We’ve managed to get a few new games to the table in the past month or so. A drive by of my impressions of these games is not only acceptable it is expected. Here is the latest installment of Board Game Hits and Flops from the crew at The Gaming Annex.
I managed to get Ares’ Games retake of Inkognito to the table not once but twice. And I am a bit disappointed. I was hoping for a game to scratch the much needed deduction niche. And Inkognito might not be it.
There is a logistical aspect to Inkognito like there is in Clue. The novelty in Inkognito isn’t roll and move. It’s “shake the Phantom of Prophecy” and move. And the novelty gets old.
Aside from the Phantom of Prophecy novelty, the game does have deduction at its core. And there is room for clever play. But there is also room for incorrect play. And like in Clue, if you accidently give someone the wrong information, it totally screws them. And in Inkognito, the chances of giving the wrong information is more likely than it is in Clue.
I’m hoping another play of Inkognito will resolve some of my doubts about this game. Until then…
2. Among the Stars
Rocky brought Among the Stars to the Annex a few weeks back. It was my first face to face exposure to the game. I had seen the game on BGG. I liked the artwork but the iconography made me think it was a soulless Euro.
Among the Stars was better than I thought it would be. It is a space themed version of 7 Wonders. If you like 7 Wonders, Among the Stars is a nice departure.
Among the Stars is really just a quick drafting game that can almost be a filler. You have a hand of cards, you keep one and pass the rest to the next player. This one simple mechanic is nicely distilled in Among the Stars. And the rules are easy enough to make it approachable for non-gamers.
3. Ca$h ‘n Guns (2nd Edition)
My dictator night was this past Tuesday. It was an opportunity to get Ca$h ‘n Guns to the table. I’ve played the 2nd edition three times in recent weeks now. And the game is outrageously fun!
I liked the 1st edition as well. But the 1st edition was a flop amongst many other members of the group. But the group was very receptive to this new edition. And for good reason.
The new edition of Ca$h ‘n Guns fixes a few of the problems in the first edition. There are different treasure types available, giving players long term strategies. There is a Godfather mechanic. This allows a player to force another player to point their gun at someone else. And the special powers are really well streamlined. I was happy that The Muskegon Area Gamers were warmed up to Ca$h ‘n Guns. I think this game will be hitting the table on Tuesdays a few more times 🙂
4. Sewer Pirats
Nick Sima is really trying to contribute to the group. I’ve assigned him some rules to read. He read the rules to IELLO’s Sewer Pirats. We managed to get the game to the table on Thursday.
Sewer Pirats is kinda like Ticket to Ride but with more bells and whistles. You have a hand of cards. You play cards to move one of your sewer pirates onto one of the available boats. When the ship sets sail, players collect refuse from the sewers. Players win based upon how many points they scored from their refuse.
One of the mechanics in the game was counterintuitive, at least to us. How you move one of your figures onto the captain spot kept throwing us for a loop. But we soldiered on. The game lasted about 1 hour including rules explanation.
Overall, my impressions of Sewer Pirats was very favorable. It has enough depth with the different figures and with the optional drafting mechanic to keep hardcore gamers coming back. The rules are easy enough (except for the counterintuitive one mentioned above) that the game can be a good warm up game for an evening. All of us at games last night enjoyed Sewer Pirats.
5. Give Me the Brain!
It is unusual for a Steve Jackson game to be good. When I saw Dusty pull out a fuchsia colored box with the title “Give me the Brain!” from Steve Jackson Games, I wasn’t expecting much.
In Give me the Brain! players try to rid themselves of their entire hand like in Uno. Each card has some special text on it that allows the player to take some action. Some cards have actions available to the player only if he has the Brain. To get the brain, you must win an auction using the point values of your cards.
Give me the Brain! was mostly mindless*. The game could conceivable go on for long stretches of time. This is because, like in Uno, there are so many ways to draw more cards. The actions on the cards seem like a neat idea. But their implementation was largely brainless*. We were left with the feeling that the game was silly, overly long and campy. And those three qualities spell doom.
Or in this case, it spells “Flop”
*zombie jokes are the best.
6. Kingsport Festival
Jeremy Pyne came by a few times in recent weeks. He brought over Kingsport Festival. I had heard this game was a lot like Kingsburg, one of my favorite intro games. I was excited to give it a try.
Kingsport Festival takes place in HP Lovecraft’s universe. All players play cultists who are trying to summon a Great Old One to devour the world. Like in Kingsburg, you chuck three dice. You move your dice to areas around the board to take gain resources. There are three types of resources in the game. Then you can spend resources to build structures around Kingsport.
I have to admit that Kingsport does share a lot in common with Kingsburg. Even their titles are similar. I really liked the spell mechanic in Kingsport too. But the theme was not nearly as intuitive as that of Kingsburg. In Kingsburg, you collect wood, gold and stone. And then use these to build Guard Towers, Saw Mills and Markets. In Kingsport Festival, you collect Death, Evil and Destruction and use these to build things. The theme just doesn’t work. In Kingsburg, I could teach non-gamers about gaming in general. That would prove difficult with Kingsport Festival.
Kingsport Festival is not a bad game. It is simply a game that doesn’t fill a niche for me. I would like to try it again just to make sure.
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