Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My favorite games of the spring

This spring wasn't as prolific as I had hoped in terms of playing games, nevertheless I still managed to play about 20 games I had never played before and this is my top 5. Now, I must warn you not all of these games are technically new, but I skipped the games which are already more than 2 years old. Here goes...

5. Archipelago is probably the most beautiful board game I have ever seen and this is one of the reasons it made it to my top 5 of the spring. The game play is engaging and for those who like secret objective and mind games it might be an awesome experience. I must confess that I prefer the Euro-games with no hidden information, but Archipelago was still a pleasant experience. The rules are a bit heavy for the this kind of game and I had a hard time explaining it (but I usually do, so maybe that's not so relevant) while the game play flows smoothly but ends abruptly when a player reveals that one of his end of game conditions was met. 

Overall I am not profoundly impressed by Archipelago, but the quality of the components, the replay value and the awesome graphics are adding together to a game that I will for sure play again.

4. Android: Netrunner is the champion of growth in the BoardGameGeek charts and has recently pushed up past Eclipse to be ranked no. 5. It is quite an amazing accomplishment for a card game and my feeling is that it won't stop here and while it won't make it all the way to the top, it has a good chance of getting to the second place.

I expected a lot from Netrunner based on the incredible ratings and the publicity around it and I must say I am pretty satisfied whit what I found in the box. The theme is strong and once you get comfortable with "rezzing", "ice", etc you will find an upgraded Magic: The Gathering in a dystopian universe. The real value of this game can be discovered when you build you own deck and see it at work, especially since the pre-constructed decks are very limited.

3. Yedo is surprisingly good, a lot better than I expected, a complex Euro with many decisions and enough interaction between players especially in the meta-game. Coming from Pegasus I expected a 45-minutes light Euro, but Yedo stands tall in its genre. It shows modern mechanisms, it is one of the very few worker placement games where having more workers is not necessarily the way to victory and it is highly thematic. This is the latest trend in Euro-games, they have evolved from dry yet strategic "classics" to games in which the theme is just as important as the maths behind. Yedo is a proud exponent of this new age of worker placement games.

2. Star Trek: Fleet Captains is a board game for every fan of the Star Trek universe. The base game comes with Star Fleet and Klingon ships and once you spend about one hour admiring each and every one of them, you have to make it past the 20+ pages rules to be ready to play. The rule book is pretty heavy, but well structured and the best way is to power through, make the setup and start playing right away. The risk of getting some of the rules wrong in the beginning is out-weighted by the fact that you get to put your space ships to good use. 

According to the ships you draw and, therefore, the missions you draw you will be either a peaceful explorer or a warriors hellbent on attacking every enemy ship. The good thing is the every ship can be easily customized to do either maximum damage or to venture in the depths of the space to explore and do science experiments. As a Start Trek fan, I could no be happier, I found a game that combines great miniatures with good mechanics and a variable game length, making the game almost perfect.

1. Dungeon Command is a choice that would surprise most of my friends, taking into account that I am more of a strategy fan and a Euro-gamer rather than a war gamer. Well... my favorite game of the spring is Dungeon Command, a tactical card driven combat game, with amazing painted miniatures and a fast and easy to learn game play.

The game is straight forward, you deploy units and every turn you get to move each of them and perform specific actions, the most important being the attack on an enemy creature. It is a classical tactical combat game with a few tweaks given by the order cards in your hand, which can range from massive attack cards to interrupt cards which will disrupt the opponents strategy. 

Dungeon Command has quickly became my favorite games of the spring because it is engaging even for someone who is not a fan of the genre and its simple yet full of relevant tactical decisions. Oh... did I even mention the amazing Dungeons & Dragons universe? 

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