -- you can find great reviews all over the web, and i've linked to many good review sites and blogs in a previous thread, and i will always link to the game page on the BoardGameGeek where you can find more user and external review links.

Instead I will focus on giving you my quick bullet point impressions of the game from the perspective i've outlined above -- the aim will simply be to help you decide if this is a game you might enjoy.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2010, 11:16:50 AM by mouser »

mouser

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games - Pandemic
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2010, 10:48:21 AM »
My first micro-review and recommendation is for: Pandemic.

512JTN-mkFL._SL110_.jpg

You can find good reviews of Pandemic all over the web -- it's almost universally acknowledged as an absolutely brilliant (purely) cooperative game.



Key features:
  • Minimalist, bold, simple but tough choices.
  • Great sense of impending danger, while keeping you feeling like you have some control over your fate.
  • Great asymmetric play through use of roles, and great teamwork and discussion between players.
  • One of the rare games that almost every type of gamer of any age enjoys (for young kids you might try Forbidden Island which has same flavor but is a bit simpler).
  • Great replayability; nice expansion (On The Brink).
  • Beautiful pieces and very fast play.
  • No player ever feels like they aren't contributing, or that they are hindered; everyone playing always has full freedom to do what they want from start to finish.
  • Probably the best board game I own -- and hands down the easiest recommendation I can make to someone curious about getting into modern casual board gaming.

Weaknesses:
  • Might not be fun if you mix experienced players with people who have never played before; one pushy person may try to direct everyone on what they should do.
  • Perhaps "too" cooperative -- there is almost no information hidden among players so essentially every turn can be like a "group" turn with all players agreeing on what action to take with "their" piece.  Other co-op games don't have as much coordination among players which can be fun.
  • May not satisfy those players who crave a real adventure/quest -- it's more on the abstract side.

Game Design Interests:
  • The sense of impending and escalating threat and doom and chaos just barely under control, while preserving the feeling that the players *can* control it if they just make the right choices, is absolutely spot on, and I've never seen this done better.  Worth studying.
  • The mechanic that let's every player have full freedom of movement and action from start to finish is rare in a cooperative game, where typically players get hurt or restricted, or grow stronger, etc.  In pandemic, bad things never happen to the players -- only to the shared board.  The result is that everyone playing always feels like an equal partner and participant.  The effect is quite profound in terms of making it an enjoyable game for everyone.
  • This game is a case study on the value of giving players very simple but agonizing and consequential actions.
  • Very elegant balancing of randomness with statistical predictability that remains just enough out of grasp to make the brain enjoy trying to anticipate what's coming next.

Final Rating:
  • Rating: 10 out of 10 -- a masterpiece; everyone should own this.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 07:34:47 AM by mouser »

Renegade

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2010, 08:57:29 PM »
Do you like card games? Illuminatiw is a very fun game. Not sure if it's still in print or not.
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parkint

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2010, 10:38:16 AM »
I agree with your tastes, Mouser.  Following the format you used, here is a micro-review of one of my favorites:
Alhambra - Compete to construct the most impressive Palace


Key features:
The concept is easy to grasp
Heavily 'themed'
Simple setup
Essentially a 'real estate' game but unlike the typical "Monopoly" style.
Unique in that there are four different currencies that must be used.
Minimal options on a player's turn so no one is bored waiting for the next round.
Enough scoring options so as to minimize failure (and discouragement) due to 'bad luck'.
Multitude of 'expansion' options that can be used as mix-and-match easily (yet this game does not suffer from expansion overkill like Carcassonne)

Weaknesses:
In some respects, you are working on your own.  Some might cite 'lack of player interaction'.
We found the 2-player version needed additional modification beyond what the designer providing in order to maintain a better balance.

Game Design Interests:
As stated, this game adheres well to the theme.  All the parts and pieces are richly designed to evoke the proper mood.
The very interesting aspect of the game is that scoring (which occurs three times in a game) is based solely on your ability to construct MORE of a particular room than your opponents.  This permits a variety of play in each game and enables you to explore multiple strategie options.

