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Author Topic: Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective  (Read 14364 times)
Ampa
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« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2011, 03:53:30 PM »

I agree with everything that Mouser said! Settlers has a big reputation, but doesn't do it for me.

Keep looking though and you will find some modern boardgames that do suit you, and your playing group, then you'll be hooked!
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40hz
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« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2011, 07:19:04 PM »

@Mouser @Ampa - Thx. Thought it might just be me.

OK. This game wasn't exactly cheap so I'd hate to see it just sitting on a shelf gathering dust. If there's any DC member (with a mailing address in the USA) that would like a free, only used once copy of The Settlers of Catan sent to you postpaid via U.S. snail mail, PM me where to ship it - and it's yours. My treat.  UPDATE: We had a taker. It's been shipped. Enjoy!

My copy has slightly different box graphics than the one pictured above. It might be an earlier edition, although I only bought it about 6 months ago. It's published by Mayfaire Games Inc. (ISBN 1-56905-091-0).

Here's what mine looks like:



« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 11:19:25 AM by 40hz; Reason: Offer closed. We had a requestor. » Logged

Don't you see? It's turtles all the way down!
Shades
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« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2011, 02:48:33 PM »

The game mechanics are not that great and that is likely the reason why you don't like it.

What made the game fun for me was always the "social" trading of goods/resources between players which allows you to try reading their tactics and reveal your own as much as possible. But that requires good other players as well...never found those after losing touch with the playing group I was part of when moving to South America.

The only kind of board game that people (in my age/social range) play here is when it shown in a computer screen. Which is a shame as I spent many afternoon/evening playing board and table-top games and loving that. But now it is reduced to an occasional game of chess during a brown-out/power failure.

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JoTo
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« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2011, 08:07:24 AM »

Hi,

for those of you BoardGameGeeks i have a suggestion.

I am a long time member of http://www.brettspielwelt.de (BoardGamesWorld).

BSW is a site where you can play online and FREE many original boardgames. From Settlers of Catan, over Pandemic to Dogz and whatnot. All the games are licensed with the original publishers and so they look relatively genuine (original graphics, gameplay and rules). The publishers count the BSW as a kind of advertisement for their games. And it worked for me. When i joined the BSW i played Pandemic the first time. I loved it so much that i purchased the game as a board game -> DANG! Money for the publisher via BSW. smiley

In BSW there is a Metagame that is organized in a kind of "World" with towns and Guilds and Ranks/Levels. So you can go from town to town where games in "houses of the town" are offered to play. Lounges and shouts makes it easy to find opponents. Also there are a lot of people around all the day and 24/7. At the time i write this post 1200+ players were online.

Regular tournaments and events completes the scenario. The Metagame is a nice addon, but not the main thing. If you register you can get a citizen of a town and play for this town in tournaments and earn money for the town (that is needed to purchase food, pay tax and whatnot). Or you just enter, wade to the game you want, play some matches and walk away again. It's at your will.

Oh and did i mentioned its completely FREE. You even don't need to register. You can play as Guest. But then you miss a lot of fun of rankings and levels. But even if you register, i never got a single email from them, except the register/welcome one.

Don't be afraid that this is a german page and the homepage is all german. There are a lot of foreign (non german) members there and english spoken is BSW-wide from a lot of persons there. There are even founded towns in the BSW-Metagame with english speaking or regional persons (e.g. London for British people or Istanbul for Turkish).

E.g. there is a special forum board for english only at: BSW English Forum

So maybe we meet you some times in the world of BSW. My nickname (What do you think? Surprise, Surprise!) is of course not JoTo. smiley Was already taken. I am Lukullus there.

Hope this suggestion is valuable for someone.

Greetings
JoTo
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 08:11:04 AM by JoTo » Logged
kfitting
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« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2011, 10:49:38 AM »

For those who have tried Settlers and didnt like it, have you tried the Cities and Knights expansion?  I think it adds a LOT of interesting gameplay/tactics into the original.  I dont like playing the original anymore as it's way too simple. 

