Dale Yu: First Impressions of La Isla (Ravensburger)

La Isla

  • Designer: Stefan Feld
  • Publishers: Alea/Ravensburger
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 45-60 min
  • Times played: 1, with preview copy provided by Ravensburger USA

 

[Note: Normally, I prefer to play a game at least three times prior to writing it for the blog. However, given the time pressure coming up to SPIEL ’14, I have written up my thoughts on a number of games based on only one or two plays in order to cover as many new games as possible prior to the show. I fully admit that it is often not possible to see the full breadth of a design in a single play, and thus I shall not give a rating to any game at this stage with such a few number of plays…]

laislabox

Stefan Feld has been one of the more prolific designers of the past few years, though some (including myself) have said that Feld had been producing similar games different only in theme – the “point salad” variety of game… La Isla is the latest Feld design, again published by Alea/Ravensburger. Mr. Feld has had a number of games published by this company, and the partnership has worked well in the past. In this game, players take on the role of tropical island explorers, trying to find nearly extinct animals.

Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2014, First Impressions | Leave a comment

Liga: Primiera Review

PrimieraPrimiera

Designer: Spartaco Albertarelli
Artist: Chiara Verceresi
Publisher: KaleidosGames, Oliphante
Ages: 8+
Players: 2-4
Time: 30 mins
Times played: endless time Scopa and Scopone and many times Primiera

Almost all Italian people know what are Scopa and Scopone, traditional games that can be played with the common 40 cards Italian deck. Accidentally outside Italy this great games are almost unknown and here come Spartaco Albertarelli‘s idea to write down a new version of Scopa’s and Scopone’s rules, including also in the box the “normal” ones, and dress it in a really well illustrated special 40 cards deck with strong connection to Italian original tradition. So, what here in Italy is “just” one of the best and most played traditional card games could become an international success: Primiera. In the end some interesting question/answers with the designer.

Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Nations

Design by Einar & Robert Rosén, Nina & Rustan Hakansson
Published by Lautapelit.fi
1 – 5 Players, 3 – 4 hours
Review by Greg J. Schloesser

Nations

Memories of my boardgaming past will occasionally surface, influencing my tastes and inclinations in the present.  For years my favorite boardgame was the classic Francis Tresham / Mick Uhl design Civilization.  Actually, I preferred the Advanced Civilization version, but was thrilled to play either.  I spent many, many hours—each game would take 10 – 12 hours to complete—attempting to advance my civilization, survive natural disasters and enemy incursions, and achieve dominance over all other nations.  The game absolutely thrilled me, but its excessive length prevented it from hitting the table more than once a year, at most.

Unfortunately, it has probably been 12 or more years since I’ve last played it.  A lot of years have passed and my tastes in games have changed considerably.  I am not sure I still have a tolerance for such lengthy games, and am not sure I would still be so enamored by the game.  Still, I still possess a fondness for Civilization-style games, but have yet to find one that surpasses, let along meets the wonderful memories I harbor of the Tresham / Uhl classic.  Still, my interest is piqued whenever a new one is released, and I am compelled to investigate.  While some of these games have been good, most have fallen woefully short of generating the excitement I experienced with Civilization.

The closest was Vlaada Chvatil’s Through the Ages, a terrific game that won the International Gamers Award.  It, too, was long, but at four hours or so, only a fraction of the time required to play Civilization.  The scuttlebutt is that gamers Einar and Robert Rosén and Nina and Rustan Hakansson were captivated by Through the Ages, but wanted to streamline it so it would play faster.  If this was, indeed, their goal, they have succeeded, but only slightly.  Nations is still on the far side of the time / length scale, with most of our games clocking-in at 3 – 4 hours, only slightly less than Through the Ages.  Still, it is time well spent, as Nations is an engaging game.

Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dale Yu: First Impressions of Robin (Flatlined Games)

Robin

  • Designer: Frederic Moyersoen
  • Publisher: Flatlined Games
  • Ages: 8+
  • Players: 2-6
  • Time: ~30 mins
  • Times played: 1, with preview copy provided by Flatlined Games

[Note: Normally, I prefer to play a game at least three times prior to writing it for the blog. However, given the time pressure coming up to SPIEL ’14, I have written up my thoughts on a number of games based on only one or two plays in order to cover as many new games as possible prior to the show. I fully admit that it is often not possible to see the full breadth of a design in a single play, and thus I shall not give a rating to any game at this stage with such a few number of plays…]

robin1

Frederic Moyersoen has had a number of different game designs that have done well in the market: Saboteur, Nicht zu Fassen, Van Helsing and Nuns on the Run. This most recent design goes in a different route from previous games, and with an interesting back story. Apparently, this game was initially designed to show how social security works, initially released as “Porto Seguro”. It has since been rethemed with a more familiar Robin Hood angle by Flatlined Games. Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2014, First Impressions | Leave a comment

Russian Railroads and Limes Win 2014 IGA’s

The results of the 2014 International Gamers Awards (IGA) have been announced.  The winner of the Multiplayer category is Russian Railroads, co-designed by Helmut Ohley and Leonhard Orgler.  This represents the second major win by the Hans im Glück design, which also won the DSP awards two weeks ago.  Other games which did well in the IGA voting were Concordia and Nations.

