Wednesday, October 25, 2017

So how did Bubblee Pop strike me?

Every once in a while, I log onto Boardgame Arena to see what games they’ve added and maybe learn a new game. In my latest wandering over to that site, I tried out Bubblee Pop, mostly because their internal news blurb said it had been really successful on the site.

Okay. Here’s Bubblee Pop in a sentence. A board game Bejeweled where you get to mess with the other player.

In the two-player game (there’s also a solo option), each player has their own area with a sky section in the middle. The sky is where all the action is. You fill in empty spots with stones, swap stones and then drop them down into your own area, trying to get three of a color in a row to clear spaces and get points.

Honestly, I’m glossing over the rules a lot but it’s one of those games that you play one turn and the mechanics all click. If you’ve played a three-in-a-row video game, it all makes sense.

The most interesting element of the game is that each color of stone has a special power. Make a set and you get to use that power. And over half of them involve messing with your opponent. 

Seriously, for a game that looked like a multi-player solitaire game where you were working on your own puzzle, Bubblee Pop really involves a lot of interaction and direct confrontation. My first couple games were real eye-openers in how much pain my opponent could bring to me.

While I will probably play the game again, I have to admit that I am more impressed with the designer making a game that is a legitimate game that feels like a computer game than I am with Bubblee Pop. It is a very light game that has room for tactical play but is too random to make any plans more than a couple moves ahead. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s not something to look for either.

I also haven’t played Potion Explosion, which came out earlier and also explored three-a-row game style. From what I’ve read, it is a much better game. I have a feeling I would be less impressed by Bubblee Pop if I had played Potion Explosion.

While learning the game was interesting, my real take away is being reminded that Boardgame Arena is a place that’s good to pop into every once in a while.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

My October Print and Play projects

Over the last few days, I’ve gotten back on the print-and-play wagon. While I sadly make any of the big projects I dream of, I still continue to make small projects on a fairly regular basis. Once or twice a month, I get the drive and do some crafting.

A tiny game from ButtonShy kicked this latest flurry of activity. Chill Pill is a 1-card adaptation of their earlier 18-card game Fever Chill. I got it as a Patreon backer (and, let me say, so much fun stuff from backing them) 

I really made it to be a wallet game, since it’s just one card and only requires a couple of tokens that can be anything. I honestly suspect it will be just one step up from Bonsai Samuria but I figured it would be fun if only for the novelty. I might make more for Christmas presents that will fit in an envelope.

And once I did that, I decided to try making Autumn. It’s a simple tile-laying game with pretty cards of leaves. However, it’s use of the pie rule made the game seem a lot more interesting to me.

Yeah, I know that the pie rule is nothing new. I’m not sure we even know when or where it first got started. (Oh, Wikipedia says 1909 for a Mancala game) However, it can make a huge difference in making a game fair and interesting.

After that, I decided to make A Blorg in the Midwest and Pocket Landship, which are two different 9-card solitaire games. In large part to practice making cards and because it’s easy to test drive solitaire games. But Pocket Landship, a game about WW I tanks, looks like it might be a decent game and worth more than a test drive.

And I printed out some more games from GenCan’t’s Roll and Write contest. Which does count as Print and Play, probably the most literal you can get really, but doesn’t count as a contruction project. (For anyone who cares, I’ve gotten in some plays of the winner, Welcome to Dino World, but want to get in some more before I write a review. I have been happy with it, though)

One thing that I have noticed, in this particular bout of game construction, is that I am actually getting better at making cards. And some of my old shortcuts aren’t as appealing as they used to be. Modern laminators mean that I can laminate and then cut. However, that isn’t as aesthetically pleasing and doesn’t have as long of lifespan. I’m sure I will still do it when I just want to quick and dirty copy but my standards are growing.

Which, of course, means that I have to work harder to make a good copy.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Is BSW still a thing?

Whatever happened to BSW?

