I tried some new (for me) games last night.
Citadels An still in print classic from 2000. I got it as a Christmas present from well meaning family so I wanted to make sure I got it played. Having played it, I saw how it was a popular game for so long, but I don't really feel the need to play it again. Games about guessing what another player is going to do with his turn tend to turn me off, and this was entirely that. Because while you can make an educated guess, its still just that, a guess. It is a bit annoying to see the game decided by who guessed correctly. Or, somebody lose because they got assassinated 4 out of the first 5 rounds (completely true!). I will keep it around, though, for the samll footprint and ability to play a larger group.
New Bedford Same as the old Bedford, really. I kid. This is a worker placement game about whaling. It plays pretty quickly, even with the full compliment of 4 players. Over 12 rounds, each player gets only 2 workers placement each round. However, the VP's mostly come from whaling. One of the actions a player can do is launch one of their two boats. While a boat is out, players will pull tiles out of back. Most tiles have whales on them. However, a not small portion have empty water tiles. The whale tiles go into players boats, while the water tiles go back to bag. Meaning, it gets harder to get a whale tile as the game goes on. The other interesting thing about this game is capturing whales isn't the same as scoring them. When a boat gets back to town, the crew expects to get paid. So, you have to pay for the whales you captured. If you can't, you can sell them for some money, but the other players can then buy your whales and get the VP. So, there is some luck in the tile draw bag, but really lucky draws means needing a lot of money to score your whales, which often gives other players opportunities. When you aren't preparing and launching boats, players can build new buildings, which are generally more powerful than starting buildings. Any player can use these, but have to pay the owner some money to do so. I bought this game to fill an hour's play length, and it does so very well.
Celestia Push your luck, meets a little bit of bluffing. You are aboard a sky ship of some sort, and take turns being captain. There are 9 or there's about stops, with each stop offering a progressively bigger reward. The captain rolls dice (with later stops rolling more dice), and everyone BUT the captain can hop off the boat if they don't trust the captain. Because the captain has to play cards to match the symbols on the dice. So, a captain with a large hand of cards merits trust. A captain with few cards gets players worried. Of course, if you are next in line to be captain, you have to consider your own ability to pilot that ship, because the captain is stuck playing the dice. If the captain can't play cards to match the dice, well, the ship crashes and everyone on board gets nothing. Judgement? Cute, amusing, but lacks enough depth for me to recommend it. Don't get me wrong, a light game is fine depending on what you are looking to play.
Bottom of the 9th Speaking of light fillers, I finally tried this baseball game I bought second hand. It takes place over a single half inning in a tied game at the, you guessed it, bottom of the ninth. If the home team can score a single run, they win the game. Otherwise, its extra innings and the board game says the defense wins. This two player filler basically has two mechanics. The first is guessing the pitch. Both players have two wood discs, one saying high and low the other saying inside and away. Both players secretely chose a side for each disc. The batter wants to match the pitcher's selection, while the pitcher wants to fool the batter. Succeeding in 1 disc gives a benefit to both players. Succeeding in both gives a big benefit to that player. The next mechanic is dice based. The pitcher rolls two dice. Depending on how much he fooled the other batter, he can reroll one of them, or adjust one. One die has faces for Strike, Ball, and painting the Corner. The other dice is just a d6. The batter than rolls his one d6, trying to beat the pitcher's dice in case of a ball, or go below it in case of a strike. A corner pitch? Has to be matched. Adding some variety is mutliple pitcher and hitter cards (modeled after trading cards), each with some special ability or trait. Oh, and pitcher's can gain fatigue! So, this IS a light filler game I would recommend, though Baseball Highlights 2045 is the better baseball game.