In the 2-player category, the winner is Limes, designed by Martyn F.  Limes, which is published by Abacus, is a redesign of Cities, which was self-published by the designer back in 2008.  Limes beat out the second edition of BattleLore to win the 2-player award.  Congratulations to the designers and the publishers of these two games.

The next award announcement should be for the À la Carte award, which is given by Fairplay Magazine for the best cardgame of the year.  We should be hearing the results of that award any day now.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dale Yu: Preview of the New 2014 release of San Juan (Ravensburger USA)

San Juan (2014 Edition)

  • Designer: Andreas Seyfarth
  • Publisher: Ravensburger/Alea
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 45-60 min
  • Times played: 1 with new version, probably >100 with first edition (released in 2004)

2014-09-28 15.12.47

 

So, I came home one day last week and found two packages on my doorstep… Given that Essen is coming up, I was not surprised to find them filled with games…  I had been given notice that La Isla was on the way, and this is one of my most anticipated games for Spiel ’14.  (Preview/Review of that to come later this week!).  When I opened the box from Ravensburger, I was surprised to find a second game in the box. Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2014, Preview | 2 Comments

Dale Yu: First Impressions of Night of the Grand Octopus

 

 

Night of the Grand Octopus

  • Designer: Frederic Morard
  • Publisher: IELLO
  • Players: 3-5
  • Ages: 7+
  • Time: 20 min

 

[Note: Normally, I prefer to play a game at least three times prior to writing it for the blog. However, given the time pressure coming up to SPIEL ’14, I have written up my thoughts on a number of games based on only one or two plays in order to cover as many new games as possible prior to the show. I fully admit that it is often not possible to see the full breadth of a design in a single play, and thus I shall not give a rating to any game at this stage with such a few number of plays…]

octo1

Night of the Grand Octopus (NotGO) is a lovely game that just was delivered to my doorstep last week. It was quickly opened and punched, and as soon as my kids saw the art, they were clamoring to play. It was a quick to learn game, suited well for families.

Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2014, First Impressions | 3 Comments

Dale Yu: Preview of Stimmvieh

Stimmvieh

  • Designer: Andrea Meyer
  • Publisher: Bewitched Spiele
  • Players: 3-4
  • Ages: 12+
  • Time: ~30 min

stimm2

Stimmvieh is a game which has been re-released this year after a successful crowdfunding campaign. Designed by Andrea Meyer (from Bewitched Spiele) – this game has an unusual theme – players take on the role of political party secretaries, striving to collect both votes and donations for their party in the upcoming election.

I have played the first edition of the game, (back in 1998!), and I thought it was an interesting card game at the time. While I have not yet seen the new version in person, it appears that the base game is unchanged. There does appear to be some changes to the game as the original version had about 20 more cards in the deck…

Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2014, Preview | 1 Comment

Dale Yu: Review of Doodle City (Aporta Games)

 

Doodle City

  • Designers: Eilif Svensson, Kristian Amundsen Østby
  • Publisher: Aporta Games
  • Players: 1-6
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: ~15 min/game
  • Times played: 20 (~12 solo) with PnP copy

DCity

Doodle City can already be labeled one of my surprise hits of Essen 2014.  I knew nothing about it prior to starting my Essen research this year, and when I found out that I already knew one of the principals of the new game company, Aporta, I contacted them to learn a bit more about the game.  They were gracious enough to forward a PnP copy of the game to try out now, and I must say that it is a complete hit here at my house.  Due to its small size, it traveled with me on a kids’ soccer tournament weekend, and it was constantly played by both teenagers and adults alike.

The game itself is deceptively simple.  Each player is given an identical map of the city which is a 5×5 grid.  There are 4 different types of squares in the city – parks (one in each column) and scattered taxicabs, hotels and shops.  At the bottom of the board is a row of trees.  Each of the row and columns has a die (1-5) to help orient you. The goal in the game is to draw in the road segments of the city to score the most points. Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2014, Reviews | 3 Comments

Dale Yu: Review of Samurai Spirit (Funforge / Passport)

Samurai Spirit

  • Designer: Antoine Bauza
  • Publisher: FunForge / Passport Game Studios
  • Ages: 9+
  • Players: 1-7
  • Time: 30 min
  • Times played: ~10, varying player counts, all on Normal difficulty

samspirit

So, if you’re a regular reader of our modest little blog, you’ll know that I’m really not a big fan of cooperative games.  Or, at least, as coop games grew in popularity, I started out not liking them.  Over the years, my view of them has softened somewhat, and while I find that I am still rare to suggest a coop game, I no longer run away from the table when they are suggested.

One of the main reasons behind this change in opinion can be directly traced to Antoine Bauza.  One of his previous designs, Ghost Stories, was the coop that finally got me convinced that it might be possible to enjoy this sort of game.  Repetitive playtesting of my brother’s recent Kinderspiel-winning game, Geister Geister Schatzsuchmeister also helped. Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2014, Reviews | 2 Comments