It’s been several months since I discussed my efforts to streamline the game library at the Gaming Annex. This effort has continued, maybe even escalated in recent weeks. I’m finding that our group’s tastes are changing so my collection has to change. There have also been several instances of me trading games, believing them to be bad, only to find out later they were actually good fits for the group. And finally, I’m getting better at predicting the success of a game. To reach my goal of having 500 relevant games in my library, I’ve added these items…
Games I predict will be a good fit
There’s a new craze in town. It’s name is Inis. It’s a Euro-Ameritrash Hybrid that pits players against one another in a Celtic setting. The game draws inspiration if not game mechanics per se from Blood Rage and Cyclades.
The game has been a good fit for our group too. Indeed, everyone has loved it so far. Except me.
Because I haven’t played it yet :'(
I’ll try to rectify this before our next installment of Hits & Flops.
The Muskegon Area Gamers are moving from Ameritrash games into Wargames. Here I Stand and Sword of Rome have been huge hits. All of us love those games. That makes GMT’s Cuba Libre a no-brainer.
Cuba Libre allows up to four players to take on the major forces that fought for supremacy in the age of Castro and Che. This card driven game has all the important figures from this time period: Castro, Frank Sinatra, Meyer Lansky. This game is a sequel to another game, Andean Abyss. If Cuba Libre is the hit I suspect it will be, look for Andean Abyss to be added to the library.
Last month I wrote an election day blog. I mentioned Numbskull Games’ Divided Republic. Given our love of 1960: the Making of the President (and we do love that game, don’t we, Brandi?!), I predict Divided Republic will be a hit. The game shares much with 1960 but allows four players to play. And the time frame is shifted from the tumultuous 1960’s to the upheaval of 1860. So many rules to read! I’ll have to pawn off this game on someone else so we can play it soon.
Lyssan is Euro-wargame hybrid. It’s a wargame but there’s so much abstraction it could be called a Euro. There are several different pieces at each player’s command.
- Knights hold territory and fight masterfully.
- Nobles hold territory, support priests, and fight poorly.
- Castles hold territory, spawn new units, and protect knights and nobles.
- Priests manipulate influence and support spies.
- Spies assassinate priests and other spies, and have the devastating power to steal other players’ court cards.
The game play sounded interesting to me. I probably wouldn’t have traded for it, except I found a $2 copy of Escape: the Curse of the Temple that someone wanted in exchange for Lyssan. For $2 plus shipping, I get Lyssan? Sold!
Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective has been an unexpected hit. I thought the amount of in-game reading would be a put off. I was wrong. Then Brian brought over the Cthulhu version, Mythos Tales. That game was such a hit, that it rousted Kevin from his slumber at Prof. Mike’s house.
Taking these cues, I picked up Watson & Holmes: From the Diaries of 221B. There are several cases for players to solve. Players work independently to be the first to solve it. I’m looking forward to cracking these cases. Maybe after SeaFall is over.
Games that I once owned, lamented trading away and then reacquired
I like Eminent Domain. But it fell out of my good graces a couple of years ago. I’ve reflected on my decision to trade it away. Now that the newest expansion, Exotica, is available, I really took a hard look at Eminent Domain again.
Eminent Domain is a deck builder, akin to Dominion. But Eminent Domain does not have the huge set of cards Dominion has. By design. You build your deck with a very small cache of cards. This would be a strike against Eminent Domain. But Eminent Domain lifts one of the most interesting mechanics from Glory to Rome: to follow or dissent (in Glory to Rome, it’s called “follow or think”, but mechanically identical).
The fact that you have an impact and make decisions when it’s not your turn, makes Eminent Domain a better fit for me than Dominion. The space theme helps too. But the two expansions (Escalation and now Exotica) really take Eminent Domain to a new level. I’m looking forward to getting our Thursday night group up to speed on this game.
I’m a fan of Mac Gerdts’ designs. He came up with the famous Imperial roundel. He’s used it in several of his games, reapplying it to several different themes. Antike was a pretty good find. I’m looking forward to our group giving it the same treatment as Imperial 2030.
And not the treatment we gave Navegador.
