Friday, July 24, 2020

Yeah, I still love Ingenious

Okay. I decided to participate in a recent geek list about favorite games:

It is actually a really tough question because, frankly, the answer can change depending on my mood and the situation. Catan and Go are in the running because both are games that were instrumental in getting me into the hobby. Dominion and Race for the Galaxy provided hours upon hours of play in my most regular gaming group. Six and Qwirkle were a big part of my wife and me getting to know each other.  I play Onirim almost daily these days.

But I ended up going with Ingenious, although I dearly love and would cheerfully play all of the games I mentioned in the last paragraph. There was a time in my life when I was playing it almost constantly, thanks to the BSW website. I do really like the game.  But that’s not why I still think of it as my favorite.

I really like abstract games and Ingenious gives me a really top notch abstract experience in a very manageable time frame. While the board is small enough to make the game a knife fight in a phone booth, there’s a lot of interesting choices. When you have Tigris and Euphrates scoring, that can either mean trying for balanced play or crushing your opponents’ chances in just one color. You can choose to be make the game unbalanced and try to control that imbalance.

But here’s the thing. Ingenious is the game that broke me out of the idea that abstracts had to be perfect information. You randomly draw a hand of tiles but you can discard and draw a new hand if you don’t have any tiles in your lowest color. The random element is very manageable but still adds a lot of uncertainty and replay value to the game.

It has honestly been a while since I last played Ingenious and I know it would take a few plays for me to find the groove again. However, I know it’s a game I could get back into playing all the time and it definitely changed how I see abstracts and games in general.

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