Board Game Mini Reviews [EN]

bgames-popuriOccasionally i try out some new game. Live with my friends or colleagues or at one of the sites i’ve mentioned (Yucata, Boardgamearena). One time i just want something new. The other time i decide to try a game which i heard about on the Dice Tower channel or somewhere else.


I will describe in short my impressions about games which i tried out in the recent 2-3 months.


Nations: The Dice Game. I haven’t played the Nations game. I saw good ratings of this version from the Dice Tower team. And when this game appeared on Yucata site i hurried up to try it. And.. it seemed too primitive and short to me. Although its shortness has to be its merit, but i want a bit more from a game than 4+ rolls of dice (yeah yeah, there is an option to re-roll if you doesn’t like the results). Also it seemed that selection of new cards, which you could acquire to acquire more dice, was limited and not interesting. You get the same thing, just in a bigger amount, so you could buy more of the same thing (dice). This game lacks diversity. I’m still trying to play it (and win 🙂 ) to see something i didn’t see yet. But i rate it 6 out of 10 so far.


 Seasons. The game i wanted to try for a long time. It looks beautiful. Chunky, nice dice with symbols-resources, pretty art on the cards. The game is interesting, but it didn’t impress me that much. I’ve mostly played it with 2 players (on the Boardgamearena site), because playing it with more players creates too much chaos and it is hard to plan or strategize. A lot depends on dice in this game and on who is picking the needed resources first. The thing that by the end of a game some players were able to pull such combinations, so it completely out weighed the results in their favor, also contributed to a bit of weaker rating of this game. It looks like i didn’t like the game, because i lost so many times 🙂 Partially true. But i didn’t like that there could be such leaps of points in the game. However the game is really peculiar, interesting and unique. I really liked the start of the game, when players in turn are picking cards (“drafting”) and put them aside for the first, second and third turn. The game is demanding to think through your strategy very well from a very first minute. My rating 7/10.


Thurn and Taxis. This is a game which already became a classic (published on 2006). I wanted to try it out for a ling time, because it reminds Ticket to Ride game. It only looks older. Although it is in reality 2 years younger than the “trains” game. Just its appearance and mechanisms look so dated and uninspiring (i’ve played it on Yucata, but i’ve seen it live). However the game is not bad. It’s a race of who will get to a certain lvel faster, although it is not necessary to win a game. But the cards selecting and the roles in this game are boring. It is somewhat interesting to link the cities and choose where exactly to build your post offices, so you could win area bonuses or to just get rid of your figures (as the left over ones will give negative points), but not for long. 7/10.


Yucata. The game, which gave the name to the Yucata site (where i have also played this game). I’ve tried only one variant of a game, but there was no desire to try the others. The game is very simple, though there is a place for a deeper strategy. But i don’t like games of such type. When you have to calculate your turns far ahead and when a game is punishing you harder and harder for your mistakes (because you get more negative points for collecting more bad stones). 6/10.


Drako. The game for only two players. Asymmetric roles of every player. Although two rounds are played, so every player would have a chance to control a dragon and the dwarves.  I’ve played only once on Yucata. and i couldn’t wait for it to end already. Although i’ve seen good ratings and maybe there is a place for interesting moves, but it looked very boring and primitive to me. You just wait till cards run out, because you attack and you get blocked, the other player attacks you and you block. And around 50 times in the same manner. Yes, sometimes you manage to take some interesting position or the other player gets unlucky to draw a blocking card, but 90% of game time is a boring card play which doesn’t change anything. 5/10.


Pergamon. I’ve played a few sessions of this game on Yucata so far, but i don’t have a rating yet. I’m trying to understand what i like about it and what not. I’ve been wanting to try this game out since i saw Tom Vasel’s review of it about 4 years ago. There is a very interesting turn order and the resources gathering mechanism in this game. When you are risking to get less money by going further, but also you can get lucky and get more. Another interesting mechanism is when you have to form a solid exhibition stand for a museum out of separate excavated fragments. Such a miniature “puzzle” element with a points optimization. But there could be less additional things in the game such as devaluation of stands, additional bonuses during the game. Because it distracts you from concentrating on the most interesting elements of the game (money collecting, excavating and constructing stands). Then the game would be a bit shorter, simpler and fun. So far my rating wanders between 6 and 7.


Lords of Xidit. A second game in the same universe as Seasons. Again, the game is unique and attractive. This is a turn programming game, when you have to foresee 6 actions and they will be activating one by one for every player in a turn order. In general you are gathering resources to get another resources, amount of which will dictate who wins in the end. But there is a twist. In the end results of one resource are compared at first and the player who is at the last place is out of a game, and then results for another and finally for a third resources are compared. The order of resources is different in every game. So, it won’t be enough to get more money than others have, if the money will be compared in the last place, and you will lose by the glory results and so on. This mechanisms of determining a winner is very interesting, as well as programming element. But in overall the game looked a bit boring and very prone to AP (“analysis paralysis”) problem, because it is not so easy to program 6 turns for a future and also take into consideration actions by other players and the possibilities of getting resources. I rate it similarly, however Seasons is a bit more fun game for me. 7/10.


Helios. Another game i haven’t rated yet. It was only published last year (2014). And it already managed to get into Yucata system. I’ve decided to try it only for a reason that it is using the new game engine of Yucata (framework 2.0). And i understood, that i most probably will not be trying it again. It is one of the heavier “euro” games (“euro” are the games which concentrate on lots of mechanisms of points generation, usually there is no confrontation between players and players elimination). I just can’t understand what to do in this game. Of course, the fact i’m playing on the Internet is contributing to this. But there are just too many things in the game. The board, on which you have to build buildings, harvest resources and take new spots, move the sun figure around your lands. And then you have lots of cards, which you can (and must, if you want to win) buy, activate. And all this to get more and even more points. I had the same impression when playing Castles of Burgundy and Russian Railroads. Elements that are hard to connect in your mind and the points “salad”. It’s not nice to rate a game only after just one play (and “online” one), but i don’t think i would want to try it again. 5 points so far.

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