Friday, December 3, 2021

My November Gaming

Since February, I’ve been posting about what Roll and Write games I’ve learned each month. And make no mistake, Roll and Write has been very good for me. But In November, I started itching to learn other types of games.

Really, thanks to design contests.

I’ve already written about the Flipuzzles collection, which is no longer free (and good for the designer!) As puzzles that consist of single cards you flip and mentally keep track of your position, they are tricky but their minimalism is very convenient.

And the Flipuzzle collection represents something that seems to be becoming more and more common with design contest games. They are prototypes with the goal of eventual publication. I like to tell msyelf that I’m getting in on stuff ahead of the game but I’m really just a Guiana pig :) Okay, I get to be part of the play testers. Does that sound better?

Another design contest game I tried was Squarcles, a speed puzzle game. Very little to it but what is there works. If I ever make a tiny travel box of dice games, Squarcles would make the short list.

My ‘big’ gaming experience for November was learning Unsurmountable. It’s the third game in Buttonshy’s Simply Solo series by Scott Ames. (Incidentally, I feel that hitting the third work in any media point where it officially exists as a series. That’s just me, though)

It’s a tile-laying game where you are trying to create a pyramid of cards to form a mountain and make sure there’s a continuous path from the bottom to the top. Each card shows a mountain path and has a special power. You have a hand of cards and you can either play the first card as a tile or use the special power of any of the other cards.

While Food Chain Island is still my favorite game in the series, Unsurmountaboe is a solid entry in the series and it will keep hitting the table.

I also _finally_ played the 18-card version of I Am Lynx. I had some confusion about the rules that three minutes of careful reading would have sorted out. The nine card version got me interested in In Hand games but there’s not much to it. The larger version is still very slight but feels more like an actual game.

And since I haven’t had a month go by this year without learning a Roll and Write, I tried out Pipe Dream from the 8th R&W design contest. A very simple game, it’s all about drawing paths in grids. 

It’s far from the first path drawing game I’ve played. The question I always ask is ‘Would I rather be playing 30Rails?’ Pipe Dreams does not pass that test but it does have one design element I like. A timer. Failing to reach an ever increasing length by a X number of rounds means you lose. That makes the game interesting.

In short, it was a really a last minute filler to get in a November Roll and Write but it had some nice design touches.

I started a new job in November so, for a wide variety of reasons, I didn’t game as much. But, looking at the month, learning new games was took up a higher percentage of my gaming time. And December will probably be the same… probably with more Roll and Writes :D 

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