Thursday, March 31, 2005

Around the World in 80 Days, plus

Around the World in 80 Days is very good. It combines some nice mechanics (card drafting, action selection, standard race game) with a clever twist (two different "race" goals) and is well executed. The clever part I especially like: each player is completing both to get back to London first (fewest number of game turns) as well as first (fewest number of "days" spent by playing cards). The game mechanics work out nicely such that these goals are somewhat in conflict; by delaying an extra game turn or two, you can likely finish the race in a fewer number of days. The way the win conditions are set up (must finish in under 80 days and must not finish last in game turns), it works rather well. This isn't a "big hit" kind of game, but it's fun. Especially if you enjoy unusual race games. It has a slightly similar feel to Marco Polo Expedition. Rating: A, but most people probably won't be quite as fond of it as me.

Easy Come, Easy Go is good. It's an exceedingly simple dice game with a great deal of luck and many of the decisions are fairly obvious. That said, it's quite fun and very quick. There is a bit more to the game than it seems at first, but that's not to say there are great depths to be plumbed here. Rating: A-, unless you don't like light, luck-heavy dice games, in which case it's probably more like C+.

Fairy Tale is interesting. I actually think it's fairly good, but I have a nagging feeling there is less subtlety to the game than it seems. The art is cute and the odd "Engrish" isn't too distracting, though it seems common that players have a hard time with the fact that "Close All {1 fairies}" actually means "All players turn 1 fairy card face down". In any case, this also wins some points for cleverness by using a Magic: The Gathering style draft for card selection as well as a somewhat novel card flipping mechanism. Rating: Somewhere between B+ and A+, probably an A-.

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