Wednesday, January 12, 2011

AGI: Ticket to Ride

I am combining Ticket to Ride and Ticket to Ride: Europe in this entry since they are similar in most ways.

Ticket to Ride's objective is to create connecting chains of railroad from city to city to get points. Each connecting railroad track gives the player points based of of its length. The longer the track the more points you get. Adding to this is the objective cards which reward the player if they create a long chain of  railroad to two cities. Again based on the length between the cities the more points you can gain. In order to place down tracks, the players uses cards with different color trains on them and  match color the the rails shown on the board. The longer the rail is the more cards of that color you will need.  Example: There is a green 4 rail track I want to place, that means I need 4 green cards to obtain that track. The play continues until a person has only 2 trains left. Everyone else gets a last turn and the game is over. The winner is the person with the most points.

Ticket to Ride: Europe has the game play above with a few addition features. First is that each player a has 3 stations. These station allow to player to use another persons rail to complete a circuit. However, doing this means less points as each unused station is worth an number of points on the final score. The other feature is that of tunnels. Tunnels are special tracks that require you to first pay the cost then you draw a card for each track piece of the tunnel if a engine shows up then the tunnel "collapsed" and you fail to make that track. Example: The tunnel is 5 tracks long. I pay the five cost then I flip over cards from the draw pile. If I flip over a 5 cards and an engine doesn't appear then I successfully built the tunnel. But if I did flip over an engine I don not get that track.

The Ticket to Ride Series is another game I could recommend to the family, because of the ease of rules and simplicity of the gameplay.  The price is about average for a board game of this type ($50 US). The quality of the art, pieces and gameplay is worth the price.    

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Video Game Analysis

 This the start of a new blog feature I'm going to do. I am going to play and give my thoughts on a video game. Is this a review? Yes and no, I will be telling you what I like and don't like about the game, but there won't be a rating at the conclusion. My hope is to talk about what did and didn't work about the design of the game. For games that are not downloads, I will do an initial impressions and another post after I complete it. The first game will be next week.

The game is: Poker Night at the Inventory.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

AGI: Dice Games Edition

3 reviews for in one shot. All of these games are fast fun games. First game is Dino Dice by Mayfair Games. This game is for any number of players and consist of the five colorful dice. Each side of the die is a different Dino silhouette. The gameplay is simple:
  • Roll the dice. Look at results.
  • Any matching numbers can be put together to create a herd. These give you bonus points.
  • For every T-rex rolled, you have to remove one of your other dinos. (so 2 rexs = 2 less dinos)
  • You can stay with this roll or reroll any number of your dice(minus the ones eaten by T-rexs) up to 2 more times. 
  • Add the face values currently rolled and add any herd bonuses.
  • Once a person reaches or goes over 150 points, everyone else gets 1 more turn then the game stops. 
  • Person with the highest score wins.  
The games can last from 10 to 30 minutes. 30 minutes was due to everyone rolling poorly.  This type of game is great for the family since the rules a simple and there aren't complex boards and parts. Plus, it has dinosaurs which is bonus points in my book.

Next up is Zombie Dice by Steve Jackson Games. Zombie Dice is similar to the Dino Dice in gameplay style. In this game, you play a zombie searching for fresh brains. The Game comes in a cup that holds 15 dice. The dice have 3 different symbols. Footsteps (The human ran away), Shotgun blast(you take damage), and a Brain (nom nom nom). The dice also have 3 different colors: Red, yellow, green. The color tells you the chance a of a shotgun blast showing up. Red has the highest chance and the green lowest chance. Each turn goes as follows:
  • Randomly take out 3 dice from the dice cup and roll them.
  • Place any brains to one side and shotgun blast to the other. Hold on to footsteps,
  • Players can now choose to stop rolling or roll 3 more dice, by taking footsteps from previous roll and adding new dice up to 3.
  • Players can continue to do this till he chooses to stop or till he has 3 shotgun blasts. 
  • If he gets 3 shotgun blasts his turn ends and he does not get any points he gained this round.
  • The first person to get past 15 points signifies the ends of the game and everyone get one last roll to win.
The fun is in the risk versus reward of rolling. You can also weigh in by the different colors being different levels of difficulty. A player could keep rolling but he hold 2 reds and one green  that a high risk of getting shot.

Both games play quickly, and are easy to learn. Their price is also another great selling point, both games are under five dollars. If you don't have them, get them, seriously why are still reading this go and get them.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

AGI: Settlers Of Catan

Settlers of Catan is a game published by Mayfair Games. If you haven't heard of this game by now then you have been living under a rock on the moons of Jupiter. This Game jumped beyond just being a Gamers game and its not hard to see why.

You play as an independent town that builds and expands to based on the resources they gather. The winner is the first person to achieve 10 victory points.

As you can see in the picture,  the board is a set of hexagonal tiles. Each tile represent resources (wheat, sheep, brick), water, or desert. On each resource tile, a number token is randomly placed ranging from 2 to 12.  There 2 types of cards Resource cards and Development Cards. Resource cards are used to track the number of resources a player has.(one brick card = one brick resource) Development cards are special cards that can add victory points to your score or give special bonuses on a turn. Finally, there is the Thief. He starts in the desert tile. I will explain his purpose later. Each player then place down 2 towns and road tokens on the corners of 2 different of the hexes.

The Player turn start with him rolling the dice. The result on the dice creates resource cards that have the matching number on their number token. For example, you roll a 6 and a wheat tile has a 6 token that resource can be taken. Any player that has a town on a tile corner with the number rolled gains one of that resource. If the player rolls a 7 then the player can move the thief onto any tile on the board. Once the thief is a tile that tile no longer generates its resource. Next, the player can build roads and cities, and buy Development cards with the resource cards he has gained. A player can also barter his resource cards with other players for resource cards that he needs. 

