Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Delivering mail to Blue Moon City

It was a good night. I got to play two new games that I'd been interested in, and they were both very good. (Sorry for you guys who played Conquest of Pangea—though I'd like to hear what was bad about it.)

Thurn & Taxis

This is a good game. It's a "connection" game a la Ticket to Ride, but there are much more meaningful decisions to be made here. (I'm not bagging on Ticket, I'm just saying that this is the next step up in complexity from that.) The board is gorgeous and very functional.

This one is all about choices: Whose help do you enlist each turn; which card(s) will you take; which city card to lay down; when to score the route—now, or wait a bit and get the VP chits; should you place houses in numerous regions or concentrate on one? The more I think about it, the more I see that this seemingly simple connection game hides lots of interesting decisions.

Thumbs up

Blue Moon City
Reiner Knizia is a genius. I honestly can't fathom how someone can create so many completely different games while maintaining such a high percent of hits.

So you're tasked with rebuilding Blue Moon City, and to do so you're using cards with 7 different "suits." What's intriguing is that while each card has a building value of 1-3, most of them also have a special power—and you can only use the card for its building value or power, but not both. As Dan said, it's full of killer "big moves" where you'll go in, complete a building for big points, but it costs you your entire hand, using values and power combos to do it. So you've scored lots of VPs, but you're now powerless. Or you could spread your influence far and let other people finish the building for you.

This was a great game. Lots of tension, lots of meaningful decisions, and (especially with the different set-up each game) lots of replay value—at least for a while. He's also integrated the Blue Moon universe into this well—for the most part, the powers of the races match their abilities in the regular card game. No small feat, in my opinion.

Big, big thumbs up.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

In Defense of the Re-Play

I love my game group...well, mostly. But if there were one thing I could change about it, it would be the tendency to play a game once and then move on to the newest and latest.
Some of this is undoubtedly because of the Davis Horde. When you have literaly any game you want at your disposal, you've got a lot of games to churn through. But I really think we're missing out on some gems by flying though them. Even when we play a major rule wrong, it's VERY rare for someone to suggest we play again with the correct rules.

So when I hear people like Mark Johnson talk about a Game of the Month, I'm very intrigued. I think I'm going to suggest something along those lines. We'll see if it gets shot down.