Essen has come and gone and with goes a list full of
old favorites or undiscoverd gems. Instead you get
the shiny new pennies. These are the games that the
hip and cool (Walter would say glitterati) crowd will
be playing in the coming weeks and months.
As always, this is my considered (and authoritative)
opinion regarding the games that I found to be the
best and most entertaining over the last month. I'd
love (as would the UG list) to get your opinions,
questions, commentary and smart ass remarks on these
games or the list in general. So without further
adieu, I give you this months games
10. Euphrat & Tigris: Okay, this isn't a new game,
but it is available in a new and user friendly format.
The boardgamegeek has recently put up an online
version of E&T that allows you to play with your
friends and enemies. Make your move and an email is
sent off to the next guy to login and make his. It
works great. Matt, David Fontes, Adam, myself and now
Phil have had a game going on for the last few weeks.
For the record - Adam and David each have won a couple
of games while Matt and I have won one each. Give
this a shot.
9. Urland: One last older game from last year. This
is a Doris & Frank follow up to Ursuppe. I never had
the chance to play it and its been collecting dust
since last November on my shelf. I finally got to try
it and was very pleased. It didn't get a lot of
positive press - I'm not sure why.
8. Cannes: Okay, onto the new stuff. Cannes is a
scaled down version of Roads & Boats which is one of
the mini monster games that doesn't see much table
time as a result. Cannes uses the basic mechanism in
R&B and applies it to making movies. Yes, the theme
is a stretch, but so what. There is plenty going on
here and the fact that the board is different every
time means the game should stay relatively fresh.
7. Carcassonne Hunters & Gatherers: I've grown tired
of Carcassonne. While I never thought it was all that
and a bag of chips, I enjoyed well enough, but I'm
just tired of it. The new Carcassonne is different
enough that I think I'm going to like it better.
After one play, it felt more interesting and I'm not
sure why. It could be the fact that its new, but it
just seemed like there was a little more there.
6. Trias: I expected another game on evolution and
instead got an abstract tile placement game. After
initial dissappointment, I played it a few times and
really enjoyed it. The rules are really simple, but
there is plenty of choice. And it seems that there
are a number of strategies that can be employed. The
first game I played saw a lot of little islands being
split off thoughout the game making the difference in
the scoring. The next game saw less of this and one
big island that was isolated and big enough to offset
the fact that it didn't score much during the game.
5. Bang!: Bang is Werewolf with a cardgame inserted.
The idea is everyone gets a roll to play - Sheriff,
Deputy, Renegade, or Outlaw. The Sheriff and Deputies
win if the Outlaws and Renegades are killed. The
Outlaws win if they kill the Sheriff and the Renegade
wins if he is the last man standing. Each player also
has a character card (my favorite so far is Slab the
Killer who kind of looked like Mark E.) which gives
him special abilities. Gameplay consists of drawing
cards and then using your cards to try to kill your
opponents along with the usual wheedling, whining and
finger pointing. The game isn't as "psychological" as
werewolf as you are limited by the cards, but I find
it to more of a game and as such a lot of fun.
4. Delphi: This is a game that has received little
press. Pitt had a copy and we tried it the other
night. It is a blind bidding game with an Attack/Taj
Mahal like card play mechansim. Players have a hand
of cards - some with numbers (2-10) and some with
special abilities. You play the cards to stay in the
round. First to drop out scores negative points,
second to drop gets a rock and third and fourth get
positive points. The points escalate over the rounds.
It seems pretty simple, but there was plenty to think
about and it was a lot of fun. Pitt really stunk at
3. Fundstucke: This was the other Friedman Friese
game released at Essen, but unfortunately there were
only a 100+ copies available. Its another blind
bidding game witha Hols der Gier feel to it. Players
are competing to fill orders for junk (chairs,
couches, clocks, radios and cameras). Each turn there
are a number of tiles available to collect to fulfill
contracts. All players have the same hand of cards
(0-5) and play one card to be revealed simultaneously.
The lower number cards take junk first and can then
cash in their tiles for contracts which are the
victory points at the end of the game. The catch is
that lowered number cards take fewer tiles. Also, if
you play the same card as someone else you get a rock
unless you win the tiebreaker. Each player as one
number tile and the player with the lowest number tile
wins the tiebreaker, but then exchanges his tile with
the player who lost the tiebreaker. The game hums
along in about 20 minutes and should serve as a good
filler, especially for those fans of For Sale and
3. Fette Autos - This is a racing game where players
are trying to stay at the front of the pack through
card play. The race course is made of of curves and
straightaways with speed limits and special hazaras
(wind, heavy traffic, bums, etc.) Players have speed
cards which set their speed limit and gain them chips
which can be spent to break or accelerate at key times
to pass other players or stay on the road. There
seemed to be plenty of scope for planning ahead and
timing when you make your move to the front of the
pack. After playing in a couple of games and seeing
another played, it seems like the game will be best
for 5 players although it plays up to 7. With 5
players, there a couple of neutral cars that can muck
things up and even win the game.
2. Im Schatten des Sonnenkonigs: I've already
plugged this new Alan and Aaron game once so this will
be brief. Its a reworking of Knights of the Rainbow.
Set aside any biases or preconceived notions you have
based on that fact and give this game a try. Its
simple, has interested decisions, auctions - really a
little something for everyone.
1. Zwergern Ziehen: This is a tug o' war game that
sort of flew under eveyone's radar screen at Essen. I
didn't hear of it until Pitt dragged it out on his
return. The game is about garden gnomes having a tug
o' war by pulling on a garden hose. The hose is
tugged through cardplay with each side having gnomes
of different colors pulling and adding forces at key
times to turn the tide. It is a two player game, but
also plays as a partnership game which I thought
worked very well. There you have gnomes pulling hoses
- Matt Horn will never comment on anything so obvious.
That's it for this month. There are plenty of new
games left to hit the table so I'm sure November will
be chock full of new stuff too.
Craig W. Massey
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