Reviews

These reviews were left by jens_hoppe.

Safe Return Doubtful

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

DTP game of arctic exploration. I had high hopes for this one, but it just felt amazingly dry.

11/8/2020

Azteca

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Beautiful empire building game set in pre-Columbian Mexico. Component quality is fantastic, gameplay features regular build-armies-whack-your-neighbor kind of mechanisms, as well as various other, interesting mechanisms.

11/8/2020

Alexandros

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Game from Command magazine about the Persian campaign of Alexander the Great. I love the historical period, and the game's artwork was very nice, but the game itself never caught on with me.

11/5/2020

Expedition

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Pretty horrible game, basically roll-the-dice, reveal-an-event-card kind of game. The fact that the game is about Egyptian archaeology is its only redeeming quality in my view...

11/5/2020

King of Tokyo

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

RAAAWWWRR!

11/4/2020

Quarriors

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

First impression: Somewhat lightweight, fast-moving, good fun.Second impression: Dull.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Cute theme and components. Gameplay so-so; nice enough but nothing groundbreaking.

11/4/2020

Eminent Domain

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

First impression: Borrows heavily from Dominion, RftG and Glory to Rome. I was somewhat underwhelmed, though; the whole somehow seemed less than the sum of its parts. As cfarrell puts it, it's just boring.My opponents were (somewhat) more enthusiastic, though.

11/4/2020

Panic Station

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Panic Station didn't really leave a very good first impression: One player described it as "a paranoia type game, without the paranoia". Initial rating based on two four-player games - perhaps the game is more interesting with more players, but I guess I will never know.Not really a competitive game, despite the presence of victory conditions: Players actually trying to achieve the victory conditions discover that this might lead to boring, anticlimactic games, and it seems sub-optimal play is required for the game to really work. That might be OK in an RPG, but not in a boardgame with strict rules, victory conditions and winners and losers. Yes, having fun is the main goal of playing (even for people trying to win), but when playing a competitive game, the whole context is "... while trying to win the game". Nothing kills the whole point of playing boardgames easier than people playing for different reasons than trying to do their best to win.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Five-player game.Nice game system, elegant mechanics, game flows well once players are familiar with the roles. Lots of potential for aggression and negotiation. Quite a bit of luck inherent in the exploration die rolls.Our first game was very close, but of course, players were self-balancing the game by targeting the perceived leader.For instance, in the final turn, A and B attacked C to prevent him from winning outright, with the result that E won in his turn instead. The term "kingmaker" was used more than once. :-)First impression was good: I certainly enjoyed myself. But, it's one of those "conditional" games, where I have to be in the right mood and play with the right opponents to be up for it.

11/4/2020

Bios: Megafauna

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

First impression: Old-school Eklund game, with gratuitous amounts of chaos and player punishment. Rules are slightly fiddly (but not worse than High Frontier and possibly a lot easier with more experience). Lots of charming details, but the random elements really soured my first impression. Many times, it felt like the game played the players rather than the other way around.Update: Although, like with High Frontier before it, afterwards I can't stop thinking about the game, and looking forward to my next play. There might be something here after all.Update: A few games later, while there's a lot to like with the game, the randomness is out of hand here for me. I think all my games have seen at least one player who never made it out of his starting biome, through no fault of his own. The fact that you can't guarantee having mutations available to match your neighboring biomes (most often; M biomes with no matching DNA in the south, and B or G biomes with no matching DNA in the north), plus the fact that greenhouse shifts are likely to destroy your setup, even if you manage to find a couple of habitable biomes, makes it hard to do anything constructive in the game.Possible suggestions for variants to "fix" this for me:- Let all starting species start with a single DNA letter (dietary or roadrunner), chosen freely after seeing the initial biome layout.- Choose between more cards. I've tried playing with two separate rows of 5 cards instead (so you start with five extra cards visible, but the decks are the usual size), and it worked well.- Lessen the effect of greenhouse shifts somehow (we've tried taking the greenhouse track/effects out of the game completely, and while it diminishes the game somewhat, it worked fine from a gameplay point of view).- Somehow seed more biomes onto the board to make it less empty. Perhaps turn over two new era tiles after each greenhouse event.Update:Phil has come up with a couple of optional rules (somewhat reminiscent of a couple of my suggestions above) to fix the issues players have reported:- The Roadrunner club rule introducing a fifth type of action allowing species to buy a extra roadrunner DNA letter at the cost of two genes.- For 4 players (but why only that?): A second display of five cards, fed with cards from a second, 25 card deck. These cards do not activate their events when revealed.Both rules seems excellent - I look forward to trying them.

