Friday, 13 June 2014

Guilty with Suspicions

There's a whole gang of exciting games in my cupboard that are currently unplayed: the Guilty Eight; as my excitement for new territories outweighs my time to play them. And as next week sees the draw for the new game of the month I thought I'd quickly run through them... in no particular order, then:

1. Terra Mystica. 
Strategy game ranking 3
Play length: 100 minutes

The game of mystical terras, where you terra-form landscape to suit your particular race and develop magical power at the same time. It sounds dry, it looks oddly abstract - and yet there it is at number 3 in the strategy rankings. Can't be all bad - and luckily for us Gonz is swotting up at the rules right now!

2. Mousquetaires du Roy
Strategy game ranking n/a (Thematic ranking: 167)
Playing time 75 minutes

A little out of the normal sphere of GNN, this quirky thing can be played as a co-operative where the players are the musketeers trying to defeat milady, or a player can take on the milady role. A hard one to score on the leaderboard, but one that has garnered a lot of approval on the geek.

3. Amerigo
Strategy game ranking 132
Playing time 90 minutes

What's not to love about Stefan Feld? Castles of Burgundy! Macao! Rum and Pirates! And here the king of points salads has taken the tower of Wallenstein and added his own unique flavour to it in a game of discovery/massive AP potential. And Martin brought it all the way back from London for me on the train, so it really should be played at some point.

4. Colonial - Europe's Empire Overseas
Strategy Game ranking: 452
Playing time 120 minutes

Okay it's a bit long and not as highly rated (still top 500 though) as the others here. But check out that board! Phwoar!

5. Darjeeling
Strategy Game ranking: 609
Playing time: 60 minutes

Darjeeling is all about picking tea. And just like picking tea in real life, your options are made up of a set of slightly abstract cardboard tiles and coloured barrels rolling down a plastic ramp. 

6. Magnum Sal
Strategy game ranking: 357
Playing time: 90 minutes

It's a bit like Coal Baron, but rather than dirtying your fingers with coal you're digging up salt. I think Coal Baron owes a little something to Magnum Sal as it too utilises a mechanic that allows the board itself to dig 'down' across the table, as you add tiles beneath it. And it's apparently "a bit like Caylus but more fun, and more interactive". Sounds good!

7. Jambo
Strategy game ranking 188
Playing time 45 minutes

This only plays two and frankly the box is disappointingly small for those of us who judge our games on sheer weight of meeples, cards, and other crap. But it's supposed to be good. 

8. Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Strategy Game ranking: n/a (thematic ranking 37)
Playing time 45 minutes

This is not as guilty as the others as we have played it a couple of times now. But so far we've played the basic game which is dead simple: rescue 7 victims from the fire before you lose four in the flames. To be honest I can't see it taking off at GNN as it's a co-op and we hate working together. But who knows. 

9. Shit I Forgot Olympos
Strategy Game ranking 266
Playing time  75 minutes

For some reason this box never excites me, but there is apparently a very decent game nestling within with a time-based mechanism. 

So there you have it. If I could put four games in the hat I'd say Terra Mystica, Amerigo, Magnum Sal and (already played!) Concordia.


  1. Dare I say I don't really want to play any of these? ;)

  2. Martin, didn't you read it properly? What about the plastic ramp? The cardboard mines?? THE TOWER!?!?!

  3. Invite me over to play Terra Mystica anytime. One on my wants list. An epic in the Agricola mould I understand.

  4. Me and Sam played Jambo yesterday and, bearing in mind that we were distracted by the build-up to the England-Italy match, I didn't care much for it. The mechanic (pick up cards, then action them) seemed a bit old-fashioned, and there was a lot of turns where we couldn't do anything. But don't worry, if you have three (or more) of your five actions unused at the end of your turn, you get a gold coin! Oooh. The winner is the first to 60 gold coins. Sixty! Maybe it'll be better if we were concentrating, but I couldn't see any real strategy except be lucky enough to draw a card that lets you expand your market place early.

  5. Yeah, the theme is buy stuff to sell on your stall and then sell it at inflated prices. Kind of a mini-monopoly in that its illustrative of the mechanics of capitalism. But as Andrew said if you don't get an extra stall to expand into it feels frustrating early on.

    However I think playing whilst listening to Rio Ferdinand saying "I'd kick him" about Mario Balotelli is probably not what the designer had in mind. I'd give it another shot.

  6. ***Flash Point update***

    We just played it again with the basic rules properly implemented and most of the expert rules as well. Joe lost interest and spent most of the game mimicking me and Stanley as we took his turns for him. We established a team ethic where Stanley and Joe did the rescuing and I attacked the fire - and it worked pretty well! We managed to rescue 7 people and not lose anybody; all just in the nick of time as we were 2 damage cubes away from the building collapsing, which means the players lose.

    It was nice to play the game and feel the tension as it was meant to be felt, rather than the tension of having someone put plastic firefighters in your hair.

    It's not a GNN game really, but I think it would go down well in the Berger household.

  7. Coming back to this three years later, I never did play Terra Mystica (Andrew and I started on it, but bailed) or Mousquetaires, which just never looked like fun. All the others did get played, and whilst there were decent games in Colonial (1 play), Olympos (2 plays) and Amerigo (6), they ultimately went away - too long/too inscrutable/too fiddly to set up and pack away!

    So Martin was right... albeit he didn't really need to prefix it with "Dare I say". Of course he dare.

    We got a few plays out of Flash Point though.

    1. Well, I hadn't known you guys long then :)