Actually, I know the site still is there but it seems like I never hear anything about it. When I first got back into board games, which was around 2002, BSW came up a lot and I spent a lot of time there.

And I know why I stopped playing on the site. First of all, it was easier for me to work turn-based games into my schedule. Real time games online and real life just became incompatible.

But another factor was device. When we got our first iPad and when I got my first smart phone, those became my principal tools for computer-based recreation. The laptops quickly became just for work and other practical matters.

And java-based BSW doesn’t work on iPads. Almost every other site I played board games on worked on the iPad but BSW was shut out. And, for me, that was it. If I could have played BSW on the pad, I’m sure it would have gotten the odd visit but when I couldn’t use my primary recreation tool for online stuff, that pretty much meant BSW was a closed book for me.

Even now, thinking about revisiting the site, I know I’m going to have to find a time when I can sit with the laptop uninterrupted. And that it’s not as easy as it used to be :D

I don’t actually know if BSW has fallen on hard times. If it really has and it isn’t just a figment of my imagination, I wonder if it because of the shift to tablets.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Why playing Button Men online was important to me

Gaming online was a big part of how I started playing board games, something that I kind of find more than a little ironic. And BSW was a huge part of that, both exposing me to a lot of different games and a broader community of players. It was also a way for me to play games from home and without worrying about the particular hour.

However, another site that was a big part of my early gaming life was the original Button Men site, which was a very simple way to play just one particular game, Cheapass’s Button Men. And, looking back at those experiences, I think it was a bigger influence on my playing than I thought at the time.

Button Men is a simple two-player game where players are trying to capture each other’s dice. Each ‘character’ is just a collection of different types of dice. The basic ways of capturing are either power attack (using a die with a larger pip) or skill (using one or more dice to exactly equal the captured die’s value)

Part of what makes the game so brilliant is that there are different types of dice. X Dice that you assign a size to at the start of a round, poison dice that are worth negative points, shadow dice that do reverse attacks and the list just goes on and on.

Really, about half the interesting part of the game is in the set up but each round would still have interesting decisions within it. And, in person, the game plays out very fast. It has a great depth of play for time spend playing return rate.

But the site was one of the first places that I regularly went that was turn-based. BSW is real time, which was great for my back when I was a bachelor. It was almost like playing face-to-face. But though it was more flexible than actually going somewhere to game, I still had to schedule a block of time to to play.

During peak seasons at the job I had at the time, almost all my gaming went in hiatus. They had to play without me at game night (I loaned the group a chunk of my library so they didn’t miss me as much :P) and I even stopped playing on BSW since sleep was more important.

I wasn’t the only one who did this, by the way. I used to game with an accountant who would disappear during tax season.

During these times, though, I still played Button Men online. Being both turn-based and having simple turns, I could still work it into my schedule. It became my gaming outlet when things were really crazy.

These days, Yucata, also being turn-based, has taken its place. When my schedule gets crazy, I just switch to lighter games like Just 4 Fun and Roll Through the Ages.

I recently learned that the powers-that-be are working on a new version of that old Button Men site. Apparently it’s in perpetual alpha. While it wouldn’t fill the same role it has for me in the last, I’ll still have to check it out.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

How to fire Carcassonne

A couple of my friends have said that they feel that the Isle of Skye has fired Carcassonne for them and rendered it obsolete. 

And most of the time that I hear folks say things like this, I find myself thinking really? I’m not saying that I’ve never done it. After I played Steam, I was done with the crayon train games.

In this particular example, other than being tile laying games, I just don’t see the resemblance. Carcassonne is an area control game on a shared tableau. Isle has individual tableaus with money management and set collecting. I honestly would compare it more to Alhambra.

Okay, if you don’t play games, then all three games are alike. And if you’re looking for a family weight game, all three will probably do just fine for you.

And make no mistake, I have enjoyed my few plays of Isle. It is a good game and it has interesting and legitimate interactions between the players. Arguably the strongest interactions out of all three players because you cannot escape interacting with other players. Isle of Skye might well have the legs to still be getting played ten years from now.

