I'm Saddened... (Board Games)


Yeah, /r/tabletopgamedesign is full of roll-and-writes. There’s like two or three a week getting shared around. Crazy stuff.


I have been playing this on Steam and 1) it’s good, I’m enjoying it 2) the AI has some really narrow heuristics that can make it act as dumb as a box of rocks. It just killed itself by holding a scoring card. That’s some real direct cause/effect which anyone should be able to avoid - staring at a scoring card for an entire turn and then forgetting to play it.

When the computer handles all the busywork, the game takes… maybe 45 minutes? It will helpfully warn you when you’re about to wander right into thermonuclear war or when you need to play your scoring cards. No need to remember which regions can be targeted for coup or realignment, moving counters around, or keeping track of scoring cards. That’s a level of busywork I would put up with, but maybe not everyone.

Do enough digging online and you find fans warning new players about six-hour long games. That requires players to spend 2-3 minutes every time they’re up, selecting and resolving a card. Another reminder that I simply find it more pleasurable and natural to play quickly and imperfectly, especially if I don’t have good heuristics for a game yet.

Edit: I lost a game misunderstanding how Quagmire interacts with scoring cards. If I could request one feature, it would be an undo button :wink:


Since the AI is a box of rocks, if @Rym or @Apreche want to revisit this game that they both disliked and play a live game online sometime, I’d be happy to. :wink:


Not if i have to pay money.



(it also has hotseat, but I suspect the best in-person way to play is with two laptops/tablets to maintain the secrecy of players hands)


So some guy on reddit made what is possibly the most incredible union of theme and gameplay ever:

Mediocre Luigi Party

It’s available as a print-and-play, and honestly, I’m pretty tempted to print it off and play it for the lulz.



Terraforming Mars: The Video Game is now out on Steam.


I’m organizing the photos from Aruba. On the floor above the grocery store was a toy store. It had a board game section. Aruba is the Netherlands, so this is about what I expect to see in a Dutch toy store, only more expensive. Not a bad selection, really.


TRAP ER NIET IN! Seems fun.

Also, Spot-It is called Dobble, as it is in the UK.


Surprised to say, but American stores have really caught up. Target, Barnes & Noble, and maybe even Walmart got this Dutch store beat. Even little mom & pop toy stores are stocking full range of anything from Blue Orange, Gamewright, and maybe Haba these days.


True, but I’d have to go to the actual Netherlands to make a good judgement on Dutch stores overall. This is just the selection they bother to stock in a far away tropical island mostly inhabited by tourists.


Yes, it’s real.


I know it’s real, I’ve owned a copy for the past 18 years.


I first played Fort Sumter last month, which is a game about the secession crisis that kicked off the American civil war. I like it quite a bit. But it’s a detached take on the subject, maybe similar to reading your high school history textbook.

I just received/read/but haven’t played This Guilty Land, which is a much angrier take on the moral cowardice of the federal legislature in the decades leading up to the civil war. (players play as opposing forces Justice and Oppression - a non-player faction called Compromise provides cover to Oppression until the game ends)

And now this game… it doesn’t exist yet, perhaps it’s a case of synchronicity:


You can play keyforge online now.


I have two decks I’m going to play around with and see if I can figure out.


Table top game of the year: Australia Edition



If you’re voting in other Categories, please consider voting for(and buying) Damsel, a sick as hell locally developed platformer, and voting for Alice Clarke under journalist of the year and Gamechanger, because she does awesome work, and is also one of our amazing PAX people. Also, BlessRNG is a great Twitch streamer and an all-around great guy, I’m told.


One very specific complaint I have about year-end board game lists…

  1. Reviewers often get games months ahead of when they get sent through normal distribution.
  2. Lists are always published in December, ahead of Christmas.

There are two possible outcomes: either reviewers have torn through a game that won’t be available to the general public until March-April-May, or there’s an odd game that has a “year published” field on BGG that’s actually a year before anyone in North America or the UK (including reviewers) ever touched it, so it completely misses everyone’s year-end list.

John Company is listed as a 2017 game, but if you look at logged plays barely anyone could get a copy until a big shipment in April 2018. Roll for the Galaxy has a release date of Essen 2014, which is when all of the remaining copies had to be recalled, opened, and reboxed to fix a problem with the punchboards. It certainly didn’t make anyone’s 2014 list, and it never got considered for anyone’s 2015 list because people use the BGG database to sort by year published to make their lists. I am the 16th person to log a play for Little Town Builders (2017) and it wasn’t until late January of 2018.

I’m personally a fan of including games from the past 2 years that you only played for the first time this year. Removes the problems around the factory / local distribution bottleneck that exists between people who buy games at Essen and people who buy them from hobby stores or Amazon.

By that measure, most of my “best of 2018” are 2017 games. I suspect something similar will happen in 2019.


This is why we review games based on when we play them and never based on release year.


1889: History of Shikoku railways is listed as 2005 and I only got to it in 2018. I played the shit out of 1889 this year, all year. Licensed Winsome games are especially bad for this; Northern Pacific is effectively a “reprint” of a 2013 game with ~200 copies. Rio Grande probably just put another 1-2k copies in circulation (I have no idea what the print run is like, I assume they would go conservative for a game like this).

Although I guess I don’t expect Winsomes to make most people’s top 10, anyway (Chicago Express aside).


On the other hand the praise that Architects of the West Kingdom has gotten in year end lists pushed me over the edge on buying it while it was easily available and it’s phenomenal. I’m glad I got the heads up.