11/4/2020

Last Will

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Interesting, classic worker-placement / card drafting euro with an original, cute theme and great artwork. In terms of gameplay, it doesn't really stand out, however.

11/4/2020

Timeline: Inventions

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Nice game, but extremely limited replayability.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Solid expansion with a lot of new, interesting mechanics and cards.

11/4/2020

Avanti

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Extremely random and occasionally slow-moving (never a good thing for a racing game!). Overall, a reasonably fun game with super-cute components.

11/4/2020

Qwirkle

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

No Review Description

11/4/2020

Mondo

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Excellent children's / family game.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Japan: Odd, fun, mapboard. Hardly any coal or iron on the board itself - it all has to be imported by Building ships. Very few opportunities for rail building. Feels very different from the base game mapboards - which is a good thing, I suppose.

11/4/2020

Harry Potter Hogwarts

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Alright for a game or two, which is more than I can say for most of the LEGO games I have tried...

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Pretty dire dungeon crawl: Decision-making is close to non-existant, complexity is extremely low, and yet the rules are written in such a way as to leave major questions unanswered. Why the hell can't LEGO make a good boardgame for once?!

11/4/2020

A Few Acres of Snow

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

First impression after two games: The card system is gamey and gimmicky as hell, but fun all the same. I can't really stand Dominion anymore, but wrapping its central mechanism in a historical wargame makes for great fun, if not exactly a feeling of much historicity.The game rides a fine line between wargame and deckbuilding eurogame, without feeling quite like either. It's not going to revolutionize wargaming - it's much too much euro and too little wargame for that - but one still gets quite a lot of historical feel as part of the card play. And seen as a deck-builder, it's just brilliant.Anyway, I enjoyed my first couple of games immensely and can't wait to try it again. I keep going over potential strategies in my head - a good sign, definitely!

11/4/2020

Troyes

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Interesting, mechanically sound game. A bit long and repetitive, though, and not really that exciting to be honest. I also find it gratuitously complex for what it is.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Doesn't really bring much new to the table compared with Small World. The artwork is considerably more garish, so it loses a point with me for that.

11/4/2020

Rails Of New England

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Hmm, intriguing economic game. Thematically, it's great - it's a paper time machine to industrial New England in the old days. Gameplay, however, is only so-so. The game is long, and the decisions made not always very interesting.

11/4/2020

Dominant Species

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

First impressions after one game.Some good stuff, but ultimately the game lies *way* over my tolerance threshold for arbitrary "screw you!" abilities, considering how long and analytical it otherwise is.An uncomfortable hybrid of a dry, Caylus-like eurogame and an old-school AT "take that!" game, it falls between two chairs for me: I think the designer should have either toned down the dryness, making it more of a pure whinefest-style game, OR should have made it a game where your carefully laid plans stand a chance against the arbitrary strikes of the other players.As it is, spending a lot of effort carefully formulating a plan, only to have to take off most of your action pawns unused, because the other players decided to target you exclusively this turn, is immensely frustrating.

