22. August 2001
Rio Grande Games has lots of news in their latest Newsletter. My Games database has been updated accordingly with new descriptions and pics on four Amigo games: Gargon, Gnumies, Spies, Incorporated and The Yeti Cup.
The only big game will be Waste: the Business Game from Hans im Glück. I played the game at the Gathering of Friends, and it was an interesting economics game.
Still working hard on transferring data in the new designed database, and I am also thinking hard on a easy way to log them. Suggestions will be appreciated.
And finally have I received the cover picture for Liberté, the new Warfrog game from Martin Wallace. Still waiting for more information we can at least enjoy the wonderful illustration from Peter Dennis: Click on picture to get a closer look.
16. August 2001
Oh boy - I've made a major blunder in the translation of the rules for 1848 card game. If you have downloaded the rules, you'd better do it again! A few typing errors have been corrected, but most importantly is the fact that a round will either score Politically or Military, never both at the same time. I also missed the fact that VP's are only given at the end of the game. My apologies to Gerhard. H. Kuhlmann.
The Games-database has received a much needed facelift. The nice thing about a database is that you can change a lot of files with ease - unless of course you make drastic changes - in which case you need to change part of the files individually. Some files may look a little weird, but I am working on it.
I think I have finally decided how to use it: the files will contain all the stats plus a brief description - often taken from the press-release as I haven't personally seen the game. I might add a personal commentary if I have seen the game - or even a small review if I have played it. There may also be a link to a longer description of the gameplay held in the section called First Play.
One of the new games mentioned in the Essen News are Amigo's remake of the first published game by the new "dream-team", Aaron Weisblum & Alan Moon. To celebrate this occasion have I moved my original description Knights of the Rainbow from my old site and brushed it up a little.
|9. August 2001
I have been very busy lately - even though you haven't been able to see it on the website.
I have translated a couple of German reviews for my good friend Frank DiLorenzo of his great card game Overthrone, which was published in German last year under the very non-German sounding title Vive le Roi!. So far the game has been well received, and it is still among my favorite card games.
Another important project has been the translation of the Extended Basic Rules for the card game 1848 by Gerhard Kuhlmann. The game was published in 1999, but the supplied basic rules gave a very boring game. The new rules gives a much more playable game, and as I have also translated the text for the Action cards there is nothing to stop you from trying the game. The Advanced rules will be translated when I can find the time.
And finally have I - after months of agonizing waiting - finally been able to play the monster game The Cotton Kingdom by Hans-Georg Rausch. It's still too early to say whether the game is good or not, but even though we only played the game halfway through (7 hours) I loved every minute of it. I have written a description on the mechanics which can be found in the First Play-section.
And then there is a few updates of the Essen-News, the News and the Games database.
|02. Apr. 2001|
Played last week:
|Best new game was without doubt Pampas Railroads (Winsome games). Martin Wallace has refined his system first used in Praerie Railroads: invest in 6 Railroad companies by buying stock (5 shares in each company) and building tracks on a pre-printed map of routes and cities. The new verson has a few changes which have removed all randomness from the game: A few action cards determine the actions chosen by the players. There are only a handful of each of 3 types: Buy stock, Build track, Place Settlement. The companies will pay dividend only when all of two types have been used completely. The cards are beatifully printed and add a nice touch of class to the game, which is good as Winsome Games are simple dtp-games. The value of the company is determined of the number of tracks and their value, which again is determined by the Cities/Settlements at either end. - A wonderful game!
Unfortunately I cannot say the same of Big Deal from Amigo. The game is a good family game, but too random for my taste. It is a pure business game, and reminds me a bit of the old German games Hallo Boss / Big Boss from the 70´s. You buy and sell commodities and use these to open corporations by playing Share cards to the table. The random distribution of the shares makes it a matter of getting the right cards at the right time. Maybe I am unfair, but having played it twice I see no particular reason to play it again.
But it was much better than my final game: Storbyen by two Danish guys is a highly complex and longwinded copy of Monopoly. You must accumulate a fortune of $500.000 which takes all night. Fortunately can you also win by fulfilling certain tasks - like owing two speficic buildings and stand in a certain spot when revealing the card.
All the usual Monopoly bits are there: Event and Chance cards, the outer track of spaces, shops and companies to buy. But there is a few twists as well. you throw two dice and use either to move one of 5 pawns. You may then perform a number of tasks with all your men: A pawn in a Bar may draw a chance card; if you have one in a Bank you may buy a free Property if you have there as well; You can buy Bombs and drop these on Properties belonging to the opposition, and you can kill a solitary pawn by moning onto the same space. 6 black pawns acts as neutral Police, who will arrest you when moving onto you, and secure you when you move onto them.
All in all a fun game if you are young, like Monopoly and don't mind long and random games.
|31. Mar. 2001|
|Last week saw the conclusion of the 13th Annual Game Design Competion at the German Hippodice Spiele Club. You can see the results and read about the winning games at Hippodice Awards.