We played Navegador once and relegated it to the dung heap. I think our tastes have changed enough to necessitate reacquiring Gerdts’ classic (and out of print) game of exploration and and colonization.
And my copy just showed up in the mail today!
I mentioned earlier what a huge hit Here I Stand has been. Virgin Queen is the sequel in every sense of the word. It takes place in the immediate aftermath of the Protestant uprising seen in Here I Stand. Plus its rules are 70% identical to Here I Stand.
I picked up a copy a couple of years ago. Then we stopped playing wargames altogether. When someone in Seattle offered me a mint copy of Ogre the Designer’s Edition (a 35lb box) in exchange, I couldn’t refuse.
Kevin hasn’t let me live it down because he wants to try Virgin Queen so badly. And Debbie hasn’t let me live it down because the 35lb box was delivered to the breeze way and proved difficult to move. She also refused to believe me that Ogre the Designer’s Edition had been left in our house by the previous owner.
But I redeemed myself, at least in Kevin’s eyes. I found an uber cheap copy on eBay. I believe Kevin’s exact response was, “You da man, Santa”. I’m confident enough in my masculinity to take that compliment.
Games I picked up during Black Friday sales
Out of the Box Games always has amazing Black Friday sales. And I always make a point of braving the cold to buy games that I largely could live without. I recognized several of the people in line this year: Rocky, Jeremy Scott Pyne and Steve. We fell upon Out of the Box like a plague of locusts, consuming all the cardboard in our path.
I found Mexica for 50% off. I’m a fan of this series (Tikal, Java, etc). And the new Iello version has magnificent pieces. For 50% off, I said, “What the hey?”
I had been eyeing the two player stand-alone Eminent Domain knock-of Battlecruisers. I just couldn’t pull the trigger. Then Black Friday rolled around with its 70% off sticker. Suddenly the trigger was pulling itself.
Part of my return to Eminent Domain is the designer’s continued support for this universe. Seth Jaffee has even mentioned he was going to readjust the theme of Terra Prime so it was in the Eminent Domain universe. (Long time readers of this blog may recall my glowing endorsement of Jaffee’s Terra Prime.) And picking up a cheap copy of Battlecruisers also endears his universe to me.
We Come in Peace is a dice version of the classic arcade game “Space Invaders”. Such a game would generally interest me, but a good filler is hard to find. And Out of the Box made it hard to resist with a whopping 80% off sticker. I think I paid less than $5 for it. Jeff was practically giving it to me.
Target had a Black Friday sale too. Target has been making a play for the board gamer dollars. They carry a lot of high end games now. And they have been getting some exclusive games, most notably the recent Oregon Trail board game.
IDW and Target worked out a deal for a standalone Machi Koro game called Bright Lights, Big City. For 50%, I pulled the trigger. I also found Suspicion for 50% off at Target. This was also a Target exclusive. I’ll let you take a look at the 46 second trailer. It’s cute.
Classic Games and Holy Grails
It’s been several months since I last mentioned my Quest for the Grails. I finally added a key piece in that mosaic: a complete and functional copy of Milton Bradley’s Dark Tower.
The box has “$20” written in Sharpie on it. I might have to replace the box. But the tower and game is good. A Goodwill in Maine came across a copy and listed it on eBay. And I couldn’t resist. Orson Welles was so compelling in his 30 second TV spot.
Parker Brothers dabbled briefly in Euro games. I know, it’s bizarre. No one in the Muskegon Area Gamers believed it existed until I added it to our shelves. Designed by Klaus Teuber of Setters of Catan fame, Der Fliegende Hollander (the Flying Dutchman) is a luck mitigation and negotiation game.
This game has been on my radar for a while. It’s a Grail to me because it’s hard to find in the States–despite being pedestrian in Europe.
After my election day post, I was enamored by the games I discussed. I looked high and low for copies of GDW’s Campaign Trail and 3M’s Mr. President. I settled on buying them on eBay.
There were several games that met the criteria of that election day blog post but Campaign Trail and Mr. President are special. I think our group, which has been very receptive to classic games, will greet these games with open arms.