Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Zombie Day 2011

This past weekend, was the third year we did Zombie Day.  Because of scheduling, this Zombie day was a bit different in that the festivities got split up over two days.   Follow the link for a run down of what we did this year in celebration of the undead
Zombie Day 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Top Ten Games for Couples

This is exciting.  I had a request that makes for a perfect blog post.  The request: from facebook: "Why don't y'all post up a recommendation list of fave 2-player games" 

The list of our favorite two player games would not really be for everyone.  For example Warhammer: Invasion and Cthulhu Rising would probably be on our list, but those games are not for everyone.  So what follows is not necessarily my favorite games for two, but the games that I think are best for couples.  These are ten games I would recommend to couples who were looking to get games beyond Scrabble to play together.  It is in descending order for dramatic effect.  

10.  Tank on Tank

I am going to assume that for the most part guys are more interested then girls than playing war games.  That is at least how it is for the two of us.  Tank on Tank is the perfect war games for couples.  The game has very simple rules so it is very simple to play.  The big plus is the game plays really quick, like 15-20 minutes.  That means that even if one person does not really like the idea of war games then the easy rules and quick play time makes it so that it can still be playable.

 9.  Pandemic
 I think a co-op game is a good pick for two players, because it can be fun working together.  I think this is a good pick.  This one about curing the world of diseases as the right mixture of theme, difficulty and replayability to make it a good pick.

8.  Roll Through the Ages
Rolling dice is fun, but traditional dice games like Yahtzee do not really a lot of meaningful choices or strategy.  Roll Through the Ages changes that.  The goal is to abstractly create a Civilization.  Players roll dice up to three time keeping results, and have to balance feeding their people between building new cities, building monuments or investing in technology.  It is quick, has great components, and for a game with all dice offers a decent amount of strategy and decision.  The game plays up to four, but I think it is most fun with two.

7.  Yomi
The theme may not be the most appealing to everyone (a fighting video game), but this is a great two player game.  The game is all about trying to get into the other player's head, read their intentions and get one step ahead of them.  This game is great for people who really know each other, because knowing how an opponent thinks, and having the opponent know how you think (and know that you know how they think) makes for a great game.  If the fantasy martial arts theme is a turn off, then Pecking Order, while not as fun, offers a similar experience.

6.  Ticket to Ride: Switzerland
PhotobucketTicket to Ride is a highly accessible game that is all about collecting colored sets of cards and then trading in those cards for trains that are used to complete routes, that score points.  The game is easy, fun, and has some depth to it.  Ticket to Ride  can in general work for two players, but the Switzerland map expansion is specifically made to be really good for two players.  The smaller map delivers.  This has been out of print and kind of hard to get, but before the end of the year it is suppose to be reprinted. 

5.  Campaign Manager 2008
Campaign Manager is a two player game that has the players heading up the presidential campaign for Obama or McCain as they compete over the 2008 battleground states.  Each turn a player has to decide to play a card or draw a card.  If they play a card then it will give some sort of advantage in a state, but passing a drawing a card is the only way to get the much needed card.  This game is all about balancing and making the right play at the right time.  One of my initial concerns is that the game would not stand up to multiple plays, but we have played it eight times since March, and thus far the game has really held up well and is still a lot of fun.

4.  Haggis
Haggis is a good "gateway" game.  Meaning this is a good game to transition someone from the standard fare of games into the wider world of awesome games they have never played.   even though it has it's own unique deck, Haggis has a lot in tradition with traditional card games.  Haggis is a "climbing game".  This means instead of following suit, the following player must play something higher than what was just played.  Without going into a detailed explanation it is hard to give more detail about the game, but it works really well for two players, and at the low $15 price point it is really worth getting.

3.  San Juan 
Our most player game together is Race for the Galaxy.  However, this game has a very steep learning curve and takes about a dozen games to really start getting a handle on it.  San Juan, which is very similar to Race for the Galaxy, is the game that got us into it.  In San Juan players are building various structures.  the structures are the cards.  To build, they have to pay for it by discarding cards.  They can also produce goods (which are done by using the cards), and then trade good for more cards, to build more things.  It is really neat how something that has the depth of a full board game has been replicated with cards.  We got rid of San Juan because after coming back to it after Race for the Galaxy, it did not compare.  However, it is still a good game and one I would highly recommend.

