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ReviewDraw Your Own Conclusions Cooperative Drawing Game (http://www.sahmreviews.com/2020/08/social-sloth-games-draw-your-own-conclusions.html) [Draw Your Own Conclusions]Like| 0 comments | [+]
A great drawing and bluffing game... if people take risks. [A Fake Artist Goes to New York]Like| 8 comments | [+]
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10 Top Pirate Board Games as of 2021 [Black Fleet, Forgotten Waters, Skull King, Francis Drake, Merchants & Marauders, Tortuga 1667, Islebound, Jamaica, Dead Man's Draw, Friday]Like| 6 comments | [+]
ReviewPicassimo Drawing Game Overview (http://www.sahmreviews.com/2018/05/haba-picassimo.html) [Picassimo]Like| 0 comments | [+]
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Are you drawing a distinction between remakes and new editions? There are of course many games that get new editions. I'm generally cool with those if they bring something new to the table. Often they're mostly visual/component upgrades, which sometimes is enough to warrant it. That can give an older game new life with new fans. I'm thinking about the new edition of #7 Wonders here with the new art and iconography.

Some new editions bring rules or gameplay changes (sometimes in addition to visual changes), like #Pax Pamir (Second Edition), which has obviously been a huge hit.

The only true remake that I can think of that I actually own is #Dune. The game had been out of print for decades, and there was a strong fan community. Gale Force 9 even used fanmade art for the board and possibly other assets. The art is great and the components are satisfactory, but the most important fact is that you can actually buy the game, and for less than $50, which is a steal if your group is into the game. They also went back to the original designers and tried to clean up and clarify some of the rules. That particular effort seems to have been a moderate success, according to fans of the original, but still there are plenty of FAQs and intricacies that were not necessarily addressed completely by the rulebook.

As for "wishlist" remakes, I'd love to see a new version of #Orléans with new art, new pieces, and most importantly, a faster way to set it up. That's the one thing I dread about this game, haha. That would probably require some rules tweaks, but I'd give a little on that front for a faster setup time.

I finally went through it and I'm still not sure lol. For once I've gotten in a lot of solid games so it's difficult to order them even more than usual.

1. #The Quest for El Dorado

I like competitive games, especially when it's highly interactive. I like games that are easy to learn and teach but feel deeply rewarding when you play the right hand. I like games with luck factor and the fun and thrilling moments they create. Knizia's take on deck-building race through the jungle is perfect for me and I'd love to try playing this with 4 players!

2. #Nemo's War (Second Edition)

First off, I only played half of a game. And the first 60 min of gameplay didn't go all that smoothly because I had to constantly look at the rulebook. With that said, it's a solo game that leaves an impression. Filled with fun decisions that puts you in the head of Captain Nemo, you constantly need to make crucial decisions while weighing the odds (plus a bunch of dice rolling). The game takes you on a journey and it seems to play out drastically different depending on your starting Motive. The setup time isn't that bad, the game isn't as much of a tablehog as I expected either, comes with lovely components, and I could see myself wanting to get it out again soon.

3. #Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale

Similar to Quest for El Dorado, this is a game that's slightly less complex and deep than what I typically go for. But it hits a great sweet spot of offering fun decisions in short playtime. Soothing experience of drawing on the map and it leaves you with good balance of long term strategy and tactical plays.

4. #Obsession

Great theme integration, one of the best I've seen to date. I do wish there was more interaction between players, but there's still a good amount of competition for the market and in trying to court the Fairchilds. The game has an overall pleasant vibe to it and again, the delivery of the theme makes all the difference here.

5. #Tiny Towns

Fun puzzly game of creating your town on tiny real estate. It's simple and elegant, surprisingly headache-inducing, surprisingly mean depending on how you choose to play, and overall a smart design that will either leaves you disappointed at yourself or satisfied like you Marie Kondo'd your room. It sits at a spot where it's too puzzly to be a solo game that I'll get out to play, not as compelling to play with my wife as Cartographers, and possibly more frustrating/mean than other games I could introduce to my parents.

I own a ton of Sentinels and I'm not rebuying anything, so I'm not really the target audience.

I do prefer the old look, but I'm glad to see the game getting new life and hopefully drawing new fans. It's a bit of a love-it-or-hate in game in our house, but my youngest son and I love it, so that's good enough. :)

Lots of games played in the last week due to new games for Christmas and having the family around and willing to play a few:

