The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

My New Acronym — JASE

“Just Another Soulless Euro.” And the first recipient is Macao! Congratulations, I guess.

To be fair, one person’s JASE is another’s treasure. I’d be hard pressed to say why Hansa isn’t a JASE (although I think that the bumping ability, which lets you convert cubes to actions and vice versa, is a reasonable candidate). Perhaps the direct conflict. Macao’s dice provide one of those “Clever in theory” ideas that makes me wonder why “Gripping” doesn’t have an antonym.  In any case, I’m declaring Hansa “Not a JASE” by blogger fiat.

“Words on the Street” would works in theory. The actual cards annoy me, I think, but it’s a short game. It makes me think that there should be a Smarty Party style of play where you get a category and then teams get 10 seconds each until one passes.

The Thunderstone expansion improves the game. I still prefer Dominion, but a nice change of pace. It still feels like a rush job lacking polish, but not as much.


Written by taogaming

September 5, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Posted in Ramblings

Tagged with ,

15 Responses

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  1. “Macao’s dice provide one of those “Clever in theory” ideas that makes me wonder why “Gripping” doesn’t have an antonym.”

    Antonym about 1:45


    September 5, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    • The antonym of “gripping” is “boring.”


      September 10, 2010 at 1:55 pm

  2. Anodyne, perhaps?

    James Moore

    September 6, 2010 at 12:10 am

  3. For me, “Hansa” is the Michael Schacht game, a game I like a lot more than “Hansa Teutonica.”

    Eric Brosius

    September 6, 2010 at 7:38 am

    • The things people will admit to on the internet, as though nobody were listening…


      September 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm

  4. We have a number of folks in my group who agree with your JASE characterization of Macao, Brian. Thankfully, we also have quite a few who like it as much as I do. I find the dice mechanic to be clever in both practice and theory and trying to make the best use of the wide variety of cards is a lot of fun to me. The game has been very enjoyable every time I’ve played it.

    As a slight contrast, the latest Alea, Glen More, similarly has the players working primarily in their own sandboxes. But the process of maximizing your score in Glen More, while quite interesting, isn’t as enjoyable as the same process in Macao for some reason. I still think Glen More is a good game, but it doesn’t quite stack up to the other recent Alea titles, including Macao.

    I consider Hansa Teutonica to be abstract rather than soulless. It’s a superior abstract, because of the wide variety of types of plays and strategies, but the fact that it’s so obviously a cube-pusher knocks it down a bit in my estimation. It’s still one of the better games of the year and I like it a bit more than Glen More, but I’d really rather play Macao.

    Larry Levy

    September 6, 2010 at 3:54 pm

  5. Oh, and I’m with Eric: Hansa > Hansa Teutonica. Both are fine games and make your head hurt in a good way, but I prefer the Schacht design.

    Larry Levy

    September 6, 2010 at 3:55 pm

  6. Another vote for Macao = JASE, but also that Hansa > Hansa Teutonica. 🙂

    Mark Johnson

    September 6, 2010 at 11:17 pm

  7. Bah, Schacht’s games are all about ceding control. Who do I have to help, and how much? Will the next guy help me like I just helped him? No? Why not? It always goes downhill from there.

    Space Alert is so cool, but so front-loaded. You have to dedicate yourself to it for a series of increasingly intense sessions, and…that never works out for me (on to the next game, don’t play for a month, etc.).

    Jon W

    September 7, 2010 at 9:46 am

  8. Oh, and Macao is definitely JASE. But…they all are, aren’t they? After all these years since the “euro revolution” of the 1990’s, it seems like these are the most interchangeable set of games. You get new ones for variety, not because they do anything all that fundamentally different than earlier ones.

    Jon W

    September 7, 2010 at 9:52 am

  9. Macao is my second favorite game of 2009 – but I understand how it strikes others as having no soul. I’m far less certain why it doesn’t strike me that way, but it doesn’t at all; I’ve played 15 times in 2010, and look forward to playing it more.

    Hansa Teutonica, on the other hand, I played once last year and wouldn’t play again unless very well paid. I’m not sure just what I think of Hansa, but I’m with Eric: Hansa is better without the Teutonica than with.

    Joe Huber

    September 7, 2010 at 10:52 am

  10. I found Hansa Teutonica to be rather dull cube shuffling. Macao, on the other hand, I’ve enjoyed quite a bit.


    September 7, 2010 at 12:04 pm

  11. Another vote for Macao. Probably one of my favorite games from last year. Despite it’s positively “blah” theme and components, I find that the gameplay is different enough to very engaging and a definite keeper.

    Agent Easy

    September 8, 2010 at 11:27 pm

  12. I will have to break from the crowd and state I love Hansa Teutonica. Though I have not played either Hansa or Macao. Neither one interests me enough to bother checking them out.

    Jesse Dean

    September 11, 2010 at 9:53 pm

  13. Macao > Hansa Teutonica > Poking My Eyes Out With A Sharp Stick >>> Hansa

    Jeff Coon

    September 11, 2010 at 11:08 pm

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