Modart is a fanware implementation of Modern Art, one of the best Reiner Knizia's auction games. Each player is an art broker and speculator, buying paintings low to sell high. It has been published in multiple languages, in different editions. Unfortunately the US, Mayfair edition is the ugliest of them of all. The Brazilian, Nordic, and German editions are all unique and beautiful. However, the most intriguing is the Japanese edition, with stamps rather than paintings.
Tabletop Tuesdays: Modart Softboard Game
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Wed, 12/19/2012 - 05:06.|
Carcassonne: The Castle
Tabletop Tuesdays: The Best Carcassone
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 11/13/2012 - 23:37.|
Carcassonne is a popular casual Eurogame that many gamers use to introduce modern designer games. Carcassonne's strength is the simple yet engaging rules. On your turn you draw one and play one tile, optionally you can place your "meeple," a follower token for scoring. The decisions are simple since one edge of the tile must match the edge of a previously played tile to create a consistent landscape. However some gamers prefer something more meaty and can add any of a number of expansions to add more depth. Expansions range from intriguing to ridiculous such as the, Carcassonne: Catapult -- you fling tokens with a chopstick sized, wooden catapult. However adding expansion breaks the core simplicity by adding more fiddliness.
Caracassone: The Castle is a reworking, a sequel to the original Carcassonne by Reiner Knizia and with Klaus-Jürgen Wrede, the original Carcassonne designer. Although the core gameplay remains the same -- draw-one, play-one -- Caracassone: The Castle is a much deeper game. The theme is also the same, you run a medieval temp agency, sending workers to short-term contract jobs. Key differences are: no edge matching, two-player only, static boundaries, and complex scoring. The game is set up by building outer walls that create an outline of the the castle. The walls do three things: create a defined tableau, offer seven start spaces that tiles can be placed next to, and serve as a scoring track numbered 0-99.
Tabletop Tuesdays: Lost Cities the Dice Game
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 09/11/2012 - 03:56.|
Keltis Or is a dice version of the popular Lost Cities card game. When Knizia submitted the Lost Cities Board Game, a follow-up to the original Lost Cities, Kosmos, the German publisher, decided to retheme it from an archeological expedition to leprechauns and clover harvesting. The American publisher kept Knizia's original design and name, Lost Cities: The Board Game, while in Europe the game is distributed as Keltis. Keltis is popular, and spawned six sequels and variations.
Keltis Or plays much like Lost Cities--collect and play sets of sequentially numbered tokens. However Keltis Or uses three six-sided dice, with pips 1-5 and a Wishing Stone icon. You get two rolls and you choose which gets locked or rerolled. You can pick up one of the five suited chips, numbered from 0-10, that match a single pip value, or sum of pips that you rolled each turn. You can acquire a zero chip by rolling a Wishing Stone. On the numbered chips are randomly distributed long- and short-term score modifier tokens. Since there is a sunk cost when starting a new suit, one must balance long- and short-term goals as well being careful not to take on too many suits.
Tabletop Tuesdays: Delicious Treachery
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 05/29/2012 - 16:40.|
The "treason" game mechanic is rare in videogames. There are few thing that more delicious than the thrill of betraying someone at the perfect moment. It is akin to seeing the perfect cherry blossom or a prancing unicorn -- a truly magical moment. Treason game mechanics are found in some tabletop games but most of them are lengthy or have player elimination.
This is where Saboteur 2 shines. Saboteur 2 has three intense 20 minute rounds with no player elimination. Three rounds means that lots of players get to play traitors. Saboteur 2 is an expansion to Saboteur, thus you need Saboteur to play Saboteur 2. Saboteur 2 fixes the game balance issues of the Saboteur(s) losing more often.
Take It Easy!
Tabletop Tuesdays: Bingo 2.0
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 04/10/2012 - 16:14.|
'Take It Easy!' is bingo improved or Euro bingo by Peter Burley. Burley took bingo (arguably a game because there are no meaningful choices) and added risk management and real choices. Each player gets their own a hex shaped board divided into smaller hexes. The designated caller picks and announces a random hex tile and other player play that tile. Each player can place the called tile onto any open space trying to line up high value rods. Each tile has three color rods that go in three directions. When you connect the same color rod across the board you score the value of the rodss. So if you manage to connect four orange rods, value 8, across your board, then you earn 32 points.
The difficulty lies in that each tile has three rods; when you match one color rod, two other colors may mismatch and you have to decide which colors you want to score and which ones you want to sacrifice. Like bingo, there is no player interaction because your board does not influence another player's board. Hence 'Take It Easy!' can accommodate unlimited players as long each player has their own set of tiles and board and be ear's reach of the caller.