  • #Exploding Kittens with various expansions (Physical, Multiplayer): Played a game with all of the kids and three expansions.  The game is a good bit of light fun if you're in the mood for it.
  • #Cult Following (Physical, Multiplayer): Played another game of this one.  It's fun but one of the kids wasn't in to it which meant we gave it a round then let it go for the evening.
  • #878 Vikings: Invasions of England (TTS,Multiplayer): This is the second time I have played this game.  My partner and I played very well, didn't overextend, had a good presence on the island, and were ready to make a big push.  Then the English side got a disastrous set of cards (for us) and annihilated us.  It was literally the perfect storm.  It actually lowered my opinion of this game a bit.  I understand some unrealistic swingyness in a war game style board game but that was ridiculous!  At least it was over quickly.
  • #Race for the Galaxy with #Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm (Tabletopia, multiplayer) x2: This game is firmly a favourite of mine.  The group knows it now so it's easy to toss in a quick game or two when the viking invasion of england doesn't take as long as expected.  
  • #Celestia (Tabletopia, multiplayer) x2: This one is a fun little push your luck game with fun art and components in the physical game.  A good little time filler with those fun table laughs and groans you get when someone drops off early and the rest of the crew goes the distance. :)
  • #Marvel Champions: The Card Game (Physical, solo) x8: I had been eyeing this game for a while and have played it with my group on Tabletop Simulator. So I picked this one up post Christmas. I LOVE Marvel and comics.  I also love deck construction. I've played #Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game but for me Champions is much better.  I've been playing around with different decks trying to beat Klaw.  And yes, I've already ordered some expansions for it so I can do some more constructing.  :)
  • #Arctic Scavengers: Base Game + HQ + Recon (Physical, solo): Another new game from Santa.  I played the player made solo variant from BGG which is fine but I can tell this one is really going to shine multiplayer.  I love deck building games (along with deck construction games) but they need to have a twist and the skirmish is a great twist to this game.  (Reminiscant of the raiding in #Vikings Raid & Conquer Game.)
  • #Unstable Unicorns with various expansions (Physical, Multiplayer): Another game played with the kids.  The expansion doesn't really do much but add more cards.  The art is cute but we played with 3 but I don't think the table was in the mood for it so it fell flat this time.
  • #Underwater Cities (TTS, Multiplayer): Got a game in on TTS after my solo play of the game I got for Christmas.  I really enjoy this game!  The play is tight with 4 and you really have to work the action spots and the timing around them to build something up.  I won fairly handily with building diverse cities.  More play throughs are definitely needed!
  • #Starlink (Physical, Multiplayer) x2: One of my kids is heavy in to astronomy and they got this one for Christmas.  It's a fun little drawing game.  Fun for a bit of amusement on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Action packed week!  I think Marvel Champions is the biggest hit for me so far this year. :)

I thank each and every one of you who has responded thus far. But, as reminded me yesterday, I asked for your viewpoints without giving ya'll mine. So, I will do so here, now. But, before I give you my answer, I do want to give just a little bit of background.

I am a person who read a LOT growing up. In fact I averaged over well over 200 full length books a year until 2016, which was the year that my son was born. Something I always found very interesting, and even important, in books was to determine the worldview of the author. For me, analyzing the plot, the rising crescendo, the denouement, the whole fabric of the book is and was fascinating. I loved looking at the little literary devices that the author chose to use. But, for me, the most interesting part of reading was trying to determine what the worldview of the author was when he/she wrote the book. Reading does broaden one's horizon, in some very potentially helpful ways. And, it can change the way one thinks. I however have found that if one can identify the worldview, that does tend to armor you a bit against bad worldviews. I think most of us can do this to some point. For example, in my post I mentioned Mein Kampf which is Hitler's famous book wherein he lays out his views on all sorts of stuff. I will further mention The Communist Mannifesto the worldview in this book is super obvious. And, I think that most people with the bare modicum of logical thinking and historical knowledge won't have a problem reading it, they won't be swayed by it. They are aware of the worldview, usually before they even go and read it.

Why do I spend this time talking about books in a post about games? It is because I find many similarities between books and games. I do find that games are often, not always, expressions of a small part of the designers worldview. I think that it is a much more limited medium, but, in great games, there is often some sort of authorial intent behind the game. Again, this is a more limited medium than books, but, it is interesting to think of the authorial biases going into the design. If nothing else, even in the simplest games, there is interesting ideas of what the designer thinks of fun.

 

Why do I spend this time on this preamble? It is to explain why I really cannot seperate the art from the artist. I honestly don't believe that there is such a thing as a neutral medium. Any medium in which one communicates to another, be it books, or speech, or visual arts, or films, or etc.... is inherently subject to the biases and views of the communicator. Even if they are just "writing books for the money" the books that they write do give interesting messages about what they believe the masses want. The same goes for movies, or pictures, or, ..... Games.

 

So, if I cannot, or at the least find it very difficult to, seperate the art from the artist, what is my responsiblity in choosing where to spend my time and money when it comes to games?

