Monday, August 23, 2010

4-Game Game Night

Last "Friday night" game night we set out to play Small World by Days of Wonder. Bob of Might of Arms had been curious about it so we put it on the agenda. We had a short crew that night, consisting of myself, Andy, Bob, and fellow gamer regular Ken.

I've spoken on Small World before ("almost" an actual review!) and this one is a keeper. It's a fun game that is light-hearted in scope and offers a lot of replay value. The main draw of the game is the combination of fantasy race/power choices that pop up. You populate a diverse map with your army, take over as much territory as you can while your race is still powerful enough to hold on to said territory, then let them decline (fall off the map) as you conquer new territories with a new race/power combo. The combos are going to be different every game. For a boardgame this one has excellent value packed under the hood and if you shop around (ahem, Amazon) you're not paying an arm or a leg for it. Is it a game you're playing week in, week out? Maybe not every week, but it's certainly worthy of a spot in your gaming stable.

One way to perhaps overcome this however lies in this deck of cards called "Tales and Legends" which is a new expansion that's just come out. I picked it up just today, err, as of this writing anyway. It looks to be a lot of fun, as it adds random events to each game turn from the small to the cataclysmic. I flipped through it in the parking lot, and at first glance it looks pretty good with great art and nice, large text. After our first game or two with it I'll let y'all know how it went.

Shadows Over Camelot is another Days of Wonder game, and about halfway through this game I was thinking to myself we should play it more, for sure. Its scope, unlike Small World, is more serious and grounded in the fantasy side of the King Arthur genre. Players work together cooperatively to bounce from quest to quest keeping threats to Camelot at bay. There is a catch, which makes this game so great, and that's the traitor factor. One of the knights may (or may not be) a traitor to the round table. As the traitor works through the quests with his fellow knights, they shift the balance in subtle ways towards the forces of shadow. If a loyal knight can ferret them out, they can accuse them and win honor for Camelot. If you accuse the wrong person however, darkness creeps in further. Each game will more than likely have a traitor, but not always, it's completely random. This one is much more involved than Small World, but its mechanics have you in the action in no time. Andy and I hadn't played Shadows Over Camleot in a couple of years at least, and both Bob and Ken were brand new to it, but still we rolled along at a good clip without missing a beat. Production value on this, as I'm finding is the case with most Days of Wonder games, is very high and again you can also find it on the cheap.

Sherlock is a great game, end of story. Go buy it, it's maybe ten bucks I think? It's a memory game and works for all ages and all levels of sobriety. I have played this game with middle school kids, elementary school kids, adults, and a mixture of the above and had a blast every time. It does seem a bit "kiddy" at first, but even the most stalwart gamer will be laughing and enjoying themselves within the first couple of turns. As for the mixed sobriety factor, this game is perfect to break out after the kids have all gone to bed as well, just make sure everyone is on an even playing field or someone will have an incredibly unfair advantage!

Such trigger discipline!

Ca$h 'n Gun$ is one of those "party games" that equally deserves a place in the boardgaming stable. It's a wacky concept, but executed well. You're playing bank robbers, post-heist, trying to split up the loot in your hideout. Often, as negotiations are bound to become tense, the "gats" come out. It is a game of bluffing, standing your ground, acquiring fat stacks o' cash, and fake foam pistols! There are lots of variant scenarios and rules built into the main set, but we've never messed with since the basic game is so much fun. Expansions for the game include a "Yakuza" set with foam throwing stars, tanto knives, and a sawn-off shotgun and the like. A pair of machine pistols recently popped up too in another expansion. As you may have guessed, this is not a cerebral game in the slightest, but it is fun, and that's exactly what it delivers.


  1. My group loves Small World. It's complex enough to be playable again and again, but simple enough to be a quick game while we're waiting for people to turn up, or if we've finished early. Great fun.

  2. Yeah, it'd be nice if it got more play here...