Metrics and games

Interesting new thing to calculate: the number of games played at least five times. This is interesting, of course, because I’m on top of the list when you look at the Finnish Board Game Society folks. I’ve long ago dropped from the top of the rating race, but on this list I shine. Lovely metric, that is.

Games, since the last update. Not much, because I’ve had to miss last couple of Thursdays, because my son’s swimming school is at the same time as my games would be. Fortunately I have another group I can attend, but I still had to miss couple of weeks for other reasons.

  • Santa Cruz. A good example of a 45-minute light strategy euro. No complaints, except the slightly funky rule book. Not my cup of tea. Interesting game, nevertheless. The catch here is that the game is played in two rounds. It’s card-driven, and the cards are exchanged between the rounds. The map begins filled with hidden tiles, and the revealed tiles remain on board for the second phase, so there’s a lot more information available when round two begins. Not bad, but not thrilling enough to be a keeper. Suggest.
  • Color Pop. Fun little abstract. Fairly simple, but with some depth that isn’t immediately obvious. Kids love it. I had to revise my opinion of the level of skill in the game when my three-year old daughter (who’s becoming quite the gamer) beat us twice out of four games. But a fun little game. The plastic contraption is little cool, little rickety, but it works. Suggest.
  • Da ist der Wurm drin. After several whole-family games of this I’ve revised my rating up. Despite being rather straight-forward diefest, the game’s actually pretty good. The kids love it, which is the most important bit. Suggest.
  • Timeline. Quick little trivia game. It’s all about years: can you put the inventions and events in the right order on the timeline? Compared to other similar games, Timeline drops the bluffing aspect, all cards are immediately checked. That’s not a bad move, as it makes the game much faster and straight-forward. One round takes about 10-15 minutes, which is very good. The replayability is limited, unless expansion cards are provided. Suggest.
  • Viva Topo! Another family favourite, we’ve played this with both of the kids as well. Works well. The mice are adorable, but I topple way too easy. This Kinderspiel des Jahres winner from almost ten years ago is still a solid kids game. Suggest.
  • Making Profit. Interesting concept: a quick business game from a known 18xx player. Too bad the game doesn’t quite work. We did miss something in our game (nobody remembered they could sell factory cards for money), but it seems early money is very superior to resource production. Also, developing your factory seems less useful than just running the factory once you have a share lead and selling shares seems never to make any sense. Avoid, though if possible (if I can coax somebody to play this with me; fortunately the game is fairly short) I’ll give it one more go.
  • Dungeon Lords. I got to try this somewhat popular game for the first time last week. I can see why some people like this game, but I went in knowing I probably won’t enjoy it much and I wasn’t surprised. For starters the game is complicated in a rather unpleasant way. I’d hate to teach this game. It took 30 minutes to explain the rules, that’s just too much. Then there’s the action selection mechanism, where you are arbitrarily punished or rewarded depending on what your opponents do… Bah. Not my cup of tea. Indifferent.
  • Monad. I’ve been looking for this game for a long time, and got it from the Kickstarter project. I’ve only played once so far and with two players, which wasn’t optimal (apparently three is). Seems like an interesting game, if a bit dry and abstract. I’ll have to try again, preferably with three players. Suggest.

I bought Village from a sale, because it won the Kennerspiel des Jahres and Deutscher Spiele Preis. Should be worth trying, at least. Hopefully I can get it on the table in a couple of days.

Some of these games can played online as well. Play online games and win cash. Playing online is always a good option when your life is busy and you can’t make schedules meet – there are always opponents online. You can play whenever you want.

Monster in a sack

Colorpop board detail

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8 responses to “Metrics and games”

  1. Sorry to hear it. Probably should’ve warned you earlier that MP is definitely not 18xx-style stock trading but more like easy and simple entry-level economy game for raising interest in heavier games.

  2. Well, after reading the rules, I didn’t expect 18xx-style of a game, so that wasn’t really the problem…

    Part of the problem, which I didn’t mention here, is the ending condition (game end, if nobody develops the factory) – first it’s really hard to notice (the game needs a large token that always goes to the player who develops their factory) and second it’s really rather annoying: I’d like to do A and B (say buy a share and run the factory), but I’m forced to develop instead to make sure the player in the lead doesn’t win. It makes catching up the leader (who can just run his factory twice, gaining more and more lead every turn) that much harder.

    I’d like to see the game work as the 20 minute entry level economics game it could be, but I don’t think it quite works from that point of view. Or are there some ways to catch up an early lead caused by good luck with the initial draw that I’m simply not seeing? At least the rule that allows you to draw an extra card if you start with +1/+1 is a must.

  3. I’m not sure if this is the right place for discussing… but as far as there’s no better one then, yes, I admit that the rules might’ve (no, should’ve) been written out more thoroughly. I tried to avoid all that I don’t like in the rules myself (optionality, repetition, etc) while trying to fit to the A5 size – so too much was cropped out. Unfortunately. The factory figures are meant for marking the last developer. One optional rule allowed game to end without everybody having equal amount of moves, another addressed same issue (+1/+1 at initial draw) with actually the same solution (extra card).

    During playtests I saw also those early leader runaways, when somebody was lucky enough to have $2/$2 in initial hand… but this happened only during group’s first game. In next games everybody already knew that this was the sign “healthy dividends – this way!” and this changed the play quite seriously. But I admit if you take this as a flaw.

    And this writing is by no means meant to be trying to change your opinion – I respect it – it’s more like trying to understand it.

  4. Yeah, I got that extra rule from BGG.

    Healthy dividends, yes, but if your own factory doesn’t generate money, getting those shares can be tricky. We didn’t sell resources, so perhaps that’s the key to catching up, but then again – if you sell resources to get money, you can’t really buy the shares on the same turn, as you have to develop the factory to make sure the game doesn’t end.

    I’m all for giving this game another go – it’s fortunately rather fast – but I know the first group I tried with won’t play it again. Next week I hope to see my regular game group, hopefully they’ll want to try the game.

  5. I don’t see Dungeon Lords as arbitrary, knowing what the other players definitely can’t play this turn, and what you expect them to play and in what order on this turn is the key decision and interaction point for the game. You almost always want to be taking the 2nd option on most action slots, negotiating the other players choice to end up in that position is the joy.

    I appreciate it’s not for everyone though 🙂

  6. Yes, that exactly – you want to be second, and I find the need to figure out other players to get there is rather painful and not fun at all.

  7. Number of games played at least five times? 105, according to my stats at BGG. And I’ve only tracked plays since 2002. Is that a decent score?
    (And I have nothing to say about your new games, unfortunately. They’re all still 5 plays away from joining that list of 105.)