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April Showers Bring May's Top 10 List & A Few Predictions

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  • Craig Massey
    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
    Message 1 of 2 , May 1, 2002
      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
      actually know.

      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
      player games.

      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.


      Haste Worte

      Puerto Rico
      Tal der Konig

      Craig W. Massey

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    • David Fontes
      ... You know this has got to be a great game when playing it incited _Craig_ to call _me_ a weasel! -David ===================== David Fontes
      Message 2 of 2 , May 1, 2002
        > 3. Tal der Konig

        You know this has got to be a great game when playing it incited _Craig_ to
        call _me_ a weasel!
        David Fontes http://www.mmiusa.com/ookpik/
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