Spiel : Boardgames in the UK

9 March 2014

Wayback When? - March ‘94, ‘99, ‘04, ‘09

Filed under: — Garry @ 9:29 pm

Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at March 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009.

 

Five years ago, I played Martin Wallace’s Brass for the first time. A meaty economic game played over two phases; the canal age and then the railway age. The other game that had a noteworthy first play was Blox, which is very different: an abstract tower building game where demolishing as well as building your towers is very important.

 

In March 2004, I got to play two very well regarded games. Alhambra was a variation of the earlier games Al Capone and Stimmt So by Dirk Henn and was rewarded with the Spiel des Jahres. San Juan is Andreas Seyfarth’s best game: Forget Puerto Rico. This distillation of the game into card games is absolutely brilliant and one of my favourite games of all time.

 

Fifteen years ago, March 1999 didn’t see any really outstanding new games played. Of the eleven titles I played during the month, the only two new titles were Fluxx and Johnny Controletti, the former of which is good fun but susceptible for outstaying its welcome and the latter is a somewhat forgettable bidding and bluffing game.

 

March 1994 saw me play 12 titles at the Nottingham Boardgames Club with two new games of note. Bier Borse was Sid Sackson’s Bazaar translated into collecting bottle tops to fulfil combinations displayed on beer mats. Al Capone was the first incarnation of what, as previously mentioned, eventually morphed into Alhambra. The version I have is Stimmt So and a fine game it is too.

7 February 2014

Wayback when? - February ‘94, ‘99, ‘04, ‘09

Filed under: — Garry @ 11:16 pm

Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at February 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009.

  

Five years ago was the first chance I had to play Matt Leacock’s excellent civilisation dice game, Roll Through the Ages, which is still fun today. We also got to experience Bonnie & Clyde, another in the Mystery Rummy series but a game that had been delayed so long people had forgotten how good the rest of the series had been and it, sort of, passed people by. I really enjoyed it though. The third game of note was the elegant little auction game of Byzanz designed by Emmanuel Ornella. I miss playing these clever little card games and should probably go about setting up another session outside of our current cycle to try and play some of these again.

 

In February 2004, I managed to play only two games and the only new game was Martin Wallace’s Princes of the Renaissance. This is a good game set in Renaissance Italy between warring princes and with a smattering of backstabbing and intrigue. Five years earlier, although I played a few more games (still only seven, what is it with February?), again I only played one new title and this was an obscure maze race game called Hey Culligan Man, later released in the U.S. as Switchboard

 

Twenty years ago, I played two great new games. The first was Jolly Roger, a fun set collection game with a push your luck scoring element. The second was the World Cup Tournament Football game, which was a great game of hidden teams in which the players were interested and you played chits to help their progress through the tournament. Probably a bit dated now and The World Cup Game probably does the same thing a little better.

4 January 2014

Wayback When? - January ‘94, ‘99, ‘04, ‘09

Filed under: — Garry @ 9:52 pm

Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at January 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009.

  

In 2009, we played a few excellent new games. Leader 1 was a fabulous cycle racing game with modular courses and excellent movement mechanism (one of Mark W’s favourites). Diamonds Club is a very elegant design from Rudiger Dorn about a competition to develop one’s country estate and really should be played again soon. Oregon is also a charming design set in mid 19th Century western America and is about positioning farmers and buildings in the best locations to yield the most points.

 

January 2004 only saw me play five games but there were two good ones among them. Oasis is a fun hand management and area control game by Alan Moon and Aaron Weissblum, with an interesting offer mechanism for determining turn order. Pirates Cove is an early Days of Wonder game about pirates fighting for booty over various islands to become the most famous swashbuckler.

  

Fifteen years ago saw my first opportunity to play the excellent Carabande (republished as PitchCar), the ultimate flicking race game, as well as Tycoon which is a Wolfgang Kramer and Horst Rainer Rosner design about businessmen travelling the world opening hotels and factories to make the most money. I also played another great Reiner Knizia card game, Circus Flohcati, which works as a fun 20 minute game in virtually any setting.

