News Bits: 7/7/2014


This week’s NEWS:

MeepleTown interviews Marc Andre (Splendor) [LinkAnother great interview from Derek Thompson. This one is timely as Splendor has been nominated for this year’s Spiel des Jahres (and, given its recent success with my family, for good reason).

A case study in how components affect gameplay [LinkThis from Bruno Faidutti about a new game codesigned with Eric Lang. The game centers around the prisoner’s dilemma, and Faidutti says that testing results have been different whether played with dials, cards, or hand signals. As much as I like to say I’m a mechanics-first player, great components can really improve the experience of a game. Splendor is a prime example. It’s a very good game without the chips, but the chips make it stand out. The dials in El Grande add to the fun, as does the Castillo, both of which could have been replaced with simpler components.

The Board Game Family decides which games to take [LinkI know–this sounds about as interesting as someone tweeting a picture of their food. But there’s good advice here on things to consider when you pack games for your occasions and reunions. For me, I always try to balance bringing all the ideal options while also reaching the magic number that won’t overwhelm the others. I’m still learning this.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, FarmerLenny farewell, Ophir preview, Under the Table episode 5, Hull Breach: Corporate Wars reviewA full week last week despite the holiday. And it included my farewell announcement. (Don’t worry: I’m still handling the news through Gen Con.) Also, don’t miss last week’s Under the Table–in my opinion, it was the best episode so far. This week will see more reviews and views. Keep slaying!

Kickstarters of Note

  • Stonemaier Treasure Chest: Stonemaier Games has made a name for themselves by being ridiculously friendly with Kickstarter backers and also by creating incredible game components. Now they are on Kickstarter for realistic game components that should work with most Euro board games. If these are anything like the components included in Euphoria, you’ll want these. $33.
  • AV Ghost: This game isn’t the kind of thing I usually go for, but it looks pretty cool. It’s a board game you play in the dark. It’s a supernatural horror game in which players are solving a mystery in the dark. Looks very thematic and atmospheric (and it comes with minis with flashlights). $75.
  • Penny Press: A game about putting together front pages in the age of yellow journalism. This game just won Cards Against Humanity’s Tabletop Deathmatch, and it’s coming from Asmadi Games. The game looks so, so, so good, it’s already funded, and it is reasonably priced. $40.
  • Ophir: This game looks simply beautiful. It’s a game about merchants, but the setting is absolutely gorgeous. We’ll have a preview up soon. $39.
  • Tiny Epic Defenders: Right on the heels of Tiny Epic Kingdoms is Tiny Epic Defenders, a micro cooperative game set in the same universe as Kingdoms. Fantasy stuff isn’t my thing, but judging by the warm response this has gotten, I am in the extreme minority. $16.
  • Antidote: This is a small box deduction game from Dennis Hoyle and Bellwether Games (Drop Site). I had the opportunity to play this one as a prerelease, and I found it to be a fun and clever take on the deduction genre. It’s lighter than most, but still enjoyable. $16.
  • Start Player Express: Bezier Games is Kickstarting Start Player Express, whose tagline is “Go first faster,” which is brilliant. This is four dice that help you determine at a glance who at the table should go first. $10.

What We’ve Been Playing

  • Splendor: My sister and her family were in town for the holiday, and she said she didn’t want to learn anything new but wanted to play a game. And since I am a loving brother, I forced her to learn Splendor anyway. (Okay, I didn’t force her–I enticed her by saying Splendor is up for the same award as Ticket to Ride.) I taught the rules, and my sister and wife didn’t say anything, but they told me later they thought it was harder than advertised. Then, of course, they back-pedaled, because they understood everything that was happening. We played three games and, like training in the mountains before a marathon, it appears that my lunch group has prepared me well for Splendor in the real world. I won all three games handily. And my family still wanted to play more afterward, so that’s a good sign. I still think this is a great game, and I’m not tired of it, for what it’s worth. (FarmerLenny)
  • Parade: Our daughter has finally (finally, finally…FINALLY) started sleeping more regularly at nighttime, and as a result, my wife suggested we play a game on Saturday night. She asked me to bring an array of games, and when I presented her with Ticket to Ride: Europe, Lost Cities, and Parade, she said, “All of my favorites!” She landed on Parade, and she won the first game fairly handily. The second game I also won handily. So we put all our hopes on the third game, and things weren’t looking good for me. I was taking way too many cards, and even though I got these to count for 1 point apiece, that’s still a lot of demerits when my wife took comparably fewer cards. Still, I was able to stick her with high points in a few colors she thought she’d get a majority in, so there was hope for me yet. More hope than I imagined–we tied! Unfortunately for me, the tiebreaker is who has fewest cards, and she won that one by a landslide. Parade is a fantastic game, even with two players. (FarmerLenny)

I'll try anything once, but my favorite games are generally middleweight Euros.

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