Gamer’s Games

In this episode, I start off with an especially long segment of Recently Played games, featuring some comments about the Unpub ProtoZone at the Escapist Expo. I then have a bit of a rant about Kickstarter rewards, and mostly share fears I have about the abuse of stretch goals. And then, I wrap up with a full review of Lancaster…

In that vein, I was given Zulus on the Ramparts! last year by my good friend Kenny, and it quickly jumped right to the top of my favorite solo games. I’ve taken it on trips, played it over lunch at work, and occasionally pulled it out when everyone else was asleep and I had a hankering for something to play…

The Manhattan Project is a pretty incredible game. In addition to looking great and bringing some real innovation to the worker-placement genre, it is one of the absolute best euro/American-style hybrids that I’ve ever seen. So far, it’s definitely one of my favorite games of 2012, and I really hope to play it a lot more in the future…

Kingdom of Solomon is mish-mash of euro mechanics that might be easily ignored by a lot of boardgamers. If you look superficially at its component parts, it’d be very simple to write it off as derivitave, uninspired, and nothing special.

But if you look a little deeper, you might just be surprised at what you find. From its theme to the tweaks it takes on familiar mechanics to the way that everything fits together to make something greater than the sum of its parts, Kingdom of Solomon really does stand out in a number of ways…

Letters from Whitechapel is a hidden-movement/deduction chase game about the hunt for Jack the Ripper through the streets of London in 1888. The theme is relatively interesting but somewhat controversial, but in reality, the brilliance of the game comes from the elegance of the movement and search mechanics. I’ve played around a dozen games of Letters from Whitechapel so far, and it’s even been the Game of the Month! for my game group, so I finally feel comfortable giving my final judgement on it…

Eminent Domain is nominally a “deckbuilding” game with a space-empire theme, but I’ve found it to be significantly different and, in most cases, better than the pretty much all the rest. I acquired my copy through backing it on Kickstarter and was very excited about it finally being released, and through a number of plays so far, my excitement about it has only increased. Whether you are a fan of deckbuilding games or if, like me, you’re sort of burned out on them, you might want to keep reading to see what Eminent Domain has to offer…

But then I heard about The Lord of the Rings LCG. Between the attractive theme, the fact that it’s cooperative, and that it can handle solo play, I knew that I wanted to give it a try. I’ve got nearly a dozen plays under my belt so far, and since the first Adventure Pack has yet to be released, I’m limiting this review to the base set and will mostly focus on play with the preconstructed decks included in it…

So, heading into 2011, I’d have to say that I was actually predisposed to dislike, or at least be indifferent towards, Puerto Rico.
Over the last few months, however, I’ve received quite an education about it, and this is what I’ve discovered…

So, what got me to pony up my money was the idea of a cooperative dungeon-crawl game with opportunity for solo play, a rather unique entity in the larger genre of dungeon-crawl adventure games…

Hansa Teutonica is a lot more than just the sum of its parts, and when you fit all the pieces together and start to get a better understanding of it, most people tend to find something quite special about this game…

While some may find Samurai’s theme a bit too thin and its tile draw overly random, I find it to be a quick and excellent, mid-weight strategy game for 2-4 players…