Unfortunately, January 1994 saw me play only two games, neither of which was new to me. However, one of them - Broadway - is definitely worth playing again (Monopoly’s gamier friend).

5 December 2013

Wayback When? - December ‘93, ‘98, ‘03, ‘08

Filed under: — Garry @ 5:18 am

Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at December 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008.

December doesn’t seem to be a very good month for trying new games. In 2008, I only played one new game (out of just 11 in the whole month) but it is a fine football dexterity game for two or teams of two. Weykick is frantic fun but mind your knuckles on the crossbar below the table.

Five years earlier, I managed to play just two games in the month, although both of them were new to me. The Bridges of Shangrila was a typically dry but interesting game by Leo Colivini while Terra was a semi-cooperative game by Bruno Faidutti, where you try to get the most points possible but, if collectively you pollute the planet too much, everyone loses - inevitably people end up being too greedy hence dooming the planet.

 

In 1998, I got to play Das Motorsportspiel for the first time, motor racing with real time pressure to complete your move before the sand-timer runs out. We also played the hilarious Bamboleo, a dexterity game where a knowledge of the laws of physics is usually an advantage - that is, unless you’re a physics teacher.

The stand-out game of December 1993 was Rette Sich Wer Kann (more recently released as Lifeboats) and is an evil game of tossing your companions out of the rescue boats to be eaten by sharks - don’t play with anyone who bears a grudge.

3 November 2013

Wayback When? - November ‘93, ‘98, ‘03, ‘08

Filed under: — Garry @ 4:12 pm

Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at November 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008.

  

Five years ago, we were first introduced to Le Havre, another good meaty game from Uwe Rosenberg which has remained a fairly regular game in our group. We also immersed ourselves in the classic semi-cooperative and very thematic Battlestar Galactica (I am not a cylon!) and a great racing game from the Lamont Brothers, Snow Tails. The follow-up, Mush Mush, should be sent to me pretty soon and I can’t wait to try it.

  

In November 2003, we played Anno 1503, another of Klaus Teuber’s post-Settlers games and this one was really good. Attika also saw its first outing this month and, interestingly, it got played at the club only a week ago and seemed to still hold up pretty well. Also, I couldn’t pass up mentioning the first time we played Igloo Pop, one of the fun games that Nige actually admitted to enjoying.

  

In November 1998, I played the delightful race games Honeybears and Igel Argern for the first time. In Honeybears, you use cards to advance the bears towards the finish line but want to keep cards of the leading bears to score you more points. Igel Argern is a great Doris & Frank design where hedgehogs are scrambling over other hedgehogs and trying to avoid the pits in a team race to the finish. Five years earlier, the only notable new game I played was another Doris & Frank game about a corrupt political system where you are bluffing your way towards getting voters to vote for your candidate.

5 October 2013

Wayback When? - October ‘93, ‘98, ‘03, ‘08

Filed under: — Garry @ 3:27 pm

Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at October 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008.

  

In October 2008, I was introduced to four great games for the first time. Witch’s Brew is a nice card game with lots of second-guessing and groaning when someone pinches the role you wanted. Powerboats is an under-rated race game where dice control your speed but you have more control than in something like Formula De. And the ground-breaking Dominion arrived amid a mountain of hype - luckily the game lived up to the hype.

Five years earlier, I only got to play one game all month but that game was a good one: Martin Wallace’s Liberte is based on the French Revolution with players trying to gain the most victory points while guarding against the possibility of the game ending early through a landslide election victory or a Royalist counter-revolution.

  

October 1998 saw my first trip to the Essen game fair, during which I managed to play the prototype of Ra from the new Alea game company. It was released the following Spring. A fantastic game which remains one of my favourites. Another Reiner Knizia game appeared in the form of Samurai, the thinky area control game. And Medieval Merchant also came out at Essen, a very nice economic game by Christwart Conrad.

 

Finally, in October 1993, I played a couple of interesting but not top-notch games. Pony Express was an Alan Moon design about racing across a Wild West landscape and Topple was a light balancing game, the plastic equivalent of Zoch’s wooden balancing games.

