I’ve not really had a lot of time to play games recently, and many games have had the 1-play and done treatment which means I don’t like writing a long review on them. On the other hand, it’s been ages so I figure it’s mini-review time!
Bohnanza‘s a classic card game that is quite good. It’s a negotiation / set-collection game that has an interesting level of depth to it even though the rules are pretty simple. It’s a good filler-like game like 7 Wonders with a different series of mechanics. Unlike 7 Wonders, instead of dealing with the individuals on either side of you, you are negotiating / talking with the entire group. This makes it both a better group game and worst (increased play-time due to negotiations).
Tammany Hall starts off simple, with players kind of doing their own thing in each of their areas. As the game progresses though, conflict increases as players vie for control in each electorate and along with the conflict comes increased complexity of strategy. In fact, towards the end Tammany Hall feels like it rivals Louis XIV in terms of brain-burn – there’s just so much to analyse and review that your head starts hurting. Not a game to play with those prone to analysis paralysis and/or individuals looking for a medium-to-light strategy game.
I haven’t played a lot of these ‘City Building’ themed games so Suburbia was a pleasant surprise. It’s mostly a tile-laying game like Carcassonne, but tiles may have special abilities that effect or is effected by other player tiles so your tile choice is important. In addition, managing both your income and reputation levels is very important, with a resource engine being needed to be built to do well. Unfortunately, this is a game that benefits experienced players significantly (like Race for the Galaxy) due to their familarity with the tiles. Also, I’d be worried about choosing certain strategies which are dependent on specific tile(s) coming out – if you miss out on those tiles (or have them specifically discarded), you could lose out to another player who manages to get the tiles they require. S
I explained this game as a streamlined Sid Meier’s Civilization the Board Game to a friend recently and compared it to how Eclipse streamlines Twilight Imperium. Each are great games in their own ways, with Clash of Cultures playing faster than Civilization, and having a different ‘feel’ than Civilization but missing some of the multiple routes to victory and flexibility Civilization offers. Overall, a very, very good game and one I’ll definitely add to my own collection for sure.
I’ve now played most of the major co-operatives and Flash Point is my no.2 so far after Ghost Stories. Where Ghost Stories does well at both ratcheting up the tension and sudden bursts of ‘oh god’, Flash Point mostly works on the ‘It’s OK, it’s OK, Oh God!’ method of board hate. The explosions caused by the fire are a bit too random I find to create a good sense of dread, yet you do worry especially when there’s a lot of fire and a low number of damage markers left. I do like the fact that you can play up to 6 players though, something that Ghost Stories just can’t do. It’s probably a game to be added to my collection for lighter game groups that I visit. It also seems to give the entire ‘alpha gamer’ issue a miss by keeping the entire gameplay / choices obvious enough that there really isn’t a huge amount to discuss / fight over – and when there is, the choices can often be equally as good (do I go here to fight these big fires with everyone else or do I stay here to keep control of the minor fire here in case it flares up?)