The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Where have all the cowboys gone?

I have that song stuck in my head, so hopefully I’m not alone anymore.

Over at SABG, folks are discussing new game orders and I realized — I don’t have new games I’m pining for. I mean, I’d like Dominion: Intrigue (but I haven’t bought Dominion: Dominion yet). The Race expansions is obvious. But … I already have Vinci. I’d like to play the Martin Wallace new stuff, but I’m lukewarm.

Part of this, no doubt, is just showing my street cred as a curmudgeon.

I think I’d buy Shadow Hunters (if it were to suddenly appear on the store). That seems like one of those games that will survive 10-15 plays, even if it doesn’t set the world on fire. But that hardly qualifies as pining.

Should I be pining for anything coming out? Anything recent?

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Written by taogaming

May 15, 2009 at 11:58 am

Posted in Open Thread

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29 Responses

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  1. I am enjoying Small World. (I didnt have Vinci, so it was easier for me to buy it). There are some differences and I like the new theme even better than the old, which I already liked. Its surprisingly good as a 2 player Strategic/Tacical wargame, with a friendly and humorous theme to make the combat feel less painful, and a short playing time. While also being good with more players as well.

    Space Alert is great as well, the real time aspect is good for cooperative games, makes it harder for one person to control everything.

    Shadow Hunters I would recommend finding somewhere (online?), its a great, short, werewolfish game. I dont think its particularly balanced as written, but I’ve posted a variant which its pretty well balanced.

    Alexfrog

    May 15, 2009 at 12:29 pm

  2. I am enjoying Small World. (I didnt have Vinci, so it was easier for me to buy it). There are some differences and I like the new theme even better than the old, which I already liked. Its surprisingly good as a 2 player Strategic/Tacical wargame, with a friendly and humorous theme to make the combat feel less painful, and a short playing time. While also being good with more players as well.

    Space Alert is great as well, the real time aspect is good for cooperative games, makes it harder for one person to control everything.

    Shadow Hunters I would recommend finding somewhere (online?), its a great, short, werewolfish game. I dont think its particularly balanced as written, but I’ve posted a variant which its pretty well balanced.

    Alexfrog

    May 15, 2009 at 12:29 pm

  3. The only thing I am waiting for is Steam and Automobile. I have brought Age of Steam back out of the archives and have been playing it for the past few weeks. I hadn’t played it for over a year. I forgot how much I enjoyed it. After reading the rulebook to Steam a few days ago, I am eager for it to hit the table. I think I will like the changes made by Wallace.

    Automobile is the only reason I bought into Wallace’s subscription plan this year. I did his first subscription and it was, as you say, lukewarm. The games are “okay”, but missing something.

    I bought Space Alert as soon as it was available in Europe and I sold it a month later. It just requires too much time and energy investment. There are so many little rules and things you can do in the game, that new players are essentially required to be put through a few tutorial missions. After teaching the game to a bunch of people but getting little return on my time investment, I decided it wasn’t worth the $100 I was able to get for it on BGG.

    Daniel Corban

    May 15, 2009 at 1:50 pm

  4. I got Small World even though I had Vinci, and I would strongly recommend doing the same. I’d never have thought of teaching Vinci to my kids, but Greyson (age 6) and I have played Small World 4 Times, and even Charles (age 5) played once and did okay. It’s definitely worth it for that alone, not to mention that even aside from the theme, the it is actually an improved game (if only slightly).

    As for Space Alert, played once at the Gathering, admired it, would play again, couldn’t stand playing 10 times unless we were roleplaying and were always playing with the same group of people. Too stressful.

    Lou

    May 15, 2009 at 2:43 pm

  5. Regarding Space Alert: I can certainly understand selling the game for $100, especially if makign a good profit on it. But I think it is quite good and not too difficult to teach.

    “There are so many little rules and things you can do in the game, that new players are essentially required to be put through a few tutorial missions.”

    My take is different. I would say: While Space Alert is relatively easy to learn, it is made even easier by the tutorial missions that are included in the game, which are an excellent way to quickly teach it to a new group, while having fun while your learn.

