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Archive for May, 2012

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In my book you can roughly divide board game players into two different types.
I like to compare us to runners, where you have the typical sprinter type, and the hardy long-distance specialists.

In board game terminology, the sprinters (like myself) enjoy shorter games (1-2h) with fast and furious game mechanics – where mistakes are instantly penalized by defeat.
There is a lot of boardgames out there, that suit this specific type of player – but for some reason we are often argued by the “other side” as being less skilled board gamers…
“It´s just plain luck, half the time”, is the typical statement.

The “other side” is the long-distance players, who enjoy the slowly developing marathon games (3-4h+) where you will need to plan seriously ahead and then roll out your strategy through hours of play – before ultimately claiming your victory. For these guys a board game, with less than 3 hours of play-time is considered a kids game.
This kind of game allows so much more detailed and varied gameplay, with loads more options; allowing the game to have incredible depth and complexity.

Even if I understand the argument that one 8h game win is much more valuable than 8 x 1h wins – I dont think one type of player is superior to the other.
You have to grasp a much bigger picture, yes, and understand much deeper mechanics – but it´s more a question of taste than skills, in my oppinion.

The reason why I am not a very good “long-distance” player, is that I hate the mere risk of sitting 3-4 hours in a game you know you have already lost.
I mean honestly; that´s a bit of a drag.
Also, these guys are somewhat connected to the reason board games has a bit of a geeky reputation in the public eye (no offense intended).

For me, a true board game champion can really enjoy and master both types; and I have yet to meet such a player.
– A long-distance sprinter? Now that would be board gaming like a boss.

Turtle vs Rabbit

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I used to wake up at night believing my wife was a zombie. This came as a consequence of countless hours of playing the zombie-mode of COD Black Ops. Obviously my obsession with killing zombies had taken new dimensions and I eventually decided to take a break – I figured this was the right thing to do in order to avoid waking up next to a strangled wife one day. I have now been clean for 5 months. However, Last night I supposedly cried out BOARD4LIFE (name of our board game club) in my sleep. Normally I would interpret this as a sign that things are starting to get out of control. But seriously, I am not going cold turkey this time. I choose to see my nightly outbursts as a symbol of high dedication and nothing more. I hope I am not alone on this.

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Some say first impressions last, but of course for boardgames this is not always true. Some games will seem great at first, only to lose your interest fast – and some will win you over in time (as you learn the mechanics).

With Lords of Waterdeep I must confess that I have not been this impressed with a game anytime recently. This game is great!

Why is it good?
The game it self is pretty straight-forward (worker placement) – took me about 10 mins to learn.
That itself is a quality, but only if it has enough depth to keep you puzzled on strategy over time – and this will have to be revisited.
Here are some of the key-feats that I liked:

  • Action:

You have the possibility to gain victory points, all the time (literally).
This gives the game great pace, because you have to keep up or get left behind (- and dont get too far ahead either, your opponents will join forces then)
The pacing has you on the tip of your chair, franticly looking for the next way to score points, meanwhile the opponents completing their quests and winning victory points.
Also – there is almost no downtime (this can never be underestimated).

  • Balance:

This game has great balance. Even though we played it only a few times, it was close – when someone felt comfortable ahead – they were not, it turned out. The great thing is the secret focus of each player/lord, that scores bonus-points in the end – it is not until then, that the game is truly decided.

  • Options/Customized board:

You have a lot of options – many ways to complete each quest, many paths to gain points in the end. As the buildings with unique actions are never the same  – the board is never completely the same. Each building is chosen by random (draw) and then only enters if built by someone. This means that the options varies from game to game, and even then you have to look out not to help the building owners too much.

  • Feel:

As I would have liked to have more detailed pieces, this was a concern of mine; that the universe would not feel that authentic. This is important for me, that the game has a theme/story that it stays true to.
I still feel that they could have done a better job on the pieces (cubes), but the way the quests are shaped to each type of lord makes up.
You can establish the Shadow Thieves Guild (Quest) as a fighter/mage, but you will not get any extra credit (points) in the end.
If you think that someone else is a rogue however, you could do so just to spoil their chances.

I really cant think of much bad to say, but consider that this is a very early statement.
Maybe things will change as we get more familiar with the game – but for now this is my new favorite.

One of my favorite Arcana quest-cards.

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