The Muskegon Area Gamers are constantly trying new games. There are games that come along that seem to do everything a different game did…only better. Here is a post about just such games.
1. King of Tokyo (Iello Games) fired Roll through the Ages (Gryphon Games)
Roll through the Ages is a fun little game. Players build cities which give them more dice which in turn give them more resources to score points. It uses the age old Yahtzee mechanic of roll-reroll-reroll. There was little player interaction in it, however. Then along game King of Tokyo. This game has virtually all the strengths of Roll through the Ages but also always player to interact meaningfully. The deck of special powers gives the game tons of replayability. Roll through the Ages: you’re fired.
2. King of New York (Iello Games) fired King of Tokyo (Iello Games)
Then along came King of New York. This game allows players even more way to interact with military units in each quadrant. Furthermore, the board position is important, an element mostly missing from King of Tokyo. The dice offer more meaningful choices than 1-2-3 which were half the sides of King of Tokyo. King of Tokyo: you’re fired.
3. Letters from Whitechapel (Fantasy Flight Games) fired Fury of Dracula (Fantasy Flight Games)
Fury of Dracula was a fine game during its day. A group of four hunters are chasing down the Dark Lord across Europe. Dracula leaves behind minions and other encounters to thwart Van Helsing and his helpers. Unfortunately, Fury of Dracula often comes down to how well you roll the dice. There are few ways to mitigate bad dice rolls and bad dice rolls dictate the outcome even when you have a strong showing. What’s a gamer to do? Well, give Letters from Whitechapel a try. The game has almost no randomness (only the turn order which is minimal). Fury of Dracula is mostly a chase game with a little bit of deduction and bluffing. Letters from Whitechapel is all deduction and bluffing.
4. Axis and Allies (Milton Bradley) fired Risk (Parker Brothers)
Risk was the game I cut my teeth on when I was in 6th to 8th grade. Armies waged constant battles across the globe in an effort to wipe the competition off the board. Risk was never a good game however. It was simply the only game in town. When I discovered Axis and Allies in 11th grade: I was hooked! Instead of waging wars across the globe with Roman numerals, I was waging wars across the globe with aircraft carriers and bombers! Axis and Allies is at least a decent game and deserves some consideration.
5. History of the World (Avalon Hill) fired Axis and Allies (Milton Bradley)
Axis & Allies is at least a decent game. Unfortunately, it is also at most a decent game. It deserves no extra consideration. It has not stood up to the test of time. Other games are much better. Small World comes to mind. But if you like plastic-y goodness and an historical theme, try History of the World instead. History of the World is a good game. And at times, is a great game.
6. Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation (Fantasy Flight Games) fired Stratego (Milton Bradley)
I got a copy of Stratego for my 10th birthday. It was a nice twist on chess: two players, capture the flag/king, each piece has a special move or capture rule. Stratego is much more approachable than chess because chess is a hobby unto itself. But Stratego has not stood the test of time. So many other games are much better than it. Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation is the quintessential example of this. Tons of replayability, more strategy and shorter playtime are the advantages of playing Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation over Stratego.
7. Gulo Gulo (Rio Grande Games) fired Candyland (Milton Bradley)
Candyland was never much of game. In fact, it wasn’t even a game so much as it was an activity. And as an activity, it was a right boring one. Gulo Gulo is a much better alternative. Gulo Gulo is actually a fun game for kids and adults. The primary mechanic of color recognition that was present in Candyland is present in Gulo Gulo. But Gulo Gulo pulls it off much better. Throw Candyland away. Buy Gulo Gulo. Candyland: you’re fired. Pack your bags.
8. Betrayal at House on the Hill (Wizards of the Coast) fired Mansions of Madness (Fantasy Flight Games)
I was thrilled to find out FFG was releasing a game called “Mansions of Madness”. The art work and components are top notch. The theme is Lovecraftian. What’s not to love? Then I tried it. This game is more horrific than a train wreck. What an absolute travesty this game is. After playing it three times, I realized I had to go back to the old standby: Betrayal at House on the Hills. While not perfect, Betrayal at House on the Hill is typically enjoyable–a trait that even Mansions of Madness cannot meet. Mansions of Madness: you’re fired.
9. Villagers and Villains (Studio 9 games) fired Thunderstone (AEG Games)
This entry is probably the strangest entry in this article. Villagers & Villains fired Thunderstone. What in God’s name do these games have in common? Both are fantasy city/village themed. Both require you to “build” heroes and accouterments to defeat monsters. The drafting mechanic in Villagers & Villains is not dissimilar to the monster drafting mechanic in Thunderstone. But Thunderstone is so time consuming to set up. And there is little payoff in this deck-building game. Villagers & Villains can be played in the time that it takes to set up Thunderstone. And with tons of cards (and an expansion), Villagers & Villains has lots of replayability.
10. 10 Days in the USA (Out of the Box Games) fired Rack-O
Rack-O is an old family game that was about as much fun as Rumy or Gin. The game was a diversion but not much fun. Out of the Box’s 10 Days in the USA is a much better choice. Players attempt to rack up 10 consecutive days of traveling a la the rack in Rack-O. But drafting and set collecting is much more meaningful than in Rack-O. Pick it up if you are looking for a family game. Rack-o: you’ve been fired. Good riddance.