Over all if you are looking for a game that will get your family into more than just Scrabble like games this is a good start drug.
The reason this game has taken off in popularity is because it easy to pick up and the gameplay makes it very family friendly.  I have played this with my parents and they picked up the games mechanics quickly. After the game they told me that they definitely would play this game again.  The game has enough strategy to keep the game interested and is still simple enough that the non gamer can enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

AGI - Dominion

Dominion, from Rio Grande Games, is a game about building a kingdom. Your start out small using your resources to build a bigger kingdom. This in turns allows you to buy more Estates, duchies, and provinces for yourself. Amazingly, this is all done with cards... Many, many, many, cards. (500 cards in total.) There are four Types of cards:
  • Treasure Cards: The money cards to buy things, Ranging from 1 to 3 coins.
  • Victory Cards: Give you victory points to win the game, again ranging form 1 (estates) to 3 (Provinces).
  • Kingdom Cards: Cards that help your kingdom get money and victory points faster.
  • Curse Cards: Subtract Victory points.
The game "board" are the stacks of cards. The Treasure and Victory cards and 10 of  25 Kingdom cards chosen randomly. The player's turn has 3 parts Action, Buying and End. Action cards are played first these are Kingdom cards, and allow the player to do things like: "add 2 more gold to you pile this turn" or "play another action card". Buying is when you can buy new cards to add to your deck, finally the End phase is when you discard any cards you played this turn to your discard pile and draw 5 new cards. This continues until the one of the of the Victory card piles or 3 of the Kingdom card piles is empty. Victory points are then added up to see who the winner is.  
    The game is quick to pick up, most understand the basics of a turn after 1 round of play. The real gaming is the strategy on how you create your kingdom. One method is of course to collect Victory cards, another method is to use the garden card to gain a small amount of victory points, over the course of the entire game. The smoothness of the mechanics make the gameplay go by quickly.

    By the time this review has gone up there have been many expansions for the game. Each one adds more cards into the mix and more ways to win. While Dominion is not the most complex game is still a gamers game. Those who don't play things beyond Monopoly may be overwhelmed by the options of the cards. Dominion may be still worth trying with the family if there is time to play it, but be prepared to explain many of the cards.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008

    AGI - Hex Hex

    It's been a while since I last posted but there are plenty of games I could bring up. Today, I bring you a game that I just recently found called Hex Hex. This is a card game that has its origins in the game hot potato. The object of the game is to not be hexed, to avoid this fate you have spells (cards) that deflect the hex to other players. This continues until a player can't deflect the Hex and
    they lose Voice (points). Interestingly enough, the game has no real victory conditions. They only state that the players choose a certain number of round to play and the end of it the person with the most voice wins. This may seem odd but once you play a few turns you understand why the victory conditions are so odd...

    It just a blast to play!

    The game starts with one player dealing out 5 cards to each person, then assign the hex to a random player. As mentioned above the players all bounce the Hex around until it finally explodes. To add spice to this not all cards pass the hex, one cards actually cause the hex to explode on the player it is attached at the moment. Others include splitting the Hex into 2 hexes and the card that the game is named after the Hex Hex card. This card can be played at anytime and when placed everyone at the table has to raise their hands above their head and say: "Hex Hex!" The Last person to do this loses three voice. The variety of cards turn this game in an excellent group game. the more people you have the better since it make the game more unpredictable.

    Hex Hex is a great party game with rules are quick to pick up and variety make it fun to play for extended periods of time. Buy it no seriously buy this right now from the link in my blog, its worth the money. Here's the link one more time just in case you can't find it above.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    AGI - Fluxx

    Welcome to Analog Game Interest round 2!

    Today, dear reader(s) (I might have 2 people reading this) we have a game that is not only fun but unpredictable. Fluxx is not a game that can be explained well because humans by nature need games to have set rules. In this game, the rules always change. watch as I try to explain below:

    Fluxx is a card game by Loony Labs, that for a lack of a better way to define it, it is a game about rules. Rules most likely will change after each players turn. One thing they do to keep it simple is that you can only draw/play cards on your turn.

    There are 4 types of cards: (as seen in picture above) Rules, Goals, Keepers, and Actions.

    Rule cards: Cause the rules to change in the game. If a card is played that requires everyone to draw 2 cards on your turn that means you draw 2 cards.

    Goals: these cards allow give you your victory conditions. buy for filling the specified goal you can win the game. there is only one goal at a time.

    Keepers: these are used to help you achieve goals. by placing these down in fron t of you during your turn you can work towards the current goal.

    Action: these are the spice cards that allow you to do things outside the normal rules. for example: one cards says draw 3 cards, play 2 of them and discard the 3rd one.

    The challenge for anyone new is to wrap their head around playing the game. It seems really complex but in all honesty after a few rounds of play most people catch on. It is amusing to see people reaction to the game. Most approach it as way too complex and leave loving the game. the games length can vary sometimes it can end after about 5 minutes of playing other times I've seen games go as long as 30 minutes. It also forces one to never plan ahead because goals, rules, and keepers shift all the time. To quote one person: "This game made me fear change." Fluxx's gameplay certainly lives up to its name.

    The downside is that this unpredictable gameplay results in only one way to win:
    By getting everything you need to work on your turn. I'd say 99% of games are won by the player having the cards he needs and putting them all down on his turn. Its rare that a person wins through some else's actions. However, the feeling of success by doing what you need to win on a single turn is a great rush.

    This game is great to play anyone who needs a good party game for a lot of people. If you don't have it, buy it.