Thursday, November 4, 2004

A few Essen '04 releases

I recently played a few of the new Essen releases, "Tanz der Hornochsen", "Leapfrog" and "Pompeji". All of them were reasonably good, but none were amazing.

Tanz der Hornochsen. A boardgame (barely) version of "6 nimmt!" It's fun and it's got some good twists above and beyond the basic gameplay, which closely resembles 6 nimmt!,
but in the end, I'm not sure it adds that much. What does seem possible is that this may do better with fewer players while the original prefers more like 5 or 6 players. The tiles are a bit annoying compared to cards and the whole aspect of everyone having the option to buy cards before each turn really messes up the pacing. Fun, but I may mostly stick to 6 nimmt!, and I'm usually a big fan of novelty.

Leapfrog. A light little "race" game. It's not really a race game in the traditional sense, more of a second-guessing/simultaneous-selection game. Light, cute fun. It plays quite fast as well.

Pompeji. A game with a lot of luck, but a really nice bit of gameplay which involves running from the erupting volcano. Certainly not the deepest game, but there are interesting tactical choices and even some strategic planning. Some of the turn timing seems to introduce more luck than is warranted though. Running from a volcano is entertaining.

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