Friday, 2 March 2018

"You're alive!"

Which were the exact words addressed to me when I returned to boardgaming after a couple of months break to recharge the meeple mojo. These youngsters think that anyone over forty is on their last legs; well let me tell them there is nothing old about me. Anyway, I was going to do this list quarterly, but having realised that I couldn't for the life of me remember one of the games at all despite the name being written down in front of me, I thought it would be better to crack on and do it now before senility really kicks in.

7 Wonders: I have always liked some aspects of this game, and now like it a lot because for the first time ever I won.

Age of Steam: This was the best new (new to me that is) game played so far this year. It's a cracker. I always pick a strategy at random when faced with a new game and in this case went for: 'build railways on the bit of the board nearest me'. I came a respectable third out of five, but perhaps more up-front analysis might be helpful next time; and I hope that there is a next time.

Altiplano: This is recognisably by the same designer as Orléans (see below), but introduces an asymmetric element that didn't really do it for me. The start player marker is also a most irritating and large cardboard llama, or alpaca, or some other South American camelid. By the way, did you now that the Linnaean name for the Llama is Lama glama?

Dinosaur Island: Essentially Jurassic Park the board game. I took it a bit literally and did nothing but create dinosaurs in the laboratory. Little wooden visitors turned up in their droves, discovered there was nothing else to do and nowhere to eat and so buggered off again. I came last. I'm not so bothered about playing this again.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue: It's a co-operative game, but I rather liked it. It has a neat mechanism for spreading the fire that might have wargaming applications; can't think of any off the top of my head, but it might have. As with The Grizzled I don't know anyone who has ever won at this game.

Imperial Settlers: The French have an expression "l'esprit d l'escalier" which just about sums up ho I played this game. After every turn I would slap my head and tell myself what I should have done instead.

Junk Art: An amusing game of piling up odd shaped pieces of plastic until they all fall over. I do like a 3D game.

Nusfjord:  My random strategy in my first play of this game about building boats and going fishing was to focus on forestry. I came last.

Orléans: This was my favourite new game of last year and is strongly recommended. A nice set of balanced mechanics and scoring paths, with just enough player interaction to mean you need to watch what the others are doing.

Photosynthesis: Another excellent 3D game - hooray! - featuring trees and the sun. I am well known as being an expert on how the Earth goes round the sun and can confirm that it doesn't work as depicted here. We played the rules wrong - and if only I had a quid for every time I'd said that - but I'll take the win anyway. It's a spatial awareness game and we all know how poor I usually am at those. 

Sub Terra: It's another co-operative game, but this one is dull, dull, dull. There are dungeons, there are monsters, there is little tension. I was some sort of bodyguard with a power that allowed me to take hits on behalf of the others in the team, who supposedly had skills which would enable us to escape. When it became apparent that this wasn't going to happen I deserted them and made a run for the entrance; I didn't make it, but I died looking after number one, and that must count for something.

Telestrations: Amusing ten minute pictorial Chinese whispers.

Thunderstone Quest: This is a better deck builder than they usually are, because there is an end purpose in mind to use the deck for. Sadly this purpose is going into a dungeon - yawn - to fight monsters - yawn.

Zendo: This is a bit like the old Mastermind game, but better because it's multi-player. I'm not sure why you would pay for the plastic bits and pieces when you can clearly just play pretty much the same game with a couple of packs of cards.

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