    When I first played it, we played it 11 consecutive times before running out of time at game night, 6 hours later.

    The last game before that I played 11 consecutive times in a row after learning was Dominion. (The last game before that I played for at least 6 straight hours after learning was Through the Ages – played twice in a row, then slept, woke up, and played again)

    I just think its awesome.

    Alexfrog

    May 15, 2009 at 4:18 pm

  6. Regarding Space Alert: I can certainly understand selling the game for $100, especially if makign a good profit on it. But I think it is quite good and not too difficult to teach.

    “There are so many little rules and things you can do in the game, that new players are essentially required to be put through a few tutorial missions.”

    My take is different. I would say: While Space Alert is relatively easy to learn, it is made even easier by the tutorial missions that are included in the game, which are an excellent way to quickly teach it to a new group, while having fun while your learn.

    When I first played it, we played it 11 consecutive times before running out of time at game night, 6 hours later.

    The last game before that I played 11 consecutive times in a row after learning was Dominion. (The last game before that I played for at least 6 straight hours after learning was Through the Ages – played twice in a row, then slept, woke up, and played again)

    I just think its awesome.

    Alexfrog

    May 15, 2009 at 4:18 pm

  7. I’m pining for Automobile to appear, but you already know I’m a Wallace fanboi. Other than that, I can’t think of anything new for a while. Small World is good, but I suspect you already know whether it will work for you or not; it is, after all, 95% Vinci (with a different theme). If you haven’t tried Steel Driver yet, I’d recommend that, but again, see the note about me and Wallace. Similarly, if you haven’t checked out Snow Tails yet, it’s well worth trying, even if (like me) you’re not a big fan of racing games. I can also second the recommendation for Space Alert; it’s really the only co-op that I’m fond of. It does take a bit of time to get into at first, but probably no longer than the duration of your first game of BSG.

    Regarding Steam, the changes may well prove to be improvements for me and I’ll be eager to try it if someone in my group picks it up (and I suspect at least one person will). But if I only get to play vanilla Age of Steam for the rest of my life, I don’t think I’ll be too unhappy, so it isn’t a real priority.

    Looking forward to Essen, Z-Man should be releasing Endeavor. That looks very interesting and might be a required purchase. There’s a lot of info on it at the Geek if you think it might work for you. Uwe Rosenberg will release the third game of his “Harvest Trilogy” :-), At the Gates of Loyang. Sounds like you’re 1 for 2 with his heavier games, so you’ll probably want to try before you buy. And if you’re a fan of Union Pacific/Airlines, Airlines 2009 might be ready by Essen. I liked my playtest of it, but it’s certainly more of an update of the earlier games than something brand new. Again, you’ll probably know whether it’s winner for you or not.

    Larry Levy

    May 15, 2009 at 5:29 pm

  8. I’m looking forward to the Pandemic expansion. It’s not really a pining, but I’m looking forward to Master Builder too. And GMT might have one or two cool wargames later this summer (Mark Simonitch’s Caucuses Campaign should be a winner, Hellenes will probably be good too, and there’s some C&C stuff if you’re into that; I’m not sure if I am or not, the base game was great but the expansions seem to have gotten progressively worse). And I’m definitely looking forward to the new Wings of War: Dawn of War expansion. The new Conflict of Heroes Kursk game could help put the base game “over the top”.

    I just got an order in from Germany, and I’m actually pretty excited about the Keltis expansion and Keltis Kartenspiel. They both seem cool (I’ve played the Kartenspiel once, and it was gratifyingly different in feel from Keltis and Lost Cities and Lost Cities: The Boardgame, and interesting in its own right.

    At this point I’ve basically written off both Martin Wallace and FFG as folks who are just never going to produce a game I’m going to like, but you never know – FFG’s Lord of the Rings game coming later this year could be good, although the odds are obviously rather against it. I certainly won’t be buying any of it, but you never know.

    Chris Farrell

    May 16, 2009 at 12:11 am

  9. I’d second (or third) Snow Tails, Small World and Shadow Hunters. Of these Shadow Hunters requires the right group to play with, the type of people that would enjoy Cash and Guns or Werewolf. I hate Werewolf, Shadow Hunters is quick and has enough variety to keep me coming back. Space Alert is ok but seems to be way too easy with 5.

