Playing Smallworld at the Big Convention
Freshly returned from GenCon, I find myself confronted with so many things to write about this morning. So many! A very busy Monday indeed.
After months of hints and previews, Shadowfell Conspiracy finally debuts today! The new enhancements ship at the same time! The very awesome and amazing DDOCast 300! And GenCon itself, more massive than ever. And a minor controversy occurring in my absence right here on DDOGamer.
Lots of topics, all juicy, more than enough to keep me writing for weeks.
Yet I cannot write about them all today. Forced to choose, in what promises to be the first of several GenCon articles, I present a quick review of all ten games my Gamer Girl and I (and our DDO friend Gary, a.k.a. CDBD3RD) played this week.
Age of Industry
A multi-hour intense network-building strategy board game. We only played it for two hours but liked it enough to buy it for evenings when we have guests and everyone is looking for serious gaming strategy. A good game.
A multi-hour strategic position builder, Gary and I played an entire five-person game all the way through. The end-game was loose but the rest of the game was very engaging with a unique dice-free mechanism and multiple ways to win. The best board game I played this week.
A deck-building card game in the manner of Dominion but with several differences that make it worth owning on it’s own; the Dominion-based inspiration is obvious but the game does not feel like a Dominion clone. We played a three-person game in it’s entirely and enjoyed it. A good game.
A combat card game that is very similar to Speed, Spit, or Spoons games you may have played with a regular deck of cards. Fast and silly. We played three complete hands. An okay game.
A gorgeous and stylistic transport and resource-allocation board game, the end-game was so fraught with peril that I suspect it was simply mis-explained and we played it wrong. But we had fun nonetheless and played the entire game. A good game.
Not really a single game, this was a mashup of every Carcassone expansion played all at once, a 12-player six-team 1000-tile blockbuster that we could not finish in four hours in spite of our best efforts. But awesome fun, and the kind of thing one can only do at a place like GenCon.
I’m not sure how to describe this math-based board game of screw-your-neighbor, one builds their own position but even more, one works to undermine opponent positions. We played about one-third of the game in our demo, not enough to see the end game but enough to know it is not our style. An okay game.
This tile-placement board game appealed to my Gamer Girl but not to me. The game has to provide 30 extra tiles to cover tile-placement situations that the game mechanic allows; it is intentional but it just strikes me as a broken mechanic. My Gamer Girl and Gary played the whole game while I spectated and kibitzed. We have a split opinion – my Gamer Girl thought it was okay – but it gets two thumbs down from me. There would be more thumbs down but I only have two thumbs.
A breathtakingly beautiful fantasy combat board game with extraordinarily complex mechanics and some of the coolest bits you will ever see. This is a multi-hour tactical fest so rich that in a forty minute demo we managed only two turns out of a possible 28. A very good game.
Smallworld Tales and Legends
This minor expansion to the popular Smallworld board game was fun but really very minor. We played an entire game using the expansion; it did add a wrinkle but such a minor one that I cannot recommend spending any money on this. On the other hand, if you have a gift card to blow …
Interestingly, while writing this I realized that I won every game I played this week except Carcassone and came in second in that; an extraordinary and unprecedented run of luck that I wish I had applied to real life instead of wasting on competitive hobby gaming.
Nonetheless, I discovered some great games! Many of them ended up in my suitcase; expect more detailed reviews to come.
🙂 😀 🙂