2.  Builder's Duel
This is a fantastic two player game.  Both players are trying to complete a building first.  To do so they must collect resources and refine some resources as well.  Each turn there are nine possible actions that a player might be able to do.  One player will get to do three of them, and the other will get to do two.  To determine who is who, the players essentially flip valued coins instead of rolling dice.  This game is perfect for a couple that is looking for a game that feels and delivers a Euro game experience, but has been specifically crafted for two people.

1.  Battle Line/Schotten-Totten
This game exist in two different forms.  One is themed as ancient battles and the other as a cartoonish drunk Scotsman theme.  The theme does not matter a lot to the game.  Battle Line may be the perfect game for a couple to play together.  It is quick, easy, and offers tons of agonizing decisions.  The goal is to win five "flags" and to win flags players play a card in front of one of the 9 possibilities.  Players are trying to form sets stronger than their opponents.  Since only one card is played a time, there is a lot of tensions as players get in a spot where they are hoping the next card drawn is 'the one they need."  The game plays quick.  It is engaging, but not a brain burner.   This makes it a great game to play while sitting across from each other and discussing how the day went.  Since it plays quick, of the game ends, just keep the conversation going, shuffle, and play again.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Pre-Order Madness

This morning I went on a bit of a game pre-ordering game.  There was one game that if I wanted to pre-order I needed to do it by tomorrow.  Since I was doing one, I figured I might as well go ahead and put myself down for all of the games that I have been thinking of pre-ordering.  After it was all said and done, I had committed to five games, so here are the games that I will be getting some day.  

Divided Republic
PhotobucketThis was the game that I had to pre-order before the end of Sunday.  As of right now there are two ways pre-order games: Kickstarter and P-500.  Kickstarter is a website where people seek funding for a whole lot of different products.  People support projects that they are interested in by pledging money at various levels.   Each project as a certain amount of money it needs to give the project the money it needs to happen, and they have to set a date to reach their goal by.  This game's kickstarter campaign ends on Sunday night, so I backed it for the cost of the game.   This means if it reaches its funding, then after the game is printed I will get sent a copy.  
This game is about the election of 1860.  It is for 2-4 players, with each player playing one of the major parties in the election.  The game is card driven and players will have to decide if they want to play cards for needed political influence of play the card for an unique effect.  I like the historical element of the game and that the game also has a neat element where everyone can lose if the civil war breaks out, so players have to balance their playing to win, without tipping the balance so much that war breaks out. 

Empires of the Void
As I posted last week, I created a game for a game design contest.  The game that I created was distilled down from a game idea I had for a much bigger game.   Here is a post that details the game I was working on.   This video explains Empires of the Void:

I know that you most likely did not read my post and you did not watch the video, so I will tell you that the Empires of the Void has a LOT of similarities to the game I was thinking about making.   I figured I might as well save myself the trouble of making it and support this game.  This is also a kickstarter game. 

Manoeuvre: Distant Lands
This is an expansion to a game we already have.  It adds 4 new armies to the game.  This game is a P500 game.  This is the other way of pre-ordering and it is used by a variety of companies that mostly publish war games.  The way this works, is the game is put on the P500 list and the company begins taking pre-orders.  Once the game reaches 500 pre-orders it "makes the cut".  Once a game has made the cut, and it is ready then it is given a production slot.  When the game begins shipping, the company charges the pre-orders.  Often the P500 price is cheaper than the retail price.  

Thunder Alley
This is also a P500 game.  It is a NASCAR racing game that comes with two tracks (Super speedway and short track).  In this game players control a team of cars.   One of the neat things about this game is that it is card driven, instead of dice.  This game just got added to GMT's P500 list, but I am really excited about it and I am looking forward to following the game as it develops.

This is a game I have had in my mind to pre-order for a while.  It is a 2 player game where players try to sway former soviet block countries to democracy or stay communist.  The game is card driven, and each card can be used for multiple purposes.  Players have to decide how to best use the cards.  This game is developed by the same people who made a game we like called Campaign Manager. 

All of these games will be coming out at some point in 2012, so now I just have to wait. . .a while.