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Showing posts from January, 2020

Bob Ross: Art Of Chill Game (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🎨 As You Know, Bob... 2017, 2-4 players Complexity: light In 1983, high-school dropout and retired 20-year Air Force veteran Master Sergeant Robert Ross started an instructional painting show on public television called The Joy Of Painting . He had learned to paint during his military career and had grown tired of shouting at people, so upon his retirement he resolved to never have a job where he had to raise his voice again. His show ran for eleven years, and during each 30-minute episode, Ross would complete a pastoral scene and talk through this process while he did it. It sounds boring, but it's surprisingly meditative. Ross is a soothing presence, and it's genuinely compelling to watch him complete a painting so quickly. He was a rare individual. Bob Ross: Art Of Chill Game  attempts to capture his singular style and attitude in a lightweight set collection game, and the result is kind of amazing. Let's See It In Action In  Bob Ross: Art Of Chi

Azul (Acquire-To-Zendo)

⚒️ There Is No Dana, Only... 2017, 2-4 players Complexity: light/moderate Azul is the first in a series of tile-drafting and placement games (the others are also called Azul , which is only slightly confusing--they're Azul: Stained Glass Of Sintra  and Azul: Summer Pavilion ). It's set in Portugal during the reign of King Manuel I. On a visit to Southern Spain, he saw an alhambra that was decorated with blue-and-white ceramic tiles called azulejos that had been introduced by the Moors. The king was so taken with them that he demanded his palace be decorated in them as well. So for the second week a row, we have a game about architects trying to say in the good graces of the King! Azul  was created by Next Move Games who are committed to making light games with deep strategic potential and four-letter titles. And if you think I'm making that up, no really, it's in their mission statement. In addition to the several Azul  games, they have Reef , Tuki ,

Architects Of The West Kingdom (Acquire-To-Zendo)

⚒️ If You Build It, They Will Come To Arrest You 2018, 1-5 players Complexity: moderate/high Architects Of The West Kingdom  is a worker-placement game from New Zealand studio Garphill Games, creators of the North Sea  trilogy of worker-placement games. Architects  is the first in the "West Kingdom" trilogy, set at the end of the Carolingian Empire (circa 850 CE), and it adds a couple of unique twists to the worker-placement formula. Instead of cleaning up your own workers, you arrest each others' and sell them to the guard house. Additionally, there's a morality track! Will you secure victory through high-minded virtue, underhanded dealings, or some combination of the two? Let's See It In Action In Architects Of The West Kingdom  you and up to four friends take on the role of royal architects trying to impress the king and maintain your noble status. You do this by acquiring the most victory points, which are determined at the end of the game

Stray Thoughts: In Defense Of Monopoly

♟️ It's Fine, If You Understand How Games Work Monopoly  has attracted a lot of haters over the years, people who grew up playing it and remember the excitement of the first thirty minutes and the profound boredom of the subsequent twelve hours of gameplay. Now that we're in the middle of a board game renaissance, it's easy to come out and say that you think it's the worst game in the world. Well, right now I'm blogging about my favorite board games and in one of those posts I made an off-hand comment that I would defend Monopoly . Time to do that, I guess. Monopoly  is not the worst game in the world. It's not even a bad game. It's a pretty solid one, albeit one that shows its age. Yes, the cards are flimsy, yes winning by elimination sucks for whoever gets eliminated first, and yes it's only so popular because we all played it a lot because we had a copy growing up or our grandparents had a copy because it was relatively cheap as time-wasters

Aeon's End (Acquire-To-Zendo)

👹 Hold On To Your Breaches! 2016, 1-4 players Complexity: HEAVY Long ago The Nameless invaded through magical breaches in reality and pushed humanity almost to the brink of extinction. The survivors rallied at a secret underground city called Gravehold and began training mages to fight back, harnessing the power of the breaches to perform powerful magic spells. Every so often, one of The Nameless attacks, and the mages must work together to defeat the monster--or, failing that, survive the attack--and prevent the utter destruction of Gravehold. Aeon's End  is a scenario-based fully cooperative fixed-market deck-builder from Action Phase Games--now owned by the ironically-named conglomerate Indie Boards and Cards. The original edition came out in 2016 with a Kickstarter campaign and there have been regular updates to the franchise ever since. The gimmick for this game is the twist it puts on deck-building. In a normal deck-builder, you acquire cards that go into your

Out Now: "Ah-Nee-May-Tron-Ick" in Nature: Futures

I have a new story out! "Ah-Nee-May-Tron-Ick" is out today in Nature: Futures  this morning. Alas, Futures  stories are no longer included in the print edition, only online. Regardless! It's free to read on the interwebs, and if you enjoy silliness, dinosaurs, aliens, or various combinations thereof, then take five minutes to read it. ]{p

Acquire (Acquire-To-Zendo)

💰 The First Eurogame 1964, 3-6 players Complexity: light/moderate Okay, maybe it's not the first  eurogame, but Acquire  was an early success and remains one of the most influential. Designed by Sid Sackson, it became wildly popular in Germany in the 60s and then throughout Europe. In the post-war era, it turns out, Germans weren't too interested in games like  Risk  and Monopoly  that focused on either global conquest or the quick acquisition of property. So a new genre of board game emerged that placed more emphasis on social play and strategy rather than luck and direct competition. They tended to be easy to learn but difficult to master. And, in contrast to a Risk  or Monopoly  where you win by eliminating all the other players, eurogames allow all players to play all the way through to the end and instead have some gameplay mechanism to trigger the endgame. Acquire  became the template that other eurogames would build on. Love Ticket To Ride  or Power Grid ? W

"Acquire-To-Zendo" Explainer

I spent 2019 writing about some of my favorite albums, and now it's time for the next project! For 2020, I'm going to talk about a different pastime I enjoy. Board games. Every Thursday in 2020 I'm going to post about a board game that you may or may not have heard of, and here's the gimmick: we're doing them alphabetically. So, as should be a surprise to no one who has read the title of this post, the first game I post about is going the be the game Acquire , and the last one is going to be Zendo . Never heard of them? Excellent. Just a quick overview of my gaming preferences, to give this list some context. I prefer light-to-medium-weight eurostyle games. I prefer cards over dice as randomization agents. I don't really do 4x or miniatures or area-of-control games. I mean, I have, but I don't generally enjoy them all that much. And while I've played a ton  of games in my lifetime, there are some notable gaps in my experience. I've never pl