Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Bryan Maxwell Game Hall of Fame

Every once in a while, I play a game that is an instant classic. It's special, and immediately upon finishing a game, I want to play again. And again. I can hardly imagine a scenario where I'd turn down a game. For me, these are games filled with interesting decisions, though that's hardly an adequate descriptor. After all, nearly all good games are full of interesting decisions (at least in my book they are.) There are many, many excellent games out there, but only a few have this indefinable quality. It's what the French call a certain "I don't know what."

Rather than continue on trying to define something I can't pin down, I'll talk about the few games that I feel this way about.

- Agricola. I've gone on about this one in the past on this blog. Let it suffice to say that I've played this more than any other single game, and considering games are usually 1-2 hours, that's saying something.

Battle Line

- Battle Line. This is a 2-player card game where the players vie for control of 9 flags. Control is determined by 3-card hands that get played in front of each flag, one card at a time. The game is a delicious blend of tactics, strategy and bluffing with a bit of luck tossed in. This may be the perfect 2-player game.

Tigris & Euphrates

- Tigris & Euphrates. This is an abstract tile-laying game about building and controlling kingdoms during the dawn of civilization. It's a diceless eurogame full of conflict, strategy and tactics (sound familiar?) Every decision made by every player has large, far-reaching affects on everything that happens in the game. You collect points in 4 different colors based on which tiles are played and where the leaders are positioned on the board. The catch is, at the end of the game your score is equal to whichever color you have the fewest points in, so you cannot afford to specialize. It's definitely a brain-burner, and that will turn some people off. I'm not especially good at the game, but I'm on love with it. Both Battle Line and T&E were designed by the same person (Reiner Knizia.)


- Tichu. This is what would happen if you metaphorically threw Euchre and The Great Dalmuti in a blender, and it somehow manages to be greater than the sum of its parts.. Pure awesome. It's the best evolution of a team-play card game I've encountered. Plus, it spawned a few good phrases during our first night of playing it: Giving the Dog, Giving the Bird, and The Flush Bomb. Like Euchre, I love trying to get on the same page with a teammate I can't communicate with. It's wonderful when it happens, and developing a rapport by playing with the same partner for a prolonged time is very rewarding. I look forward to many, many plays of this in the future.

I was going to title this post "The Bryan Maxwell Board Game Hall of Fame," then realized that 2 of the 4 games are card games.


Blogger JJJ Spider said...

Hey thanks for teaching TICHU to my wife and I at ROBA a couple months ago. She is so hooked now.

March 29, 2010 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Mr_Nuts said...

I'm a big fan of Tichu and I'm always looking to spread the love. Glad you enjoyed it.

March 29, 2010 at 8:39 PM  

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