More follow-up here. Above is the hoard of games that made it to the cabin, I think this is all of the boardgames. There was also a Wii and an XBox 360, but those were ancillary. Below is what we actually did play, followed by the games I personally played in parentheses. I always keep a loose track of what's being played, besides, this stuff is always fun to track over on Boardgamegeek.com. On to the games:
7 Wonders= 5 (1)
Forbidden Island= 2 (2)
Ascension= 4 (1)
Martians!!!= 1 (1)
Settlers of Catan= 1
SoC: Cities and Knights= 1 (1)
SoC: Trails to Rails= 1
Race for the Galaxy= 2 (2)
RftG: The Gathering Storm= 4 (4)
TStone: Wrath of the Elements= 2
Who Would Win?= 2 (2)
Total Games Played= 30 (15)
We ended the cabin on a high-larious note with a couple of games of Who Would Win?. This "debate" game that is an absolute blast. Basically you have a have a deck of cards that has real and fictional people in it, two people get one card each. Then you have a deck of activities, occupations, and the like, it's flipped over and the debate begins. You have about twenty seconds (timer is included) to plead your case to your friends as to why your character/person/historical figure would win at said event. We had some great matchups, such as King Kong vs. John F. Kennedy in art and Pokemon vs. Mahatma Ghandi in cooking. Of course I thought I had the best card when I drew Stephen Hawking vs. Cleopatra...until the event was lifeguarding! Winners and losers are determined by your peer group around the room. This game is the living embodiment of what it is to be a party game.
This Settlers of Catan variant, Trails to Rails, looked pretty cool. The board was massive, much larger than it looks here. Most of the same tenants and mechanics apply, but since I sat this one out I don't know exactly what all of the differences are.
Since I recently paid good money for Thunderstone and the first expansion, I'd like to say that it was a big hit. I don't know about "big", but it was played five times. I think part of this is because of ease of set up, and once you have the basics down it's a very easy game to play. Plus it helps that the basics aren't overly complex. I asked some of the folks their impressions and a couple of them just loved the game, a couple of others were kind of 'meh' on the issue. Having played it myself now many times I can see where its got legs, especially in a low-game environment. You'd have to dedicate playing time to it, but that's really like all games. I think it is best served as one of the primary games of a given group for a while, less so as a 'pick up' off the shelf game.
Now I did get in a game of Catan, but it was my favorite of the expansions; Cities and Knights. It's a totally different game, and I loved it. I don't know why I don't own it myself (well I do, money!) but I'd like to add a copy to the collection some day. If you've played Catan then you're probably familiar with all the expansions, and if you don't own Cities and Knights, pick it up, you won't be disappointed. Now if you don't own just the base game...go! Get it!
If you follow boardgame circles, you'll hear the name Agricola pop up, and often. No, it's not pronounced like a soft drink, but like a Roman name. Anyway, Agricola is a powerhouse of a game, with about a hundred different strategies and techniques to win. You want theme? You're a friggin' medieval farmer trying to support your growing family, come on! This game is awesome. I was surprised that there were four people at the cabin who hadn't played it, so I stepped aside and let them have at it. I think there's now four new converts.
Ah, speaking of good game, we're here looking at 7 Wonders. It's a good game, and accessible by gamer and non-gamer alike. It "learns" fast and has lots of replay value, it's a solid addition to the shelf and can be broken out even during the holidays with that brother-in-law who always looks down at you and your 'toy soldier' hobby. For me, I'm personally not quite as enamored with the game as everyone else seems to be. It's good mind you, but I'm not racing out anytime soon to pick it up. Haha, what a segue...and a pun!
I have a new favorite game, and it's called Race for the Galaxy. I will be racing out to buy this one, probably in a day or two actually. Race for the Galaxy has got it all, theme, gameplay, mechanics, style, the works. As an interesting side note I never even came close to winning, not once, but I still had a blast every single time I played. I love, love, love this game. Each turn has phases, and you're plopping down planets that produce goods, or you have robots that help you settle more planets, or you have an uplifted alien species to help acquire targets militarily. So many different ways to win, different strategies to try. Somebody should send a copy to Mik's Minis so you have good blogging karma for centuries to come. I will immortalize you with praise and song!
Martians!!! isn't the most finely tuned engine under the hood, but it is fun nonetheless. The conclusion we came to however was that this wasn't the best game considering how long it took to play and the fact that with a 20+ boardgame horde sitting just seven feet away it was too tempting to give it up and grab something else. If you are having friends over with the express purpose to play this one game for the course of the evening, you're golden. It's random and light-hearted and makes for a heck of a beer and pretzels game. It's lacking a little depth but you do at least get a whopping 100 Martian figs!
Good ole Catan, the regular 1995 insta-classic. I didn't play this version but only because I was in something else at the time. I've already droned on about this earlier when talking about the Cities and Knights expansion, so moving on...
I guess the deck-building game Ascension is going to wrap up this post. Theme is king here as the deck-building mechanic is kind of bland and the different strategic avenues are somewhat limited. But if you want a cool setting that involves a pantheon of gods, daemons from beyond, steam-punk monks, mechanica, druids, Elves, and more you will dig it. I see a trend developing in quick to learn and fun to play games, not a bad thing. Ascension falls into this particular niche quite nicely.
There you go, a bit of a wrap-up of the games we recently played. Enjoy!