April Showers Bring May's Top 10 List & A Few Predictions
- Circle around the May Pole today is the latest
incarnation of my monthly top 10 list. For those of
you who are new to the UG list, missed previous months
lists, or just steadfastly refuse to read this stuff
and have finally broken, each month I post my current
Top 10 list of games. This isn't my all time
favorite, but instead reflect what I played and really
enjoyed the previous month. Some of new, some old,
some old, but new to me. This month saw a lot of new
stuff now that the 2002 Nurenburg crop is trickling
in. Given there is much new, I've also included a few
SdJ picks and comments just to prove how little I
So since Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner which
I'm sure is a huge holiday for everyone on this list,
I'll get on with it and stop rambling.
10. Transamerica - This was my most played game at
the Gathering. I've since played it once more and
after six plays I have a solid opinion on this game.
It is quick - plays in 20 minutes. It is simple and
very accessible making it good for non gamers. But,
I'm not sure how much is really there in terms of
depth. Now I know it is meant to be a light game, and
I'm not looking for something that shouldn't be there,
but for as much as I've played it, it just doesn't
push my buttons. But, because it's quick and simple,
it makes for a good filler game so I'm sure it will
get played quite a bit and it will garner a spot on my
game shelf. I predict this will be an SdJ nominee and
might even make the first cut. Oh yeah, 6 tries and
not even a sniff of a win either.
9. Dshunke - I like Web of Power. And in general I
really enjoy Michael Schacht's games. So, I was eager
to try Dshunke. I wasn't dissappointed. Reactions
have been fair to good. Those on the fair side seem
to be wanting a bit more and finding little original
in the game. I say, the game packs in plenty of
decisions and has a lot to hold your interest for a 45
minute game - not unlike Web of Power. I think this
will also get a SdJ nominee, but won't make the first
cut. Um, I haven't won this one either in three
tries. Man this sounds like my top 10's from earlier
in the year.
8. Code 777 - For fans of deduction games, this is a
must try. This is a genre of game I thoroughly enjoy,
but rarely play. But, spending 8 days with the likes
of Matthew G., Richard and Jenn B - all of who enjoy
deduction games even more than me - gave me the
opportunity. Of course, I can't mention deduction
games without bringing up our native son from Maine -
Joe McSweeney. Joe is now infamous for mucking up a 2
hour game of Black Vienna last year at the Gathering -
a particularly nasty deduction game. Well Joe, you'll
be happy to know I screwed up both games I played -
not for the everyone else, but for myself through some
rather dumb things. No need to go into details. I've
played one more sense and Richard S. has won each time
- way to much to may chargrin.
7. Pueblo, by Kramer & Kiesling - I always saw I
don't like abstract games. They are pretty low on my
list as far as the various genres of games go, but it
seems that all too often, I find one that I really do
enjoy. Pueblo, despite the theme, is another one of
those really abstract games that I like quite a bit.
The object here is to build an adobe in the board with
the other players using pieces and then avoiding
having any of your pieces show on the exterior of the
structure which gains you points. Two playings and
this became one of the rare abstract games on my
shelf. SdJ nominee? I'm not sure. I'll give it a
50/50 chance of making the list. It is different
enough from K&Ks other games that it could.
6. Cairo - This year's Zap Zerapp. The game is
silly, very light and entertaining for the family.
The theme is sort of out of left field as you are
flicking cubes of different sizes of a boat that is
sailing up and down the Nile. Your goal is to get the
cubes in pyramid areas to score points. Most cubes in
the area gets first place points. Of course you also
get to knock out opponents' cubes and can very easily
send yours sailing off the board. At my house that
will be especially dangerous with Maddie, the game
piece eating monster. The kicker is you have to flick
your pieces with a corresponding finger that matches
the die roll. Very cool and a riot to play. A dark
horse to make the SdJ list. Don't bet the college
fund on it.
5. Der Pyramiden des Jaguar - Another from the Kosmos
2 player line. This is a reworking of Pacal - a game
from 2 or 3 years back from Klee. The game uses the
same mechanism where players are trying to build a
pyramid with a deck of cards #s 1-40. I enjoyed the
first rendition, but found it dry. This adds a score
track (original was best 2 or 3) and some interesting
actions that occur when certain spaces on the score
track are hit allowing for some interesting tactics.
I don't know if Pacal was nominated for the SdJ. I'm
guessing not. I'm not sure if this will be either,
but it has a chance. I'm betting that Starship Catan
gets nominated and it's not like the list is full of 2
4. Clippers - This is the second month in a row for
this game. I've played it twice now which is
significantly less than a lot of other games and aside
from the components - really small chits, graphics
that are too light and small on the board - I'm
finding this to be a very enjoyable game. Of course
it helps I've won twice and an even bigger help is the
most recent game was a trash talking, your mama is,
challenge your man hood, insult fest with the masters
of the genre - Mark, Matt H., Jake and Dave B. SdJ
material? I'm not sure. If I were to commit right
now, I would say that either Lumberjack or Clippers
will get nominated. I'm not sure if both make the
list, but they could.
3. Tal der Konig - This is an older game in a great
looking triangular box. The board and bits are nicely
overproduced and the price for the game is according
overly high. But the game is fantastic. If you like
blind bidding, with some nice bluffing elements and
plenty of ways to hose your neighbor then give this
game a try. There is a nice blind auction element and
then plenty of room for outguessing yourself as you
try to accomlish your goals, but while making sure you
either hose your opponent or hope he doesn't hose you.
I'm on an immediate quest to find a copy of this.
2. Haste Worte - Another repeat from last month if
memory serves. This a great party game that relies on
more than just your knowledge of trivia, words, etc.
Why didn't Ravensburger or FX Schmid ever try this one
in the states where party games are a huge section of
the market? I think they would have had good success
with it here.
1. Puerto Rico - I went in with reasonable
expectations on this latest Alea game and found a game
that I am thoroughly enjoying. The game has the same
scope that Princes does to try a lot of different
strategies. It plays a bit longer though and has more
indirect player interaction. Despite its rave
reviews, I'm not sure it would get nominated for the
SdJ as it seems to be a game that doesn't have the
same type of qualities that the usual SdJ winners do.
But, it could very well make the initial list.
That's it for this month.
Tal der Konig
Craig W. Massey
Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Health - your guide to health and wellness