As has been the case for the last month or so, I relied on Robin Gibson to supply me with Roll and Write games to experience.
For my Paper Pinball board to explore for October, I picked Sorcery School Sleuths. It’s twist was trading multi-ball option for a mechanic called timer. When you set off the timer (and there’s only one), it’s worth as much as all the points that you earned up to that point. The board trades in the control multi-ball gives you for a big gamble.
Honestly, if this was a stand alone game, I’d not like it as much. However, it is a tweak in a system that I’ve been exploring. It’s a simple dice game that has room for experimentation. It isn’t a board I’d recommend from the Paper Pinball series for someone who just wants to play one but I had fun with it.
I also tried out two more of the Legends of Dsyx games: Fairy Fair and Mushroom Ale.
Fairy Fair is a game where you use your dice pool to draw a map of a fair grounds. And the game is an unrelenting challenge of restrictions tied to a push-your-luck mechanic. And the grid becomes a lot tighter and more claustrophobic than I expected. It blends together mechanics I’ve seen before in a good way and I had more fun than I was afraid I’d have.
Mushroom Ale is about planting, harvesting and fermenting mushrooms. I’m going to be honest, my one play was basically was about learning the motions of the game. I don’t yet know to play the game well. Which isn’t a knock. Yes, it’s nice for a game to be intuitive but having a learning curve isn’t a bad thing. I haven’t determined if Mushroom Ale has depth or just complexity but finding that out can be fun.
Since picking the Legends of Dsyx up again, I’ve decided to try and learn all the games this year. I’ve got three more to go. While Robin Gibson is not my new favorite designer, they do make consistently good solitaire Roll and Writes. Yeah, that’s a niche but it’s a niche that I think there’s a real need for. I’m actually surprised that Robin Jarvis isn’t more well known.
The other game I want to comment on is 13 Sheep. Our son had his fall break in October and I started a new job so my gaming time was minimal. 13 Sheep was my go to for getting some analog gaming in, although it has never left regular rotation really.
My opinion of 13 Sheep has softened over regular play. A game about fencing in sheep before the wolves come, it uses just one die and there are only ten turns, tops. It is a very slight, very minimal game. There isn’t much there. But within that not much, there are some interesting and legitimate decisions to make.
In other words, in the incredibly narrow field of games that take only a couple minutes to play, 13 Sheep is outstanding. And sometimes, that’s the game I need.