Final Rating:
Rating: 10 out of 10 -- This is on our short list of favorites (among the 60+ games we own).  We play it no less than 5 times a week - with 2 players and with 4 players.
The ability to add in expansion options guarantees the game will never become old and uninteresting to play.

mouser

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2010, 11:29:47 AM »
I remember loking at the Illimunati cards and being intrigued a long time ago but it never quite grabbed me.

Thanks for the Alhambra recommendation -- i will definitely get one of the Alahambra variants based on your recommendation, i just have to figure out which one (there is normal Alahambra, a dice version, a card version, and a big box version with the original and some expansions).
« Last Edit: August 31, 2010, 11:31:31 AM by mouser »

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2010, 12:02:42 PM »
I'll join in by recommending UR.



Quote
My BGG Review
Very easy to learn, but quite difficult to master.  The only luck involved is what tiles are where at setup.  I've had games where the way to victory was easy, and others that felt like a knife fight in a phone booth.  Recommended.

Key Features
The concept is very easy to grasp
While abstract, there is enough theme to grab you
Other than the tile placement, there is no chance involved
Once you read the rules, there's no language involved

Weaknesses
It is quite abstract, so if one is not used to abstract games, it can be hard to grasp the subtleties
No chance, so winning is based purely on skill which can be offputting to new players
Better with 4 players, though playable with 2 or 3.

Game design interests
The fact that your turn is composed of a move that is a choice of one of a few totally different actions can put people into a crisis of indecision.

Final Rating: 8 out of 10

Gothi[c]

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2010, 09:14:54 AM »
I didn't like it as much as you did :D
Perhaps instead of writing YOUR rating as final rating you should put the average of what we all rated when playing as 'final' rating :D

mouser

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2010, 09:23:57 AM »
Hi gothic, i'm glad you are adding your thoughts on the game!  Gothic (the brilliant dc server admin) and his wife Della come over to play board games with me.

Perhaps this is a good excuse for me to reiterate what i was trying to get at with this thread.  You'll notice from the thread topic and from my long first post, that i tried hard to lay out my biases and preferences for games.

The reason i did that was that i've come to the conclusion that people have very different tastes in games, and so overall or average ratings of games are not all that helpful in trying to figure out if you are going to really love a game.

Rather, i'm thinking that i'll try to give my personal take on games, from my very specific perspective of what makes a game fun for me, with my specific and somewhat unusual tastes.

These write-ups won't be much use at all for someone with different tastes than me, so i don't think these are going to be helpful as general recommendations.  However, that's not to say that it might not be useful to hear what other people with different tastes think of the game if you have a mixed group of players at your board game nights, but then that's what boardgamegeek is for!

But for me i'm thinking of this thread as documenting my quest to find the perfect board game for me personally, and to understand what makes a game perfect for my type of game player, and then to understand how to create games that this sweet spot for people with a similar taste in games.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 09:26:31 AM by mouser »

mouser

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games - Heroscape
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2010, 11:42:22 AM »
My next micro-review is for Heroscape:

heroscapepic796375_md.jpg



Heroscape is one of the more lightweight "miniatures"-based games, where players control figures that move around on a map and battle.

Tom Vassel (from The Dice Tower) has a 5-part video review of Heroscape here; it's one of his favorite games.

For me -- the complexity level of Heroscape is perfect -- it's very simple, clear, and straightforward, plays extremely quickly, and is a pure joy.

Heroscape was one of the games that re-kindled my enjoyment of playing games.  It also opened my eyes wide to the importance of having something physical to look at and manipulate, in terms of how enjoyable a game is.  In many ways heroscape is the closest example of a board game-as-toy.  If you have kids that like to build things, this might be the perfect game for your family, since it's sort of like combining lego with toy soldiers, using an elegant set of rules for battle.  I've not played any other game that is as purely enjoyable to actually move figures around and get in the spirit of attacking, etc.

