Thursday, September 08, 2005

Games games games!

This is my current list of games that are on my "Want" or "Under Review" list. Some are new games, but most are reprints of games I failed to acquire when they were in print. Coming into real board gaming only recently, I am only now discovering some of the classics.

Carcassonne - The Princess & the Dragon

Another Carcassonne? Yes. I love I&C and T&B expansions. This one adds the fun of forcing meeples off the board in various ways. The sad part is, this is the first expansion I have looked at that adds enough tile/meeple interaction that the rules do not cover every case (see Magic: The Gathering). This sours an otherwise excellent series.

El Grande

By the time I wanted this one, I could only find new copies for $100. The good news is it's being reprinted for October! I've played lots of San Marco and Carolus Magnus, so I'm familiar with Area Influence games. This one is supposedly the grand daddy of them all, and it is different enough to claim a coveted spot on my crowded game shelf.


This game is too pretty to pass up. I am not a huge fan of games where historical machinations force the theme (more on this in a future post). However, I've read the rules, and it's fairly smooth and simple. It would be easier to justify if the full game played with just 2 players, but I think I can live with just the scenarios in that case.


I've never liked the looks of Blokus. Maybe it's the square board, or maybe it's just the cheap-looking plastic pieces. GemBlo answers both of these issues for me. If it ever becomes available at one of my normal US retailers, it's mine.


I read the rules to this game last year and wasn't impressed. This year I've been on a rules reading binge. I read the rules again, and this time something clicked. I don't know if I'll ever be able to get people to play this, but I think I want it anyways.


Nice looking game. Portable. The rules could be written significantly better. It's fairly fun, but the movement is not elegant: sometime you count spaces, and sometimes you count hex edges (sort of). I am on the fence with this one.


This game seems like the perfect answer to the absolute randomness of Settlers of Catan. In fact, other than the fact that people just keep playing what they know (eg Monopoly), I don't know why Keythedral doesn't overtake Settlers.

Lock 'N Load: Band of Heroes

I'm really trying to get into wargames a little. This one might be the answer. It's WWII--one of the only genres I can tolerate. It's mounted map boards (sorry grodnards). The rules are very short compared to most other wargames. The three issues that keep me from ordering it right now.

1. It's not available at any of my US retailers yet.

2. Everyone says the cards suck. For $70, having cheap cards is an insult.

3. The online rules for the previous version of this game are over-simplified to the point of being incomplete. If the rules are A/B/C/D, and you ask a question, the answer should not be E. I want a game I can play with the rules alone, and not some FAQ that is longer than the rules themselves. I have no idea yet if this is the case since they will not publish their rules. I am not going to give them the benefit of the doubt that the BoH rules are better than the others. I will wait to hear more feedback. So far, the answers I have gotten online to my questions lead me to believe that the rules are just as poorly written. It almost seems like there's this set of "unwritten grognard rules" that everyone in the hobby takes as default. If you haven't been playing wargames for 20 years, then you have no chance of understanding a new game from its rules alone.

While this game is on my review list, it is definitely at the bottom.

Lord of the Rings - The Confrontation: Deluxe Edition

I don't own the original, but it seems well-liked by most. I probably can't go too wrong as long as it's not $50. The only down-side is the inevitable FAQ that answers all the questions not in the rules. (I need to do a post on rule writing too I guess.)

Magna Grecia

I ignored this one for so long because of the ugly mustard yellow board. Well it appears the newer version is much more faded, so I read the rules. It seems like a lot of fun. I am fond of the connectivity mechanic.


Thanks to Mark Johnson for turning me on to this one. I own Modern Art. On the surface, this game seems like a Knizia rip-off of Knizia. But Mark's detailed discussion in his audio show proved this false.

Mini Inkognito

I've been trying to get a new copy of the board game for a long time. Funagain was only able to acquire a used German copy. So I read the rules to the card game version. It seems to work well, and provide almost the same kind of play as the original.

Die Neuen Entdecker

Thanks again to Mark Johnson. Another must-have. It has the tile laying + feature building of Carcassonne (without the roads), but the play and scoring are different enough to warrant it. Being able to choose your starting location, then risk a number of tiles to explore sounds awesome.

Oltremare - Merchants of Venice

I wasn't too fond of the tiny box and game from the original. The reprint looks like it will be a normal-sized box. Hopefully it will also be a little better quality. The game itself is a very nice design--overlapping good and bad aspects on the cards that you need to decide how to deal with.


One of my favorite games of all time, but I've only played on BSW. Now that it's being reprinted, it's time I get my own copy.

Railroad Tycoon

I had Age of Steam on my review list forever, but not being to able to get the slightest glimpse at how this game was played forced me to remove it. If you do not post your rules online, or allow others to do so, you don't get my money. I don't care how detailed a review is. It is not the same as a rulebook. Enter Railroad Tycoon. Called "AoS Lite" by some. For me, it's just enough of a game to be meaty, but light enough that I think it will come out often. Kudos to Eagle for making this and for posting full-color rules.

Reef Encounter

I have yet to play this, but already Richard Breese gets my vote for designer of the year. These rules are daunting. The game has many intricacies, requiring a few passes to wrap your head around it. However, the rules really are complete. I say this about so few games. Eagerly awaiting the reprint.

San Juan

I was reluctant to even learn this on BSW because their implementation of Puerto Rico is so horrid, but I finally broke down. Being only a card game, it does an amazing job of capturing the feel of its big daddy, with only 2% of the setup time.

Taj Mahal

Strangely, I ignored this one for some time because of the theme. Shrug. I finally read the rules, and now I want it. Like El Grande, I was able to find a rare copy in shrink, but for an outrageous price. With the reprint coming, I'll wait for normal prices. This game combines a lot of mechaics that I've played in other games, all of which I like.


There's not much info on this yet, but game is another pretty one. The idea of a short-ish civilization game is very compelling. I'll be checking this out for sure.

Newest addition to my list: Freidrich
Most likely to leave my list: Lock 'N Load: Band of Heroes
Last game to leave my list: Inka


At 6:21 PM, Blogger Jason Little said...

A wide range of games there -- sounds like a pretty good wish list of gaming goodness.

I'm in the same boat regarding El Grande. I almost plunked down $80 for it (and it's worth every penny) but opted to wait until the October reprint.

I also greatly enjoy Goa and Tempus grabbed my eye. I'm not a big fan of Ra or LotR: Confrontation, but to each his own, eh? Still plenty of great games overlapping in taste if we ever meet across the table! :)

At 7:44 PM, Blogger Steve Janecek said...

All your games fall into a similar category for me. Relatively simple and individual. By Individual I mean, you against your opponents with cooperation being only necessary to conquer a person with a great lead.

Do you play any games wth 5-8 players that requires long term alliances and strategies liek diplomacy or advanced civ?

At 6:45 AM, Blogger ekted said...

I don't have a large serious gaming group. When there are 5 of us, without fail, the games we play must be of the party type.


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