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Saturday, February 26, 2005


E&T is great. Hunters and Gatherers doesn't suck.

God help me, but I love Tigris and Euphrates (known as Euphrat & Tigris in most of the world). This classic game by Sir Dr. Herr Knizia is truly timeless. My brain hurts every time that I play it.

What a brilliant design. For those of you who fancy yourselves as deep-game gurus, you really need to try this one. Pay no heed to the nay-sayers who denigrate it as too random, referring to the random drawing of tiles each round. Pure malarkey. You can utilize any tile draw to your advantage. The problem is that some people wear blinders and think of their little area they are developing as "theirs". The entire board is open for play and it is a rare occurrence that the tiles drawn can't be used to your advantage or your opponent's detriment. Granted, some tile draws are better than others, but this is a game that benefits those who can think outside the box.

I always have the feeling that I am completely losing control of my position and am getting creamed by my opponents. That is about the time that someone accuses me of being the runaway leader.

I have not yet introduced my group of serious gaming buddies to Knizia's other tile-laying classic (one of several) Samurai. It is not as deep, nor as rich, nor does it hurt your brain calculating ramifications of your move, but it is still an upper tier game. Can't believe I haven't brought it out yet. Don't have a good excuse, it just hasn't happened.

H&G Carc.

Got to play the Hunters and Gatherers version of Carcassonne. Must admit that I abhor regular Carcassonne. It is just too random (and I say that as the person who regularly wins when I play it). It also has that indefinable quality of sucking. It sucks like a Hoover with a Hemi. Carcassonne just sucks bad.

As you can imagine, I had to be drug to the table kicking and screaming to play H&G Carc. The truth be told...I kinda liked it. I cannot for the life of me put my finger on the difference between the two games. The mechanics are very similar. The "huts" are a nice touch, the meadows are easier to score and to explain, and the game is more aesthetically pleasing than regular Carcassonne, but that is small potatoes.

I actually suggested playing again. I must play it a few more times to see if I can put my finger on the reason I like it, or if it fades into crapdom after the 3rd play.

Good gaming,

Saturday, February 19, 2005


Entdecker...Finally. Fearsome Floors and TI3 teaser.

Finally got to play Klaus Teuber's Entdecker. It sat on my shelf for a year or so before I was able to get to it. Played a 3 player game with Mrs. Coldfoot and another friend. Wasn't too impressed. It seems like one of those games that are theoretically sound, but just aren't fun to play.

I have a friend that wants to play it, so it will probably hit the table again soon. If it wasn't for him it might be another year before it gets played. It wasn't a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, I might even learn to like it, but the first play left us wanting more.

I need to play this one a few more times before giving my final pronouncement.

Fearsome Floors

Played this game a couple times with children, and a couple times with a mixed group of adults and kids. This is good filler. Play is quick, play is easy, and thought is an option.

Fearsome Floors is the English/Rio Grande version of Finstere Flure by designer Friedemann Friese.

Basically, players move through a big hall trying to get out and not get killed by the "monster". The monster moves by a simple set of rules, each player has a 2-4 characters depending upon the number of players. The first player to get 2 characters out of the hall wins.

Call it a light strategy game.

Twilight Imperium 3rd edition.

Bought it. Read the rules. Looks goooooooood. Of course I like the earlier editions of TI. TI3 is redesigned. It appears streamlined, with better components, and new ways to score victory points. Shouldn't have a problem getting this one to the table. I will report back soon....Pardon me while I wipe the drool from my keyboard.

Good gaming.

Monday, February 14, 2005


Game Night gone bad.

Had some people over for games on Friday night. I knew a couple of newbies would be by at 9 p.m., and I expected two experienced gamers to stop by at 6:30. The plan was to introduce the one experienced gamer who hadn't played it to Roads and Boats. When the newbies arrived we would then switch to a newbie-friendly game such as Settlers of Catan or Bootleggers or Apples to Apples if nothing else. I figured it would be tough to complete Roads and Boats before the newbies arrived, but I half expected them to not show.

I had 4 experienced gamers show up at 6:30. With me and my wife that was 6 of us. Six player games that aren't party fare are few and far between. Had I been prepared for this eventuality, I would have had studied the rules for Twilight Imperium 3rd. edition. We're getting kind of burnt out on Powergrid, our usual go-to six player game. Princes of the Renaissance was another choice, but I really don't care for that game. I figured Bootleggers was a little too random for two of my friends to enjoy, and I refuse to play A Game of Thrones with Mrs. Coldfoot. There were a few other choices but I was eager to try Struggle of Empires. I had been reading the rules for SoE that day, and I felt comfortable enough with the rules to give it a try.

Big mistake.

Struggle of Empires is the latest offering from Warfrog/Martin Wallace. Several reviewers whose opinion I trust have had nothing but praise for the game. I do think it is a very good game, but I strongly recommend taking it for a test drive before introducing it to your group. Set it up and play one round at least. Warfrog has a deserved reputation for unclear/missing rules. They are getting better at writing rules, but aren't quite where they need to be yet. This particular ruleset seems complete, but is not organized well.

Even setting up the game was more difficult than it should have been. (Country counters? Shouldn't they be colony counters?) Long story short, we got through about 1/4 of the first round in 90 minutes and decided to change games. I am looking forward to playing the game again, but fear my opponents will never play again.

Switched to Bootleggers, the latest big game from Eagle games. Didn't quite finish the first round and the newbies arrived. My wife, me and one other guy had played the game before, and it is an easy game to pick up. One of the gamers I feared would be greatly turned off by the randomness was intrigued by the game and will likely be up for playing again. I will have to report back.

2+ hours and didn't even complete a single round of a game. Might I also add that we had Goa set up to play before the 5th person arrived, so we scrapped that before the first auction started.

Broke up into two groups after that. Me and Mrs. Coldfoot played Catan with the other couple that arrived and my game friends played Goa, so the night wasn't a complete loss.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Game of the Year?

Bought BuyWord on the trip down to Anchorage. Got to play it with Mrs. Coldfoot on Sunday. It was named Game of the Year by Games Magazine in their most recent Christmas Buying Guide? Game of the Year? Yes, it is a Sackson game and he did contribute a lot to the gaming hobby. Too bad that he recently passed away. But Game of the Year? I have a feeling that this award was given in much the same spirit as John Wayne's Oscar for Rooster Cogburn. I think a Life Time achievement award would have been a better award. After several years of picking iffy games as the best-of-the-year Games needed to pick a good game to keep some credibility.

Games Magazine hasn't named a truly exceptional game as Game of the Year for several years now despite the plethora of truly great games being produced. I will now let my subscription to Games Magazine lapse. There are too many sources on the web to keep abreast of the game scene to justify renewing my subscription. Games Magazine is a good publication for pencil and paper games, but not much else. For serious discussion about modern games check out Counter or Games Quarterly, both provide a much bigger bang-for-your-buck as far as boardgames are concerned.

The problem?

There is no interaction in the game. Zero, none, zip, nothing. Draw tiles, make words, discard the tiles. You do not even have the limited interaction of playing off of previously placed words as in Scrabble.

There are variants that allow for letter trading, crossword-type play such as in Scrabble, and tile auctions, but the base game has none of that.

Talk about a rushed-to-market, undertested, snot-rocket. It pains me to give a description of game play so I won't. Research this game before you buy it, it may appeal to you, especially with the variations.

Approach with caution. You are probably better off just playing Scrabble.

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