Key features:
  • The best physical pieces of any (affordable) game, pre-painted miniatures and 3d board pieces that make you feel like you are in their world.  Kids who like to build things may love just putting together random maps.
  • Outstanding theme and creatures; perhaps it's due in part to the 3d nature of the map and the colored miniatures, but i haven't played any game that compared to heroscape in terms of emersion in the experience.
  • People who are used to heavy roleplaying games may be dissatisfied with the simple and unchanging nature of the combat and creature abilities; there are no extra weapons to buy and items to equip.  But for me it hits the absolute sweet spot in terms of combat and movement.  Each character has different abilities and speeds, and squads of multiple figures have very enjoyable interactions.  A huge variety of figures and expansions make it always a different experience depending on what creatures you control.  You learn the rules very quickly (there is even a simplified-game ruleset for young and newer players).
  • There's a lot of luck but also a lot of risk assessment and probability, and a good amount of jockeying for high-ground position.  The issue of height-advantage plays a large role in the game and is helped by the 3d nature of the board.  Both the attacking player and defending player role dice against each other during a fight, and the player interaction is great.  For me it's the perfect complexity level.
  • Tons of expansion figures you can buy (these are not cheap, but the base game is very cheap compared to similar games)
  • The game book describes varieties of different maps to create and winning conditions; by changing the game goals you can create different kinds of styles of games (though this isnt an adventure/quest game, it's essentially attack and defense, and strategic positioning all the way).
  • Great variety of character abilities and asymmetrical play -- it's a great pleasure watching how weak but numerous squads go up against powerful but slow single creatures. Very fun to learn how to make the best use of the unique powers of different figures. And you *really* get into taking on the personalities of your figures, whether you are playing a giant dragon, robots, a squad of samurai, or a flying amazon woman.
  • Unlike many games, if you mis-interpret or skip rules, it won't disrupt gameplay much; makes playing with new players, young kids, or during your first playthrough fun

Weaknesses:
  • After lots of plays, people may get a bit bored; it is essentially a combat game where there are no hidden cards that get revealed to surprise you -- everything is out on the table in the open.  A cure for boredom can be had by buying addon figures but they are expensive and take up lots of space.
  • The 3d board pieces are a big part of the fun of the game.. BUT.. they are also the biggest weakness of the game, in a way i didn't initially anticipate.  Actually setting up a board can take a very long time (20-30 minutes just to set up board?) -- it can be confusing to match the layout described in the book (and i suggest you don't worry about matching it exactly), and can be frustrating.  It takes up a ton of space on the table.  This aspect of the game makes it hard for me to overcome the resistance i feel sometimes in setting up this game to play.  John+Traci who i play games with also love heroscape (which is saying a lot since our tastes differ), and the only thing that stops us from playing it a lot more is the time and effort needed to set it up to play and put it away afterwards.  The pieces are kind of big and if you start buying expansions you could need to rent a storage room to hold it all. But if you have a garage where you could leave a giant map set up permanently, it could become a lifestyle for you and your friends.

Game Design Interests:
  • Great example of the power of physicality/look/feel when it comes to visceral enjoyment.
  • Great example of using really minimalistic simple rules and getting real strategic play out of the emergent interactions of probabilities.
  • Great example of combining simple but compelling squad-based actions with more traditional actions.
  • Great example of variety in figure special abilities, while keeping things simple.
  • Interesting use of height as a positional advantage, due to the 3d nature of the board and the rules governing height effects.
  • One of the very best examples of how fast and fun a game can be when the primary focus of the game design is on creating a fun experience (as opposed to a deep strategic battle of wits), and how important speed and simplicity is to achieving this.
  • Clever mechanism for army "drafting" that works very well to facilitate asymmetric armies that are balanced

Final Rating:
9 out of 9; the only thing keeping it from a perfect 10 is the tiresome process of assembling the boards.  one of the few games that was an absolute joy to play the very first time we took it out of the box to learn it.
Fellow player ratings: John (9), Traci (10)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 07:34:31 AM by mouser »

Gothi[c]

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2010, 12:56:19 PM »
I love heroscape :)
It's also a nice base if you want to make up your own rules.
We tried to print our own heroscape cards with altered rules, for example :)

Gothi[c]

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2010, 12:56:57 PM »
I'd also like to add that I love assembling boards, not from a scenario, but something you make up. It's half the fun for me :D

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2010, 01:16:55 PM »
What would you suggest starting out with to try heroscape?  It seems like something my son might like...

