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The Best Games Of October

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  • Craig Massey
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2002
      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
      the game.

      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
      similar games.

      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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