  • I agree with that being informed is important. I think it is ok to call out bad stuff. I think it is even important to call out bad stuff. But, far more people pass judgment without understanding, or desiring to understand the context.
  • I will, almost necessarily, at a minimum, engage with people I disagree with in any medium I consume. This includes games. Of course, some games, were designed by people who's actions or worldviews whose views are actually repellent. I will  not find, I doubt that you will, find a game, or any other medium, whose creator(s) line up with your worldview.
  • G.K. Chesterton reminded us that "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." I do think that it is ok to draw lines and say that "everything on that side of the line, is something I won't touch." I don't think it is a problem to see cultural appropriation in Tascini's game, for example, and decide that you won't devote time or money to them. I, for example, have decided not to play games by Harry Wu A.K.A. John Bohrer because of the generally despicably way he has treated everybody in the game design industry who has worked with him. It is almost as if he really does see himself as adopting the worldview portrayed in one of his 18xx games.
  • Actively reject the bad. For instance, if you are playing a game by Eklund and you see racism, or you see praises for colonialism, reject it. Reject it personally, if you are playing with someone, point out the problem and dialog with it.
  • I think it disengenious to have huge problems with games that glorify colonial conquest, for example. But, then love a good fantastical or sci-fi 4x game. I recognize that there are some differences, in that in the colonial conquest one, real people were, and continue to be affected. That being said. Both games are representing and fostering the same worldview. I believe that you have a equal responsibilty to call out the problematic issues with the scifi game as with the historical game.

 

Do I think there is space for morally repungant games in my collection. I think, for me, yes. I cannot answer that question for you. I remember the first time that I toured the holocaust museum in Washington D.C. My overwhelming feeling was that real people, ordinary people, were the perpetrators of this atrocity. Ordinary people, conservative Christians, looked the other way during Hitler's rise to power, and they even enabled him, because he did institute effective economic reform. I was privilaged to speak with a survivor or Auschwitze one time. The stories he told were made even more chilling when I remembered that the horrors he saw and experienced were perpetrated by humans who were "merely doing their job." I do believe that this lesson is important. I don't think we are in some sort of special place in human history. I don't think that we are really at a higher plane than our slave owning ancestors, or our ancestors that enjoyed public executions, or our ancestors who viewed torture as the most expedient ways of arriving at the truth. I believe that when we lose sight of this fact. When we lose sight that we, as humans, are prone to ignore the suffering we are inflicting on others in the pursuit of our own good. For me, if I play a game that I violently disagree with, it does do a valuable service reminding me, that real humans perpetrated the problems I have with the games. We are often reminded that the slave trade was trade in humans. This is a lesson we dare not forget. But, neither dare we forget that this trade in humans was, in fact, perpetrated by humans. And, that, even people who rejected the slave trade, supported it by their tastes for commodities produced by slave trade. So, to the extant that games require me to examine my position, jostle my mind and remind me of a blind spot that I might have, than these games with problematic games can serve as a valuable part of my collection.

That being said, I would hesitate to play a game with problematic issues with, slavery for example, with someone whose life has personally been negatively affected by slavery or the after effects. I however would play it with someone who might be turning a blind eye to the after affects, and engage with them about it afterwards, to try to get them to see if they have some sort of complicity.

Early May - Win!

So some notes about the setup for our game:

  • We misinterpreted the question about disease transmission.  We thought it was "what would you like the disease to be spread by?" and then picked the least bad option for spreading.  Instead, it was "based on your clues, how do you think the disease is spread?" and in that case we totally would have picked airborne because of the maps of the air currents we found and stuff.  So we lost a funding, but jokes on them we didn't have any funding left anyway.   
  • Darn it our extra funding guy got murdered.  We were hoarding the funding because we knew we were going to run out later.  My husband was telling us we just should use it because they're probably just going to take it away from us later and he was right again.  That's 2/2 on predictions for him.   
  • On our personnel card, we chose 4/5 for "are we better than other people at our jobs", 2/5 for our ability to convince people, and 5/5 for our ability to complete multiple objectives.  We'll see if our confidence is overrated later haha.   

After that, we spent 15-20 minutes discussing who should go first haha.  Our objective was to try to block off the pursuit as quickly as possible so we didn't have to chase those tokens all over the map.  So we wanted to block off Johannesburg quickly in case we got an escalation but we were also worried about the cities with 3 agents.  In the end we compromised on first blocking off the route going straight to Cairo (the nearest Soviet city) and then blocking of the other route a few turns later.  We were actually pretty lucky in this game though because we got 5 full turns in before drawing an Escalation card.  Of course that means we had some back to back ones later in the game, but the long break in the beginning let us block off Johannesburg and also get well on our way to getting a couple of teams formed.   

We actually were pretty lucky this whole game. We had only 3 incidents, though one of those caused 3 of our members to lose a cover, and we managed to finish the game after only 3 Escalation cards had been drawn (though the next card in the deck was another one, we checked when we were finished).  There was one point were it was looking super bad in terms of agents on the board, but our MCC's (aka dispatcher) other alias is the one that lets you take an action token when you start your turn in a safe house so he had 4 tokens saved up and managed to do one uber turn to clear off most of the dangerous cities and move the teams to where they needed to complete the Sabik objective.  Oh speaking of that one, we chose to only file the abbreviated version of the report with the CIA, we did not tell them about Sabik's suspisions about Coop.   

Forgot to take a photo of the board this time =(