Checked out a lot of games today but only played two – First Rat which is a clever race game Co-designed by a Co-designer of many great Italian games, and Mada by Sophia Wagner. The latter is a teeny card game and very cute artwork, basically a push your luck game. The former is a nice game where you are effectively moving three things – a light bulb, a number of rats, and a mouse – and trying to optimise how you do it. There are nice combos and lots of resources to collect along the way which help forwards building a rat rocket. The theme is a bit bonkers but it was fun.
Other games I explored without playing were crossed off my list: the latest Uwe Rosenberg (yawn) (by the way Lookout are selling a nic box Agricola and also an empty box for your Agricola collection. The box alone was 13 euros. That’s similar to the cost of the upgrade to turn transatlantic into crossing oceans..! Although that can’t beat the price of the Queen Feld game collection, which I selling at 125 Euros per game for something that just looks…like a Queen game. Anyway, I digress);
Come Together which is a hippy themed game about putting on a concert – the graphic design left me cold; Inside job, the new coop from Kosmos looks good so I bought it; Tiwanaku from Sit Down! Is gorgeous but a deduction game so I skipped it; cartaventura:Oklahoma is only available in German from Kosmos; I picked up Keydom’s Dragons from Richard Breese which is a reskinned Morganland with a solo mode and a few additions, and looks great; Eternal Palace is a Kingsburg-killer so I picked that up; Foundations of Teotihuacan seemed not to be at the show; Swindler looks nice but is only in German; and that’s about it. I also picked up two Matagot trick takers, St Patrick and Tatsu, and I got Inside job which is Kosmos’ next coop trick-taker.
Pretty busy day as I was pitching games to publishers too! Tomorrow should be quieter!
Started the day off with Revive, a hot game that I’d already pre-ordered. if like me you are not a big fan of Santa Maria, don’t let that out you off as the authors of that game are 2 of the 4 making Revive and the mechanics are not at all similar.
Revive was conceived by the 4 authors who looked their ideas about what makes an ideal game. It was then refined over the Covid period and the smoothness and intricacy of the game reflects that history. There is a lot to do and from a short partial play through it looks like this is a game where you have to do certain things to succeed (as I found out to my cost!). The asymmetric powers of the players are interesting and the theme is evoked well in the play. Essentially you must manage your limited resources, coming from playing cards one way up or the other, to explore the Earth surface after 5000 years. By placing buildings in the right place you get a lot of bonuses including moving up three machine tracks which yield machines that you can power up to ease your turns along. The struggle of generating machines and resources vs earning points is pretty good and the board map and many available bonus tiles and possibilities to chain things together is attractive. Recommended.
Stupefy is the new Repos game which turned out to be a solid improvement on Cash n Guns. You point wands instead of guns and the point awards include points for collecting Potter characters. There is no player elimination, just the player who gets stupefied most loses some points. Best of all, instead of money you earn points for your house. Lots of fun.
I had the opportunity to interview the designer lf Starship Captains and take a close look at the game with him. Although I didn’t play the game I can see it is steeped full of theme and has plenty of options for interesting play.
Crossing Oceans is a new game from Max Gerdts based on Transatlantic. Transatlantic was a good game marred for me by some fiddly elements and a tricky rule book where scoring was not obvious. crossing Ocebas is brilliant. I played a full game through in under 1.5 hours and with the Rondel back, the game absolutely shines as well as being gorgeous to look at and with the usual care and attention to history you would expect from the author. I would be surprised if this doesn’t win some awards. Recommended.
Back at the hotel we played Redraw from Trefl and another game of Challengers. Still loving it. To address Jeff Allers comment yesterday, superficially the game seems to have few decisions. True. But this game is tons of fun and building a good deck of cards involves a lot of decisions. How much do I thin out the deck? (if I run out of cards I am in trouble) which synergies do I go for? How many different cards can I have (if I have too many I could lose as I wouldn’t be able to bench them when defeated). It’s a really good game, lots of fun, plays through quickly and we all loved it. Again. I had fun building a completely different deck in both of the two games I played tonight.