    Current favorite by a mile is Planet Steam. I’m currently thinking about coming up with some M.U.L.E. inspired random events for it.

    frunk

    May 16, 2009 at 8:41 am

  10. Snow Tails is in the “cautiously optimistic” category. Master Builder is actually on my radar (and sounds like my kind of game), but I’ve got a some reservations (“Too many notes.”) I’d like to try Conflict of Heroes.

    Die Keltis Kartenspiel just seems wrong.

    Brian

    May 16, 2009 at 10:51 am

  11. Snow Tails is in the “cautiously optimistic” category. Master Builder is actually on my radar (and sounds like my kind of game), but I’ve got a some reservations (“Too many notes.”) I’d like to try Conflict of Heroes.

    Die Keltis Kartenspiel just seems wrong.

    Brian

    May 16, 2009 at 10:51 am

  12. Small World is basically Vinci better. I’ve had Vinci for years and haven’t played it but once or twice. I’ve already played Small World twice. The theme makes it more fun; the fixes remove most of the annoyingness. Who can resist Commando Hobbits or Flying Sorcerers (thank you David Gerrold)?

    Snow Tails is decent, but nothing really special, I think. It’s a quick light racing game with a twist. It’s fast, and it’s pretty random. On the upside, it’s a light racing game which will play with fewer than six.

    Finito looks like a winner to me. We played 20 times in a row. Of course, we couldn’t stop until Ralph won one 🙂

    I just got a batch of games, so I’m not really pining, but I’m looking forward to the spate of expansions coming: Rebel vs. Imperium, Innsmouth Horror, Pandemic, Tribune, Dominion. Of course, expansions are nearly always disappointing, so my expectations are tempered. Won’t stop me from getting them.

    JeffG

    May 16, 2009 at 10:52 am

  13. I have to think that if Snow Tails is “pretty random” for you, that you guys are either very well matched or not playing it very well. It has more skill than most racing games I’ve played.

    Brian, if you’re at all into Keltis, a number of people have recommended the expansion (Die Erweiterung), which provides a new board with intersecting paths. The gameplay is supposedly much more interesting.

    Or maybe you were just reacting to the card game version of a board game based on a card game!

    Larry Levy

    May 16, 2009 at 11:03 am

  14. OK, Endeavor looks good, Larry. And since it’s 6 months away, I suppose I could pine. But I’ll just put it on my watchlist.

    Brian

    May 16, 2009 at 11:10 am

  15. Or maybe you were just reacting to the card game version of a board game based on a card game!

    Yes, in a Julie Andrews and Robert Preston sort of way.

    Le Game Hot!

    Brian

    May 16, 2009 at 11:51 am

  16. Or maybe you were just reacting to the card game version of a board game based on a card game!

    Yes, in a Julie Andrews and Robert Preston sort of way.

    Le Game Hot!

    Brian

    May 16, 2009 at 11:51 am

  17. Or maybe you were just reacting to the card game version of a board game based on a card game!

    Yes, in a Julie Andrews and Robert Preston sort of way.

    Le Game Hot!

    Brian

    May 16, 2009 at 11:51 am

  18. About the only games I’m looking forward to at this point are Last Train to Wensleydale (which given my record with Martin’s games is at best a 50-50 shot) and Freitag, which will require a long wait. Hopefully there are other games I’ll enjoy, but haven’t paid attention to yet.

    Of the released games, I haven’t been impressed by this year’s crop. Alea Iacta Est is good enough that I will buy it when it’s out in English, and I think Keltis: der weg des Steine is a clever little filler – one of my favorite new Knizia offerings in a while. But I’m not convinced that I’ll enjoy either as much as Hanging Gardens, last year’s mark for “Wow, is this really my favorite game of the year?”.

    That said, the 2009 crop has been much better than the 2008 crop overall. No big – or even medium-sized – hit, but nothing awful.

