The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

We want … information

After having missed that convention for something like 4 years running, I’m pretty mellow about the whole thing. Still, that does mean I miss out on the chance to play whatever the hot new items are. So — open thread on hot new items.


Written by taogaming

April 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Posted in Open Thread

7 Responses

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  1. I’ve just submitted the first part of a GeekList on my favorite 2012 Gathering experiences.

    Eric Brosius

    April 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm

  2. Helvetia – Meh
    Core Worlds – First time I got to play it, and it was my favorite of the convention.
    Africana – Pick up and deliver, Schactian, enjoyed it.
    The City – RftG with only two phases, Explore and Develop, no sharing actions, and mandatory Consume/Trade for everyone. For if you thought Race went on too long at 20 minutes. Now my description is longer than the game.
    Infarkt – Hilarious party game. Well, not really a party game, a game of throwing parties to kill off your neighbors.
    Zooloretto Dice – Not bad, not fabulous, oh wait, meh!
    Bohnanza Dice – Better than Zooloretto Dice but still not fabulous. Being able to use other people’s dice adds a nice note of interaction.
    Ingenious Dice – Not very good at all.
    Last Will – Brewster’s Millions, the board game. Quite a lot of fun.
    Village – Some interesting mechanisms, but the game itself fell flat for me.
    Cards Against Humanity – For when Apples to Apples is waaay too PC.
    Welcome to Walnut Grove – Hmm, not sure. I had to look at BGG to even remember playing it.
    Small World: Underground – The board is tougher to read than Small World, but I do like the new powers and artifacts/locations.
    Giza – Pyramid building game, pretty fun.
    Lost Temple – Citadels, the race. I don’t like Citadels, this was better but still meh.
    Santa Cruz – I had high hopes for this loving the designer’s other games, but one play left me whelmed. I do want to play again though.

    Hottest game I heard about and didn’t get to play: Tie between Eclipse and Trajan.
    Most painful game experience: Die Macher, where I only got a lead in one region, and was promptly beaten by a coalition despite a hastily formed one of my own.


    April 24, 2012 at 10:44 am

    • I played Helvetia, Village, Africana, Hawaii, and Santa Cruz. They each have some interesting mechanisms, but none have any soul. They are pretty much generic Eurogames. The only pure Euro I think I’ll get is Waka Waka, which is multiplayer Jambo. Hawaii at least has hula dancers, but they are 1/2″ tall. Helvetia’s most interesting mechanic is that half of your workers are male and half are female. They can be married off. But they look exactly the same at any distance, so I, at least, have to look very carefully at someone else’s board to determine his pieces’ gender. That either has to wait until my turn or give away my plans.

      Africana appears to have one major way to win: get 2-4 permanent move cards. Only the first two count as negative points, so subsequent ones are gravy.

      I liked Zooloretto dice OK, but there’s not much there. Bohnanza Dice was fun, but the player-player interaction is essentially trivial. It’s solvable, but I haven’t yet. Martian Dice seemed decent.

      I’d played Core Worlds before, but didn’t get to at the Gathering. I did teach it once. For me, the jury’s still out. I’d played Last Will many times before, including the prototype twice a year ago. It’s a pretty solid game and has extra replay value by changing the target money from 70 to 130 and in between. It’ll need an expansion before too long, but is quite suited for one.

      I think Infarkt is pretty silly, but some fun. Players have very little control, and they can be eliminated pretty early in the game.

      Eclipse is TI3 without the roles. Our one play was not as short as advertized, but we had six players and it took an hour to go over the rules. I believe that a 4-player game can be played in 2 hours by experienced and fast players, but that might not be true. It seems to be a decent game; it is possible to compete without going to war, which is interesting. One important combat rule is that one ship pins one ship, which allows overruns. The players have some control over the board construction, and without an expensive technology, it can make other players find it very difficult to reach you (and vice versa). So defense is reasonably possible. Doing both offense and defense together seems very difficult.

      I also didn’t get to play Trajan. Nor Abaddon, but playing that doesn’t seem critical—the game is about the miniatures, which are way cool.


      April 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm

  3. One other game I forgot, PIX. French party game of arranging pixels to describe a word without forming letters, numbers or other symbols. You are competing against 1-2 other players to describe the same word, with the everyone else trying to guess what the picture is.

    The kicker is that the player using less pixels shows their word first, giving themselves 30 seconds to score a point if someone guesses correctly based on their picture. Otherwise the other picture is shown for 30 seconds and the other player gets the point for a correct guess. If still no one gets it there’s a bonus clue given and neither picture maker gets a point. In all cases the correct guesser also gets a point.

    As for Bohnanza Dice, the interaction isn’t so much the other players watching the dice and picking out their upgrades, but the active player’s decision making as far as locking dice to stop the other players from getting free upgrades on their rolls. In particular you can stop the possibility of long dice sequences after the first roll as long as you lock enough dice.


    April 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm

  4. There were very few new games available this year and I’m not sure any of them could be considered “hot”. Hawaii rightfully got a lot of play (it’s excellent), but we’ve been playing it for a couple of months. The same is true of Trajan, which is as themeless as any of Feld’s games, but has a terrific central mechanic with the Mancala action selection system. But very few Nuremburg games made an appearance.

    My favorite title right now is Ora et Labora, which improves on Le Havre in several ways and is probably my Game of the Year for 2011. But if you didn’t care for the earlier game, I’m not sure you’ll like the later one.

    Wurfel Bohnanza probably was the best liked new game at the Gathering. It’s a clever filler, but at the end of the day, it’s just a dice game with more interaction than usual. I will be buying it, though.

    My favorite new game that you can buy today was Guild, which is the latest from Kenichi Tanabe, the designer of Kaigan. Very interesting “card game that plays like a board game”, with some nice innovative touches. It’s available from Japan, through Tanabe’s website.

    Waka Waka is a completely watered down Jambo. Very forgiving, most suitable for playing with young children. Africana did nothing for me, but it did get a lot of play.

    The best games I played were prototypes, including an excellent worker placement title from CGE currently called Mayan Ages and Mythotopia, Wallace’s multi-player, fantasy-themed version of A Few Acres of Snow. None of us stumbled across a Hobgoblin Hammer killer strategy in the latter design.


    April 24, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    • I have to note – it’s not clear if you _like_ Le Havre that you’ll enjoy Ora et Labora, either. I really enjoy Le Havre; Ora just made me wish we were playing Le Havre.

      Joe Huber

      April 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm

  5. Golly, had no idea “it” was on. Thanks for the report, Frunk. Sounds like a lot of Meh!


    April 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm

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