Monday, 2 January 2017

December 2016 Boardgaming

Last year I played 133 boardgames a total of 250 times, a number obviously restricted by my illness. Before looking it up on Boardgamegeek I would have guessed that my most played game was Codenames, but it was actually Red7; both excellent fillers of course. The question of whether it would be better to play fewer games more times each is valid in philosophical terms, but in practical terms is moot. The people I play with are - how can I put this? - obsessive, but the thing they seem most obsessive about is buying games, and therefore the cult of the new rules OK. I have largely given up buying games myself; it just seems redundant. In fact the only game that I bought all year was Colt Express, chosen because I thought it would appeal to the younger Miss Epictetus' boyfriend; a hypothesis so far untested.

Abluxxen: It's always fun to watch the sheer bafflement on the faces of those playing for the first time as they struggle to work out a strategy.

Avenue:  A bit like Karuba with pen and paper and a neat scoring twist. It's OK.

Glory to Rome: This is very similar to Mottainai, but with a theme vaguely- very vaguely - related to the rebuilding of Rome after Nero's fire rather than that of making souvenirs in a Buddhist monastery. I'm not sure which one makes less sense.

Honshu: Nice trick-taking/auction/map building card game. It doesn't play to my strengths, but I like it.

Isle of Skye: Another map building game with auction elements and a touch of set collection. Once again I'm always happy to play this.

Kingdomino: Funnily enough this is a game about building maps with a competitive resource selection element. I've only played it once so reserve judgement. The endgame creeps up on you and if you are not careful leaves with few, or even no, options.

The Manhattan Project: I enjoy this game, not least because it always gives me a chance to trot out my weapons of mass destruction anecdotes for those who have never heard them, or even for those who have heard them several times. It is, however, broken as a game. A uranium only strategy couple with ignoring the bomber/fighter stuff will always win.

The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction: This is the card version of the above game. I thought it worked very well, stripping out the bits that don't - to me - add a great deal of interest, such as the attack and defence elements. I thought that as a card re-implementation it worked far better than Power Grid.

Rococco: The hybrid dressmaking/fireworks/interior deign theme may be odd - OK, it is odd - but the mechanics make for a rather good game.

Terraforming Mars: This is a game about which there has been a huge amount of buzz; so much so that even I had heard it. I played it because one of the Yanks from the not-so-secret spy base just up the road - we regularly get visitors from there and as they are all cryptographers and the like they win a lot of games - was very keen to try it out. In the event I couldn't see what all the fuss was about. It wasn't bad, but went on far too long.

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