    Joe Huber

    May 16, 2009 at 7:33 pm

  19. Die Keltis Kartenspiel just seems wrong.

    Yeah, it does, and Kim mocked me for picking it up. But she changed her mind after playing it 🙂

    If it were Michael Schact or something, it would be basically the same game but with cards. But Knizia manages to make it feel different and new and a worthwhile addition to the family. It’s got a different deck makeup from Keltis and Lost Cities (two cards in each suit available in the middle of the range, but only one in the high/low cards), plus some sort-of restricted “wild” cards, a way to discard pairs, and slightly different scoring. If you didn’t like Keltis/Lost Cities it’s unlikely this is going to do anything for you either, but if you were a fan, it’s worth picking up.

    Alea Iacta Est was OK. I like it, it’s clever, and it might grow on me. Solid but unspectacular – but too many games fail to even achieve that level.

    Chris Farrell

    May 17, 2009 at 1:05 am

  20. Die Keltis Kartenspiel just seems wrong.

    Yeah, it does, and Kim mocked me for picking it up. But she changed her mind after playing it 🙂

    If it were Michael Schact or something, it would be basically the same game but with cards. But Knizia manages to make it feel different and new and a worthwhile addition to the family. It’s got a different deck makeup from Keltis and Lost Cities (two cards in each suit available in the middle of the range, but only one in the high/low cards), plus some sort-of restricted “wild” cards, a way to discard pairs, and slightly different scoring. If you didn’t like Keltis/Lost Cities it’s unlikely this is going to do anything for you either, but if you were a fan, it’s worth picking up.

    Alea Iacta Est was OK. I like it, it’s clever, and it might grow on me. Solid but unspectacular – but too many games fail to even achieve that level.

    Chris Farrell

    May 17, 2009 at 1:05 am

  21. Snow Tails lasts roughly one time through the deck, so near the end of the game, it’s pretty easy to get into a situation where you know that if you draw one of half of your remaining cards, you’ll win; if not, you lose. That happened to me two games in a row, though neither time was the split exactly half. (One success, one failure, fwiw.) Another game, I knew my opponent needed to draw a four to beat me. He would have played it earlier if he had one, so he needed to draw it. I wasn’t keeping track of how many fours he had left, but no other card would do. Yep, he drew one.

    Seems like something like that happens just about every game. Is that not “pretty random?” Some games you can plan pretty far ahead and not have to rely on any draws, but on courses with lots of trees, by the end there are usually a few random draws needed to be able to keep to a plan.

    The skill needed to play pretty well seems easy to come by, but maybe I’ve not played enough to get to the next level. Paying attention to what’s in your deck is pretty important, but not particularly difficult with a 20-card (?) deck. I don’t know if the rules allow looking through your played cards or not, but it’s pretty easy to remember and not, for example, put oneself in a position to need a five when all of them have been played.

    JeffG

    May 17, 2009 at 5:01 am

  22. I second Chris regarding Keltis: das Kartenspiel. It’s of course pretty similar to the whole Keltis/Lost Cities idea, but has a real distinct feel to it. The BMM version is pretty decent as well (though a lot more simplistic).

    I just purchased Genial Spezial from Knizia/Kosmos. Despite the tie-in to Genius, the games have very few similarities apart from the win condition (max-min score wins). Haven’t played it yet, but from the rules, it reminds me more of Through the Desert. If Keltis hadn’t won last year, I’m pretty sure it would be a contender for the Spiel des Jahres.

    Peter Hein

    May 17, 2009 at 8:17 am

  23. Upon further review, here are some other ideas for you, Brian.

    Fits is “Knizia Does Tetris” and works much better than you’d think from that description. If you liked the original PC game and have good spatial reasoning, this is a fun, addictive filler. I don’t fall into either category, but still found it enjoyable.

    Another Reiner title that works better than you’d think is Masters Gallery, which is effectively Modern Art without the auctions. It’s obviously lighter than MA, but is still quite good. It’s from FRED, so it costs more than it should, but is still a nice, and even somewhat meaty filler.

    If you’re a fan of the Mystery Rummy series, I’d recomend the long awaited Bonnie and Clyde. The production values suck, but the game plays as well as any of its predecessors.