11/4/2020

Fealty

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Some clever stuff in this little, thinly-disguised abstract, but ultimately not really my kind of game at all. Much too Chess- (or is that Go-?) -like for my tastes (at least it's fast). But there's no denying; if you're into this kind of game, Fealty will probably be a succes.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

More of the same wacky fun found in Innovation, which in this case is a good thing. Heartily recommended for fans of the base game.Setup is a lot more cumbersome, though. Too bad.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Hmm, tentative first impression and all that. Seems like a good game, but I have many prejudices to overcome from my ASL days: Why can't units form fire groups? Why is moving in the open not more lethal? How can weaker units inflict damage on stronger ones? Why is a hit just a hit, with no regard for how strong the attack was? Where's the rout phase?!The game also features a lot of strictly mechanical moving counters back and forth, flipping units, and die rolling. So, mechanically a bit cumbersome for what it does.I enjoyed my first game, but I am not blown away. Still, I would like to play more.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

I soloed the first scenario and it was entertaining enough. Rules are really badly written though (this from someone who's usually on the side of defending rules from accusations like this), with several unclear points.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

After three games, the game is holding up well. I have only ever played Jack (two defeats, one victory), and find it a hard job against thoughtful detective play. Against policemen playing more on instincts, the game becomes easier as Jack. In our games, more policemen = more brains available for deduction, and a correspondingly harder job for Jack.---------------Very nice initial impression. I tried the game with three players, with me playing Jack against two detectives. Quite a lot of dowtime, but never a dull moment listening to the detectives narrowing down the possibilities, with me trying to look unconcerned when they were getting close. On the whole, a great game! I think I prefer it with more than two players, since this allows for the whole coop deduction part of the game to come to its right.

11/4/2020

Pantheon

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Fun'ish medium-weight euro. Quite a bit of luck and correct timing plays a big role (e.g. don't go last in the last turn).A somewhat plain and flavorless game system is given a boost by having several gods, tiles and bonus counters with special abilities that let you tweak and enhance your regular actions.Still, the whole thing does come across as a bit bland and abstract. I am not sure I will be playing this a year from now.

11/4/2020

Take It Easy!

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Not really my type of game, but it's fast and simple and my daughter seems to like it (for now)!

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

One of the more palatable Feld games. As usual, the game mechanics feel artificial, but the game is reasonably enjoyable (for a time).

11/4/2020

Pergamon

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Solid, thematic and simple eurogame. Nothing extraordinarily new or innovative here, but the combination of tried and true mechanics work out well enough here.

11/4/2020

The Hobbit

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Light-weight, slightly repetitive, all-mechanics-no-theme kind of game. Didn't really make a good first impression.

11/4/2020

Go

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

No Review Description

11/4/2020

Mansions of Madness

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Good, enjoyable, very thematic and atmospheric game. Component overload though, and setup is a killer. I also fear the actual gameplay aspect of the game will come up lacking after a few games (especially when playing as the keeper, where one's options are quite limited).In my first game, after painstakingly building the map and seeding it with *just* the right cards, actual gameplay consisted mostly of spawning endless hordes of cultists and sending them after the investigators.

11/4/2020

Merkator

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Mechanically sound, but the game seems dry and uninspired all the same. Not horrible, but not really good either.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Utterly horrible game. How something so mind-numbingly tedious can end up as one of the highest rated games of all time, is beyond understanding. The game is at least 3-4 times too long for its own good, the downtime is awful, gameplay itself is utterly tedious, with repetitive shuffling back and forth of little wooden discs again and again and again and again. A game for spreadsheet fans, who like lots and lots and lots of micromanagement.If one played only the first era, the game would even be tolerable as a sort of run of the mill engine-building eurogame, but add in the other eras and it becomes a drawn-out torture session where you sloooowly build up your engine while waiting and hoping for something - anything! - to put you out of your misery.The total shame of the whole thing is that many of the engine-building mechanisms are actually quite clever: Management of population, resources, innovation (?) points, government types giving different amounts of actions, and the drafting of both generic and unique cards are all nice mechanisms in principle. But repeat it for 6+ hours, adding in 10 minutes (at least) of downtime with absolutely nothing to do between each of your turns, and it becomes unbearable. This is a game that could have used a developer's hand in streamlining the whole thing - ya know, cut away all the fiddly bits and expose the presumably interesting decisions underneath. As it is, whatever decision-making and thematic feel the game may have, it is completely buried beneath bookkeeping.And don't even get me started on the awful conflict system which actively encourages attacking the weakest player at all times. As bad as "hit the leader" effects may be, they pale in comparison with "hit the person who's behind" effects. Yikes!I can solemnly promise never to play the full game with four players again (a 1-era game with fewer players is not out of the question, though). I am sorry to say this, but this whole tedious exercise in micromanagement must rank as one of my worst gaming experiences in years.

