OG@GoF #8 – Prototypes, Thoughts on new games, Basketball

Weds – Thurs 4/20-21

Dale Yu: Hey it’s Wednesday!  The Internet situation hasn’t improved, so updates will be spotty until this is fixed… and apologies for the formatting – it’s hard to do this well from the iPad.

Just played a new Friedemann prototype. It’s pretty sweet, and I will talk about it as soon as I can – probably in two or three weeks. Secret of Monte Cristo got another play, and I really really like it. I had a nice talk with Peter Eggert who is happy with his SdJ chances with Monte Cristo and Pergamon. I would have to concur with him as I think both of these games are quite good. The tricky thing here is trying to guess whether Monte Cristo is more suitable for the Kennerspiel or the SdJ. From where I sit right now, both of the Eggert games will contend. (Monte Cristo is actually done by Filosofia, but Eggert is doing it in Germany, so they would likely be the company listed for SdJ.

Tom Rosen:
half way through the week now and time for a quick update on the ipad.  Let’s see what was played since the last time.  First was the Montage reprint, which was less painful than expected.  For word game, crossword lovers though it would be a great game.  It’s a clever design, but not for me.  Next was a Vlaada Chvatil prototype set in the world of Dungeon Lords, but otherwise very different. A clever and agonizing game to look forward to.

sadly the next two games were a big drop off.  strasbourg and pergamon were a low point.  The former was a blind bidding Feld game by Pegasus Spiele.  Rather boring and random.  Pergamon is a Stefan Dorra game, a better design certainly, but visually very difficult to read the board graphically.  Just seeing what you need is quite a chore.  Finished up Monday with a cute bluffing Friese card game called Spring Fever, and then Geistes Blitz, which was Jungle Speed frantic grabbing meets Set puzzling.


Enjoyed another fun day at the Gathering with good folks and good
–and some not-so-good — games.  Since the internet is horrid at the hotel, I’m only able to send in these reports whenever one of the two — yes, two — computers in the business center are available.
Needless to say, the lines for using these two computers are quite
long.  So, I’m typing this report without the benefit of my trusty
notebook, so I may overlook a game or two I played.

Played most of the day today with a nice dinner break.  It is kinda
neat to say “Let’s have dinner in Canada!” and walk 15 minutes into
our northern neighbor to enoy a good meal.

So what did I play?  Here we go:

Trollhalla — 1 play.  Alf Seegert’s design.  Alf wrote a nice article
detailing the process from design to publication.  I’m not usually a
huge fan of fantasy-themed games, but was interested enough to give this one a try.  The game is light and quite random, making it more suitable for families with children.  I’ve seen a post or two claiming the game has quite a bit of strategy and depth to it, but none of us at the table — including a prominent gamer who has played several times — discerned this.  The game was cute, but not my style.  My initial rating would be around a “4”.  Sorry, Alf.

20th Century — 1 play.  I was warned and I should have listened.
20th Century has a lot of auction; a LOT of auctions.  For numerous
reasons, I am generally not a fan of the auction mechanism unless it
is subordinate to other mechanisms and features of a game.  Auctions can cause a variety of problems and often lead to a strong sense of frustration.  Still, the game’s theme was enticing, and I usually enjoy the creativity of the game’s designer.  Sadly, the auctions completely overpowered the other merits of the game, which are several.  So, my assessment is poor, but that is certainly due to my dislike of auctions.  If you enjoy auction in abundance, then 20th Century is worth playing.  If not, then avoid it.  My personal rating would be a “4”, but it has a strong bias.

Uluru – 1 play.  Another game I should have avoided.  This is a speed game wherein you have to arrange items to fit a prescribed pattern.  I don’t mind puzzles, but I don’t want to be rushed in solving them.

Ubongo is an exception, as the time pressure is really against the
other players.  You can still finish your puzzle and be rewarded even if others have finished before you.  Here, you have about 15 – 30 seconds to fulfill the pattern requirements, and my brain simply
doesn’t work that fast.  It is the type of game where you either have
what it takes or you don’t.  I don’t.  Michael Green, on the other
hand, was born to play this.  My rating would be a “2”, but could be
higher if the timer were longer.

Vihnos — 1 play.  I was dreading playing this game.  Really.  While I
know the game has its fans — particularly Rick Thornquist — it also
has its detractors.  I tried reading the rules awhile back, and after
fighting my way through about 3/4 of the rulebook, my head was
spinning.  This is a highly detailed simulation of the wine production
business, with far more detail and intertwined mechanisms than the
vast majority of European-style games.  Plus, most people have said the game takes close to four hours to play.  I had visions of my mind being completely overloaded while slogging through a four-hour ordeal.

Still, I had to play, as I have an obligation to review it.  Rick
Thornquist graciously agreed to teach the game to us, and he did a
masterful job.  The explanation lasted about 30 minutes or so, and we completed the game in under three hours.  I understood most of what was transpiring and actually enjoyed the experience quite a bit.  Much of this is due to Rick’s expert knowledge of the rules and helpful advice and tips along the way.  Yes, he won, but I finished a
relatively close second.  I enjoyed the game, but now face the
challenge of teaching it to folks in our game group so I can play a
few more times and write the review.  My rating is initially a “7”,
but it could rise, especially if I can consistently keep the playing
time to under three hours.

Pantheon – 2 playings.  This was my favorite game of the Gathering
after my first playing, but my opinion has dropped a bit after my
second experience.  I still enjoy it, but luck plays a larger role
than I originally experienced in my first playing.  It is quite
possible to pursue a strategy, only to have the cards you need fail to
surface on your turn.  This can be frustrating.  It is difficult to
switch strategies midway through the game and re-direct your efforts elsewhere.  Still, the game is fun, and I will try to play it again a few more times.  It is being released by Rio Grande, but not until several months down the line.  My rating is now a 6.5 – 7.

Airlines Europe — Alan Moon’s re-tooling of Airlines and Union
Pacific.  Some interesting changes that do alter the dynamics of the
play.  If I had never played Airlines or Union Pacific, this would be
a huge hit and a must buy.  Being a big fan of Union Pacific, however, I’m not sure the changes are significant enough to warrant its replacement.  Others disagree, stating that this is far superior.
I’ll have to play it again a few more times to see which version I
prefer.  My initial rating is a 7.5.

On tap for today:  basketball then more gaming.  Stay tuned!

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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1 Response to OG@GoF #8 – Prototypes, Thoughts on new games, Basketball

  1. Jennifer Schlickbernd says:

    I agree with you Greg on Trollhalla. Very disappointing, and even more disappointing is the designer’s attempt to make this a ‘strategy’ game. It’s simply not and hopefully the word will get around. He would be better off pimping the game to the audience that might be interested in it instead of trying to make the game be something that it very clearly is not.

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