mouser

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2010, 01:33:51 PM »
I'd recommend getting ONE of the two main Master Sets:

These two sets are mostly the same so it doesn't really matter which one you get.  They should be about $36 dollars each.  You only need one.

mouser

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2010, 11:46:52 AM »
By the way, when they have it in stock, i buy my board games from BoardsAndBits (http://www.boardsandbits.com/) -- they have significantly cheaper prices.  They don't have as big a selection though, and they are clearly a little less polished than the biggest stores (like amazon or funagain.com).  [i have no relation to them, i just appreciate their prices].

mouser

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games - Castle Ravenloft
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2010, 10:31:44 AM »
My next micro-review is for first impressions of: Castle Ravenloft

pic784085_md.jpg



Castle Ravenloft is a pure cooperative game, all of the players are on a team that explores a random dungeon, fighting monsters and trying to achieve some goal spelled out in the adventure they've chosen (usually to find some specific treasure).

I expected to fall in love with Castle Ravenloft -- It is very heavily themed, plays very fast, and uses a very streamlined combat mechanism that is easy to understand and is largely luck based.

I think the game does a great job when it comes to the players -- their abilities are good, the way players can choose a few abilities, and the way some special abilities can only be used rarely, the mechanism for attacking and defending -- for me this simplified combat system hit the mark perfectly.

However, I have to report that after my first play I was left underwhelmed and a bit flat (my fellow players, Traci and John, felt similarly, and I note that some other reviewers on boardgamegeek report the same).

Why did this beautifully produced game leave me flat?
  • There is almost no "adventuring" and building suspense - after almost every move a new random low-level monster is revealed and it attacks the player that just moved.  Battle is straightforward and usually results in the monster being killed on the next turn.
  • Everything you encounter in the dungeon is randomly generated -- the map, the monsters, the treasures.  The fact that they managed to make that work and still play in a reasonably balanced way is a tribute to the designers, BUT it seems to lead to really flat, non-suspenseful, undifferentiated gameplay.  Contrast this with a game like Descent which also has a modular board, but relies on adventure scenarios to describe the layout of the dungeon specifically and the positioning and powers of specific monsters.  The effect in Descent is that each adventure feels completely different and feels like you are on a real quest against a real adversary.  Ravenloft just feels like running around in a random dungeon with tons of monsters to hack up.  Now there are further adventures to play in the Ravenloft quest book, and the potential is there for better adventuring.. but while the game comes with tons of tiles, it's hard to feel like there is any real effect to having all of these tiles that look and behave almost identically.
  • Compounding on the problem of feeling like you are in a non-stop uninteresting hack fest, is the fact monster movement is almost entirely uninteresting and does not involve any strategic/tactical element of interest.  This is a pretty damning problem -- basically monsters move by larger tile units, and there is really no sense in which players can tactically position themselves in certain places.  The benefit is very streamlined fast combat, which is great, but it also sucks almost most of the fun out of fighting monsters. Ravenloft is basically a monster-fighting game where the monster fighting isn't particularly fun.  Contrast this to Heroscape which is a pure-combat game with no adventuring; the fighting in Heroscape is fast and simple, but dripping with strategic positioning, tough choices, and unpredictable extended battles.  Now in fairness, both Heroscape and Descent are not pure co-op games, they use a dungeon master player to control monsters; Ravenloft designers have found a way to let all players play on the same team, but the combat really suffers horribly from it.
  • Lots of different monster figures, but the differences between how they behave are pretty small, and because you kill off and reveal monsters at such a rapid pace, you quickly start seeing the same monsters over and over, and it can get monotonous; the cure to this would be to have a gameplay that involves much fewer monster battles, with much stronger creatures that involve long drawn out fights.
  • Teamwork feels limited; as much as this is a cooperative game, it doesn't feel like there is much room for real teamwork; on each players turn there is usually a new monster that will attack that player, so at least in our game every player was usually fighting their own monster and not paying too much attention to each other.  Clearly there was the potential for players to help each other out a little, but it just didn't seem like this was a key part of the gameplay.