11/4/2020

Rising Kings

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Quick "take that!" filler card game. Fun special effects on cards with potential for lots of "chaining", but otherwise not really my kind of game.

11/4/2020

London

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

One game, and I am unsure whether I really like it or not. There is much to like in the game, but my first experience also felt, I dunno, slightly repetitive and like I was just going through the motions. Time will tell whether this is a good one.

11/4/2020

High Frontier

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

We've had our first try with support cards and radiation belt rules, and OMG! The "my head is exploding!" feeling was back: It was like playing the game for the first time again. Awesome.------Presently, we use a hybrid rules variant, where we play mostly basic rules, but use the big map and a few of the advanced rules (regolith refuellers, jettisoning stuff, slingshots). This works well with beginners, although we advice them to concentrate on the basic game board (for their own sake). ;-)------A couple of (basic) games later: It's just brilliant!------My first game (3p, basic rules) came off to a slow start, with players spending the first hour or so buying and selling patents and accumulating WTs. Eventually we set out for the stars, and what fun it was! I can't wait to play again.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Necessary expansion for the 1st edition of High Frontier. Superceded by High Frontier: Colonization now, of course.

11/4/2020

Mijnlieff

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Light, simple, and fast.

11/4/2020

Neuroshima Hex!

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Really didn't like this as a three-player game. NH is just another free-for-all beat-on-each-other game, similar to the games we played before euros came along. Three players inevitably ends up as shifting 2-vs-1 alliances, and it all comes down to who each player decides to beat up on, rather than being any real test of skill.

11/4/2020

Factory Fun

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

A solid, elegant design that does what it sets out to do very well. Unfortunately, grabbing stuff in real time and solving ever more complex spatial puzzles is very, very far from my idea of "fun". I struggled through a single game and have no immediate desire to play it again.

11/4/2020

7 Wonders

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

After all the hype I was sceptical about the game, but it is actually quite good. A central draft mechanism works well to distribute cards among the players. The cards and the resources and various other advantages they give are many, varied and always interesting.The rules were a bit more involved than I had suspected, but complexity is definitely still on the easy side. Artwork is stunning.I enjoyed my first two games and think that this is a game I need to get a copy of.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Interesting enough mechanism for spreading the fire, but apart from that there is little to like here for me. My impression may be influenced by having only tried the six-player game, which was extraordinarily chaotic and without any real feeling of control.

11/4/2020

Alien Frontiers

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

An interesting enough game, a little long for my tastes. I am not really a fan of these chromed-up dice games, but this is among the best I have tried. No particular wish to play this one again, though.

11/4/2020

Navegador

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Update: It's a classic!----I had more or less written this off before Essen, but I tried it and it was surprisingly interesting, deep and just plain fun. Afterwards I had to get a copy, of course.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Brilliant game! I now feel silly for never having bothered to try Last Train to Wensleydale.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Family-type game of exploration. Mechanically it seems well thought out, but I am not sure there's enough here to sustain interest.

11/4/2020

The Resistance

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

My first two games were great fun. I am horrible at it (particularly being a spy), but must admit that the game is clever beyond words.

11/4/2020

Mr. Jack Pocket

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Very good. It succesfully distills the original Mr. Jack down to its essentials - keeping the good parts and losing the fluff. I look forward to trying it again.

