Saturday, October 02, 2010

September Games!

September was a slow month for games - 21 plays of a total of 15 different games, but there were some surprises to the list.

Ad Astra

This game of space exploration and colonization had not hit the table since 2009, and then somehow in September we remembered how good it was and it hit the table 3 times! Given the number of games we have, this is quite exceptional. The game plays like a hybrid of Settlers of Catan and Wallenstein/Shogun. Trading happens less in this game than Settlers, but the random element of what gets produced each turn is eliminated. With the clever card mechanism you can always guarantee that you can get what you want, but sometimes it's better to hope that someone else chooses what you want to do (so that you can do it as well and then use your turns to do something else). I'm not that good at predicting other people's moves as yet, but I enjoy the game :)

Castle Ravenloft

This game garnered 2 plays. It's based on the Dungeons and Dragons System, but this game has no need for a Dungeon Master to run the adventure and doesn't really feel like a role playing system. I used to play D&D as a teenager....I know in some people's minds that could mean I am 'Tainted by Satan' as D&D gained a ridiculous reputation as a gateway to Witchcraft and Satanism.

In a random aside, my parents were perfectly content for me and my friends to sit at the dining room table playing Dungeons and Dragons, but I was severely chastised when some of the Youth Group held a prayer meeting at our house!!!!!

But back to Castle Ravenloft. I'm not sure how it would bear up to repeated plays, the game is definitely one that I am sure the company will milk for expansions as some have already been announced. Having said that, it is a lot of fun and the way the game handles the monsters is very clever. It's also the kind of game you can teach as you play which is a bonus. The miniatures that come with the game look cool and add to the ambiance, and as it comes with many different adventures and a random modular board system I think it would be fairly repeatable, which means I probably just contradicted myself :)

Going back to the theme of old games making a surprising reappearance, with 2 plays, here is Dvonn. It's a 2 player abstract game, that plays quickly and offers some very interesting tactical decisions. Dvonn hadn't been played since July 09, so again it is surprising that it hit the table twice in September, though it is a great game to play while waiting for others to arrive.

Other older games making surprising reappearances include:

Bohnanza - fun planting beans :)

Notre Dame - watch out for those plague rats.

Stone Age - keeping your tribe alive.

The most interesting new games were Innovation and Hansa Teutonica. If I have to pick between the two I'll probably go with Innovation. Hansa Teutonica felt to me like a complex version of Thurn and Taxis, though to be fair, I was in the mood to play a different game, so I was a little biased against Hansa Teutonica before it hit the table. I'll definitely try it again.

For all of 2010 I have now played 119 different board games and logged 275 plays!!! April was my highest month with 47 plays, and June my lowest with only 19 (but as I was in nightly rehearsals for a musical during the entire month of June I'm impressed I managed that many)

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