It’s Sunday, I just finished packing some games I sold off (which always feels good), and there is a good stack of new things that have come in. Feels like it is time for another On the Table, my sneak peak format on what I’ve been playing lately. As always, keep in mind these aren’t reviews or even first impressions and my feeling towards the games might still change. Here we go!
Of course, I have been busy playing all the new games I got at Essen and I’m quite happy I got in so many plays so quickly that I could finish write-ups on Evacuation (first impressions), Concordia Roma/Sicilia (first impressions), and Sky Team (review). I’m also super happy how well the interview with Martin Wallace I did was received. Thank you all so much!
However, there were also a number of games from Essen I already sold off as I didn’t enjoy them enough to keep them. That’s not saying they are bad games, quite far from it. But there have come out so many great games lately that “good” just doesn’t make the cut for me anymore. This includes Kutná Hora: The City of Silver (it just felt to average-Euro for me and I didn’t have a good reason to play it instead of other games), Freaky Frogs From Outaspace (great idea but I just don’t see myself playing it in the future, I like heavier solo games better), Viking See-Saw (lovely production but likely won’t play it enough), Witchcraft! (didn’t enjoy it at all). Overall, I would say I still did well with the small selection I picked up at Essen and these had been the candidates I had been unsure of anyway.
Hegemony: Lead Your Class to Victory
A recent bank holiday allowed me and a couple of friends to meet up for a longer day of board games. And since we were four, it was the perfect opportunity to bring Hegemony back to the table. Due to mainly its play length, Hegemony unfortunately doesn’t hit the table as often as it should. But a good game was had by all. In Hegemony, each player plays a different faction/class in an unnamed nation: working class, middle class, capitalists, or the state. Each has their own unique rules and conditions for gaining victory points, but they are united by the policies in the state they try to influence and the market dynamics of their shared economy.
As the middle class, I immediately shut down immigration and then even migrated off 4 of my own people to keep population low. That worked wonders for getting my prosperity up (less stuff I had to buy) but during mid-game the capitalist had pushed the import taxes up and so both the working class and me had to buy tons of food from them. As a result, I ran out of steam and both me and the working class came last with the capitalist getting a roaring victory in front of the state. Still not sure if I see Hegemony more as a game or an experience, but who cares when it is so good? It’s a shame I never had the chance to use any of the expansion content so far. Have you?
I finally picked up a copy of Tapestry. I’m always into civ-like/inspired games and a number of people had recommended this for solo play, so I had been dancing around it for multiple years. Unfortunately, it’s not for me. The base idea is interesting: actions are very simple and most of the decision is just picking on which of four tracks to advance which triggers various effects. This is combined with a general shortage of resources one needs to trigger actions. The artwork is also lovely.
When playing it though, it unfortunately fell completely flat for us. The map-dominance mechanism feels weird, too few tapestry cards are played and they had too little effect for our taste, the techs didn’t feel like techs, and the minis just seem to be there for the toy factor. It felt like taking the terminology and ingredients of a civ game but then cooking up a completely different dish with it. If it comes to that, I prefer Mosaic (first impressions) to Tapestry. So sadly Tapestry is already on the out-pile again after only a few plays. But happy I finally got a chance to try it.
Speaking of out-pile, I finally was able to sell my copy of Dead Reckoning which proved quite difficult. In it, players card craft their crew (each crew member is a card in a sleeve and partial transparent overlays are slotted in to enhance their abilities) and then lay claim on islands, produce goods or fight sea battles using a quite large dice tower shaped as a ship. As much as I enjoyed my first few plays – causing me to invest in the metal coins and deluxe resources as well –, I didn’t like the Saga story-element and the base game play just felt to same-y on repeat play. I book this one into the category “fun spectacle” rather than game I want to sink my teeth in.
On a related note, I played Rolling Heights (review) – also by John D. Claire – again and was reminded that despite its flaws, I really enjoy this game and so did everyone else. Its biggest fault is still that it overstays its welcome a bit. With hindsight, I should have used the variant a BGG user proposed of giving each player one more starting building and an extra green meeple to speed up things!
Since playing John Company: Second Edition (first impressions), I’ve been going on a slight historic-gaming trip. Due to all the good buzz about Votes for Women, I now picked up a copy. In Votes for Women, one player plays the Suffragette movement in the United States that fought for getting voting rights to women, the other the opposition against it. It also allows for solo play as the opposition can be replaced by an automa deck.