11/4/2020

Rio de la Plata

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Overly complex, fiddly, not fun. Veeery provisional rating, I know.

11/4/2020

The Boss

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Light-ish card game where getting the timing right is crucial. A bit of bluffing too, I suppose. Ultimately, not very interesting to me.

11/4/2020

Magnum Sal

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Well, in terms of mechanics it works reasonably well, but it doesn't really offer anything new over all the other action selection / worker placement games. If anything, this devolves into even more fiddly micro-management than is usually seen in these games, and as a result it takes a long time to play.I didn't buy it, and after playing it, I didn't regret that decision.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Enjoyable: Fast but not that deep, card effects seemed a little on the simplistic side.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Good fun all along. My first game (5 players) was a tad repetitive and long, though. Overall, not as fast as action-packed as one could have hoped for - but then discussing all our moves at length each turn probably slowed the game down quite a bit.

11/4/2020

Innovation

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Update: I am enjoying the game more and more with each game played, regardless of the number of players. Great game!------Interesting and fun game. Quite confusing for newbies, mainly because you have to relate to all the *other* players' cards all the time. Very chaotic.Update: After a couple more games, the game is starting to click. Very enjoyable game.

11/4/2020

Ticket to Ride: Europe

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

More enjoyable and better than the original but it's still dull as hell. Draw, draw, draw, PLAY! Draw, draw, PLAY! Yawn.

11/4/2020

Ramses Pyramid

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

For anyone beyond the age of 6, the game is dull beyond belief. Average as a construction set, horrible as a boardgame.

11/4/2020

Minotaurus

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Completely random, annoying game. At least it's over fast (two players). Boring as a construction set, quite dull as a boardgame.

11/4/2020

Age Of Industry

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Age of Industry loses a bit of the depth and charm of Brass in the conversion, but makes up for it with simpler and more streamlined rules and a shorter playing time. My main criticism after a couple of games is that AoI reduces the difference between different kinds of industries. In particular, coal and iron were two very different industries in Brass, but here they act almost the same.The new sequence of play (including the card drawing mechanism) and the victory conditions seem well designed.Germany and US maps feel very different, which bodes well for the longevity of the system (if it means that any new maps coming out will manage to feel different too).

11/4/2020

Glen More

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Solid, light/medium weight euro. Many different paths to victory. I like this a lot.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Feels a bit like a "Chicago Express-light'ish" game. Plays fast. Players buy influence in trading families/companies, expand their trade routes/track, grab goods tokens reached by a route and try to merge families. Points are awarded during the game for acquiring trade goods and doing mergers, and at the end of the game for those trade cards reached by families, and for money on hand.Very light game, rules-wise. Plays very quickly too. Entertaining enough, but it's almost a bit too bland and abstract for its own good. Looks like a big box game but plays like a filler.

11/4/2020

Tulipmania 1637

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Interesting economic game which just seems to provide a basic framework, and thereafter really leaves players in charge of how the game is going to progress. Slightly reminiscent of games like Container or Chicago Express in that respect.Best with 5, OK with 4. Not very interesting with 3.

11/4/2020

Macao

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Played one game and probably won't be playing another. Mechanically somewhat sound, but at the same time themeless, soulless and just plain boring. Also too long for what it is. Lots of fiddly cube pushing in the final turns. The game masquerades as an economic engine game, but it really isn't one, since the resources you get as income (action cubes) are both random and transient. Components are appropriately boring, non-descript, and hard to read.I actually liked the dice/action cube allocation mechanism a lot, at least the idea of choosing between getting few resources now, or many later on. However, being coupled with the need to be able to combine specific colors on the same turn, the system falls down flat and makes planning almost impossible. The system of getting harsh penalties for not activating your cards actually just seems to serve to straightjacket people into playing the game the way the designer envisioned. *Having* to take cards, and having to activate them in order to avoid crippling penalties just seems stupid, both mechanically and thematically.I have never been a big fan of Stefan Feld's designs, and this game fits right in with most of the other ones: Thematically weak beyond belief, procedural, dry. As long as alea seems to favor his games, they're a lost cause as far as I am concerned...

