And so the second month of the new year begins, and the gaming hobby continues to thrive. One of the new games this month, Copycat, got me thinking about the hobby as a whole, and how wonderful it is. There was a time when folks had to pay military personnel to bring copies of Settlers of Catan back to the states from overseas. But now look at us, last month alone we had about 10 great new games hit the shelves, and this week I have 2 new games and a few expansions taunting me on our new release table. The hobby is healthy folks. We honestly have too many good games now, I want to play them all and just can’t. Part of me wants it all to slow down but most of me loves the newness and the variety.
I’m honestly very grateful for way the gaming hobby allows me to satisfy my desire for both social interaction and mental challenge. Those $50 copies of Lords of Waterdeep and Last Will have yielded so many hours of pure awesome, thankfully saving from numbing my skull while staring at a movie screen or bla-bla-ing at a bar or restaurant until my ears hurt. I hope all of you are enjoying your games as much as I am.
For some though, the gaming hobby is rather frustrating. Because of our game nights, I have a relatively stable group of gamers to play with. But without a group to play with, a love of games can practically drive you mad. I know, I was once there. Now I’m seeing many who were like myself: guys mostly, who love modern board games far more than there loving partners or friends ever will and go a bit nuts because they cannot find people to play with. This is where movies and bla-bla-ing at a bar are far less frustrating hobbies, you can always find folks to do these with. So if you are one of the lost souls in love with games but without an outlet, have hope, and join us at a game night. Our hobby is great and growing; You are definitely not alone!
CO2: Boy have I been hearing enticing things about this game involving managing an energy company that is responding to the government’s requests for green power plants to stop the potentially fatal increase in greenhouse gases. Sure, its a contentious political theme, and we all have our opinions on it, but I could care less because it sounds like such a great game. While it is an economic game at heart, 2 elements intrigue me. First, everyone can lose if the global CO2 levels rise too high. Second, power plant projects are not privately owned but are group efforts. Both of these elements create interactive tensions not typically found in European style games. Looking forward to trying this one, just have to get through the rules first. Oh, almost forgot to mention that the artwork is rather captivating.
Copycat: Designer Friedeman Friese, of Power Grid fame (which is now on the rental shelf by the way), has given us a game that pays homage to our wonderful hobby by combining elements from many of our most cherished games. So what we’ve got here is a deck-building, worker-placement, drafting race game with obvious nods to games like Agricola, Dominion, and Puerto Rico. Looking forward to playing this one.
Innovation, Figures in the Sand Expansion: Innovation is a wonderful card game by the designer of the now classic Glory to Rome. Innovation is a challenging game to describe. You are essentially playing out cards in front of you and trying to execute their effects to score points and game-winning achievements. Of course, every card is unique, and the joy of the game comes from tactical decisions that create incredible card combinations to drive your opponents mad as they attempt to break your point-amassing engine. Figures in the Sand, the second expansion to Innovation, includes figures cards that represent famous historical characters who change the rules but get sent to your score pile as other figures take their place in history. Look for it in the snazzy green box.
Mansions of Madness, Call of the Wild expansion: This is a huge expansion for the great one versus many horror game, Mansions of Madness. Customer Randal ran an impressive game of this last saturday, complete with aged and burned dossier papers for the investigators. That’s how this game was meant to be played. This expansion is a serious reboot, with new scenarios focused on the hideous woods behind the mansion, new allies that can help you or be driven insane and turned against you, and new ways for the mansion keeper to thwart the plans of the investigators.
Oh yeah, the new Magic set goes on sale today, but if you are in to Magic, I don’t think I needed to tell you that.