Thursday, May 13, 2004

Clearing away the Wags Blog Backlog.

I didn't want to leave a gigantic comment on the Complied Rating post from earlier, but did want to log my thoughts on the games mentioned in it. You can check the original post here.

9's- El Grande, Traders of Genoa, Puerto Rico

I'm agreeing w/ the posts below on El Grande - a great strategy game, with the healthy dollop of screwing over the other players.

I'm seeing great potential in Traders of Genoa. Since there are many possible routes to earn money, many different strategies can be pursued simultaneously, and nothing that happens is arbitrary. A little bit of randomness, but no arbitraryness. Looking forward to playing this one over & over. Also w/ the Healthy Dollop of Screwing Over the Other Players.

Puerto Rico, most of the same comments as Traders of Genoa. Also w/ the HDoSOOP.

8's -
Illuminati: New World Order, Duel of Ages, Princes of Florence

I just have a great affection for INWO. It's my personal favourite, a combination of humour, scheming and strategy. As long as you try to keep it snappy and change up your decks regularly, the game is a fun one. Especially if you are paranoid.

Duel of Ages
is also enjoyable, but you need to be in the right headspace, and as mentioned, devote a LARGE chunk of time to it. And hope that none of the balancing issues crop up, or things can get out of hand and hopeless for one team pretty quickly. That's the only reason this is a little below the top.

I have a feeling that Princes of Florence would get repetitive if you played it often - it's fun, but the extent of play options seems a little limited compared to some of the other German games that I have ranked higher here.

7's - Citadels, Deadwood, Firefly: Space Traders

is a nice quick card game w/ simple mechanics. Not too involving or memorable, but a nice little game.

You want a hilarious, quick to pick up game? I think you want something from Cheapass Games. And I think you want Deadwood. That's all.

Kozure's Firefly: Space Traders game was really slick, and well-worked out. I would definitely play again, and look forward to any tweaks he might make.

6's - Settlers of Catan, Bang!, Star Munchkin, Shadowrun, Wreckage, Star Wars: Epic Duels, Kill Dr. Lucky

Catan just feels a little arbitrary to me - I can't put my finger on exactly why my crank isn't turned. This one may just "click" one day.

Bang! is quite fun, with the only downside being the aformentioned "kicking out" of players before the game is completed. Also, some roles are more difficult then others, affecting the game balance IMO.

Shadowrun, as mentioned, suffers from lag time when being played by more than two, but is a perfectly reasonable card game.

I REALLY enjoyed playing Star Munchkin once - it is good silly fun, and doesn't aspire to be anything more. I think this would be a good one to pull off of the shelf periodically, but it isn't much special as far as gameplay goes.

, I really enjoyed the first couple of times, but the replayability just doesn't seem to be there for me. The same things happen, over and over.

SW:ED - I think that this is for the game as a whole. If it were solely a 2-player game, I would bump this up to a 7.

Kill Dr. Lucky is, again, a perfectly fine game IF all the players are on a similar wavelength. If not, it can suffer in the same way that Monopoly can when one player just isn't willing to engage in "deals".

4's - HeroClix

Unlike Easy, I AM a comic book fan, and yet.... the actual game play of this is clunky. One really need to know their pieces inside out to be effective. Also, as a colour-blind person, I find that the colour coding used on the pieces is even more impenetrable than most. I think that this would be more fun ignoring the "superpowers" of the characters, but that destoys the point balance. Eh. I would, however, instantly bump this up to a 9 if they ever issue pieces for Grant Morrison's incarnation of the Doom Patrol! 'Cuz I'm a dweeb like that.

3's - Wreck of the Pandora, Falling!

Pandora had fun elements, but all of the rolling for non-player actions became tedious, destroyed the pacing (I'm all about pacing - blame the MTV), and sucked the life out of this one. (Although, it should be noted that this was only intended as a 1 player game, so take the criticism on this page with a grain of salt.

is an OK palate cleanser between games, but is frenzied, muddled, immune to strategy, and pretty arbitrary, at least to this player. I'm liking the frenzied part. The rest, not so much.

0's - Dr. Who CCG

RNA - (Rating Not Applicable)- Firefly the Game

This was playtesting, and I'd await the next incarnation before forming an opinion.

UBUBS - (Unrated Because Unplayed By Shemp)

Carcassonne, Robo-Rally, & Zombies!. I look forward to any game with an Exclamation Mark! in the Title! because they are Exciting!

Is that the whole list of games we've played in 2004? Whew. It was a blast, but I'm glad I'll be down to commenting on just a couple weekly from now on.


  1. Good comments. El Grande, Traders of Genoa and Puerto Rico certainly deserve the praise they get.

    Thanks for the positive comments on Firefly: Trader Captains... I think with a few tweaks, I will certainly be pulling it out again in the future. As it turns out, the economy wheel was printed correctly - somehow I just assembled it wrong and put the arrows in the wrong place. I'll be putting some patrol paths (instead of arrows) on the board, and then polishing up the economy elements balance.

    I think the thing that probably bothers you about Settlers of Catan is the same thing that bothers most people about the game - the random resource allocation. You can have a very effective placement strategy and still get screwed over by a string of bad die rolls.

    Oh, over on Board Game Geek, there is a GeekList of games with exclaimation points and question marks in their titles. It's quite fun - quite surprising how many games have them.

    As I've mentioned in session, I feel between Easy and I, we've acquired most of the major, high-rated games that are playable by 4-5 players. The only one that I haven't actively tracked down is Bohnanza [sic], which is apparently a quite popular multi-player stand-alone card game with super simple rules - almost gin rummy simple. I'm more into themed games, and that one has less of a theme and more of a game system orientation. In short, I'm looking forward to playing the games that occupy the cupboard now that we've established the sort of games that everyone likes.

    With the impending arrival of Pirate's Cove, (and yesterday's purchase of Lost Cities) I think I'm going to try to voluntarily give up game buying for a while... so... difficult... must... resist... buying... "Ticket to Ride"...

  2. PS - Although games! with exclaimation marks! are excting! the rules for Zombies! as they come out of the box are really poor to the point of arguably being called broken (IMO) and as Easy points out, the game seems to work much better with the tweaked rules given on the Board Game Geek site.

  3. You know, I'm really enjoying this.
    Rarely, in actual conversation, can you get people's thoughts in this kind of organized, detailed way. I've been wondering for a while how everyone else's tastes compared to mine in the games we play and this has been an excellent way to find out.
    I've already incorporated Shane's ratings in the list, so when Luch, Chris and Marianne get theirs in (and maybe Carolyn, if she hasn't been scared off?) we'll have a true WAGS top... whatever.

    My only comments on the comments:
    1. I'm surprised that I like kill Dr. Lucky more than every else so far
    2. I'm surprised at how much we all agree on what are the best games, and why SofC is somehow not as great as everyone else thinks it is (even though it is a fun game)
    3. I'm glad that we have established the epitome of a bad game. I hope to someday find out what a 10 is like.
    4. Other than getting my copy of a couple of games Chris has, I think I'm done buying as well (Princes of Florence, in particular, I'd like to get someday)