11/4/2020

Lord of the Rings

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Not much here in terms of "real" game, but it is a sweet, innocent game for children in the 4-7 or so years range.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Looks good, but is in essence an abstract area influence game similar to El Grande, married to the annoyingly chaotic simultaneous action selection mechanism from Wallenstein. No particular desire to play this again.

11/4/2020

The Speicherstadt

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Interesting little bidding game. Not bad, but most probably not great either.

11/4/2020

Die Macher

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Whoa, what a big, unwieldy, long, unnecessarily complex, fiddly - and at the same time very intriguing - design! It seems to have at least twice as many moving parts as is needed for a good heavyw-eight euro, but it does seem to hang together very well despite of it.

11/4/2020

Claustrophobia

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

No Review Description

11/4/2020

Container

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

There's a lot to like in the game, and it is the sort of game I feel I ought to like. That being said, the blind bidding for shipments, as well as the non-transparent value of containers to players are both mechanisms I hate with a vengeance. With those two aspects of the game "fixed" (that is, to my liking), my rating would improve considerably.

11/4/2020

Carson City

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Fun worker-placement game with a bit of randomness and direct interaction thrown in to fit the theme. I liked the game quite a bit, the other players were more so-so. Love the game's potential for variants (and I suspect the chits-instead-of-dice variant might fit the game's other mechanics much better than the die-rolling).Components are beautiful, but I found usability a bit lacking - in particular I found it difficult to see what was going on in the city (who owned what, what kinds of buildings were where, that sort of thing).Also, while the rules read easily enough, they are horribly vague. The general concepts are there, but a lot is only implied, and corner cases aren't covered at all. Too bad, but hopefully Q&A and FAQs here can make up for it.

11/4/2020

Small World

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Pretty (but not necessarily very usable) components. Gameplay more or less fixes everything I dislike about Vinci. That game was sold years ago, but I suspect Small World might prove a keeper.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Light, fluffy, adventure-trashy stuff. Good fun, but not much going on in terms of gameplay.

11/4/2020

Thunderstone

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Egads, it actually works!First off, I couldn't care less about the particular theme of Thunderstone. Games don't get extra points from me for being dungeon-crawls. That being said, Thunderstone is a fine game, even if one just considers the mechanics. And the theme does work well here.It's longer than Dominion, and more complex, the latter both in terms of the amount of rules, and the complexity of the decisions you have to make during the game. The rules are less clean than those of Dominion, and the graphical layout is horrible.Having played three games, my first impression is that it is a more interesting game than Dominion, but also longer and more fiddly. Better or worse? I don't know yet.I do look forward to trying Thunderstone again, to see if it can maintain its initial very favorable impression.

11/4/2020

Priests of Ra

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Well, I was afraid this was going to be yet another of Reiner's games being dumbed down for the family market, but I am happy to say that it doesn't seem that way: PoR seems to have at least as much depth (thanks in part to the two-sided tiles) as Ra.Scoring mechanisms are as opague as in Ra, but in different ways, of course. The artwork of Ra is far superior, though: PoR has garish, brightly-colored artwork compared with the more subdued, elegant artwork of Ra.Ra is like an old friend, whereas PoR is the new pretender, so it's difficult to compare them objectively. For now, I much prefer original Ra, but how much of that is because of sheer conservatism is hard to say. For all I know, PoR might end up the more interesting of the two.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Best new Columbia game I have played in a while. First game makes me suspect that York has an easier time. Anyway, very elegant block game and very, very fast too. And pretty.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Entertaining enough but a little long and the low complexity is both nice and frustrating (in the sense that it sometimes makes the game feel more superficial than the old TPS).I like it well enough but I don't see it becoming a favorite.

11/4/2020

Dominion: Seaside

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Rating reflects the fact that my first (and so far only) game included the Pirate Ship. Without comparison the least fun card in Dominion so far.The duration cards seemed clever but also cumbersome and fiddly.

