Friday, February 23, 2018

Ambagibus: should I be having this much fun?

Ambagibus kind of annoys me. It’s a very simple, brutally simple game. And I’m convinced that luck plays a possibly overwhelming role. And not just to sometimes make it too hard but sometimes to make it too easy. And after a game or two, you get a sense of what the best decisions are. 

And yet I keep having fun with Ambagibus and keep on playing it :D

Ambagibus consists of a simple set of tiles that show paths and your goal is to try and create a closed network of paths. The whole thing is just forty tiles you make yourself and takes up two sheets of tiles. And the game is draw a tile and place a tile.

(Did I mention it’s a solitaire game? It’s a solitaire game)

It’s not _quite_ that simple. Each opening has a number, one to four, and those numbers are priorities. You have to extend ones before twos and so on. Plus, there are two bombs that clear a square and cave ins that fill in a square. 

Still, it’s pretty simple. Even the most advanced rules, which have you start a new network if you finish one, are simple. This isn’t a brain burning puzzle. It’s a way to amuse yourself for a few minutes.

And for me, it works. I pause. I shuffle the tiles. I play a quick game. I’m done. I’m more relaxed and I had a good time. I go back to the rest of my life.

And, yes, if Ambagibus had any real set or clean up time, if it took even ten minutes to play, I wouldn’t be playing it as much as I have and I wouldn’t be enjoying it so much. It is literally just a way of pausing for me.

But that’s something I can use, at least at the moment. And I’m sure I’ll get bored or burnt out with it but Ambagibus has already vastly exceeded the value of the time and materials it took for me to make it.

I do have to compare it to Cheese Chasers, a very similar PnP game that came out around the same time and has a similar level of ease of construction and play. Cheese Chasers is a little more complicated but I think has even less depth. Not only are the decisions in Cheese Chasers simple, the patterns you create are very repetitive. I got bored with Cheese Chasers quickly but Ambagibus is still fun.

I wasn’t surprised when I saw that the designer, P. D. Magnus, is the same person who developed the Decktet. I think the Decktet is a brilliant piece of work. Ambagibus isn’t nearly as good but I can see how it didn’t come out of a vacuum.

I can’t say that Ambagibus is a PnP that everyone has to go out and make. It’s not a perfect or amazing game. But I’ve had a lot more fun with it than I expected.

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