Wednesday, January 29, 2014

GreyElephant Gaming "Top Games of 2013"

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Game Day!

Alright! Game Day was on Jan. 25th 2014.
We had several people over and played many new and old games. I thought I would take some time to give a very brief FUN-down on what games we played and what our thoughts were.
First game of the day was Glass Road by Z-Man Games.
Played with 4 players. Bill, Elissa, Kevin, and Myself. No, the baby girl didn't play. ;0)
I was able to teach the game, and we were able to play in roughly 1 1/2 hours.
Glass Road is a solid game! I've mostly played with just Carmen and I and I can honestly tell you that after playing with 4, it gets even better! There is simply no down side to this game. It impresses me with just how brilliant this designer is.
In the end, Brad won by scoring 26.
This impressed me even more. Given how much information there is to absorb in this game, one of the new players won. Well, I was the only experienced player. However, 26 points is a VERY respectable score! Elissa and myself both scored over 20 as well.
While we were finishing up our game, Carmen, Bill, and his wife Autumn played a game of Augustus downstairs.
I call this game, "Bingo on Steroids!" and it delivers to that level. You're not making serious decisions, but there are enough to keep the game interesting. There's certainly some risk involved that keeps you on your toes.
This is one of my favorites from 2013 that I feel can be easily overlooked due to the simplicity of the game itself. And, that my friends is a shame! It's a fantastic gateway game, family game, and fun. In the end is that not what gaming is supposed to be about, fun?
 If not, you're doing it wrong!
After both of these games were finished, we decided it was time to eat. We had pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, potato salad, cake, ice cream, and MONSTER COOKIES!!!
I can't recommend gaming as families enough. When you do, the women take the food serious and that makes it an all around fantastic event. Women rock!
Once we were all feed appropriately, we split up into 2 groups. I headed upstairs with Bill and Brad to play A Game of Thrones LCG. This would be the first time I've ever played the game.
I was House Stark. Brad was House Targaryen. Bill House Lannister.
I was impressed with the game and in fact think it might be one Carmen would enjoy as well. It took me a bit to figure out some of the nuances of the game. Such as at what step certain things can occur. However, it's not a terribly deep game, but it certainly has strategy along with tons of diplomacy! In our game we had several instances where two would gang up on one in order to "level the field". However, in the end only one House can prevail, and that House happen to be Stark.
Beginners luck? Maybe.
Bill was a bit thirsty about half way through. Some guys never get off the bottle. :0)
Downstairs they were played a game of Compounded by Dice Hate Me. This was owned by Elissa, who just so happens to be a chemist. Elissa taught Carmen, Kevin, and Lee.
I don't have much to say on this one, mainly cause I wasn't directly involved. I CAN tell you what she told me.
LOVED IT! Wants it to be brought to our next game night. She told me she liked how it felt like a typical "purchase building" type of game, but there's no building! I laughed at this comment, but can totally understand what she means. She also said you can purchase equipment that can help you throughout the game. At one point she said she was working on a huge experiment just to have it all blow up in the end!
Now that sounds like fun!
Carmen ended up tying with Kevin for the win.
We regrouped and split up into two groups again. I went downstairs with Bill, Carmen, Autumn to play Steam Park by Iello Games.
All I can say about this one is, if you don't own it, GET IT! I love the game and so did everyone who played. We've now taught the game to several people and not a single person walked away disappointed. Bill and Autumn ended up borrowing the game to take home so they could play more!
Up stairs they were playing a new game that I had never heard of called Star Realms.
I was able to play this later in the night and all I can say is, "YES!!!" This is a deck building game where you are in direct conflict with your opponents.
What do I mean by this?
You and your opponents all have health cards. As you are purchasing ships from the center of the board, you are also attacking your opponents directly! Now, typically Carmen and I are not too hip on games that involve direct conflict. However, this game is smooth, fast, and very-very fun! You can easily play a two player game in around 10 minutes. So, if you obliterate your opponent in game one, set it back up for a rematch with ease!
While I was being taught this, Carmen and Brad were playing Kingdom by Black Locust Games.
This is a solid 2 player game where one person controls the Fallen Angels, and the other controls all those Goody Two Shoes Angels.
March your angel to your opponents side of the board and you score the list points on the angels cards. Whomever gets to 35 points, or if someone runs out of cards, the game ends!
This game is currently on Kickstarter. You can find the link here: Kingdom: The Angelic War Card Game
One other game we played that I almost forgot about. Maybe deliberately? :0)
Revolution: Steven Jackson Games
We played a 4 player game between Bill, Elissa, Autumn, and myself. While I initially really enjoyed what this game was all about, it took a turn (actually a few turns) to where I realized something doesn't seem right. In one turn, Bill was fortunate enough to gain several pieces of Gold, Blackmail, and Force due to the other 3 of us bidding equally against one another, in turn, losing out on any type of action/gain. What this lead to was a run away leader aspect that we were never able to recover from .
At that point forward, it was the Bill Show!!!
In fact, I might just rename this game, "The Bill Show!"
In the end, the score wasn't even close. In fact, first place was somewhere around 180, while last place didn't even break 50. I'd be willing to try the game again, but it would be my last if it suffers from these balancing issues again.
Game nights are more than just about playing games.
They are about being with your friends.
They are about not caring if your friend won the game, cause you are happy they did so well.
They are about building memories that you hope last for years to come.
All I can say is, I am blessed with some amazing people whom I get to call my friends. 
Bill, Autumn, Lee, Brad, Elissa, Kevin, and of course my beautiful bride Carmen.
Our future Gamers.....