Monday, July 3, 2023

My June Gaming

June saw me learning more games than I expected. It was a busy month but learning games is part of how I try to stay sane lol

In addition to learning some of Alexander Shen’s puzzles, I learned their Quests Over Coffee. I went in with doubts. It looked like you’d just roll the dice and hope for the best. Instead, I found it actually some solid gameplay and real choices. I do think the expansions are essential for replay value. But they are currently free so it is more like the game is broken down into several files lol

Dark Inp’s Castaway filled my Roll and Write quota for June. I enjoyed it. It wasn’t amazing or innovative but it was solid and balanced. Honestly, I think if Print and Play was more mainstream, particularly PnP Roll and Writes (which would be the easiest entry point), Dark Imp woiuld get a lot more attention.

And, while waiting for some brake work to get done, I taught myself Next Station: Tokyo, Spots, Draft Cider and Streets on Board Game Arena.

Next Station: Tokyo is an apparently simple flip and write. You are just drawing lines in between  different symbols. However, the decision tree rapidly becomes a lot more interesting. I’m surprised at how bingeable the game is. The big winner of this BGA session.

Spots is dog-themed dice game that’s actually pretty clever. It’s not just about rolling dice but also picking actions.  Playing it in BGA confused me until I realized that there was an AI opponent for solitaire play that really just serves as a timer. So I think it’s a very nifty game but a terrible 
solitaire game.

And Draft Cider felt like a lesson on how not to design games. Non-intuitive and overly complicated scoring systems attached to a very random mechanic. It is fascinatingly bad.

(Since a lot of my hobby over the last few years has been print and play, I sometimes wonder how good some of these indie designers who don’t get a lot of attention really are. Then I play something like Draft Cider and realize they are god damn geniuses)

Streets felt like one of the post-Carcassonne tile-laying games that I feel like were a common design fifteen or twenty years ago. I liked the FOMO mechanic of redistributing meeples and economy of limited property markets but there are plenty of tile laying games I like more. Next Station: Tokyo drew me in with its apparent simplicity but deep choices but Streets didn’t click. I’ll still play it on BGA but I wouldn’t look for a physical copy.

I have a feeling that a lot of my board game exploration for the next few months will be digital but that’s still a wide open field.

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