Redeeming Features:
  • Beautiful game pieces; not very much real "art" but everything looks and feels great.  Great theme.
  • Huge potential to have many of the problems outlined above "fixed" using alternate/home variations in rules; the game is begging for someone to re-work the rules to make the combat less frequent and less boring.
  • Great streamlining of player combat and movement choices; great use of special rare actions.
  • Easy to learn, easy to set up.
  • Clever use of experience points to fend off negative encounters.
  • Clever use of encounter deck to add some variety of events


Game Designer Interests:
  • Good example of providing a variety of characters the players can choose to play and customizing them using the players choice of ability cards.
  • Good example of putting enough instructions on cards to make it possible to play without referring to rulebook.
  • Great lesson (in its failure) in how hard it is to make random quests feel suspenseful and like adventures.
  • Great lesson (in its failure) about the drawbacks of having new monsters encountered and killed at such a rapid pace.
  • Great lesson (in its failure) on the advantages of having a DM player controlling monsters, and how hard it is to design to pure coop for this genre without one.
  • Great lesson (in its failure) about the trade-offs of randomness vs. scripted quests, and in why randomness in map layout may not be such a great idea.



Summary:

Reading my list of problems with the game, one might get the impression that I really disliked the game.  I didn't.  I actually enjoyed it, I just couldn't help but feel like it hadn't come close to living up to it's expectations, and could have been so much of a better game.

The main thing that could be done to fix the game would be to fix the way players encounter and battle monsters.  It has to be made much less frequent, much more of a drawn out extended process, and needs to involve some real strategic positioning, planning, and teamwork combat elements, and some variety in the way monsters react.

Final Rating:
Game as released: 7 of 10
Potential with rule changes: 9 of 10
Fellow player ratings: John (5.5), Traci (6)

« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 07:34:20 AM by mouser »

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2010, 08:04:50 PM »
Ravenloft is only to be played when you have a good Dungeon Master who is up for it.

And I can tell you now that there are not that many.

This setting was tried by our group when it was still active, but our DM did not have the 'chops'. Reading the novels that are associated with this setting is a joy. As a character you have to be really able to survive any night outside the safety of your home in Ravenloft (played it when 2nd Edition rules were still king).

The game improved a lot when I aided our DM by playing the main evil character. My fellow players really hated me for all the mean streaks I introduced to the evil character. I think when you have enough players (5 or more) to let one of the imaginative players to be the main evil character.

After all, with Dungeons and Dragons games there is only one real rule...the DM is always right.

Besides, the 2nd Edition books start by saying that all the rules and stats from the books are optional and definitely not set in stone. Later rule books are unfamiliar to me.

mouser

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2010, 09:05:16 PM »
i think there might be a bit of a confusion -- the Ravenloft I reviewed is a brand new board game meant to be played without a DM.  There are also other scenarios for the traditional dungeons and dragons using the "Ravenloft" setting, but that is something very different from the board game.

Shades

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2010, 10:09:36 PM »
 :-[

As I said, it was a long time ago for me. If I only had the time, I would enjoy participating in tabletop games like D&D again.

Oh oh, nostalgia is kicking in...

Gothi[c]

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2010, 04:56:23 AM »
Shades,

Like mouser said, i think you are confused :)
This isn't tabletop rpg d&d
this is just the boardgame version.
If it were real D&D (especially 2nd edition) i would have given it 10/10 ;)


mouser

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games - Dixit
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2010, 01:48:15 PM »
My next micro-review is for first impressions of: Dixit

pic423748_md.jpg



Dixit is really more of a card and party game than a board game.  The concept is very simply, players (or teams) take turns coming up with an ambiguous description of a hidden card in their hand, and other players try to choose cards from their own hands that best match the description.  Then all cards are shuffled and laid out on the table and everyone tries to guess which card the player originally described.  A simple scoring system advances pawns on a board.

I brought dixit to a family gathering last week that had players ranging from 7 to 70, and everyone got a big kick out of it.

