James’ games for 2011

No game really captured my attention last year.  Oh, 7 Wonders was on my wishlist (A civilization building game that can field up to 7 players and plays in 30 minutes?  Heck yes.) but I wasn’t that excited.  San Juan and Race of the Galaxy both check two of those boxes (build a civilization in under an hour), so nothing to get that excited about.  2011 has been a bit different.

First there was Yomi.  To be honest, at first I was a bit dubious about this game.  The designer is a bit pompous, which sometimes means the game is talked up more than it deserves.  But I decided to try it out through the cheaper print & play route (the full games would cost $100) and was pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong.  Well, partly wrong.  My review can be read here.  The bottom line is that Danny and I played Yomi regularly, 1-3 nights a week, for a month and had a lot of fun doing so.

One tempting games is Ascending Empires.  I’ve wanted a dexterity game for a while: PitchCar is almost universally reviewed as one of the most accessible and fun games people own, where everyone from kids to grandparents are ask for another games.  Accessibility and fun factor are important considerations for me since most of the people I play games with are not hardcore gamers, so I tailor my collection to games I hope they find interesting.  Last year, Catacombs mated a dexterity flicking game with a dungeon hack & slash.  There seem to be some issues, but it’s a good game (as of writing, games with similar BGG ratings include Wyatt Earp, Junta, Mr. Jack Pocket, Elfenland, and Ca$h ‘n Gun$).  Now Ascending Empires has melded a flicking game with a space 4X game.  Main thing stopping me from getting it right now?  Playtime may be a bit long.  People do make a point of it having quick turns and low downtime, so it doesn’t feel long.

One upcoming release I’m excited about is The Ares Project, which is basically a boardgame version of an RTS.  Before I had heard about this game, I had posted my thoughts on boardgaming RTSs here; I was working up to restarting my Narbonic card game design.  I like how the designers captured (most of) the essential elements of RTS games, and after reading the faction descriptions, it sounds like each faction handles uniquely.  I’m looking forward to this hitting the shelves.

Finally, there’s a couple Discworld games coming out toward the end of the year: Ankh-Morpork and Guards! Guards!.  Ankh-Morpork is designed by the eminent Martin Wallace, though he hasn’t really made a game this simple or short before.  It seems to capture the chaos of Ankh-Morpork well, though whether you feel you’re actually playing the characters from the books we’ll have to see.  Between almost certainly being a decent to game good and the Discworld theme, I don’t think I can pass this up.  Actually, now I’m just debating between getting the deluxe or collector’s edition.  On the other hand, much of what I’ve heard about Guards! Guards! hasn’t resonated with me, as I mention here.

Addendum: Some part of me just wants to see spaceship wailing on each other, and guess what’s coming out this year.

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