11/4/2020

Emira

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Great theme and wonderful artwork. There, that's the good bits taken care of.How did this monstrosity ever get published?! Imagine Princes of Florence, only 5-10 times slower and without any semblance of balance, and you have Emira. Bad rich-get-richer syndrom: You can see who is going to win but with the speed this game unfolds, you can also see that it will take *hours* for the inevitable to happen... Add a fair dose of randomness and you end up with an absolutely horrible mixture. Like watching a glacier move. Yikes.

11/4/2020

Homesteaders

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Homesteaders is an "economic engine" type of game (featuring many different types of resources, Le Havre-style), and with Amun-Re style auctions thrown in.Components are ... disappointing (and that's being generous). Artwork is drab and uninspired, and my copy had its share of production issues - insufficiently die-cut counters and badly aligned printing on tiles and counters on some of the sprues. At least the 'coweeples' are nice.With the component trainwreck out of the way, the game plays well. Very well. Starting out, gameplay is confusing as hell, but eventually things start to click. Auctions are agonizing - in a good way! - and the economic development puzzle is fun, although of course at the same time incredibly fiddly!After half a dozen games, I am ready to declare Homesteaders an amazing game. Easily one of the best new games I have tried in the last year.

11/4/2020

Yinsh

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Great, tense abstract game.

11/4/2020

Vasco Da Gama

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Solid worker placement eurogame, slightly reminiscent of Caylus. Quite fiddly in places, and with little "escalation" (i.e. your last turn quite resembles your first), the game probably isn't my cup of tea. Time will tell, though: I look forward to playing again.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Fast, vicious economic game. Almost too fast - the game ends just when you feel your factory is beginning to get up to speed. Also, determining the winner solely on cash in hand seems strange, as it may result in situations where the optimal move in the last turn is to basically do nothing (since the cost of buying anything outstrips the extra income it might give you).I would like to play again, and I might potentially end up liking this a bit, but I am not rushing out to get my own copy...

11/4/2020

Hansa Teutonica

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Hansa Teutonica gave a pretty good first impression. It's definitely a very old-school eurogame, complete with a graph-like map whereupon players place cubes in order to claim trade routes, establish presence in cities, etc. A private player board is used to track your progress on five different development tracks, each allowing for more efficient play options as they are advanced.A couple of thoughts: The board is static and it seems as if a couple of specific routes, which allow for special actions, will tend to play a central role in each and every game. I fear this may influence the staying power of the game in a bad way.The game actually has a lot in common with Endeavor, but in my book Endeavor comes away as the clear winner in almost all respects.

11/4/2020

Waterworks

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Yikes, that's half an hour of my life I won't get back!Absolutely dreadful. Not much thought involved, lots of targetted screwage. Might be ok if it lasted, say, two minutes or less - but it doesn't.

11/4/2020

Egizia

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Old-school worker placement eurogame. Increase the effectiveness of your workers, remember to feed them, get stones from your quarries, and help build monuments and tombs, all of which gives you victory points.The game is mechanically sound and enjoyable, but possibly lacks that little "something" to really make it stand out. Everything this game does, some other game does better. Perfectly ok, but not a game I'll be playing ten years from now.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

It's The Holy Grail (or perhaps "The One Ring"?) of boardgames! Man, it's beautiful! Generally, when one considers the theme, gameplay and components of a game, one of those aspects is almost always lacking. Not so with WotR:CE.Loses half a point because of the awkward hinges on the box.

11/4/2020

Tobago

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Oooh, pretty. Quite fun too.Update: I've tentatively played it with my 7-year old daughter. Despite theme and components, it wasn't a success. She simply became bored long before the game was over. The whole central "the location has to fulfill the criteria on ALL the cards" mechanism was conceptually difficult for her.Another update: I have now also played with adults who struggled with the mechanism. I think that Tobago falls between two chairs, so to speak: It's too complex and detailed to really work as a family game and too light-weight and random to work as a gamers' game. That's an unfortunate niche to end up in. Too bad...

