Home > game night, playtesting > Holiday Gaming Goodness (HGG)

Holiday Gaming Goodness (HGG)

December 28, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

The days here have been filled with plenty of Holiday Gaming Goodness, or HGG for short.

Last Friday we got together with some friends of ours and played Hex Herders, Fresco, and Basari.

For Christmas, I received Sneaks & Snitches, two Power Grid expansions (Benelux / Central Europe and China / Korea), Mr. Jack Pocket, and Ingenious. We also played the 15 cent game with my in-laws.

Then on Monday we got together with different friends and played Kingdom Builder and Ingenious. Yesterday we got together again and played Rattus and Fresco.

What do I think of some of these games?

Hex Herders is working well.  I’m concerned that the move shepherd / move sheep / build fence process is a little unintuitive the first time or two people play, but my playtesters haven’t necessarily shared that concern — and they’re the ones who matter.  The triangle board itself may be causing a little confusion, though, so that’s something I’m going to have to think about.

Fresco intrigues me.  While I’m not generally a huge fan of worker-placement games (Agricola and Stone Age being two notable exceptions), there’s something about Fresco that really appeals to me.  The game flows well, everything makes thematic sense, and it feels like there are a number of different ways to try to approach the game.  I was beginning to feel that I had the game figured out, but after getting my ass handed to me last night by two newbies, I’m not so sure.  :-)

Basari is an interesting game of bartering and bluffing.  I’ve really enjoyed the two games I’ve played, but I don’t know how well it’ll hold up over time.  It concerns me that it *might* boil down to a glorified game of rock-paper-scissors, where the winner is the player who most consistently chooses what no one else wants.  Time will tell.

Ingenious is an abstract tile-laying game where you try to score as many points as possible in each of the six colors by placing your tiles next to similarly-colored tiles on the board.  In typical Knizia fashion, your final score is equal to your score in your weakest color.  It’s a bit dry, but fun.  What struck me, when playing with B&A, was how quiet everyone was — it’s not a rollicking good time, but it’s an enjoyable way to spend 45 minutes.

Kingdom Builder is an extremely abstract game with a bit of theme pasted on.  Which really surprised me, considering that it’s by the same designer as Dominion (Vaccarino).  I like how it’s different each time you play, and I imagine it’ll age well.  It reminds me in some ways of Colovini’s Clans, though it feels a bit deeper and offers more variety.  Some have said it’s a good gateway game, but S might disagree:  due to her (admittedly poor) placement of her initial settlement, all she could do the entire game was expand into adjacent territories.

Rattus is another abstract, but this one has to do with the plague.  Players expand into different regions of Europe, use special powers, and then try to withstand the plague.  It felt underwhelming at first, but that’s just because I hadn’t figured out how interconnected all the various parts of the game really are.  A simple-looking game with quite a bit of complexity under the hood, this is one I may have to add to my own collection (thanks, B).

And more is yet to come! I’ve got a guy’s game night coming up on Friday, we’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party / game night on Saturday, and I’ve got another guy’s game night coming up on the 6th.

Truly, we’ve been blessed with a cornucopia of gaming. I hope you and yours have had as many gaming opportunities as we have this holiday season. :-)

Happy Holidays!

  1. December 28, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Happy Holidays Dave,

    I too have had a sudden over abundance of gaming. Its fun but I wish I could spread it out a bit instead of cramming it all in just during the holidays. =P

    Its been a nice distraction since my last set back with my Taipan design went sideways. I am hopping to buckle down today and really dig into making the changes I have been planning.



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