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Showing posts from January, 2020

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, and 5211. Let's See It …

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 by the buildings you con…

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 go and in the…

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 discard pile, …

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? Well, you have Acquire

"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 played Twiligh…