Friday, October 1, 2004

September 2004 Games

While fatherhood has induced an increased bias toward shorter games, I actually got to play a bunch of games this month. For various reasons, I also have some slightly more in depth comments this month than usual.

39 games played, 17 titles, (3 new to me) over 10 sessions with 20 different people.

Hot Games for September, 2004

Heroscape (9 plays)
I'm writing a more complete review which I will post soon, but it's certainly the big hit recently. I'm not 100% sure why I'm as enchanted by this game that at many levels is rather frivolous, but I'll try to deconstruct that a little bit in my review. Suffice to say, it's been a lot of fun

Typo (5 plays)
I already wrote a review of this. It's fun.

Magic: The Gathering (5 plays)
Ok, this one deserves explanation. I am not a fan of "collectible" games, by which I mean those with artificial rarities and random contents packages. I'm fine with "expandable" games, like the above Heroscape, or RoboRally, or Carcassone, but the random aspect bothers me as a consumer. Years ago, I played Magic to see what all the hooplah was about. It was fun, not amazing, but fun. A friend and I decided we weren't interested in diving into the money-draining pit of collecting, but if we each bought a bunch (about $40 worth) of cards, we could play together and it would be fun. It was, a little. Unfortunately, $40 worth of cards doesn't really give you a great deal of deck building flexibility. So, we played some and I largely abandoned it. Recently, another friend dove in head first and has a great many cards including many of the pre-constructed "theme decks", which we used in the 5 games I played. That works better as a game. It was fun with interesting gameplay, albeit quite a bit of luck. It seems like deck construction makes for a very interesting game, but to truly have all the options available to you, you need 4 copies of each card to choose from. That's expensive and impractical. A few games were fun, but for the few hundred dollars worth of cards it would take to make the deck building options feel reasonable, I'd rather have a bunch more German games.

Maharaja (1 play)
This is good. Nothing stunningly brilliant, but not totally unoriginal either. It's got several nice interlocking mechanisms and seemingly several paths to victory. It's not as good as I hoped it would be, but it is much better than I feared it might be.

Phoenix (3 plays)
Quick and entertaining two-player game which is more fun than it seems like it should be given it's simplicity and straightforwardness.

Einfach Genial (2 plays)
I need to play this more before I have a sense as to whether there any genuinely deep strategy or tactics options, but its engaging enough even before such depth (or lack thereof) is apparent.

Zirkus Flohcati (2 plays)
Continues to be great filler.

Tongiaki (1 play)
The chaos here doesn't really bother me.

Blue Moon (1 play)
I think the first time I played this, I may have played with the wrong rules. It's better with the right rules, or at least its better with the expansion deck I played with than with the built in decks.

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