Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Zoo Who?

Last night was game night and we had a very good turnout with several newcomers and lots of old timers.

Some of the games that I didn't play last night included: Khronos, Boomtown, Scepter of Zavandor and Space Dealer. All very fine games in their own right. In fact, you'll be hearing about Space Dealer from me very soon. But first, let's discuss what I played last night.

The opening game for me was Elasund. A friend of mine had been wanting to play this game with me for months but our schedules never seemed to match up. Well he finally got some time to join us on a Tuesday night and since this was the one game he'd requested to play, we played it. Elasund is one of the Catan Adventure games based on Klaus Teuber's monster hit Settlers of Catan. It has some Catan-like elements but it really is very different from Settlers of Catan and in my opinion, that's a very good thing. Now don't get me wrong, I like me some Settlers, but the last thing this world needs is yet another Settlers expansion. This stand-alone game is refreshingly different with just enough familiar elements to give it that Settlers flavor. I've got a full review of this game elsewhere but in a nutshell: it's got a lot of player interaction with a tiny bit of nastiness and I like it a lot.

Next up for me was this year's Spiel des Jahres winner: Zooloretto. I really like Coloretto, the card game that served as the inspiration to Zooloretto, so I expected to like Zooloretto as well; especially now that it's a Spiel des Jahres winner. I do like it but perhaps not quite as much as I had hoped to. It's very luck heavy, chaotic and light (which is expected given its pedigree and since that's often what the SdJ committee goes for) and it retains all of the elements that I like about Coloretto, but for me the added complexity didn't really result in a significantly better game. The production is first rate and I'm sure that most families will love it. I like it very much but there are plenty of games which I like more.

The last game of the evening for me was an unreleased prototype by my friend Christopher Rao, author of Pink Godzilla Dev Kit (which you really ought to check out). I probably shouldn't say much about this new game. I'll say this though: it's a card game, it's in the final stages of refinement and Christopher tells me it's about to be published. It's a lighter game aimed at the 8 and older crowd. It's not nearly as strategic as Dev Kit (and it plays nothing like it) but it's pretty darn fun to play and in fact it was fun enough that we played it twice. I think that as a kid's game it's great and I think plenty of adults will like it too although I don't see it becoming a monster hit with die-hard gamers. It's short enough to work as a filler game and I think it fits that niche well. Perhaps someday soon I'll be able to tell you more about it.

Come join us next week and bring your friends!


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