The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Thunderstone, Wallace and Whatnot

I noticed Chris Farrell put up his Year in review and named Thunderstone his GotY. I hadn’t tried it mainly because, well, I don’t like Dominion enough to buy it, why play a knock off. But if it has more tactical depth that’s a good reason. Opinions?

Had a good session last night … I wrote up some Homesteaders thoughts but I’ll need to reformat them. But I think the most telling moment was

Rob — “Let’s play Rise of Empires!”

Tao — “Sure, a new game is good.” (Glances at box) “Er, it’s a Wallace game? How about Power Grid!” This struck me doubly because today I Chris’s line

Remind me never, ever to play a Martin Wallace game again unless I’m really sure I know what I’m doing.

I think I liked Automobile, but I’m definitely wary after the last few titles.

I see Rick T’s marathon on the Alea Box Set. I was psyched for this … two years ago. On the other hand, more cards for San Juan and new stuff for Puerto Rico and Notre Dame! So I’ll probably get this…

My copy of the Shadow Hunters expansion arrived at the store, but it’s so small they can’t find it. Odd.

A few more games of Snow Tails and I’m now thoroughly convinced its a race game.  Not a bad purchase, but not great.

How about you?

Update — “It’s a race game” should be interpreted as “its fine. Whelming, even.”


Written by taogaming

January 12, 2010 at 7:41 pm

12 Responses

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  1. Huh? Of course Snow Tails is a racing game. What else is it?


    January 12, 2010 at 8:58 pm

  2. It’s the best racing game ever!

    (Said he who normally hates racing games, but who really likes Snow Tails)

    Larry Levy

    January 12, 2010 at 11:25 pm

  3. The key to Wallace games is, apparently, to play only those featuring trains. That’s what my friend says, I haven’t really tried those without trains (except Toledo, which sucks).


    January 12, 2010 at 11:35 pm

  4. I’m looking forward to trying Thunderstone.

    Snow Tails: Its about dogsled racing and it WOULDNT be a racing game?


    January 13, 2010 at 12:30 pm

  5. (Said he who normally hates racing games, but who really likes Snow Tails)

    I don’t normally hate them, but I’m wary of them, _and_ wary of Fragor, but enjoy Snow Tails enough to own.

    Joe Huber

    January 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm

  6. Racing games have one really nice feature: there are a bunch of them which will play with 6 and not take forever.


    January 13, 2010 at 4:08 pm

  7. Thunderstone: I think it does have a bit more depth than Dominion (it certainly has more interesting choices). It also feels more like it has a theme that, at least somewhat, influences game play – that doesn’t always matter, and while I still enjoy Dominion, I enjoy Thunderstone a bit more.

    Tim Isakson

    January 13, 2010 at 5:04 pm

  8. But not, er, Snow Tails….


    Jon W

    January 13, 2010 at 5:21 pm

  9. I like Dominion too much to fully enjoy Thunderstone. Having said that, I definitively enjoy the RPG elements in it. Would play it again. But GotY?


    January 14, 2010 at 11:02 pm

  10. Have you tried Rise of Empires ? I really enjoy the game a lot (Automobile too, by the way). And not because it is a Wallace, but because it is a really good game. The main mecanism (mirror turns) is completely non thematic, but who cares ! It gives birth to really tough decisions. And there are also some nice twists with the way battle works. Try it, you should not be disappointed. It is not really a civ game (theme is too weak I think), but it really brings a lot of interaction through the action selection, turn order (it is a wallace game after all) and deplomacy and fight. Diplo is REALLY strong, which I liked a lot.

    On the other hand, I am not fund of his train games at all, so ymmv.

    Snow Tails has been “meh” for me, not bad, no desire to play it again mostly.


    January 15, 2010 at 5:30 am

  11. Mikko, your friend is about 10 years out of date. That used to be true for Wallace, but he’s grown remarkably as a designer (and irrevocably cut his ties to his former train game mentor, John Bohrer). Now he creates great games on all subjects. Brass is fantastic (okay, there are some trains in it, so maybe your friend gives it a bye, but it’s by no means a train game). Automobile is just as good. Struggle of Empires, Princes of the Renaissance, Tinners’ Trail, Liberte, Rise of Empires–all highly rated, with nary a train in sight. And I haven’t even mentioned his historical, war-like games. You won’t like all of them–hell, *I* don’t like all of them–but it’s a quality collection of games and most people other than Chris Farrell have a few they really like. IMO, the days when the only thing Martin Wallace could reliably design was a train game are long gone.

    Larry Levy

    January 17, 2010 at 10:05 am

  12. […] a comment » Well, after dissing RoE last week, I got in a game this […]

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