And to prepare for the soon-to-be-announced Spiel des Jahres list have I created a similar list of SdJ Awards.
Played last week:
Without doubt the most exiting game I have played recently is Botany Bay by Hans-Georg Rausch. The game is way too long to be played regularly by our group (I'm not the one-game type), and we aborted the game after 5 hours play since two of the four players were without chance of winning.
The game requires a good knowledge of the events and possibilities, and three of us had played the game before. The new player was obviously chanceless, and one of the others complained about a bad hand of event cards. This meant that two of us were clearly in the lead by halftime, and as I was was slowly but shurely buying out my competitor we decided there was no point prolonging the inevitable. After two aborted games I cannot be sure, but I think this problem was created by the lack of knowledge at the players. Knowing the best spaces to go buy, the right time to play events, when to hurt your opponent (by buying his land or force him to play your own uninteresting event cards) are all part of the game, and our unlucky player took willingly bad cards from me while still playing his own.
If I had more time I would gladly play it again, but as I am even more exited by the chance to play Cotton Kingdom, I probably play it again. A shame really!
|Bruno Faidutti's game Dragon's Gold was a nice little filler game. Kill a dragon and divide the loot with your fellows within a one minute time limit. We played without the Magic cards, which should add a little spice to the gameplay.
Another light filler is Knights by Michael Schacht. This is a light dice game of the "Can't Stop" type, but unfortunately it tends to go on for longer than most people like. You win by accumulating 4 Castles (or less if other criterias are met), and as everybody is hitting the leader we usually see a constant change in leadership until someone gets a lucky strike. Great fun the first half hour or so, but there is something wrong with a game in which you decide to let your opponent win just so the game can end...
|Have also played two of the games by Alan Moon & Aaron Weissblum. People have described San Marco as "El Grande" light, but I found it closer to "Wongar". The Solomon mechanic of letting one player divide the cards and letting the other choose first is interesting but not without problems. Our first game had one player totally out of luck as she never had a chance to take a Doge card and thus didn't score until the end. Obviously this was simply a freak event, but my biggest gripe is the time it took us to divide the cards - I would prefer to play this with a time limit if I could.
On the other hand was my first game of Capitol an absolute delight! The game played fast and with a reasonal minimum of luck in the card distribution. I think this might be one of my favorite games of the new season.
|28. Feb. 2001
Welcome to the first little causerie in my redesigned layout. The look was changed to increase readability in any browser, and the news-format will return to the way it was at the old site (more or less).
The change was largely made due to my lack of keeping you up-to-date in the old format. This is not likely to change, and with an increasing number of news-sites it is no longer necessary either, so in the future I will focus more upon the games seen from my own perspective.
|Biggest news comes from Austria: Dagmar & Ferdinand de Cassan has for the second year created a complete list in English with pics of all the new games presented at the Nürnberg Fair:
3 player aids for Botany Bay (NMG Spiele) have been uploaded as WORD 2000 files. Together with the rules in English the game should now be playable.
Alan Moon has sent a copy of his rules for Capitol (Schmidt) as the game is unlikely to appear in English.
Just about every general game magazine I subscribe to have dumped through my mail-box during the lastest 10 days: Gamers Alliance Report, The Game Report, Counter, Spielerei, Die Pöppel-Revue, but the biggest surprise was the unespected arrival of Games Games Games 150. The publishing scedule has been irregular since Essen, so we half expected to see an orbituary. It turns out that the lack of free review copies has meant a lack of material, and the magazine has been forced to return to the bi-monthly scedule. Why it wasn't possible to explain this to the subscribers, and why the editor didn't answer her mail is a mystery though.
|Played the last weeks:
Knizia's Lord of the Rings was more fun than anticipated, but still far from being my cup of tea. If I wanted passive entertainment I would sit down to watch TV.
Contra (Spiele aus Timbuktu) is not really my taste either - being an abstract 2-player game - but as the game is quickly played, it works great as a filler. And it plays very well!
I have translated the rules.
The two new Kontor-expansions (Spiele aus Timbuktu) are a nice addition to the 2-player game from Goldsieber. The Event cards may introduce too much randomness into the game, but the Exportlager is likely to be used in future games. I have already secured a second copy for use in the 3-4 expansion expected for Spiel '01!
Luxor (Ravensburger) is the best of the Egyptian games by Gunther Baars. Good entertainment for young and old. Absolutely recommended as a family game as well as for hobby gamers.
Big Shot (Ravensburger) is okay, but nothing special. The bidding systems works great, but there is too much thinking involved and not enough fun - for my taste.
Mystick (Anoch) was much easier than I expected and great fun. Based upon Tarot I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I liked the way they have used the art of the old masters instead of going for more occult imagery. I will have to buy a couple of more decks - not to do any deck creations, but to enable me to play with up to 5 players.
|© Mik Svellov firstname.lastname@example.org||6. jun 2002|