But I have already gotten more than ten years of regular play out of Carcassonne and its family. I don’t see it getting fired.

HOWEVER, Carcassonne:Hunters and Gatherers kind of fired regular Carcassonne for me a long time ago. That and the Castle are what have stayed in my collection and what I prefer. 

Sooooo... Carcassonne may have been fired/refined by itself.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Riding on Ticket to Ride: Europe

I was remembering how, long ago and far away, I used to play with a group that played Power Grid almost every week. Enough that, even though I think it is a profoundly brilliant game, I got burnt out on it. However, the other game that you could pretty much count on always being played was Ticket to Ride Europe and I never got burnt out on that.

When I first started really playing board games, which was back around 2002, it felt like Catan and Carcassonne and Puerto Rico were the three pillars of board gaming. Almost everyone in the hobby knew and play those games. You could just count on it. And Ticket to Ride ended up becoming like one of those pillars, a position that I think it still holds to this day, better than Carcassonne and Puerto Rico in fact.

I haven’t played a lot of the new boards yet but I feel that if you are only going to buy one Ticket to Ride Product and call it quits after that, Ticket to Ride Europe is that one box.

There’s really two reasons I feel that way. I feel that only distributing the super long routes at the beginning and the stations help flatten the randomness of the game and make it a little more forgiving for new players without dumbing the game down. It’s still tense game that I’ve seen lots of adult language used during.

Mind you, I didn’t stop at one box so I don’t own the Europe board :P In fact, with the 1912 expansion, I like the US map better. Although I still think the Europe board is the best for easing new players in before the knives come out.

For a game described as a family game, Ticket to Ride can be a vicious game :D

And, it has been a long runner for me.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fumbling my way through making an Eldritch Knight

Okay, I am in my first fifth edition campaign and I have just hit third level. Second level didn’t involve choices but now I have to actually make some decisions, which I haven’t had to do since I rolled up the character months ago.

Now, I played a decent amount of first and second edition, an unholy amount of third edition, and some fourth edition, not counting Iron Kingdoms and Pathfinder. I’ve had a lot of experience with Dungeons and Dragons but I also know the nitty gritty is in the details.

Because I was also using Roll20 for the first time, I intentionally chose to play a fighter to keep things simple. Although it’s not nearly as simple as second edition was :P Picking the protection fighting style pretty much determined my tactics in combat.

Third level, I have to pick a Martial Archetype. And I’ve chosen Eldritch Knight.

Which, to be absolutely clear, is not an optimal choice. If I wanted a more efficient fighter, a different archetype. However, I felt it made sense with my character who is a scholar turned slave turned warrior. 

The schtick of the Eldritch Knight is that they get some wizard spells. At first, that’s two cantrips and three first level spells. Cantrips, by the way, have kind of taken the role of At Will powers from fourth edition, a default attack for spell casters to use over and over.

Mechanically, a big part of my choice being Eldritch Knight was getting the damn light cantrip. With lighting actually being enforced by Roll20, I’ve been stuck in the dark too much. It is actually a critical concern.

And picking out the first level spells wasn’t that hard either. Let’s face it. I’ll do more damage with a sword than with a spell. I’m already tanking a lot so Shield and Protection from Good and Evil are spells that will reinforce my fighting style.

But I still want a damage option, when I need another option in combat. Considering that saving against me won’t be hard, I’m going with Thunderwave. Area of effect, still does damage if they save and it might push them away. Downside is that it lets everyone know you’re there. 

Actually, the tough choice is the second cantrip. True Strike was an option but it takes an action to cast and I would rather attack twice. And it kind of bores me. I was thinking of Mage Hand for all the out-of-combat uses but if the game goes long enough, I’ll get to use a cantrip and attack. (So True Strike might be my third cantrip when i get one)

So now I’m mulling over actual damage cantrips. Something to can use at range and does a different type of damage is what I’m thinking about. Haven’t made up my mind yet.