11/4/2020

Peloponnes Board Game

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Light package featuring a surprising number of moving parts: Resource gathering, auctions, acquisition of land and buildings, disasters, and all playable in less than an hour. Thoughtful, somewhat dry game. How the disasters come up can really screw you, so try to stay alert.

11/4/2020

God's Playground

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Our first game was marred by dozens of rules questions (many of which remained unanswered despite numerous attempts to locate the answer in the rules), which led to a frustrating experience. The player aid sheet is woefully lacking and the board, the player aid sheet, the rules and even the examples contradict each other in more than one place.The bit of a game I was able to discern under all this didn't impress me much. Going with the BGG guidelines of letting the rating reflect my desire to play again, I would have to go with a 4 or 5 or so. I suspect the "real" game underneath is worth a 6 or 7 or so in my book, though.GP is shock full of little fiddly special rules: The rules for the Habsburgs/Ottomans in particular are a mess of turn-specific exceptions. The Treefrog insistance on all-wooden bits seems a strange and unfortunate decision here. At least the board is nice (or at least, it isn't as toe-curlingly bad as the Wensleydale one ).

11/4/2020

Modern Art Card Game

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Modern Art without the auctions. Unfortunately, the auctions are the best part of MA. ;-) Still, MG plays quickly and is pretty interesting.Two-player game seems dull, though. More players are definitely needed.

11/4/2020

by jens_hoppe

Seems like a step back from basic RRT and Europe. While the fixed connection bonuses are a big plus compared with RRT, the map seems overly constrained and as a player one gets easily (excuse the pun) railroaded. The game is also quite fast, so it feels like a short term strategy is necessary.I think I lean more towards the Age of Steam (and Steam, I suppose) paradigm over the RRT one these days: The cards in the RRT family of games annoy me - this game in particular seems driven by the service bounties that come out, while most of the rest of the cards are mere clutter of little importance. Also, the crude auction system and the clockwise-around-the-table sequence of play seems overly detrimental to the game. While I do appreciate that fact that the RRT games are less economically brutal than AoS, and while I do really like the income track system of RRT, I feel the above shortcomings really hurt the game,

11/4/2020

Diamant

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Very nice, fun filler! The tension builds and people shout in disappointment or scream with glee. Great fun. ;-)

11/4/2020

Metropolys

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Dry, abstract, very analytical. Great potential for screwing up completely. Not really my type of game, I think, but it seems very well done. Mechanically sound.

11/4/2020

Steam

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

Great graphics. Solid take on the AoS/RRT type of game, with the Base game occupying a somewhat successful middle ground between the extremes represented by those two other games. The Standard game is *very* close to AoS.I am not really a fan of the new concept of differentiating between income and points, and feel that both the AoS and RRT family of games have better, more intuitive economic models. That being said, Base game Steam is more accessible and approachable than AoS. Personally, I suspect that at the end of the day I prefer the added complexity and playing time of AoS, 'cause the auctions at the beginning of each turn really add to the game.

11/4/2020

Tribune: Expansion

No Review Title

by jens_hoppe

I am not sure what to think of this expansion. I really liked the new locations and extra victory conditions. Also, in principle, I like the *idea* of the Bruttii player - having an extra player who doesn't play by the regular rules, but... It really adds *a lot* of complexity to the game, and in the end I am not sure it's worth it. Plus, in my first and only game with the expansion, I played the Bruttii player, and though I hate to say it, interacting with the board using cards instead of workers simply made for a considerably more boring experience.I also didn't feel that the balance was necessarily very good. Yeah, first time player and all that, but with only three actions per round (some of which have the potential to be very powerful, of course), I didn't feel I could achieve the same as the others.Ah well, an easy '8' for the new locations and, say, a '6' for the Bruttii rules adds up to a tentative '7' for the expansion so far.

11/4/2020