Wednesday, July 01, 2009

New-to-me games June 2009

Hello, world.

I had a light game month, relatively speaking- I played less than 30 games and less than a dozen titles. I directly attribute these numbers to my playing Fallout 3 on the PS3. But I managed to play five (really four) new games this month, three of which I own.

Alphabetically first and arguably the heaviest is Martin Wallace's new economic game Automobile (BGG, BUY ME!). Research car factories, build cars, sell cars, use different characters for a twist. Most money wins. I am terrible at this game, but I like it. There's a lot of tension in what you ca do versus what you want to do. One must do a bit of number-crunching and some cost-benefit analysis to inform your decisions. A solid design; if this sounds interesting to you, give it a shot, but it's a wee dry and mathy.

Neuroshima Hex! (BGG, BUY ME!) is like a knife fight in a phone booth. This skirmish game is totally up my alley. Each player has a different army "deck" of hex tiles, playing onto a Catan-shaped battlefield. You can force battles (where the whole board resolves and ther is much carnage), and you can generally not move your troops once deployed. The game has at least two expansions and the source RPG is Polish, if you need more. I hope there are army play aids on BGG to help, otherwise players don't know their units strengths and weaknesses. Worth playing.

The cooperative Red November (BGG, BUY ME!) fell a little flat for me. Russian Gnomes on a steampunk sub disaster movie? Bring it! But in play with five, it drug on past when I was ready for it to be over. I am glad I played it before buying it, otherwise I fear I would have traded it away after one play. I might give it one more shot, but you'd need to love it or convince me.

Space Alert (BGG, BUY ME!) is another cooperative game from the same madmen who brought you Galaxy Trucker. The gimmick here uses a CD with audio tracks that govern when and where threats (alien ships, space pirates, meteors, etc.) appear on the ship. Players must quickly negotiate and coordinate their actions, which are programmed similarly to RoboRally. The game is fast fast- ten minutes for the audio track and actual play, maybe another ten or fifteen minutes to resolve. There's definitely the feeling of setting up dominoes to watch them fall down. I can't say that this is for everyone, though. It took me three plays before the game clicked and I liked it; not shocking when you remember that the play is absolutely driven forward by the audio track.

My cheat is Taktika (BGG, BUY ME!), a game I haven't played since leaving Austin (or maybe at last year's BGG Con?) and had a hand in playtesting. The game bills itself as "strategy meets dexterity" and is a two-player wargame of flicking discs about a table, much like Crokinole. I have two sets so we can play partnership battles, which add a lot of set-up-and-protect your partner decisions. A solid game that a bigger publisher needs to pick up. It's been a hit with my group, who have repeatedly asked me why I haven't brought it out sooner.


Pete the Brit said...

woohoo! More games to research!!

Russ Williams said...

Holy smokes, you've only played Neuroshima Hex NOW? I know you've had a copy since BGG.CON 2007... you have WAY too many games, if it takes them a year and a half to hit the table. :)