    Confucius is a fascinating game, based around a unique gift-giving mechanic. There’s also a nice amount of Oriental atmosphere. The game could probably stand to be slimmed down a bit, but it’s one of the few titles to appear recently with something truly different, so that alone may make it appealing.

    Masters of Venice, a gamer’s game from heretofore party gamish R&R Games, also is a bit overstuffed. But it does provide a nice market-based system that will take a while to master.

    Cities is another filler, a Take It Easy-style game with some mechanics reminiscent of Carcassonne. But I like it better than either of the two games it resembles. With enough copies, it can play as many gamers as you want, just like Take It Easy.

    Finally, another Essen game on the horizon is what will probably be the latest from Vlaada Chvatil, tentatively titled Dungeon Lords. It’s a twist on the classic dungeon crawl (you can probably figure out the kind of game it resembles) and is just as challenging and humorous as Chvatil’s other designs. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

    Larry Levy

    May 17, 2009 at 1:00 pm

  24. I like this game in a general sense, but I am somewhat concerned that the ability to convince others that you are not winning has an equal or great importance than the other aspects of winning the game. That trait by itself is not enough for me to mislike the game, but the impact it appears to have in this game is enough to cause my desire to play this game decrease, and might be enough for me to end up disliking it entirely.

    I will still probably end up playing it at least a half-dozen more times (as it is pretty popular at my FLGS at the moment), but we will see if it lasts beyond then…

    I could also just be bitter because I have not won a game yet.

    doubtofbuddha

    May 18, 2009 at 10:45 am

  25. I like this game in a general sense, but I am somewhat concerned that the ability to convince others that you are not winning has an equal or great importance than the other aspects of winning the game. That trait by itself is not enough for me to mislike the game, but the impact it appears to have in this game is enough to cause my desire to play this game decrease, and might be enough for me to end up disliking it entirely.

    I will still probably end up playing it at least a half-dozen more times (as it is pretty popular at my FLGS at the moment), but we will see if it lasts beyond then…

    I could also just be bitter because I have not won a game yet.

    doubtofbuddha

    May 18, 2009 at 10:45 am

  26. What about the Tales of the Arabian Nights reboot? That’s closest to pining for me. Also looking forward to Space Alert, Race: R vs I, and Dungeon Twister 2 (which has a solo variant), but everything drops way off after those.

    Good news is that plenty of stuff on my shelf hasn’t been played nearly enough. So far, 2009 looks really weak, unless you’re a huge fan of Wallace (never had much luck with his stuff here, overall impression has always been “some good ideas, but clunky”).

    Jon Waddington

    May 18, 2009 at 11:23 am

  27. What about the Tales of the Arabian Nights reboot? That’s closest to pining for me. Also looking forward to Space Alert, Race: R vs I, and Dungeon Twister 2 (which has a solo variant), but everything drops way off after those.

    Good news is that plenty of stuff on my shelf hasn’t been played nearly enough. So far, 2009 looks really weak, unless you’re a huge fan of Wallace (never had much luck with his stuff here, overall impression has always been “some good ideas, but clunky”).

    Jon Waddington

    May 18, 2009 at 11:23 am

  28. “Finally, another Essen game on the horizon is what will probably be the latest from Vlaada Chvatil, tentatively titled Dungeon Lords. ”

    Cool! Vlaada is on my ‘buy everything he makes’ list right now, and a dungeon crawl theme is promising. All 3 of his games that I have played (TTA/GalaxyTrucker/SpaceAlert), have had both great theme and mechanics, which is important for a dungeon crawl game.

    Alexfrog

    May 18, 2009 at 12:41 pm

  29. “Finally, another Essen game on the horizon is what will probably be the latest from Vlaada Chvatil, tentatively titled Dungeon Lords. ”

    Cool! Vlaada is on my ‘buy everything he makes’ list right now, and a dungeon crawl theme is promising. All 3 of his games that I have played (TTA/GalaxyTrucker/SpaceAlert), have had both great theme and mechanics, which is important for a dungeon crawl game.

    Alexfrog

    May 18, 2009 at 12:41 pm


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