And I bet I will make some kind of mistake in my design :D

Power Grid back in the day

I used to game at a table where Power Grid was played just about every week. I have yet to ever own my own copy of Power Grid and I also have to say that Power Grid is one the best games I have ever gotten burnt out on.

It’s interesting to look back on those time and that game in particular. In part because I don’t know what it would be like to play Power Grid now or what it sill be like to play it further down on the road.

At the moment, Power Grid is long enough that it would be hard to schedule the time to play it. However, I know that life will change enough that that won’t be the case forever.

It’s been long enough that I am sure that I have both gotten past the burn out and also forgotten how to play the game well. Not that I was ever particularly good but I had my moments. 

I do remember that Power Grid does such a good job balancing auctions and route development and oh so much resource management. I also remember that it felt more like a train game than a lot of train games :D

I know that I find myself thinking about older games a lot. With a lot of them, it’s because I’ve played them more because I’ve had them longer :P But games like Power Grid and Catan and such, they are genuinely great games that have legitimate staying power.

That being said, I think that the quality of games has been steadily getting better and better. I don’t think games were better over ten years ago. I think the gems from yesteryear really are gems, games good enough for generations to play.

Which actually makes me try and remember how cool Power Grid was when I played back then.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Do I want to go back to Kingdom of Loathing?

Okay, after four years hiatus, I’m playing the Kingdom of Loathing again. And I am already reminded why I liked the game and why I stoped playing, all at the same time.

KoL is a massive multi-player role playing game that is browser based. I personally think of it as a World or Warcraft for casual players. It’s noted for using stick-figure art and tons of snarky humor. 

Seriously, the fourth wall has been torn down and set on fire.

And KoL is funny and entertaining. Working on combinations of equipment and one-shot items and special powers keeps the game interesting. And it is turn-based so it lends itself to ego and go play.

But... sometimes the puzzles can be remarkably intricate for a casual player.. And it can easily become a big time sink, even if you can stop and start when you want to and you get a limited number of turns a day.

So it is fun and engaging by it eats up time. And, let’s face it, time is precious.

So if I am going to keep on playing, I think I’m going to be a lot more casual about it.

Circus Flohcati: not a gem but worth hanging onto

I must have bought Circus Flohcati at least ten years ago. Probably more. It was one of the games I like picked up relatively early after I really starting collecting. Fairly cheap and it was a Knizia.

I got the Rio Grande edition, with the cartoony artwork and saturated colors. It also came in a tiny box just big enough to hold the cards, which is why it has stayed in my collection.

Because I never got around to playing it. One of the top many poor victims of too many games, not enough time.

Fast forward to RinCon 2017. I got in a game of it with the edition that uses pictures that look like they were stolen from the Miss Peregrine books and faded colors that looked identical to my color-blind eyes.

And I’m now glad it has survived all those purges.

Circus Flohcati is a card game that’s all about pushing your luck and set collecting. It consists of ten suits that each have a distinct color and circus acts ranked 0-7 and nine action cards.

The core mechanic is simple. Flip over cards in a row. You can stop whenever you want and take a card but if you flip over a card that matches the suit/color of a card already in the row, you discard that card and your turn ends without you getting a card. You also don’t have to flip over any cards. If there are cards in the row, you can just take one.

Action cards let you take cards from opponents or let you flip over cards until you get a duplicate but you still get to take a card. You can also lay down three cards of the same rank as a trio. They are no longer in your hand but they will be worth ten points at the end of the game.

The game ends in two ways. If someone displays all ten suits/colors in their hand, they get ten bonus points and end the game. Otherwise, it ends when you draw the last card in the deck. In addition to any trios, you get the value of the highest ranked card of each suit you have in your hand. Most points wins.

There are a number of straight push your luck games in my collection. I’ve gotten tons of play out of Can’t Stop and I also have really enjoyed Cloud 9 and Incan Gold. As simple as Circus Flohcati is, and it is simple, it’s not as simple as those games.

