On BoardGameGeek, there's a geeklist created at the end of every month where people can discuss games they played for the first time that month. It's been going on for a couple of years, but this year I finally decided to join in. Today, I also decided to repost my contribution here. I'm not sure if the formatting will follow over or not, so this is a bit of an experiment.
To see the original post in context with pictures, as well as read all the other contributions, follow this link to the original list.
A pretty low game-playing month for me in general, and nothing overly exciting in the new game front. In fact, all of my new plays were thrift store finds, and all but one of them happened on the same night. My game group indulged me for about an hour or so and we plowed through a bunch of word games just for fun. Here are the results.
Random letter tiles are placed in a plastic tray (face-down, unlike the photo) that has snake-like tracks. Dice are thrown to determine the length (3-7 letters) and type (noun or verb) of word to be created. Then, all players scramble to get tiles out of the tracks. You can grab from any track, but it has to be from the front. Additionally, if you want to return a letter, you must put it in at the back, which sometimes forces you to waste time sliding tiles in order to make room for it. As soon as someone has created a word that fits the criteria, and] has no extra tiles in front of them, they ring the bell and end the round.
The first player scores a small bonus plus a point for every letter in the word. Remaining players can score a point per letter for
*any* word (even if it doesn't fit the criteria) that they've completed, minus a point for any extra tiles. This scoring system makes it very interesting, since you should try to have at least some word to reduce the damage if you're not the first one done.
It was very chaotic, but that made it fun and it played very quickly. Vocabulary helped, of course, but it wasn't as essential as it is in other games.
I saw the box in the thrift store from the side and thought it was Acquire, a personal favorite. When it was instead a game I'd never heard of, I thought I'd spend the dollar and take the chance. I was really pleasantly surprised. 3 1/2 out of 5
This is another one that probably would do well with better exposure, especially since it only requires a special pad of paper to be played (and could probably be approximated with just a blank piece of paper).
Each player gets their own pad, which is hidden from other players. On it are two grids, each with random numbering of the squares within. On a turn, a player calls out a number and then the letter they want to write in that space. The goal is to create words in the grid, both across and down. A player can call a "blank," which must be used to end or separate words.
Since everyone's pad is different, a "T" in space 14 might be great for me, but totally ruin a word for you. That's why you have two grids, so that you have an option. The play felt very similar to Take it Easy!, but with words instead of numbers. We all liked it quite a bit. 3 1/2 out of 5
I don't have a lot to say here, since I imagine most everyone is familiar with Boggle. For a very quick, very light word game, I think it still holds up pretty well. Having a large vocabulary doesn't seem to be as important as having a flexible mind, since transposing the same three or four letters to make 16 different words can be more valuable. Also, you almost have to write all of those three-letter words. Not only does it stop someone else from scoring them, but you can score on any of the ones that others missed.
One interesting thing about this "1st generation" version was the flawed design of the Boggle case. The lid was so small that it was impossible to shake the dice with it on. That was obviously fixed pretty quickly. 3 out of 5
The game uses a standard four-suit deck (newer versions have custom suits) with an added four Jesters (lowest, non-suited card) and four Wizards (highest, non-suited cards). The first round, each player is dealt a single card. Everyone bids whether or not they'll take the one trick available. Each subsequent round, an additional card is dealt, until you reach the point where all cards are dealt.
The scoring is simple but interesting. You get 20 points for making your bid, plus 10 points for each trick taken. If you fail your bid, you lose 10 points for each trick you missed it by, whether over or under. This means that making a large bid can help your score a lot, but also just barely missing a large bid doesn't hurt you too much. Also, bidding zero rewards the same no matter how many tricks there are in a round, which is unusual.
I think what killed me in this game was failing to recognize the power of the Wizards. They always take a trick, and never have to follow suit, which basically makes them like bombs in Tichu. There were many hands in which I either failed to account for them in other people's hands, or failed to use them properly when they were in mine.
Overall, I thought it was a really good game, and I expect my rating will go up with more plays. 3 out of 5
Each player has a similar (identical? I don't remember.) set of cards of knights. These knights are played to conquer kingdoms, and the kingdoms grant abilities as well as award points at the end of the game. Players are very limited on what they can do each turn, so you have to plan and watch carefully to make sure you can build up the strength necessary to conquer a kingdom. I liked that aspect of it.
What I didn't like was the game-ending conditions, which were for one player to play all of their cards. This seems benign, but in practice takes longer than I would like. Each time a person takes a kingdom card, they place it with their (now defending) knight army in front of them. If another player later takes that kingdom, the defending knights go *back in the players's hand*. Eventually, players build up armies large enough to either not be taken or end the game, but it just seemed tedious.
I wasn't thrilled by the game, but I would be willing to try it again. We played with the beginner set up, and I would like to see the effect of the more advanced kingdom abilities. 2 1/2 out of 5
Gregarius TX's Xbox - May 23 2013
31 minutes ago