Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Reducing the Pile of Shame - July update

Yes, I realize it's September.  Life has been interesting this year. For those following along, you may have noticed that I didn't do a post for June. There's a reason for that: I didn't play a single board game the entire month of June. As I said life has been interesting this year.

This series of threads are all about getting games off my piles of shame and new to me games. You can find the other posts under #ReducingThePile.

This post is about the new to me games I got played back in July 2017 including a short review of each.

Star Trek: Ascendancy  - I was really looking forward to this game. It looked like "Star Trek in a box." Did it live up to this hype? Maybe not, but it was still really good. The rules a quite fiddly though and I'm certain we messed some stuff up this game. It's also very asymmetric and a lot of this first game was figuring out exactly what you are supposed to do with each faction in the game. Overall I think that the game shows a lot of promise. I think I will really enjoy it given more plays. I must have liked it enough since I went online and bought the game mat after our play.

Millennium Blades - this is a game I wouldn't have touched with a 10 foot pole. A board game based on the CCG (collectible card game) tournament scene. I remember the CCG scene, it's something I've left behind and I'm not interested in getting back into. Why would I want a board game about that? But the reviews were pouring in and most were positive. Most of these positive reviews came from reviewers who dig heavier games. Reviewers who share some of my gaming tastes. So I picked it up. I was not disappointed. This is an excellent game. Very unique. It really does capture some of the feel of CCG collecting and tournaments. I really want to play more of this one but just haven't had time. It's got a bit of a learning curve that really makes me want to play it with people who know it rather than teach it repetitively which has been keeping me from bringing it to WGR events. 

Clank!: A Deck Building Adventure - Here's another one where there's a ton of hype. Game of the Year level of hype. And you know what? It's deserved.  This is a fantastic deck builder. It reminds me of the classic Games Workshop game Dungeonquest, except it's better in pretty much every way but theme. I don't even know exactly why it's so much fun. The balance of the cards or something. It's just more fun than similar fantasy deck builders like Thunderstone. This has become one of my most played games of the year since our first play in July. I played it last Saturday, twice. I can't seem to get enough. This was a game where after just one play my wife said: "Is there an expansion?" This is unheard of from her. Of course, I had to go buy the expansion. 

Indonesia - I have to thank the Heavy Cardboard Podcast for introducing me to Splotter Spellen a company that makes heavy brain burning games. My first 'splotter' was Food Chain Magnate a game I absolutely love, even though I don't get it to the table all that often (Heavy games are definitely not for everyone). Even when I bought Food Chain Magnate I had my eyes on Indonesia. Quite a few people are of the opinion that it's the best game from Splotter Spellen. I finally found a copy of the 2nd edition for a good price and picked it up and have gotten one play in. That play was good. I was expecting fantastic but it was good. The reason for that is the production quality of the game. The game has components that don't actually fit on the board. It also has a typo that has existed for three printings. This is highly disappointing. Even more so since the actual game play is great. Better than great. Really damn good. What's even odder is that this is the new 'deluxe' second edition. How do you mess up a production that much? All that said I still really dug this game. 

Honshu - again it was a podcast that got me looking at Honshu. I don't remember which one as multiple shows were talking about this rather fascinating card game. The cool bit in this game is that you build a city by playing cards onto the table under a very cool restriction. Each card placed has to cover up or be covered up by part of another card already in play. Added to that it's got a pretty solid auction based turn order system. This is a very cool filller game that does something new. Something that none of the other games in my collection do. That alone is enough of a selling point for me. My only concern with this one is replayability but they even addressed that by adding variable goal cards that I haven't even tried using yet. 

Terraforming Mars - I finally got to play Terraforming Mars. Technically I have played this once before, a friends copy, but we messed up the rules so badly that I don't even count it as a play. This one has been covered by pretty much every board game reviewer out there so I don't think I need to go into any detail here. I will just say that my wife and I both love this game. It has gotten played every WGR game night I've been at since getting the game. Many people I've taught it to have gone onto buying their own copies. Due to the fact that I'm almost always teaching the game, I still haven't even gotten to try the "corporate wars' cards, and I'm perfectly fine with that. We will get to them eventually. I'll be picking up the expansion maps for this one sometime soon. 

Key To The City London - I really dig Keyflower. I've not sat down and ranked all my games (yet) but I expect it's in my top 20 if not my top 10. I really like it. When I heard that Key to the City: London was an easier to teach a quicker version of Keyflower I had to pick it up. This game is exactly that, a simplified Keyflower. It's easier to teach, easier to play and easier to score and I'm not sure that's a good thing. While I had fun playing it I just kept thinking that I could be playing Keyflower. Actually, I should have been playing Keyflower. Don't get me wrong, this is a good game, but I can't see getting it to the table again. Keyflower isn't that complex. It's not that hard to teach. Anytime I get an urge to play that style of game I'm going to end up grabbing Keyflower and leaving Key to the City on my shelf. 

So that's it. 7 new to me games played in July. Not a bad month after the mess that was June.