What makes Circus Flohcati interesting is the hand management. Trying to make trios, working towards a good end game hand, all that adds an extra layer of decisions to the game.. We are still looking at a simple filler/children’s game but it does you a few choices beyond daring to flip another card.

Really, the trios are what make the game for me. They add value to the lower ranked cards and they mean you have another collecting goal beyond grabbing high cards. In a fifteen minute game, that extra  bit of decisions adds some oomph.

Don’t get me wrong. Circus Flohcati isn’t one of Knizia’s greats. It’s not even one of his great short games. But i has fun with it and I think it will prove worth hanging on to.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Village Run, the gamer version of a Denny’s placemat

Village Run is a simple little print-and-play game, a children’s race game that adds just a touch more depth than rolling and moving your pawn.

Not counting the pawns, the whole thing is on one sheet of paper. An 19-space circular race track, the rules, the circular speed meter and the power-up chart. So, this is a super easy, no construction build.

Village Run is a race. Choose how many laps you want the race to be and whoever comes in first wins. Every player gets two pawns. One goes on the track and the other goes on speed meter. On your turn, you can keep the same speed or try and move up the speed meter, which is 0-1-1-1-2-2-3, by rolling a die. 

The two restrictions are you can only stay on three for two turns in a row and you have to roll if you’re on zero.

The twist in the game is the power-up boxes. There are five of them spread out on the track. If you land on one, roll the die and consult the chart. Do nothing, move one space, move one space, reset an opponent to zero, switch places with the leader and take another turn.

Clearly, the basic strategy is to hit as many power-up boxes as you can. There’s an odd dichotomy between the speed meter, which flattens out the randomness, and the power-up chart, which ramps it up.

Okay, let’s be honest. Village Run isn’t very interesting. The game is pretty random and the effects of the power-up chart can get repetitive. I’m not even sure how well it works as a children’s game.

You know what Village Race really reminds me of? The gamer interpretation of one of those roll-and-move games that you used to find on children’s placemats at restaurants. (They seem to have been replaced by coloring pages in my experience) So that’s actually what I’ve done. Using the laminator, I made the game into a place mat. Don’t know if it will actually see use but it seemed like a fun idea.

I don’t think Village Run is a good game but I do think the speed meter and power-ups are interesting ideas. Being a free file with no construction is also nice.

Wait, we released a Lovecraftian horror?

Session Eleven of the Late Night Lurkers

Real life stuff (including being a later time zone than everyone else), I ended joining the game about halfway through the session. We had been exploring a cave/dungeon in a mountain pass where travelers kept dying.

And I came in right when we were in the middle of a fight with a variety of fungus monsters and in a fog of poisonous spores. The group had also found a mildly toxic fungus that gave dark vision so I decided my character ate the wrong mushrooms and spent the first half thinking the entire party had become gnomes with shoes with curly toes.

We eventually discovered that the cave had been turned into a temple for a xenophobic cult devoted to a corrupted worship of basically a Cthulhoid deity. By corrupted, I mean traditional worshippers of Lovecraftian horrors would feel they made theological mistakes.

The long and the short of our evil temple of eldritch horror experience is that we accidentally released a giant tentacle horror into the world but, by adjusting the statues with the help of divine guidance (the spell), we got it to appear somewhere else.

This is basically the second time we’ve released some kind of supernatural horror into the world. We joked about how it’s going to go hang out with the mummy lord we freed.

We also hit a milestone by completing this adventure so we are all now third level (yea!) As a fighter, this will be fun because I get to choose a path.

I’m going with Eldritch Knight, although it’s not the mechanically strongest choice for me. In part, it’s because it is an interesting story choice and makes sense for the character’s scholar background. I also want to get access to attacks that use different energy types. But really, after dealing with legitimate light issues thanks to Roll20’s dynamic lighting, I want access to the light cantrip! 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Will Imhotep break my heart?

