Boardgamegeek.com is the premier site for information on any boardgame you can think of. They have a great forum for discussion of specific games, a huge collection of reviews and even alternate rules and errata. Heck, the whole site is really worthy of a Friday Timewaster. But today, I want to focus on one cool part…
Boardgamegeek has a database where you can keep track of all your games played, and search it to find interesting things, like how many games (and which ones) I have played this year. This has created a concept called Nickels and Dimes, games you have played five or ten times in a given year.
I thought at the halfway point, I would spend a little time talking about the games I have played the most so far this year. Strangely, one of the top ten is a game I don't even like that much…
Easily my most played game so far is the excellent Pandemic, a cooperative game about fighting outbreaks of vicious diseases. I have played it 18 times already this year. Heck, I played it six times in one day. It's definitely a game that makes you feel like playing again, especially (as happens all to frequently) when the game wins. It's relatively simple, a lot of fun, plays 3 or 4 in under an hour and has a couple of mechanisms that I have never seen in a game. It's my co-op game of choice now, and a darn good game.
Three games show up with six plays each so far. One sort of surprises me, Cutthroat Caverns. It's a neat idea, you are a band of adventurers fighting against monsters. But, only the person who actually kills the monster gets any points for it. It's a mean game, as people are constantly trying to steal kills from each other. I love the initiative system (each player gets a card dealt them at the beginning of a fight that establishes the all important play order) which totally sets up the carnage that follows. It's really better to play this game with the full 6 players, and it plays a little long for what it is (most games are 1.5 hours or so..) but it is a lot of fun, and screwing other players out of kills never gets old.
The next game is from one of my favorite designers, Friedemann Friese (of Power Grid fame.) It's a light, quick filler game, Felix the Cat in the Sack. It's an auction game with hidden information, which makes for some tough decisions. My only tip is don't get stuck being first too often. It's never a good sign.
The last game with six plays is a great little dice game. It looks quite complex, and there are a lot of components, but it never fails to play in under an hour. Owner's Choice is all about making money by buying and selling stock. You want your stock to be worth the most at the end, but it can often be a good move to crash it, if you can make a quick buck. I love the use of dice in this game (each company is represented by a colored die with varied effects. The majority owner gets to decide if they will roll the die) and how it roars to a finish (almost always inducing panic towards the end.) It's just a darn good game!
One of my favorite games from last year, Taluva, leads off the group of five plays. Taluva is an incredible tile laying game, sort of a 3-D Carcassone. The clever scoring system means that you have to be very aware of what the other players are doing, and ready to try & thwart their plans. Another game that plays pretty quickly, usually in much less than an hour. It also plays entirely differently every time you play. I also think the board looks pretty nice when the game is complete. It's a beautiful game.
Qwirkle is not a game I really like. I see the strength of the design, and I appreciate the simplicity (and, ironically usually win) but I would usually rather play another, deeper game. Here's all you need to know about the game (and trust me, when you hear this you will literally think "why didn't I think of that?") it's Scrabble but instead of letters, you are matching 6 different colors and shapes. I can see this being a good game with young kids, and I strongly urge you not to let my negative feelings prejudice this game at all. It just doesn't meet my tastes.
My last five play is Escalation, a quick little card game by the most prolific designer in boardgamedom, Reiner Knizia. The theme of the game is a suburban war, but it's really just a trick game, where you want to avoid taking cards. Still, the fast playing time, clever cards and great art make it a treat to play.
Last 5 posts by Ezra
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