Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The Norway of the Year

I have given up fighting against doing a round-up of boardgames played on a monthly basis monthly so here's November's:

6 Nimmt!: Random at first, but there is depth once one starts to try to second guess the other players.

7 Wonders: At the risk of repeating myself, I really enjoy this, but am absolutely useless at it. And I always seem to end up with the hanging gardens of Babylon.

Between Two Cities: I'm not entirely sure the extent to which there is actually a game here. The group is keen (actually 'keen' might be stretching it) to try the 'left' variant of the rules which is rumoured to improve things.

The Bloody Inn: Another competitive innkeeper game, and certainly better than Polterfass. I'm developing a taste for games where each resource - in this case cards - could be used in multiple ways, but where only one can be chosen.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig: Secrets: This was the first time that I'd played this expansion. I'm not sure that it adds anything to what is a very good game to start with. It seemed to me that the obvious strategy now was to collect swans, so I did and won handily.

Codenames: This is rapidly moving towards becoming the game that I have played the most. It's a very amusing game whatever the mix within the teams, but not having much in common with other players is a real handicap to winning; and yes that is a reference to me being much older than everyone else. We also tried a variant using the cards from Dixit. It was better than Dixit, but not an improvement on Codenames. I wouldn't bother again.

Elysium: I was glad to see this back on the table. It's a good game that had got lost because of the temptations of the shiny and new.

Game of Trains: This has very little - in fact nothing - to do with trains. Instead it's an abstract, card sorting game and much to my taste.

The Grizzled: That rarity, a cooperative game that I like. Players are French soldiers in the trenches of WW1 (although the theme isn't terribly deep) and must together complete a missions and survive to the end of the war. We lost miserably, and I saw no real prospect of ever winning, but I'd be delighted to play again and be proved wrong.

Guillotine: When played last month this normally reliable filler fell completely flat.

Hanabi: n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-nineteen

Isle of Skye: Good game, with the variable victory conditions really adding to replayability. One of this month's games represented what was, I think, the first time I'd played it with four people. It made it harder to see what tiles were up for sale, but otherwise didn't slow it down too much. The winning strategy seems to be to concentrate on end-game scoring (especially with scrolls within completed areas) rather than scoring heavily each round. I suppose what I'm really saying is that I think that the catch up mechanism is a bit too strong so one may as well take advantage of it by lagging behind during the game and saving one's powder for the end.

Jenga: Seriously, Jenga, and very good it was too

The Manhattan Project: Enjoyable worker placement game on the soft and fluffy theme of developing weapons of mass destruction. I suspect that the winning strategy is always no aircraft, uranium only and will only fail when confronted by irrationally aggressive players.

Power Grid: I'd never played this before and for some reason had it in mind that it was a really heavy and complex game. In fact whilst it is on the long side it's fairly straightforward. It's an accounting game - I won, tied in fact - but very well designed and rewarding of sensible investment decisions. Despite enjoying it I don't think I'll play again; it's too much like the day job.

Skull: Always good

Survive: Escape from Atlantis!: There is such great pleasure to be had in sinking someone's boat with a sea monster. This is best played showing no mercy.

Ticket to Ride: Europe: This is such a good game, often and unfairly overlooked because it's a bit old now, and it's trains etc etc.

Titan Race: My companions kept finding parallels with Mario Kart but as I've never played any games on a games console at all, ever I can't comment. It's not up to much as a board game.

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