Saturday, March 9, 2002

Lots of new (to me) games

After a slow beginning of the year in terms of games I'd never played
before, I got to play a lot of games that were new to me, and couple
that were "new" in the sense of being released recently.

In January and February combined, I only played 11 games I'd never
played before. (They were Wer Hat Mehr? (aka Where's Bob's Hat?),
Witch Trial, Die Mauer, Democrazy, Munchausen, Ghost Chase, Imperium,
Sky Runner, Fibonacci, Kathai, and Industrial Waste.) Yesterday
alone, I played 6 new games. My comments on them follow.

I played Jumbo Grand Prix, a somewhat older Knizia title which I had
never played, and enjoyed a great deal. This one goes on "the list"
(to buy). I'm usually only luke warm on set collecting games, but
Knizia set collecting games tend to be much more my thing (this one,
Zirkus Flohcati, Money, etc).

Someone had just purchased someone else's copy of "Siedenstrasse", a
racing game, and we had 6 people, so we tried that. The rules
translation was mediocre, but I think we figured it out. As we were
starting, someone came over to us and declared "Oh, I've played that,
it was awful." Fortunately, it wasn't awful. In fact, it has a
couple of clever mechanics. The core of the game is these action
cards, which advance you on the race track, but in some unusual ways,
such as "advance the player in last place 5 spaces, and move your pawn
such that it is exactly 5 spaces ahead of that player". You play
these action cards, but must later play them on other players. So,
you end up trying to play them on yourself when it is most favorable
or least detrimental, and on others in the opposite situation. It's a
nice mechanic, and the scoring (based on progress at various stages of
the race) is clever. It was fun.

Drachenland, the new Knizia family game received some positive
comments, so we decided to play that. It's a game about collecting
dragon eggs and gems, and has a really cool dice tower as a major
component of the game. Of course, the tower doesn't do anything
except roll the dice. The game itself is good light fun, but nothing
special. The clear gems are more valuable than I realized. It's most
clever mechanic is using "king dragons" to move pawns around under
certain circumstances. It's worth a play.

I was very interested in trying David & Goliath, a whist-style
trick taking game in much the same vein as many Klaus Palesch games
(Hattrick, Sticheln, Mit List und Tucke). The basic twist is that the
lowest card gets the highest card in a trick and the highest gets the
rest. Further, colors in which you take 1 or 2 cards count face
value, otherwise it's 1 point per card. I definitely didn't get this
one, and while I still enjoyed it, other games in this style are more
to my preference.

I'll continue later with my comments on Auweier and Ulysses, the other
new games I played.

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