As mouser said, everyone has their own taste so I'm not saying Cities and Knights will make Settlers appeal to those who dont like the original version, but it's worth a shot!
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mouser
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« Reply #30 on: March 04, 2011, 04:05:26 PM »

I think we will plan on playing Crack the Case Live and Online in the DonationCoder IRC channel tonight (friday mar 4, 2011), at sometime around 11PM server time (USA Central Standard time).

Everyone is welcome.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2011, 04:37:44 PM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2011, 10:36:59 PM »

Crack the case will start in Already Started.  Join the chat channel to play (click chat button above or join #donationcoder on efnet using a standard irc client).
« Last Edit: March 04, 2011, 10:54:35 PM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #32 on: September 05, 2011, 04:42:10 AM »

It's been too long since I posted a new board/card game mini-review, so here's a quickie.

This is my mini-review of a card game for young kids called "Spot It".



I learned about Spot It from my favorite board game review video series by Tom Vassel:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssNFOCO-mj4" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssNFOCO-mj4</a>

Tom's daughter Melody is a real gamer and she and tom both liked the game.

I thought it might be perfect for my niece during a family visit I took last week, and it was.  Turns out everyone in the family enjoyed it, even my parents.

It's a light game where you are trying to quickly match symbols on the cards.  There are actually several variations you can play, which adds some variety.  We invented a couple of additional variations, including one that used the cards to play go-fish which i think worked quite well.

I'd give this one a 9 out of 10 in the category of quick family games for playing with young children under 10.



Someone mentioned a similar game called "Set", which has won many awards.  Set is definitely in the same vein of identifying similar cards.. and has some more sophisticated elements to it.  I tried Set a while ago but found it completely unfun to play and too taxing on my brain.



Side note: This game can actually be fascinating for the mathematicians in the family and some of us found ourselves deep in thought about the algorithm used to create the cards.  You see the cards are such that: Each card has 8 symbols on it, from a collection of over 50 symbols.  There are 55 cards.  Each card has one and only one match with every other card.  It's not at all trivial to come up with an algorithm that achieves that, or to answer questions such as how many cards can you make given N unique symbols with M symbols on each card..
« Last Edit: September 05, 2011, 04:52:51 AM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #33 on: September 05, 2011, 04:46:27 AM »

By the way, my niece's favorite game was not actually a game.

I brought a ton of pieces i keep for prototyping new board/card games (dice of all types including some blank dice, blank playing cards, miscelaneous tokens, etc.), and it turns out my niece is a budding game designer.. She could not get enough and wanted to invent 3 or 4 new board games every day.

I'm not sure that many kids would take to the challenge of inventing new games but might be something worth investigating if you have young kids in your family, since I think it's a great learning experience.
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iphigenie
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« Reply #34 on: September 05, 2011, 09:35:13 AM »

I just ordered Forbiddden Island which you mention is simpler than Pandemic, as a good travel game for semi-gaming adults going on a road trip - will see how it fares
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Deozaan
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« Reply #35 on: September 05, 2011, 10:42:29 AM »

Spot It looks fun. Thanks!
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mouser
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« Reply #36 on: September 25, 2011, 12:14:41 PM »

My next review is for a game called Merchants & Marauders, which we played for the first time last night:



This is a big beautiful expensive game where players pilot ships in the Caribbean Islands, earning money as a trader or robbing ships as a pirate.

I was attracted to the game based on a few reviews that described it as similar to Tales of the Arabian Nights, one of my favorite board games.  I like games that involve a narrative story and are filled with surprise and adventure and exploration.

Merchants & Marauders succeeds quite well in creating a very visceral experience of being on the high seas dealing with other ships and ports -- and is one of those rare board games that really makes you feel like you are in a living world.  It's not just that it succeeds in presenting an immersive theme, but that it succeeds in making you feel like the world is actually dynamically evolving as you play.

It's a long game (I think we played for over 5 hours), and it's also extremely successful in creating a wide variety and diversity of things to do and adventures to go on, and ways to win.  We barely scratched the surface of the different events and adventures and missions to go on.. And player interaction is as hands off or brutal as the players want -- which is a nice feature.

