I’m going to be completely honest here. I’m kind of at a loss as to what I should post today. I have preplanned a vacation from the blog, but it doesn’t start until Kickstarter Blitz #23 goes up on Friday (I’ll be taking most of December off, with posts on the 19th and 26th for KSB #24 and the third annual Post-Holiday Gift Guide). I’m trying to keep to this two posts a week format, and there’s just nothing I really want to talk about. The post-Spiel buzz has died down, there’s not a lot exciting on Kickstarter, and I just seem to have hit a wall. So, I’m going to do something I haven’t done since 2010 – post my Christmas wish list. Call it my personal Holiday Gift Guide.
Colt Express is this year’s Spiel des Jahres winner, and from my one play, I think it’s a fine choice. This Christophe Raimbault design is all about a train robbery in the Old West. 2-6 players are the robbers, and have to try to get the most loot. You use a cool programming mechanism to choose your actions – players put cards into a pile in order, then you flip over the deck and see what happened. Some of these cards may be played face down, so you won’t know. It’s got the chaos I love mixed with a really fun theme. This is one I really hope Santa brings me.
Machi Koro is a Japanese game designed by Masao Suganuma. In the game (which was a runner up for this year’s SdJ), players are buying buildings to increase their cash flow. On your turn, you roll a die, and your buildings produce according to what was rolled. Eventually, you’ll get another die you can roll. Once someone has completed all of their landmarks, they win. It’s a fun, easy game to learn. I think I’d like the Deluxe version just so I have the expansions, which I understand are necessary to make the game replayable.
Takenoko is a 2011 game by Antoine Bauza that I’ve never played, but it has some really cute pieces (particularly the panda) that I think my wife will enjoy. On your turn, you can place a new tile, grow some bamboo, irrigate new tiles, move the panda to eat bamboo, or collect a target card which scores points for meeting a condition with collected bamboo. It seems like a fairly light game, which is OK – you’ll notice that most of the games on this list trend towards the lighter side. That’s mostly because I want a collection that can be played with people that are not as deep in the hobby as I am.
Patchwork is probably my most wanted game right now. This 2014 Uwe Rosenberg design is only for two players, and is all about making a quilt. It uses a time track mechanism to choose pieces, and has buttons as currency. Plus there’s a puzzle aspect as you try to fit Tetris-shaped quilt pieces into your board. This game seems like it is in a perpetual state of being between printings, but I really hope I can snag a copy this holiday season.
I’ve been getting more into solo games lately, so Sylvion and Castellion are high on my list. They are part of the Oniverse (along with Onirim), and designed by Shadi Torbey. They’re different styles of games – Sylvion is a tower defense style game, while Castellion is all about building a castle to protect yourself. They’re two different games, but I want them both to expand my solo collection.
Tides of Time is a game by designer Kristian Čurla that was published this year by Portal Games. It’s a small 18-card drafting game for two players where you are trying to build a point-producing engine. In each age, you get five cards, choose one to play, then pass the rest. At the end of the age, you score, then keep one card in play and discard one from the game. You then reshuffle and redial the remaining cards. After the third age, the player with the high score wins. This game sounds incredibly clever, and as it’s a fast two-player game, it’s on my list.
I first heard of Potato Man when it was on the SdJ recommended list last year, and I’ve wanted my own copy ever since. It’s a trick-taking game where you cannot follow suit – you always have to play a different color than has been played before. Also, the suits are not even – red numbers tend to be the highest, and yellow numbers are the lowest. Then of course, there’s the evil potato, represented on the highest numbers of the game, but that can be defeated by Potato Man, the lowest numbers in the game. It looks like a lot of fun.
AttrAction is a dexterity game with magnets. Basically, you just flick magnets around trying to get them to stick together. The player who sticks the most magnets wins. It’s very easy to learn, and the fact that these magnets are so noisy makes this an ideal bait game.
Port Royal is a 2014 card game designed by Alexander Pfister that I’ve only played on Yucata.de. It’s a kind of push-your-luck game where you’re drawing from a deck until you choose to (or are forced to) stop. You could draw people that help you, ships that give you money, expeditions (goals), or a tax increase that forces people hoarding 12 or more money to discard half of it. If you ever have two ships of the same color in the harbor, the round is over and all cards are discarded without anyone getting anything. If you choose to stop, you can buy 1-3 cards, then other players may pay you a coin to purchase any of the others. It’s a good fast game, and I enjoy it.
Mamma Mia! is Uwe Rosenberg’s 1999 pizza-making memory game. Players take turns adding ingredients to a pile, as well as pizza orders. Once all cards have been played into the pile, you flip the deck and start revealing ingredients. When you reach an order, if the required ingredients are present, the player who put it in scores it and you continue revealing ingredients. Otherwise, they get the order back and you continue revealing ingredients. It’s a very chaotic game, and I love it. The memory element is there, but you would have to be some sort of super genius to truly keep up with it.
Kamisado is a 2008 abstract game designed by Peter Burley. Players take turns moving their pieces on an 8×8 grid, and the color of the space you land on determines what piece your opponent can move. Pieces can only move forward, and the object is to land one piece on your opponent’s home row. You can play a single game or a match, with pieces that land on the home row becoming more powerful and worth more points. It’s a great game, and it was actually on my list back in 2010 too. I’m hoping that with Kamisado Max coming out this year, I might be able to get it. In fact, here’s the status of my list from 2010:
- Cosmic Encounter – own it.
- Alien Frontiers – own it.
- Formula D – would still like it, but I’ve kind of cooled on the idea.
- Kamisado – still on my wishlist.
- 7 Wonders – own it.
- Steam – own it.
- Summoner Wars – own it.
- Terra Prime – this was one of Tasty Minstrel’s early games, and I think they’ve completely abandoned it at this point.
- Catacombs – own it, though not the fancy new edition.
- Galaxy Trucker: The BIG Expansion – own it.
- Dominion Expansions – I have Prosperity and Alchemy, but play so infrequently that I don’t really need more at this point.
So, that’s my Christmas wish list. And I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but I just like to be ready for the season. Thanks for reading!