Sunday, 2 April 2017

#ReducingThePile Update - March

It's time to look at how well I reduced my pile of shame in March. My goal is to have played every game that was in my pile of shame at the start of the year by the end of 2017. 

This is the latest in a series of #ReducingThePile, here are links to the rest of the series so far:
March was a much slower month for gaming for me. I only got 17 games in total. 6 of those were new to me. The first is a kids' game and technically never hit my pile of shame as it was a birthday gift for Little G but it was a new game to me so I included it in this list.

Bugs In The Kitchen - 3 plays - This is a pretty cool game from Ravensburger that uses Hex Bugs toys as part of the game. My girls love Hex Bugs and will spend hours or even days making setups with their tracks. This game takes one of the neat little robots and tosses it down in the middle of a big plastic board. There are walls on this board made up of utensils and each of these walls can be rotated 90 degrees. In turn, players roll a die to see what type of utensil they can rotate and then do so, trying to get the bug to end up in their scoring area. It's a bit of a dexterity game with a speed and real-time element that seems great for teaching kids about planning ahead. The entire family really enjoyed this one.

Red 7 - 3 plays - Heard good things about this one when it came out but never picked it up until just this past month. What a fantastic game. The rules took a bit to sink in (they aren't hard just very different from most other card games) but once they did we found a great game. There's so much going on here. I would go so far as to call this one a brain burner. If it wasn't for the length I would call it a heavy game. The thing is, that it's a filler. A full round only takes maybe 10 minutes.

The rules are simple. Each turn you play one or two cards, at the end of the round, you must be winning the game. Cards can be played in your tableau or to replace the current rule. That's it. There are advanced rules for scoring that I think really make the game. Once those are added the brain burn sets in. I think everyone needs to give this one a try. I don't think many would be disappointed.

Istanbul: Mocha & Baksheesh - 1 play - I've played Istanbul many times. It's a great game. This was my first time trying the first expansion Mocha & Baksheesh.

More board pieces, more options, and some improvement on old options. I couldn't find anything not to like about the expansion. I really like the addition of quite a few ways to move around the board more quickly. The addition of the barricade which mitigates some of this new movement. The larger board size I also found opened things up a bit, it wasn't quite as cutthroat which I liked. Let's put it this way: I put the expansion into my main box and don't expect to ever play without it.

Lotus - 2 plays - I think I would have liked Lotus a lot more if I didn't play it for the first time the same night I played Red 7 for the first time. I loved Red 7 and Lotus just didn't measure up. Now that's not to say Lotus is bad. Actually far from it. There's a rather good game here. Added to that it's beautiful. It's just much lighter and wasn't as engaging as Red 7. I can see breaking out each for different groups.

In Lotus, players are trying to complete sets of cards represented as flower petals. It's really amazing looking. The player that completes a set (full flower) get's the cards. Each card is worth one point each. In addition, there's an area control element and when a flower scores, the player with the most control gets a bonus.

Homeland: The Game - 1 play - This one has been on super deep discount, both at the FLGS and online. People tend to be scared of licensed games and usually for good reasons. Plus at least here in Canada, the theme isn't quite so close to home as it would be for the U.S.

What got me to buy this was the number of people telling me that it hits a sweet spot between Battlestar Galactica and Dark Moon as far as team based hidden role games go. That had me very curious. For under $20 I figured I would check it out.

Homeland was fun. I love the fact there are three factions in play here. The Political Opportunist role is brilliant, they want some terrorist attacks to go through but not all of them, they are generally a 'good guy' but with an agenda. The way the cards stack is cool. The mechanics are very similar to the 'skill check' system in BSG. I enjoyed it but I think I need to play it a few more times to really solidify my opinion. After one play I'm still on the fence.

Star Trek Panic - 2 plays - First off I am not a fan of Castle Panic. To be honest I don't even remember why. I played it at a WGR event and just didn't have a good time. I think it may have been an Alpha Gamer issue. Then I saw Star Trek Panic announced and saw it at Origins. This seemed like a great way to give the Panic games another shot. 

What a great looking game. Star Trek Panic has one of the coolest play pieces ever. The big chunky cardboard Enterprise is cool but gets even cooler looking as it takes damage. The intro game of this was fantastic. Players were talking in character, we were making all kinds of Trek Quotes. We took some damage but easily beat the missions. Total thumbs up!

Then we played a full 5 mission game. It was a ton of fun for the first hour. But then we did badly on a mission and never recovered. The next hour was just us barely staying alive, failing mission after mission until we blew up. That was not so much fun. Barely hanging on was cool for the first hour but once we got to that second hour, we seriously considered just quitting.

So it looks like this game overstays it's welcome. I do wonder if we were doing better if that time would have gone by quicker and not just turned to frustration. I do want to play again to see if that second game was a fluke. If not I strongly suggest running this like a demo game, just do two missions have fun and move on to something else.

So that's it for me for March. How did you do #ReducingThePile