What has really struck me about Imhotep is the it follows the Ticket to Ride philosophy. While the two games are quite different, they both offer you three different, simple actions. Everything in the game is built off those choices.

The elevator pitch is that you are masons in ancient Egypt. You load stones on your sledge, load stones from your sledge onto boats and sail boats to building sites. Timing and brinkmanship is a big deal.

I had heard good things about Imhotep from friends but my experiences with it started with Yucata. And I got the basic gist of it but I didn’t quite grok it there. When I finally got to play it in person, that’s when things clicked and I really knew what was going on.

So much the game is physically moving cubes from point A to point B to Point C so actually going through those motions was important to me. Plus, I had the boat positions backwards online :D

And, so far, I have found Imhotep to be a really good game. There’s a lot of brinkmanship and just enough control to make you fight for that killer move but little enough control that you have to sacrifice other killer moves for that one.

It’s not really reasonable to compare Imhotep to Ticket to Ride but I can’t help it. They fit the same need at the gaming table. A family weight game that works with casual and experienced gamers that you can play on a work night.

And there are some interesting differences between the game. Ticket to Ride is more of a sandbox. You can collect cards without limit, claim routes on any place on the board, and get more tickets when you feel like it. In Imhotep, you move each stone in a prescribed order.

There is a lot of variety in Imhotep between the market cards, the double sided site boards, and the different layouts of ships. And there are choices between how you load the boats and where you steer them. I am pretty sure that this shakes things up enough that Imhotep won’t become formulaic and isn’t solvable. 

And with a game like Imhotep, that’s a good question. I can see it becoming a regular for family game nights (you know, when the toddler is older) and replay value would be even more important than usual.

So far, I have been very happy with Imhotep. Happy enough that I hope it’s not a heartbreaker.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

My RinCon 2017

RinCon is Tucson’s friendly local gaming convention. In fact, it might be the largest gaming convention in Arizona. It’s definitely powered by the local community and I’ve always had fun at it. RinCon 2017 was no exception. I was there for a good chunk of Saturday and came back for one event on Sunday. While I was there, I got to play a nice mixture of scheduled events and pick up games.

I started out on Saturday with a scheduled game of Imhotep. I’ve played it in Yucat√° but I wanted to play it face-to-face so I could get a better understanding of it. It was well worth the experience. One play with the game really helped me grok it better. It has a nice Ticket-to-Ride philosophy, three simple actions but tough choices. My Yucata experiences did help me decide to collect a ton of statues for the win.

I then ran into a couple who I had played Scythe and HUE with at a RinCon fundraiser last year and they remembered me. I had For Sale in my bag and we sat down for a quick game. I don’t get to play For Sale much but I often pack it for events. And getting to play it again reminded me of what a good game it is and why it ends up in my bag.

My second scheduled event was Button Men with James Ernst, who was a guest of honor. And I was the only one who signed up, although he had had a full table for Button Men on Friday. We still found another player and got in several rounds.

It was also a lot of fun to talk to James Ernst. As I grow older, I feel like he really knows how to design games for the casual gamer. And I have played a LOT of Button Men and it was cool to talk with him about it. We discussed stinger dice, which was a type he had been disappointed by, the new Button Men site and how we used the same plastic photo cases to carry games.

After a quick lunch, I ended up in a pick up game of Circus Flohcati with a group that included someone else I met at a fundraiser. I’ve owned the game for years but I have never actually played it. (Stayed in the collection due to its small size and it’s a Knizia) Nice to finally play it. And it’s going to definitely stay in the collection now.

Coincidentally, my third scheduled event was another Knizia, Samurai. Haven’t played it in years but it’s still brilliant and I am still TERRIBLE at it. I really think the new edition is a serious improvement, particularly the thicker board that comes in more pieces, allowing for a square box.