Why is it a perfect game for family gatherings:

  • Super easy to teach and transport
  • Plays fast and everyone is involved and engaged every moment of play.
  • Little or no real competition, very lighthearted and entertaining; no one really has to care about winning and losing.
  • Little kids love the artwork, adults like coming up with clever clues.
  • Older players who *enjoy* deep thinking can get satisfaction from thinking hard about clues and details.
  • Fosters discussion and chatting about the clues and pictures.
  • Fun when people don't agree with each other

Game Designer Interests
  • Clever scoring rule that ensures people come up with ambiguous but reasonable description clues.

Summary:

I'm sure groups of adults would enjoy this, but I definitely think that Dixit (and its expansion Dixit 2) is a perfect game for family gatherings, especially when you have a variety of ages including very young (6yrs or so) kids.  I highly recommend it.

Final Rating: 9 of 10

« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 07:34:06 AM by mouser »

kyrathaba

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2010, 06:48:57 PM »
Dixit looks nice!  Might have to try this.

Quote
Ravenloft is only to be played when you have a good Dungeon Master who is up for it.

And I can tell you now that there are not that many.

This setting was tried by our group when it was still active, but our DM did not have the 'chops'.

Agreed.  I had one of those rare DMs who was so in love with the Ravenloft setting (and novels) that he Dungeon Mastered these games with real excellence.
Like Shades, I wish I could participate in a tabletop game, but I live in a rural area, and have little time.  I have to content myself with my online game.  My favorite AD&D setting was Forgotten Realms.

mouser

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games - Crack the Case
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2011, 09:24:28 AM »
It's been a while since I posted one of my non-competitive board game mini-reviews, so here goes.

This is a mini-review of: Crack the Case
pic250487_md.jpg


Crack the Case is kind of a party game for amateur sleuths.  The game comes with a ton of large cards which have two sides.  On one side is a short "mystery" you read to the rest of the group.  On the other side is the solution to the case that the reader keeps private. Then the rest of the group just asks questions of the reader that can only be answered by words like: YES/NO/MAYBE/IRRELEVANT/CLARIFY QUESTION.

That's basically the whole game.  Keep in mind that this isn't a game where you uncover clues and figure out some deep mystery -- the game is really about trying to come up with QUESTIONS that will help reveal the answer to the case (like trying to figure out how and why person X killed person Y).

We had quite a bit of fun playing it and liked the fact that it required no setup, and everyone could just sit where they want and shout out questions and all play at the same time.

Some "cases" were more enjoyable than others, but each case only takes 10-15 minutes to play and every one that we played involved moments where we were pleasantly perplexed and searching for the right question to ask to "crack" the case -- and eventually solved each one.

A big thumbs up for this one -- especially when playing with groups that don't like too much structure, want to jump right into something -- and it's also one where there is no pressure on anyone to come up with ideas, etc.  Since it's basically just a free for all of shouting out questions.

Final Rating: 8 out of 10.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 07:33:55 AM by mouser »

mouser

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2011, 12:34:03 PM »
Note: we spent a couple of *hours* playing Crack the Case live in the DonationCoder live irc (efnet) chatroom the other day, and had a blast.  We will be playing again soon if anyone else wants to play.

40hz

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2011, 03:00:40 PM »
Question for all you boardgamers...I just unboxed a copy of The Settlers of Catan (board version) and played it last night with three friends (one a big SoC fan - the rest of us veteran gamers).

SOC.jpg


I was pretty excited giving it a try since it gets rave reviews and is one of the most highly recommended games out there.

map.jpg


I must admit I was more than a little disappointed however. It was an ok game as far as it goes. Great packaging, cool changeable board map, simple clear instructions. And decent gameplay.

But I just didn't experience anything playing it that made me think it deserved some of the accolades it received.

So question: am I missing something -  or does it maybe get better once you add some expansion packs and involve more players? Because I really want to like this game. It's just I'm having a hard time doing it after last night.

 :)
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 03:04:26 PM by 40hz »

mouser

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Re: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2011, 03:03:50 PM »
I played it once, didn't enjoy it.

Looks like you are learning what I learned -- different people have very different tastes in board games.

With all of the accolades that Settlers has received, I can surmise that it is a great game for many people -- and has some deep and interesting strategic elements.  But that doesn't equal fun for everyone.