Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Top 10 games for April

#10: Puerto Rico (1 play)
I played what may have been my closest game of this ever. Five
players, only 3 or 4 point spread between first and last, very high
scores (all around 50), and the game ended by running out of victory
points and colonists. I continue to worry about factory strategy
dominance, but not too much.

#9: Zirkus Flohcati (3 plays)
Rapidly ascending as one of my favorite fillers. To me, this is a bit
of a surprise because I don't usually like Rummy games and this
certainly has some Rummy flavor.

#8: Princes of Florence (1 play)
Luke, Alison and I played an AMAZING game of Princes at the Gathering.
Luke had the "G8 game timer" and we played with it all agreeing to
play as fast as we could. We didn't time the auctions, but we did
time player turns. The whole game, setup and play included came in
under 30 minutes. Wow. What a rush. We all made mistakes, but the
game was very close in the end. It was a very different experience
from "normal" princes, but I highly recommend trying it some time.

#7: Gulo Gulo (3 plays)
This is a new dexterity game from Zoch. It probably won't appear on
the top 10 again, but it's cute, clever, and deserves mention for
having adorable plastic wolverines.

#6: King Lui (4 plays)
A great new filler. I think this may prove to have more depth after
people have played it a few times than people are realizing. The
reluctance to take large piles for fear of going over is justified,
but often by not taking them you grant someone else a huge windfall.
Some interesting possibilities.

#5: Europa Tour (4 plays)
I'm looking forward to the African and US version of this as well. It
works well with 2 too. A nice "heavy" filler, or "light" main course.

#4: Coloretto (6 plays)
If "It's Mine" is "speed Ra", then this must be Ra, but it's not. I
find this very much like "It's Mine" with some interesting tactical
choices, especially when played with fewer players.

#3: Paris Paris (4 plays)
On my first play, I wasn't that impressed, but during my second game
something "clicked" and I really like this. The "untwisted" map on
BGG is a useful tool and counting tile usage is critical, but the
player impact on what is scored and what isn't is clearly where this
game shines.

#2: Balloon Cup (6 plays)
Clearly, I'm a sucker for card games where players compete on several
"flags" (Battle Line, Lost Cities, Tabula Rasa, etc.). I'm beginning
to speculate the luck factor here may be higher than I thought at
first, but it's a lot of fun all the same. I've found a strategy of
hording gray cards to be very effective at forcing opponents into
sub-optimal play.

#1: Amun-Re (4 plays)
I am really not sure why I like this game so much. Usually, I can
identify a particular new/clever mechanism, a thematic element, a
particular decision tension, nice bits, or *something* that makes me
like a game. Here, I can't put my finger on it, but I really enjoy
it. The mechanisms are good ones, but nothing especially new. I
suppose they simply fit together in a pleasing way. Plus, the gloss
of using a pyramid pricing scheme in a game about building pyramids is
just great.