4 September 2013

Wayback When? - September ‘93, ‘98, ‘03, ‘08

Filed under: — Garry @ 10:04 pm

Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at September 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008.

  

September 2008 saw the first outing for Shadow Hunters, a really fun game of hidden identities which is best played with a larger number of players. Great fun and one to dig out when I need a win to take the annual Hall of Fame title. This month, I also played the beautifully produced Lexio, which is a climbing game in the same mould as Tichu and The Great Dalmuti but comes with great chunky Bakelite tiles.

Five years earlier, we got to play I’m The Boss for the first time, a very unforgiving negotiation game. Although I’ve since sold my copy, it’s still a fun game that we ought to dig out from time to time (Nige???)

 

September 1998 was a good month for three excellent new games played. Basari is an extremely fun simultaneous action and set collection game designed by Reinhard Staupe (and remains his best design to date in my view); Schnappchen Jagd is a tricky Uwe Rosenberg card game that was re-published as Bargain Hunter; and David & Goliath is a fantastic trick taking card game designed by Reinhard Staupe (and remains his best … card game design to date in my view).

Turning to 1993, September only saw me play one new game (to me) of note and that was Labyrinth, the clever tile sliding game where you try to clear a path to the treasure by sliding tiles around the labyrinth.

3 August 2013

Wayback When? - August ‘93, ‘98, ‘03, ‘08

Filed under: — Garry @ 10:27 am

Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at August 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008.

  

August 2008 saw me play a respectable eleven games during a traditionally slow holiday month. The two highlights were clearly Tinners’ Trail, the Martin Wallace game about pasties and tin mining in Cornwall, and Sushizock im Gockelwock, Reiner Knizia’s slightly more interesting dice roller from the same family as his earlier Pickomino.

2003 had a very poor August for game playing with only four recorded for the whole month. However, among these were the distinctly average Ad Acta and Cannes and the slightly better, but still not great, Crazy Race from Michael Schacht.

If 2003 was poor, 1998 was worse with absolutely nothing new played during a month when I only played five games.

  

1993 was a much better month helped by attending the second of the short-lived Stakiscon conventions in Nottingham. Twenty games played during the month with a number of good new ones: $GREED was for a long time our go-to holiday dice game, Café International is a nice tile layer which won the Spiel des Jahres, Shark is a good business game reminiscent of but not quite as great as Acquire, and Tutanchamun is another of Reiner Knizia’s clever set-collection games where you move down a path to collect the tiles you want but can never move back.

2 July 2013

Wayback When? - July ‘93, ‘98, ‘03, ‘08

Filed under: — Garry @ 8:32 pm

Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at July 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008.

July 2008 was nearly as barren a month as June for game playing but, although I only played four games, two of those were the first plays for Agricola and Uptown. In 2003, I went one better in terms of total games played but the highlights were not as spectacular as in 2008. Blokus is a pretty good abstract, which we ought to try again soon, but Mammoth Hunters was a very forgettable game from the normally reliable publisher, Alea.

 

Fifteen years ago, the only new game I played in July was the fairly entertaining, Power, which I still have somewhere in a storage box - should I dig it out - while in 1993, I got to play the classic 6 Tage Rennen, a game I’ve never acquired but enjoy every time I play it.

 

7 June 2013

Wayback When? - June ‘93, ‘98,’03,’08

Filed under: — Garry @ 12:51 pm

Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at June 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008.

 

June is obviously a pretty barren month as in 2008 and 2003 I got to play three and two games in each month respectively. Tribune is a game that I really enjoyed but didn’t go over too well the first time we played it as it seemed to finish really quickly and people got caught out by that. King’s Breakfast is a fun card game from Alan Moon where you’re trying to have a good breakfast but without eating quite as much as the King.

 

June 1998 wasn’t quite so barren and it was the first time I got to play Bruno Faidutti’s excellent vow of silence game, Mystery of the Abbey. Five years earlier, June 2003 saw me try a couple of interesting race games. Traber Derby Spiel was a precursor to Formula De but based on pony trap racing. Pole Position, however, is a wonderful game of negotiating an uncertain race track with lots of second-guessing what other players are going to do.

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