I talked about the games I was hoping to play and did in my first post. Many of the games fall into multiple of the categories I broke them into, I’m grouping them with whichever group my whims lead me to. These are games I wasn’t planning on playing or didn’t know about, but did play.
Not on My Radar: On the Table
Carcassonne: Wheel of Fortune (2009) This is a modification of Carcassonne (2000), a tile laying game. I find the original quite fun and portable, and good for a various number of people (though it can slow down with higher numbers). For a while I was on a bit of a collecting binge for Carcassonne expansions, but some of them just aren’t that fun or elegant. So the additions to this game slipped off my radar.
This is a nice change to the original and comes as a complete game itself. All the tiles are nicely marked with a subtle wheel, so you can sort them out of you’ve combined them with other sets. The addition of the “wheel” which moves when a specially marked tile is played, the wheel is located on a central 16×16 sized location that you can play your tiles off of.
This is a nice change to the start game, from the highly suggested The River (2001) and/or The River II (2005). The Wheel of Fortune part of the game will score or penalize something each time it is moved. It’s a somewhat random element, but not overly so. I would definitely suggest this version to beginning gamers as a gateway type game.
Sator Erepo Tenet Opera Rotas (2008) – This game has been sitting around at one of my regular gamer’s house since it came out, and we’ve never played it. It maxes out at 4 players, and we often have more than that. It also doesn’t play ideally with 2-3 players. I ended up at a table where someone had pulled this out. It looked interesting. I played.
It was a great game and I really enjoyed it. Four players is a must. You are trying to navigate swinging passages over a cavern. You play cards to allow various movements. It was quite enjoyable. The text on the cards can be a bit difficult, but they are explained in the rules.
Merchant of Venus (1988) This is an Avalon Hill game and is long out of print. Apparently there are various ways to play (according to the rules) but only one good way (according to the geeks). I was invited into a 6-player version of this one. It was quite fun, though it is dice-bound in its mechanisms and I was rolling abysmally.
The chits used for the game are appropriately antiquated pieces of thin cardboard, but it had some interesting navigational mechanics, and was basically an economic engine game. It had some quite humorous items for the theme as well.
A day later I saw another group playing a recently custom-printed version of the game. It had quite a few nice updates. Most of the artwork is apparently available on BGG.
Roll Through The Ages: The Bronze Age (2009) A dice version of a much more rigorous economic game. I have been aware of this game since it came out, but I have not yet played it. I ended up sitting next to high school friend Kevin in the registration line and he had a copy of this on his iPhone.
So we pass-n-played for a few games. It’s quite fun and reasonably simple. There was some bookkeeping that was useful to be automated. The iPhone implementation could be improved in a few ways, but was reasonably functional. I liked it. May buy the app.
A few days later I saw some friends playing the flesh-n-bones version, and I noticed a rule they had missed (because I had been forced into it by the game).
Kaigan (2009) I had not heard of this game at all, but it was out in the “Hot Games” area, and a few friends and I stumbled across it on Sunday about an hour before the library closed. We didn’t get a complete game in, but we played about half of it. Enough to know that there were some nice mechanisms and strategies to be explored in this game.
Themed as discovering the Japanese coast in its early history, it could be done as an abstract. But the theme was reasonable and nice. I think someone in our game group bought this one, so I should see it again.