Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames

Monday, May 28, 2007

Spiel des Jahres thoughts

I wrote the following to my local game group, but it might be of general interest reading here, too. It's my quick, initial take on the Spiel des Jahres nominees.

Thief of Baghdad
Jenseits von Theben
Baumeister von Arkadia

[I'm in the process of making an internal trade deal for Thief of Baghad now--no one around here seems to own it.]
I think I've played Jenseits a grand total of once, but I instantly liked it. Very glad to see the reprint, and with a nicer production, but I'm a little worried that the streamlining takes out some of what I liked about the game. One way to find out, of course--who owns it already? I need to play. Maybe I just need to buy.

Zooloretto is one I should like. I'm not over Coloretto, actually. I keep a copy at work, and even if it only gets played once or twice a year there, that's 1-2 times more than it was getting at home. I'm not sure if a bigger, cuter, less cut-throat boardgame version is what I want, but I'm willing to try. Especially if the theme helps the kid appeal. The description says it plays with 2 (some on BGG even say it works well with that number), something I never felt Coloretto did well. (Though now I see the latest rules, latest edition, have some special rules & cards for that. Maybe I should try again.)

Baumeister was perfectly good the one time I played. Definitely fun, but didn't knock my socks off. It's silly, but the little cardboard penant tokens bothered me, especially compared to the rest of the nice bits in the game.

And then there's Yspahan. I've played a few times in person, and a LOT of the downloadable computer game. It's right up my alley, I definitely like it. I'm curious to see how the QWG deluxe edition looks (and costs). However, about that thinness . . . I'm winning over 90% of the time against various AIs when I doggedly pursue one single strategy: build up the special abilities ASAP, then finally fill the city and caravan (often not until the 3rd week). I'll take gold or camels if there's a bunch of dice there, otherwise I take the best neighborhood dice out there . . . and use it for a card. Those cards are key. In the beginning they're powerful to make something out of nothing, and later they really help you fill out neighborhoods by being bonus dice. (I'd mistakenly played that they were bonus dice like extra gold, but they're much more powerful as bonus dice of a kind already rolled!) I hope that when I get to play against humans again that this one strategy won't be so dominant.

Do all local game groups having mailing lists? All the ones I've ever been part of do. Sometimes we have game discussion and strategy, but most of the time we use it for game night announcement and group ordering from webstores.



Blogger Adelaide Gamer said...

I like what you're doing. You've convinced me to have a go at Carcassone, and perhaps spread my wings from there. I've put a link to you on my blog at .

6:24 PM  

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