|Image courtesy of|
Rio Grande Games
Monday, September 3, 2012
We marked the three-day Labor Day weekend celebrating American workers with several boardgaming sessions. (In other words, we commemorated work by playing.)
Friday evening, Kathy and I had our friend Theresa H. over for a game of Puerto Rico, one of our very favorites but one that we seldom get to play in its original three-to-five player form. The three of us ended up very close in shipping and building points, but Kathy won with a strong showing of bonus points from the fortress and city hall.
Monday, October 10, 2011
I spent the latter half of my day at Congress of Gamers entirely in the game design room. There I met John Moller of Car Trunk Entertainment. He and I talked quite a bit about our philosophies on game design. Rather than go into details on some of John's thoughts, I'll hold them for a subsequent post.
Flummox (artists Bill Bricker and Darrell Louder, publisher Clever Mojo, planned release March 2012), which involves taking actions and activating cards to move a marker (the "Flummox") among the players' arrays of cards in an effort to score points by having the Flummox end up on one's own array - or cause an opponent to lose points by putting the Flummox on his or her array, depending on whether the Flummox is "good" or "bad" in that turn. I found this game to be a fun exercise in logic and tactics, vaguely along the lines of Guillotine from the standpoint of manipulating the arrangements of cards to gain points and thwart opponents I think John's action-driven mechanism is a little more elegant than Guillotine, which depends on a separate action card deck to manipulate a line of nobles. In Flummox, a player may exercise only one of four actions and then activate only one of two cards on the ends of his or her array in order to move the Flummox or modify the players' arrays on the table. The cards themselves have only a few different characteristics and types, but they combine in a way that makes for some fascinating conundrums. I really look forward to trying this game again.
John also showed me his design contest entry Family Reunion, a rather bizarre little game that I came to think of as a cross between Concentration and a kind of two-dimensional Guillotine. (Maybe I just have Guillotine on the brain today.) Again, this one provides a neat logical challenge, but I found the unique behavior of each family member's card to be a little overwhelming, at least in a first playing. I imagine I would get the hang of it before too long. I like the game, and I want to try it again as John refines it, but I can't decide whether I like it as much as Flummox.
|(c) Z-man Games|
Used by permission
T.C. then demonstrated Good Ol' Punchin' Planes, a prototype two-player game on the hilarious premise of pre-World-War-I airplanes that race alongside one another while pugilists stand on the wings and engage in fisticuffs. Simultaneous card play determines both the relative motion of the two aircraft and the trading of blows between the two fighters. Terrain obstacles over the race course (yes, these airplanes fly very low) present additional hazards to the pugilists, such as bridges, telegraph wires, and a barn. I played against Josh Tempkin, moderator of the design contest, who managed to achieve a more crowd-pleasing performance than I did and therefore won the event. Afterward, Josh and I had some ideas for TC to give a little more depth to the "combat" part of the game, but I have to say that it was good for a hearty laugh more than once during the race.
Upcoming posts: What I bought and sold at CoG, and notes from a conversation with designer John Moller
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
|(c) Worthington Games|
Used by permission
Some time ago I did a survey in earnest for two-player games that my wife and I would enjoy, and Jaipur (designer Sebastien Pauchon, artist Alexandre Roche, publisher GameWorks) came up pretty high on the list. DiceHateMe had a pretty funny review last April, including the following comment that caught my attention:
- Jaipur - while sometimes frustrating because of the luck of the draw in the Market - is incredibly fun. Why? I honestly have no idea. There are some games that, if dissected, the parts would make most game scholars scratch their heads and utter a collective “huh?” However, put those parts together and a rare synergy occurs. This is the magic of Jaipur.
I love games like that. I happened to see it for 20% off at the convention and picked it up.
|(c) Z-man Games|
Used by permission
I needed even less deliberation to pick up Farmers of the Moor (designer Uwe Rosenberg), also at the Z-man booth. This extension to one of my favorite games, Agricola, adds horses and peat to the farm. I expect Farmers will bring a little "aroma" to our Agricola sessions.
Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War (designer Robert Abbott, publisher Stronghold Games). Oh, baby. The DiceHateMe review of this cloak-and-dagger deduction game really brought out the evil laugh in me. But how do you indulge your inner spy when you've got a bag full of games already? Well, fortunately, Keith F. felt the same Cold War nostalgia I did. (Oh, wait, he's not nearly as old as I am ... Keith, what grade were you in when the Berlin Wall fell?) Nevertheless, Keith picked it up, somehow confident that he'd be able to get me to play it with him a few times.
So all in all, the three of us managed to stay entertained. We drank beer, we competed in tournaments, we played games till 2:00 in the morning, we bought bags of games ... and yet none of us went home with a plaque. Oh, well. There's always PrezCon.