My first 1-2 plays left me pretty cold but I’m growing fond of it now. It’s not as deep as I would have thought or had hoped for, but in this case that might be a good thing. As a solo game, it has just the right length and depth to be enjoyable but not taxing. Great for a nice cup of tea after a long day of work. In essence, your cards allow you to place/remove cubes in various regions or states or push towards getting the 19th amendment to congress. There are a couple of key states where if you manage to get an early lead there, you get an extra action card. It’s all pretty basic actions but there are some nice interactions between cards where if the Suffragettes supports other courses, they get a bonus but also allow the opposition to leash out with specific cards that reference the event. Thematically, all of this is interesting, but I’m still trying to evaluate how much game is to be had here.
So not the deepest game in the world, but a lovely implementation of the topic and the production is quite nice. The board is a bit bland for my taste, but cards and the extra content in the box are cool. I will probably do a full write-up on Votes for Women somewhere down the line. I also just purchased a copy of The Shores of Tripoli, will be interesting to see the parallels and differences.
I’m still working on Voidfall, I think that’s the right phrase to use here. Despite its looks, it’s not a 4x game but a 2-3 hour space-themed euro of interlocking mechanisms and tight action selection choices. The more I’ve played it, the more I’ve come to appreciate it. But still, I always feel exhausted afterwards and don’t really have as much “fun” as I should have. It’s a big game with many moving parts which I can appreciate from a design perspective, but it doesn’t have what I’m looking for when I play a space-themed game or a euro game. I already got tons of notes for my write-up, will likely play one more time and then attempt to write about it. Doing so for these complex games is never easy.
Played another round of Planet with a full four players. In Planet, each player is building a planet (a physical sphere with magnets) to provide nice habitats for a selection of animals that is laid out at the start of the game. Each round, every player gets to pick one tile from the market and then install it in their planet. Then the animals of that turn go to the player who best matches their condition (e.g. largest body of water not next to a mountain). Seriously, I think this game is under-appreciated! In the end, it’s just another tile layer, but it’s fun and different. I think I payed 15€ for my used copy and for that, it’s a steal.
I also had the plasure of playing another round of Dune Imperium with both expansions. Oh man, talking about games that I should get to the table more often! Whenever I do, I always have a good time and it always feels slightly different. I was briefly considering whether or not I should get Dune: Imperium – Uprising which seems to be like a v1.2 updated version but in the end decided I still get more than enough joy out of Dune Imperium that I don’t need a second one.
And I convinced a couple of colleagues to play Horseless Carriage (review) with me. In Horseless Carriage, players struggle to build automobiles the market actually wants to buy. The clue in this game is that nothing in your factory costs money. You can put as many production lines or work stations in there as you want, it just costs space … and space is the harshest resource of them all! Players are also the ones that influence how market demand develops, which provides great opportunities to ruin your competition.
Man, I still enjoy this game so much! It’s quite sad that it really hasn’t caught on in my regular play group because I could play this like once a week if it wouldn’t take as long to play as it does. The nice thing about this session is that it literally took only one full turn before people were already going “oh gosh, why did I do that?” (just with more swear words in it) and “next time I have to”. It was glorious.
I played another round of World Wonders, the gorgeous new tile layer, this time with 4 players. Still good game and everybody liked it. However, the playtime was quite substantial, not to say it overstayed its welcome a bit. I have to get this to the table more because I want to do a full write-up on this one. So far I would say still a good purchase, good game, but it loses a bit of the hype for me now, maybe because of the long play time. Could be that it just will end up to be a 3p or less game for me, could be that it’s something else. But I’m a bit surprised I’m not as eager to get it to the table as I thought I would. I do tend to gravitate to heavier games when I have the chance to play them, but still … I have to further look into it!
Gosh, that was a surprisingly long list. After the crazy post-Essen time of playing new acquisitions and writing reviews, things have gotten a bit quieter again. Right now, I’m preparing for the next interview for Origin Stories which is always great fun. No tease on what game it will be about, but it’s a more recent game and I’m super happy these two authors have agreed to sit down with me!
I’m looking forward to playing my recent purchase of Pipeline and to play the used copy of Roads & Boats I found on a convention flee market. I got a copy of Caper: Europe but haven’t really gotten it to the table yet. The Shores of Tripoli should arrive soon and it seems like Sleeping Gods: Distant Skies and Tidal Blades 2: Rise of the Unfolders are on the horizon of being fulfilled in the next couple of weeks or so, both of which I’m super curious about.
And with that, as always over to you: what’s currently hitting your table? Any particular game you’re interested in and would like me to write about longform? Or who would you like me to interview and about what game? No promises though 😀