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Wednesday, March 24, 2010


It's been awhile. How about some game content?

Haven't been playing much lately, but I have played a few games. Here are some thoughts:

Castle Panic: Cooperative game to a point, but there is an ultimate winner. Monsters are attacking the castle, the players need to keep them from destroying the castle, but if the monsters are kept at bay the player to kill the most monsters is the winner.

Interesting game. Simple, fast, fun romp best played with children, or non-gamers.

Every turn the active player is allowed to trade one card with other players. At the beginning of the game you want to give good cards to players who can use them in order to keep the monsters from ransacking the castle. By the end of the game, you will need to decide if you want to give away cards that don't help you, but do help other players kill monsters and rack up points. You will also need to decide if you want to weaken a monster you cannot kill, so that another player can kill it and earn the victory points.

Interesting decisions for such a simple game, especially if the players are more interested in an individual win over a team win.

Thunderstone: Crap in a box.

The first knock-off of the Dominion system. Seems to me that the game was rushed to market without proper playtesting in order to ride the coattails of the award winning game of Dominion.

Here's the problem as I see it. The suggested learning game is fair. I didn't care for it, but it works.

When you start playing with random sets of cards, the game fails miserably.

The concept is interesting, get a hand of cards, each card has a dollar value that can be used to buy equipment in the village, and each card also has a fighting value. Get your cards, see if you are strong enough to beat any of the available monsters, if not, go to the village and buy better equipment. Players can also "level up" members of their party to get stronger heroes to fight bigger and better monsters.

The few games I played did not work with random cards. Not at all. After playing Thunderstone, I appreciate the time and effort that went into designing Dominion all the more. Dominion is by far the superior game.

The Kingsburg Expansion: I did not care for Kingsburg. The expansion improves the game greatly without changing it dramatically. The expansion consists of numerous changes, of which players can pick and choose which to play with.

There are now yearly event cards, more buildings to build, character powers, chips that can be added to your fighting strength but count as victory points if not used by the end of the game, and some other changes.

I have only played once. It is still a light Euro, a little too light for my taste, but not a children's game. I probably won't be buying the expansion, but if you like or dislike Kingsburg the expansion might be worth your time to check out.

Endeavor: I've played this one a lot lately. Solid, medium-weight euro. I've seen many comparisons to Puerto Rico and Goa, but I find those comparisons to be very loose. I think the game stands on its own with any resemblance being purely superficial.

Endeavor is a worker placement game. You have four different aspects which you have to manage, all four of which affect the other three. You need to pump up your ability to build better buildings. You need to pump up your worker pool so you can utilize the buildings and place tokens on the board, you need to pump up your maximum hand size so you can hold more cards to pump up the other areas, and you need to pump up your ability to remove placed workers so you can free up the building to place new workers and utilize the building again.

Got it? Gee. When I explain it like that I gotta admit, it's kinda like Puerto Rico and Goa. Yet it is not. Trust me.

The game is seven rounds. Placing a worker on a building lets you place another worker on the map, or draw a card. Before another worker can be placed on a building the existing worker needs to be removed. Each round you get to remove a number of workers depending upon how high you have increased your ability to remove workers.

Highly recommended. Good medium-weight euro for serious gamers.

You forgot the most important part about Endeavor. The rules are very clear.
Looking for a good theme and game in one? Carson City. Hands down my favorite right now. So many different strategies and tactics. I have seen many different strategies win.
I've wasted hours at work on Endeavor :-)
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Castle Panic is a casual co-op game I'm looking forward to trying. I actually liked Endeavor better than Puerto Rico, and I've been straying away from the harder strategy games these days. I've been focusing on the casual games at my blog and with my friends and game nights. So Castle Panic is one I'm looking forward to. That and Forbidden Island coming soon.
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Thanks for the update.
Like the blog, a friend referred it to me. Most of the cabs that the company leases are real pieces of shit, most without heat, which isn't a problem here in San Diego - Alaska though...

I linked back to you on my site if you get a chance.


Take care - Henry
Found your blog while searching for Fairbanks but now that I got a chance to read it, it's all really great info. I am still stuck on Dominion and Catan but can play power Grid if someone helps me. I'm going to check out these you have mentioned to expand my horizons. Thanks..
Although you have critics on each side of the fence, the important thing here is interaction. Spending time with your children and having fun. The nostalgia of sharing something with them that was important to you as you grew up.
Not too much into games, but Carson City keeps me occupied.
Nice blog, just found it. This was the first post I read, I figured I'd show my appreciation and then dig through the archives.
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Aaron Grey
aarongrey112 at gmail.com

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