Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Board Game Top 100 – 40-36


40 – Kingsburg
Kingsburg is a dice placement game where you use your dice to curry the favor of various influential figures of the nobility. Said influence comes back to you in the form of resources that you can use to build up the strength of your own personal little township. Players add buildings to their personal tableau and these provide permanent benefits like ways to mitigate dice, military strength, and victory points. I mention military strength, but Kingburg isn’t a “take-that” kind of game. Each round of Kingburg is divided into four seasons. In the first three seasons you are building up your town, but when winter comes, there is a monster attack. This comes in the form of a random card draw, and it attacks all players. So, it’s fair to everyone, and everyone needs to be ready, because … “Winter is coming.”

39 – Agricola Family Edition
Agricola Family Edition is a reimplementation of Agricola, which is a much heavier game. There’s a great resource for board game enthusiasts available on the interwebs called, board game geek (boardgamegeek.com); BGG lists information about all kinds of board games. It’s where I go when I want to know something. One of the things that BGG does is that it gives each game a “weight” on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the simplest of games and 5 being the most daunting. Tic-Tac-Toe for example has a listed weight of 1.16, while chess has a listed weight of 3.71. With only a 5 point scale to work with it might be difficult to know where your personal tastes fall. For me, games between 2 and 3 on the scale seem to be my favorite, with 2.5 being my sweet spot.
The original Agricola has a listed weight of 3.64 (close to chess), while the Family Edition has a weight of 2.4, perfect! Now, I tend to prefer lighter games. When I sit down to play, I want to feel like I’m … well, playing – not running a marathon or taking a math test. So, I was happy to see that the publishers of Agricola, which is a very popular farm sim game, saw that there was a market for an easier more accessible version. I have mentioned before that I like farm sim style games, and Agricola is arguably the best. In Agricola Family Edition, I add buildings to my farm, grow crops, raise livestock, expand my family and my home, all in the pursuit of victory points. Everything is done through worker placement, where I take farmers from my home, and put them on spaces on the game board to take the actions, or gain the resources that I need to accomplish my goals. It all works beautifully here, because the designers started with a time tested masterpiece, and just made it easier to play. It doesn’t hurt that worker placement is one of my favorite game mechanics. Agricola Family Edition is a great game about building the most prosperous farm, and I love it.

38 – Village
Village is a worker placement game that is set in a Village. You have workers that you place on locations in the village to do various things. You have a player board which represents your small personal farm, and you are trying to evolve it as well as your workers in the Village. The twist with this game is that workers that you place in the village stay there and work … forever. Well okay, not forever, but until they die. That’s right, in Village your workers die. Village is played across generations and this creates a layered game play experience that is really interesting and challenging. I mentioned game weight when talking about Agricola above. Village has a listed weight of 3.07, which nudges it close to being too heavy. I remember after the first time we played that
and I laid awake talking about strategies, and what we might do differently the next time we play. So, complexity can be a rewarding thing, but it comes at a cost. Julie and I love Village and are intrigued by the challenge it presents, but we haven’t gotten it back to the table. Because, along with the added complexity comes an added time commitment. For us, it’s difficult to get the longer games played. We have to be prepared to invest four plus hours of our day to a game. That doesn’t happen often, but when it does, Julie and I will be playing, Village.

37 – Rallyman GT
I shared a post about Rallyman GT a short while ago, so I’m not going to talk too much about it here, but I will hit the high spots. GT is a car racing game. The track is modular hex tiles that you build yourself into any configuration. You place dice to establish your route around the track. Then you roll those dice. Dice have hazards on them and if you roll too many hazards you risk damaging your car. When you roll, you have the option of rolling one die at a time to play it safe. This enables you to stop when you want, and can allow you to avoid damaging your car, or you can roll all the dice at once. In this instance, you must take what you get, and this is a big gamble, but if you take it, you get special tokens that allow you to save dice rolls on subsequent turns, ensuring you have a better time on a later turn. Ideally, when you need it most. Rallyman GT provides a great balance of push your luck and risk vs reward. It’s a great car racing game.

36 – Rise of Augustus
Rise of Augustus showed me how a game that I would not consider to be a board game, could in fact be a brilliant board game. That game is BINGO. In Rise of Augustus players have cards in front of them. These cards have spaces that need to be covered in order to win the card. One player is the caller, that person pulls out a token from a bag and calls out the symbol on the token. Then everyone including the caller covers that symbol on the cards in front of them. When a player has completed a card, they call out, “Ave Caesar!” And they gain the benefit shown on the card. Some cards provide immediate bonuses, some add to your game engine providing permanent benefits to help you during the game, some cards provide graphic elements that contribute to the set collection aspect of the game. There are many things to consider, because there are a lot of different ways to score points, and once you have won your first card, you must choose your replacement from a limited selection. Picking the right cards in the right combinations is key to winning the game. Rise of Augustus is an awesome game! The BINGO game play means that every player is fully engaged on every turn. That means that Rise of Augustus plays just as well at 6 players as it does at 2. Who knew that BINGO could be so challenging, and so much fun!?

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