Wandering around after that, I got invited to a pick up game of Sagrada, a game of building stain glass windows through dice drafting. I’ve been curious about it since it sounds right up my wheelhouse. It was a lot of fun. I understand it’s hard to get a copy but I’d pick it up if I have the chance.

My last scheduled game on Saturday was Codename - Pictures. I have never played any of the games in the Codename series but I know that they have consistently gotten rave reviews. I’m not that into party games but I knew I had to take it advantage of the chance of playing one.

While I didn’t become a fan, I can definitely appreciate the Codename system now that I have tried it. And I know that Carrie and I should never be on the same team because we would want to kill each other by mid game :D

The last game I played was Broom Service, which I both learned and taught :D Since I already knew Witch’s Brew, Broom Service’s predecessor, it wasn’t that hard or unreasonable. Despite sharing the same core mechanic, they are surprisingly distinct. Broom Service was a good play.

Before I left, I went and looked at the Flea Market. I have been really trying to keep myself from buying games this year but I just couldn't help myself. And when I saw Steve Finn's Butterfly Garden, which I almost backed on Kickstarter, I broke. Having done that, I also got Famous Fairways since I've wanted to look at that series of micro games. I can console myself that my total expenditure for this year on games is still under ten dollars.

The only thing I did on Sunday was participate in a 7 Wonders tournament. I've made a point of playing in at least one tournament since my second RinCon. If nothing else, it's a good way to make sure I get a solid block of gaming in. Despite a rough start in the first round, I managed to squeak onto the final table and get second place. (Okay, someone dropping out had to have helped me out a lot) That was a fun way to wrap up the con for me.

Every year, it seems like every RinCon I go to is the best one I've been to and this year was no different. What made it so good, above all else, was how warm and inviting everyone was. I made sure to have scheduled events so I would get to play games but I got in a lot of pickup games. And at least half were with folks I'd gamed with in past RinCon events. There really is a sense of community in RinCon.

Washington D6 - building the city one die at a time

GenCan't Roll and Write Library - Washington D6 

Washington D6 isn't so much a game as it is a collection of mini games. However, you are playing all of them at the same time. In the game, you are renovating the different monuments in Washington DC but they all have different requirements.

Washington D6 was a finalist in the GenCan't Roll and Write Contest, which means it's a free print and play game. All you have to do to make it is print out the two pages and add dice and a pencil. It is also a solitaire game and I really can't think of an effective way of making it multiplayer.

You need six dice to play the game. One red, two white, and three blue. In addition to being a cute thematic touch, most of the monuments have specific color requirements. For instance, the White House is going to only use white dice. It is a nice but simple way of tying the mechanics to the theme.

And the mechanics are pretty darn simple. You have sixty square boxes, which stand for work days. You check one off every time you roll all the days and each time you make a reroll. 

There are sixteen number of circle boxes and eight number of star boxes, representing overtime and holiday. They allow you to do different dice manipulations at the cost of points. Mechanically, they are the same. However, you lose more points for using holidays.

Roll the dice, perform any rerolls and manipulations you feel like and assign dice to the different monuments. For each left over dice (and near the end of the game, you are going to have some), check off another square box.

After you have used all the square boxes, the game is over. Complete monuments are worth twenty points per space, incomplete ones are worth ten per completed space and negative five per incomplete space. Some monuments have possible bonus points and you lose points for overtime and holiday use (and you are going to use them) A winning score is at least 1776 points.

Okay, the real stars of this games are the monuments. Every one is different, it's own little mini-game. I'm not going into each one because then I'm just repeating all the rules. But they are all distinct and many of them make interesting use of color of dice. And they do a good job reflecting the monuments they are based on.

I'm genuinely impressed at how integrated the theme is with the mechanics. For a game that's two pieces of paper, some dice and some Yahtzee, that's pretty impressive.

I've had fun with Washington D6. It's not perfect. I'll be honest, I like my solitaire dice games on the short side and it was a bit long for my tastes. However, it is a very clean design with a lot of theme. Good show.