Thursday, September 29, 2005

2005: A Crappy Year for Boardgames

Yeah, I know it's only October, and Essen is around the corner, but isn't 2005 (and you might want to include the latter part of 2004) just a crappy year for boardgames?

I got this feeling when going over the SdJ, DSP and IGA lists of nominees and winners for the year. Ick, I say. So, I ask the Geek to give me a listing of all games published in 2005, with a rating of at least 5 and at least 30 raters. I'm chucking all the wargames and expansions, because those don't count. This is what I get:

TI3e - You have to be kidding. 2ed was better than this.
Ticket to Ride: Europe - A rehash. Didn't much like it's daddy either.
Shadows over Camelot - Wouldn't you rather play Werewolf?
Travel Blokus - Zzzzzz.
Arkham Horror - Horror is right.
Munchkin Fu 2 - Bayesian rating of 6.79, 35 ratings. What are these people smoking?
Parthenon: Rise of the Aegean - Brand new. Reports say and rules read: Too many cards, too much luck
Louis XIV - Won the DSP. Might be the best game on this list, which is a relief.
China - Reprint. Didn't much like Web of Power, so pass.
TATATA! - Haven't heard anything, don't know anything, don't really want to know.
Wings of War: Watch your back - Featherlight sequel. It's daddy was ok, nothing great.
Kreta - Steffan Dorra area control game. The dark horse on this list, flying under the radar.
Manila - Gambling game. I wish they called THIS Puerto Rico, and THAT game Manila!
Carcassonne: The Prin... awww fuck it's crappy Carc again.
Roma - New 2P Queen game. Interestingly good remarks from key people (Mike Siggins) but it's 2P so I don't care too much.
Nexus Ops - Hasborg dicefest kiddie dreck.
Tower of Babel - Reiner's Hans im Gluck big box game is an auction/area control middleweight. I think this should get better over time, sorta like Samurai.
Palazzo - Reiner's alea midi box game is an auctionish lightweight. What a letdown.
Fjords - 2P Carcassonnish game. Pass.
Axis and All.... yech.
FFFF - I'm not typing that, and it's Friedemann so pass.
Dungeoneer: Forsaken Desert - Forsake this game.
Control Nut! - Trick taking game, probably worth a look if you like that kinda thing. I don't.
Attacktix Star Wars Kiddie Game bleh
Manifest Destiny - Pass.
Diamant - If this cost as much as Bluff, I'd probably get it despite its parentage. It costs as much as a big box game, so forget it.
Risk: Star Wars - why do people still buy this thing?
Australia - Kramer+Kiesling+Ravensburger=pale shadow of the Mask Trilogy. Too bad.
Ars Mystery - LIttle publisher, but I'd try it if there was an opp.
Amazonas - Lightish card game. Too many of these things around.
Walk the Dogs - SimplyFun fluff.
Poison - Another light Reiner card game.
Monsters Menace America - See Nexus Ops
Go West - Hey it's a Colovini game. I'd play this given the chance.
Pickomino - Another light game.
TransEuropa - Given how bad TA is, why bother?
Anachr... CCG right? Pass.
Verflixxt! - Not bad. Not good, either.
The rest are the same: Gone Fishing, Ice Cream, Coloretto Amazonas, Sword and Skull, Pimp: the Backhanding, SPANC, Clout Fantasy.

Yep, 2005 stinks. And as I noted a few entries before, Essen looks pretty grim for good thinking-man's games, with just Hazienda and E&T das Kart looking promising.


At Thursday, September 29, 2005 10:23:00 PM, Blogger Jasen said...

It becomes more evident how thin of a year 2005 has been when you make a list like this. My keepers in your list would consist of Ticket to Ride: Europe, Louis XIV, Shadows Over Camelot (I agree that's its a Werewolf variant but I think it's much more approachable for non-gamers) and China. Oh and maybe Control Nut but it's so hard to get a copy, I'm not sure I'd put it on my list. Palazzo is a stinker IMO. I'd be interested in trying out Tower of Babel. Otherwise, certainly nothing stellar on the list; enjoyable but not exciting... I think we could have predicted this based on the this past year's Essen and Nuremburg releases. I think this year will be another slow year although I'm very much looking forward to Caylus.

At Friday, September 30, 2005 3:09:00 AM, Blogger sodaklady said...

I have a feeling you'll be disappointed with T & E das Kartenspiel as well. Look at the popular games that became card games: Puerto Rico, Kardinal und Konig, Settlers. And most people who loved the board game, thought the card game a poor substitute, or just plain crap.

I hope it's good, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

At Friday, September 30, 2005 9:47:00 AM, Blogger Rick said...

Jase, you're a kinder guy than I am. Louis is my only keeper from 05 (the only one I actually bought). I had Babel in my hands, but I put it down (sacrilege for a Knizia/HiG big box) because I thought I could wait on the mediums since i just got a bunch of proven older games and reprints in that weight range (Samurai, TtD, T-fab, Santiago). Yeah, Palazzo I don't think I'll ever get. Caylus, I just read the rules to. Are you sure? It reads like a more fiddly Keythedral to me, if that's even possible. I can wait and let you guys do the beta testing. :)

Mary, it's Reiner, and the man can make a card game (Colossal Arena, Modern Art, High Society, Medici) so I'm very much willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. especially since he doesn't seem to be the kind of guy to milk a franchise title until it's sucked dry and then some (hello Teuber and Wrede, your franchises not only suck, they've been beaten dead several times over).

At Sunday, October 02, 2005 9:56:00 PM, Blogger Geoman said...

If you take some time to examine games as Palazzo or Ars Mysteriorum more closely, you will see that there are still good games released in 2005.

At Monday, October 03, 2005 11:33:00 AM, Blogger Rick said...

Geo, have watched a game of Palazzo. It smacks too much of Alhambra, it's too random and too light. The '2' complexity on the alea scale is pretty accurate. It's even lighter than High Society, so Reiner fluff can't be considered good, even if it is Reiner.

Ars Mysteriorum I am willing to try, but it's repeated blind bidding. There is simply no way a game using blind bidding as its main mechanism can be great. (See Fist of Dragonstones, and I'm sure that's a faster game than Ars Myst.) It might be tolerable, even ok, but not great. BTW, I think Aladdin's Dragons isn't worth the cardboard it's printed on, so I may not be the best person to ask about blind bidding games.

At Saturday, October 08, 2005 10:12:00 AM, Blogger Joe Gola said...

I'm embarrassed to say that I have only waded ankle-deep in the '05 pool.

Louis XIV--bought, haven't played (except solitaire).
Tower of Babel--bought, haven't played (except solitaire).
Palazzo--bought, played one two-player game.
Pickomino--bought, played twice.
Crusader Rex--bought, got through 70% of one play.
Roma--played someone else's copy twice.

Obviously Louis XIV is the only meaty multiplayer offering. I like the looks of it. I'm thinking they packed a lot of game into that little box.

As for Essen, naturally I'm eagerly anticipating the last installment in the Gipf series. I'll probably also take a close look at the T&E card game and the Martin Wallace games. Maybe there's something else I'm forgetting. Beyond that, I just have too many un- and underplayed games to really want to take the trouble to go digging through the Gamewire preview looking for gems. I think I'm more of a Nuremburg guy at heart, anyway.


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