Board game medley
Yesterday, we had a bunch of friends come over to try out boardgames (a gift of theirs for our engagement). We tested the following:
–Inka: quick and dirty game with sliding and rotating tiles on a fairly small board. From 2 to 4, but it gets messy fast at 4 players, making it near-impossible to plan a strategy beforehand. But very fun, and also fairly convivial (simple, rules fast to explain, and loads of laugh).
–Arkham Horror: hum, ok, imagine a tabletop RPG recast as a board game, and it’ll give you an idea of what this looks like. Players team up to close portals that unleah monsters on Arkham. There’s character stats, equipment, a lot of dice throws, and some neat exploration bits. The cons are the space it takes (we had a big table and it was already overflowing), the time it takes to explain the rules (1h30, and we took the simplest version of lots of things like monster displacement and dispelling). On the pro side, it’s nice to have a game the whole table can play as a team (as one of my friends puts it, it’s the game itself that’s attempting to kill you), it’s complex enough not to get repetitive and to profitably occupy a whole afternoon. And I reckon it gets easier once you know a bit of the rules.
–Battlestar Galactica: there’s a BSG boardgame :=) Partly destined for series fans, with plenty of pictures and design taken from the TV show. The goal is simple: survive and get to earth if you’re a human; survive and scuttle the humans if you’re a Cylon, either through internal sabotage or through spaceship battles. Obviously, the other players don’t know if you’re a human or a Cylon to start with: but the bonus is that halfway through the game, you have a revelation phase which can end up shifting your loyalties drastically…
Fun, in a backstabbing kind of way. We’re still trying to work out if the humans can win; right now, the only games I’ve seen or heard of ended with Cylon victories (it’s like the series, there are so many ways to screw up…)
–Chang Cheng: not tested yet. A game about the Great Wall of China and Mongol invasions. Sounds right up my alley :=)
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I haven’t played much BSG, but the Serious Boardgame Geeks I do game night with seem to think it’s heavily slanted towards the humans. Maybe it depends on expansion packs, or how much experience everyone has (i.e., which strategies get predictable).
Interesting… Over at livejournal, there are some people who seem to think the reverse. There’s got to be a strategy thing I’m missing (or perhaps it does depend on the number of people who play–the game seems very different depending on how many players are around the table).