Friday, 30 December 2022

Newish boardgames

 Lack of posting means lack of boardgames reviews, which is a shame because I've played one or two good ones. These are the games I played for the first time since I last did a roundup:

Concordia: In the finest tradition of the blog, having said that these are new games let's start with one I had played before a few years ago, but couldn't remember at all. It probably didn't help my memory that we played on a different map, this time Britannia. In my previous review I said that I chose a strategy and stuck to it despite the fact that it was a wrong one. This time I chose  strategy, stuck to it, and it was the right one. Not a bad game.

Dandelions: This is a roll and move game, which is about as old-fashioned a mechanism as you can get. However there are a couple of simple twists which, combined with its very short length, make it a neat little game.

Dune: Imperium: This is the pick of the new games I've played and it's easy to see why it is so highly rated. I don't want to suggest that wargamers are only interested in fighting, but this game combines worker placement with a combat system. You don't have to fight every battle, but you'll have to take part in some if you want to win. The combat part reminds me of Condottiere, which is high praise, in that it's crucial to decide when to go all in and, equally, to judge when ones opponents are going to do the same. Highly recommended.

Endless Winter: Paleoamericans: Another big, heavy new game with a buzz around it. It was fine, but fell a bit short for me. In particular while the first three of the four rounds it is played over were quite meaty in terms of decisions and actions, the final round was a big anti-climax. It also takes up a vast amount of table space.

Glasgow: A game about building the second city of the empire, so lots of tenement tiles. I probably need to give this another go before passing judgement.

Kluster: A strange game, or perhaps activity, with some very strong magnets. 

Lacrimosa: Based on the writing of Mozart's Requiem, so top marks for unusual theme. It's OK, quite reminiscent of Rococo, a game I like. I have a ticket for a performance of the Requiem in May next year; that will probably get a longer review than the game.

Obsession: It is seemingly obligatory to refer to this as 'Downton Abbey the board game', notwithstanding the fact that the game is set in the Victorian period whilst the soap opera - or so I understand, obviously I've never seen it - takes place between the wars. I thought it was a very average worker placement game, but perhaps that was sour grapes after I bust a gut to marry above my station only to find that it was temporary and I had to do it all again the following turn.

Spirit Island: A co-operative game, but better than a lot of others I have played. We successfully defended our island against the invaders, but no real thanks to me as it turned out I had not fully understood the victory conditions so the end came as an abrupt surprise. 

Take it Easy!: Quite an old game - 1980s I think - about laying pipes and using a bingo-style mechanism. I genuinely thought I was doing very well, but it's a spatial awareness game, so it turned out that I wasn't.

Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition: A card game version of the bigger game. I didn't really see the point.

Ticket to Ride: Amsterdam: A twenty-minute version of TtR with the same core mechanisms, but a smaller map and fewer pieces to place. The latter change in particular means there is absolutely no room to mess about; you have to be on it from the start. Very similar, and equally good, is Ticket to Ride: London

Villagers: If the original source material for Dandelions is Ludo, then this is Happy Families with Mr Bun the Baker replaced by Lumberjacks, Speelunkers, Freemasons and, well, Bakers. It's fine.

Walkie Talkie: Passes the time until you realise that there aren't any enforceable rules, and it therefore probably isn't actually a game at all.

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