Since over 500,000 copies have sold, multiple digital implementations of 'Take It Easy!' exits. The best are the iOS and Facebook app by Zabu Studios.
Tabletop Tuesdays: Digital Deck-Building
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 02/28/2012 - 23:58.|
Dominion is the the most popular deck-building game. As much as Magic introduced the collectible aspect, Dominion popularized the concept of deck-building as core gameplay as well as selling complete boxed sets of 500 cards, rather than small booster sets. Dominion is wildly popular and multiple fanwares have been created for Android by Ankur Mehta, iOS by Hammer Technology, and for Windows by Jeff Till. There is an official version in the works for the iOS.
Dominion is more streamed-lined and smoother than Thunderstone at the cost of less color and narrative. Which is better...is a matter of taste.
Tabletop Tuesdays: Golden Mean Clues
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 02/07/2012 - 13:34.|
Dixit Odyssey is the European answer to Apples to Apples. Dixit Odyssey is a party game, light enough to play socially even with a drink or two. The game is composed of 84 large, Tarot-sized cards, a scoreboard, player boards, and rabbit score tokens. Each card depicts a childlike, innocent, surreal painting. The beautiful art of the cards make this game magnificent.
The gameplay is simple. At the beginning of a turn, the active player picks a card and describes it with a word or a short phrase. Other players then submit a card from their hand of cards that best matches the active player's description. The active player then shuffles all the submitted cards including her card.
Everyone that guesses the active player's card scores, and players who have their cards (wrongly) picked also score. However if no player guesses correctly, all but the active player score. Thus the goal is to pursue the golden mean of giving clues that are not too easy but not that hard.
Tabletop Tuesdays: Procedurally Generated Goals
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 01/31/2012 - 15:36.|
Donal X. Vaccarino took the randomization mechanics of his game Dominion and applied them to a territory-control boardgame, Kingdom Builder. Kingdom Builder is a territory-control game in same vein as Knizia's Through the Desert or Kramer's Hacienda. The innovative mechanics are the goals (scoring) and the power-ups, which are randomly generated, making each game drastically different. A strong strategy in one game may be impotent in another, depending on the variable power-ups and goals.
The game begins by randomly selecting and joining four quadrants to form the board. Then the Builder (scoring) cards and the Special Action (power-up) tiles are randomly selected. Builder cards declare what and how scoring works. For instance, The Miner card declares that settlements (your tokens) adjacent to mountains generate one victory point; while the Oasis Special Action tile declares that if you have a Oasis tile, you can place one additional token on desert terrain.
Tabletop Tuesdays: Color Up the Cubes
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Wed, 01/18/2012 - 02:58.|
Caylus is a much-hyped game. The first printing sold out so quickly, people were calling it the second coming of Puerto Rico. Due to this popularity, Big Daddy Creations is releasing a universal iOS port this week. Caylus is a pure Eurogame, putting elegance over a rich theme. Although, you play a master builder constructing a castle in Caylus, France, you spend most of your time changing one color cube for another cube, which in turn will be converted into another color cube.
Caylus popularized the worker-placement mechanic whereby a player places a token (a worker) from a menu of choices, denying others that specific choice. Furthermore, the Provost and Bailiff mechanic is fascinating because they are neutral pieces (white discs) that any player can spend resources to move. You can use it to speed the game up as well shut down other player's buildings, and increase tension around their movement.
Caylus is also available as a Windows fanware by Jason Long.
Tabletop Tuesdays: Calling Ra
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 01/10/2012 - 23:11.|
Ra is an ancient-Egyptian-themed, press-your-luck auction game by Renier Knizia. The rules says that you influence Pharaohs and pay homage to gods, but Ra is thinly themed. Regardless, the simple game mechanics and tough decisions make this game a perennial favorite.
There are three Epochs (rounds) of play. Each Epoch you have three uniquely numbered Sun (bidding) tokens, ranging from 2 to 16, that are fairly distributed according to number of players. For instance in a 5 player game, one player will get tokens 2, 7, and 16, while another will get 3, 8, and 15. Every turn each player makes a bid on the existing pot of tiles (call Ra), or draws blindly and adds one tile from the bag. If a player calls Ra, a Ra tile is drawn from the bag, or all eight tile slots are full, then a once-around English auction begins, the active player having the final bid. An Epoch ends when 10 Ra tiles are drawn.