Friday, August 21, 2009

Post-Gen Con: New Games in the Library

I returned from Gen Con this past weekend with a shitpot of new games. It'll be quite some time before I'm able to try them all I'm sure (especially with a few longer, more complex games like Steam and Brass.) The ones I've tried so far have been pretty successful.

Pack & Stack

A few of the new games are the exact opposite of the ones listed above: easy to teach, quick to play games. Pack & Stack is one of those games that people are skeptical about until they actually play it and see how much fun it is. Between the name and the cartoony artwork it definitely looks like a kids game, but it's fun for adults too. Each round consists of rolling colored dice to see which blocks you take and how many of each. Everyone then draws a truck tile upon which to stack your blocks. Each truck has different dimensions for height and shape that limit how the blocks may be stacked on it. You lose points for each empty space on your truck and for each block you are unable to place on your truck. Each person starts with 75 points and play continues until one player has lost all of their points. The game requires spatial thinking and the ability to quickly recognize which available truck will suit your blocks best then grab it before anyone else does. I wouldn't play it all day long, but it's a nice quick filler.

A couple of green cards from Fairy Tale. The one on the left forces you to flip a dragon card face down, the one on the right lets you turn a face-down dragon card face up.

I had planned on trying and possibly buying Pack & Stack at Gen Con. Fairy Tale, on the other hand, was an impulse buy. I'd heard of the game and knew it had a little cult following but that's about it. I'm not sure what compelled me to buy it at Z-Man Games' booth at Gen Con. Mybe it was the colorful artwork. Maybe it was the $10 price tag. Regardless, I'm glad I did pick it up. Much like Pack & Stack, it can be taught and played in about 10-15 minutes. Fairy Tale has more depth than Pack & Stack though. It is a card game where in each round, each player draws 5 cards, chooses 1 to keep and passes the rest to the player next to them. This process is repeated until each player has chosen and kept 5 cards. The game ends after 4 rounds. The cards have varying point values and abilities such as "when you play this card turn another card face down" or vice versa. I think this one's going to become a regular at game night.

A game of TZAAR in progress.

Continuing with the simple rules/quick play theme, we have TZAAR and YINSH, 2 games in the GIPF abstract game line. These games scratch the same itch as Chess in a fraction of the time. These are the kind of game you want to play many times against the same opponent to watch how the strategies and gameplay eveolves. I plan on eventually picking up the other games in the series.

YINSH in progress.

All said, the news games are good so far. I typically do research before I buy and it pays off well. I'll another mini-review thingy once I play a few more new ones. Until next time, kids.

It should be noted that none of these photos were taken by me.

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