Boardgaming in 2019!


Forget it Tom, it’s Chinatown you want.


This is my thinking too. Specially with euro-designed, low luck, games where unless you involve player psychology you might as well be playing a solitaire game just trying to find the most optimal choice and not trying to “play” the other players (note that this includes games with player interaction when those interactions limit themselves to the most optimal choice, even if that choice is to directly damage other player’s plans).


All of this. The fact that some people are bad at auctions is what makes them good for games! If everyone was bidding optimally you might as well just have fixed values.

Also, Knizia has a bunch of games like Modern Art — eg Ra, High Society and especially Money — which are basically nothing but auctions, and I love them.


Not really. It’s not just a matter of some people calculating the expected values wrong. It’s that the expected value will almost always be different for each player.


I liked the time when he said he enjoyed games that involved “the manipulation of ambiguity”


My favorite was him saying 1830 is a “cute” 18XX game. But yeah, he is pretty much a stereotypical power train gamer.

This is exactly why I have almost completely stopped playing euro games (except for some classic Knizia every once in a while). I have fallen in love with train games, which usually having bidding, share-holding, and closed-economy mechanisms that encourage amazing player interaction. There’s a reason there are so many 18XX games, even though they are far from mainstream.


Even better when you match auctions with hidden information, so you can’t be sure of the value a certain asset has for other players and thus you can bluff. This way you introduce a third factor: it’s not only about getting an asset for what it’s worth to you, or making other pay enough for theirs, but also giving you the oportunity to make others pay too much for a card that has little value to them.


All of this is why Monopoly with auctions is a much better game (that’s still not worth playing) than people give it credit for!

Really, the main advantage Monopoly has over Catan? Nobody has pushed anyone to play Monopoly for over 20 years. Whereas there’s still always people insisting to waste everyone’s time with Catan.


And conversely I dislike almost every single one of the mechanics you mention for precisely that reason.

I mean, trading is okay, and I’m not 100% sure what you mean by interdependencies, but bluffing, hidden identity, social deduction, traitor mechanics? Ugh.


Anyone watching the boardgame world explode with birding?

I watch these videos and read these reviews: the components are so attractive, the gameplay looks so slick, the rules are beautiful and clear, the box insert cleverly designed to facilitate storage and play, there’s an easy to use automa for solo play. All the reviews are glowing! And it’s only $50 on pre-order!.. and yet…

The game has these gorgeously illustrated cards with a watercolor look, but that’s the problem: the theme is painted on. You could replace the birds with train engines, make eggs into passengers, flocks into train cars, food dice into fuel dice, change the wording here and there and voila! another train game. The comparison everyone is making is to Terraforming Mars. But that’s ridiculous. Terraforming Mars has a shared main map board with a slight area control mechanic with bonuses and combos that ricochet on and off the map. Most importantly though, TM is about terraforming Mars. The game ends when Mars has been terraformed. Terraforming is how you gain income–it’s the goal. All of the best combos are geared toward adding an ocean, releasing oxygen, etc, so that you can move up the terraforming track. Yeah, you’re trying to earn more points than the other players, but they’re terraforming points that you get by terraforming.

Wingspan OTOH, has no shared map, no in-progress scoring, no hand of cards, no drafting, no goal that isn’t points. What are eggs for? They get you points. What are flocks for? They get you points. Cached food? Points. It strikes me as utterly soulless. There’s already an expansion for it coming out later this year. I mean, I love that bird house dice tower. That is so amazingly cute. But if I want an abstract tableau builder, I’ve already got Gizmos–which has its own gimmicky (i.e. really cool) ball dispenser thing. I want Wingspan. It’s utterly gorgeous. But I don’t really want to play it.


I’ve been gifted a board game this Christmas. It’s kind of obscure, you may not heard of it.

It’s called Settlers of Catan, the ‘plus’ edition (+2 mini expansions + 2 scenarios + expansion for 6 players).


My condolences.


Can you do an exchange?


But I want to play it! Never tried it before.


Don’t let naysayers put you off. As discussed up thread, there is an easy to teach game that has stood the test of time in Catan. You’ll be able to play it as a gateway game for others and are likely to enjoy it for quite a while.

I’ve owned my copy so long I rarely play it these days. But I’m always happy to bring it to the table if someone asks to play.

It’s light. But that doesn’t make it bad.

Enjoy your present!


I finally managed to get Dice Throne to the table on Friday. Verdict: it’s pretty good. It’s got just enough strategy and decision-making to feel like you’re not just rolling dice, but it’s lightweight enough that it plays fast. And they managed to make it work in three player, which I wasn’t expecting. Basically, you get a bonus for attacking the highest health player and you don’t get anything for finishing someone off (unless that leaves you as the last one standing, in which case you win, of course), so the damage gets spread around instead of it ending up two on one until someone’s knocked out.

As for the game itself, it’s pretty straightforward. Every turn you get 1 CP and 1 card, plus any specials unique to your character (I was the Gunslinger and got a token that let me add random damage to an attack every round). Many of the cards cost CP to play, and either are actions (which modify your dice or add effects to attacks or whatever), or upgrades for your character powers. Then you assemble your five character-specific dice and roll them. You can then either allocate them to a power on your character based on the result, or roll some or all of them a second and even third time. Generally, three or more of the most common result on your dice will generate a basic attack of increasing damage potential, and the rarer symbols or straights (on the numbers) will add in status effects, make the damage undefendable, or do more damage, or even all of the above. Pick a target, that target can activate a defensive power (most characters just have the one, but sometimes more are available) and apply that, which might do damage back, reduce damage, heal them, etc. Unless the damage is undefendable, of course. Then you have another chance to play cards, and then you’re done.

We had a battle between me (the Gunslinger), the Barbarian, and the Moon Elf, which the Barbarian very narrowly won thanks to his defensive power activating for the only time in the game and healing him enough to survive my otherwise lethal attack. And since I only had 1 HP at that point, my only hope was that he would fail to roll any sort of attack at all (which is unusual, but possible - I did one turn), but…well, not so much. And the Moon Elf had only gone down the turn before (also to the Barbarian). So it was a close game all around.


Try it! Everyone should be able to say he or she has played Settlers of Catan. It’s like the Monopoly of now-times. Also, otherwise you will not be able to understand how far games have come since the settlers came to Catan.


I dunno, I’ve watched a couple of reviews and it looks pretty awesome to me. But I have a very high tolerance for dry games. Points are good!


Finally got Teotihuacan. If you like Zolkin, or if you like rondel games, you owe it to yourself to play this game. Just brilliant. It takes a round to understand the game, but it plays very fast. Decisions are interesting. I’m curious if pyramids are the strongest strategy in the game, but this is a fantastic medium weight game.


Got gloomhaven for Christmas but haven’t busted into it due to not really having a place to leave it set up. How much table space does it take for solo play? And can it be stupnand restored back into its box pretty easily?