It's the area of rules where the game doesn't quite work for me.  Now to be honest this is where most games fail for me.  I really dislike overly involved rulesets which are difficult to keep track of.  Much of the reason for this is that I don't play too many games with the same crowd repeatedly, so if a game required 2 or 3 sessions before everyone gets up to speed and can play, it's hard to have fun with new people.  In board game discussions you will hear the term "fiddly", which refers to games where there are lots of little tokens and chits and counters to keep track of and do bookeeping on.

Merchants & Marauders isn't terrible in this department -- but it is on the borderline.  There are a lot of little rules and tokens and bookeeping.  NPC interactions and Combat in particular is overly complicated and convoluted and involves many steps which seem overkill to me.  I prefer theme and flavor for combat, not all of these involved steps.

The game comes as close as any board game I have ever seen in creating something that feels like a world simulation.. but it does it at the cost of a bit to much bookeeping and upkeep work.

In the end, that's what makes the game something that just didn't quite work for me -- just too much focus on going through the motions and doing bookeeping, and too little novel surprise narrative adventure/exploration.

So I continue my quest to find the perfect fun exciting adventure board game that is super easy to learn and play and run.

Ratings:
  • Me: 7 of 10
  • Gothic: 7.5 of 10
  • Traci: 7.5 of 10

Interesting elements for game designers:
  • Feels like a simulation in a board game
  • Nice choice of how much interaction between users
  • Nice options for players to customize their way to play
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Ath
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« Reply #37 on: September 25, 2011, 12:23:31 PM »

Good review thumbs up

Q: There are 4 player seats in the photo, but only 3 players are mentioned. Where you playing for 2 seats? (and still scored only 7 out of 10 tongue) or was that Cody's spot?
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mouser
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« Reply #38 on: October 05, 2011, 08:34:08 AM »

My review today is for King of Tokyo:


I learned about King of Tokyo from the Cracked LCD Review of it by Michael Barnes and the review on Drake's Flame, which I recommend you go check out.

When Michael said it was a simple game with lots of theme, that was one of the best board games of 2011 -- I just had to try it. And I'm glad I did -- It's exactly what I'm looking for in a game -- a fast fun experience that is easy to learn and a pure pleasure to play.  It's a great game.



It was designed by the same guy who created Magic the Gathering (Richard Garfield).  The artwork is out of this world, cartoon monster styled -- and the components are really fun to look at and read and use.  It's got a big stack of cards that are phenomenal.

I won't go into the rules, you can read them on the Board Game Geek site or the Cracked LCD review I linked to above.  Basically each player controls a monster and they fight to stay alive and gain victory points. Gameplay is fast and furious and there is a lot of luck involved.  But always tricky choices to make and tension and surprise around every corner.  We had a huge amount of fun talking during the game and enjoying watching the process unfold.

This game really worked for me in an area where games often fail for me -- and that is with the rule-changing cards.  King of Tokyo comes with a large deck of (beautifully illustrated) cards that give players special powers and change the (simple) base ruleset.  In many games that use this idea of rule-changing cards, the rules on the cards are long and complicated and are hard to absorb and incorporate.  But King of Tokyo does it so well -- with just minor changes, and perfect themeing -- it just works.

Final rating: 10 out of 10 if you are interested in a quick fun game with people who are learning for the first time.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2011, 09:05:00 PM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #39 on: August 30, 2012, 06:39:36 PM »

My next mini-boardgame-review is of "Survive: Escape from Atlantis"



Once a year I've been getting together with my family for a week, and it's my job to bring board games for the family to play.  This means bringing games that will, first and foremost, appeal to my beyond-cute 8yr old niece, but also my 70+ yr old parents.

This year the biggest hit was Survive: Escape from Atlantis, which was purchased based on the numerous recommendations on Board Game Geek saying that it was a fun family game.

To be honest, after reading the rules I had my doubts about how well the game would go over, because it's pretty cut-throat.  But the theme goes a long way towards keeping everything lighthearted and amusing.  The younger kids loved it, and the older people enjoyed it as well.  A great mix of luck and strategy and surprise, and quite easy to learn.

Very highly recommended for family gatherings: 9 of 10.

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