I guess I'm not repentant about posting too many photos of Through the Ages...
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Sunday, 27 December 2009
Thursday, 24 December 2009
Self-control when buying games is a recurring theme at my blog. I keep telling myself about this, and despite some successes in curbing my buying habit, I still feel I could have done better. Now that the year end is approaching, I start looking at all the stats about my boardgame hobby that I have been meticulously recording. I had set a loose target of buying no more than 20 games a year. I am at 19 now (not counting 2 self-made games), so I'll meet this target if I can hold off buying any more games until end of this month. I do have some games on my definite-buy list now, e.g. Agricola: Farmers of the Moor, Axis & Allies Pacific 1940, but I can hold off for a while.
Here's a list of things I need to remind myself of. Maybe this will be helpful to you too.
- You don't need to own every game that you like. If a friend has it, play his/her copy, or borrow it if you really feel like playing the game. I am working on convincing myself I don't need to buy Dungeon Lords ...
- You don't need to play every good game. So what if you don't have the opportunity to play one particular game that you think you will love? Don't you already have lots of other games that you love that you're not playing much? So...
- You need to play more of the good games that you own. For me, games like Die Macher, Power Grid.
- Wait until your interest wanes. Procrastinate. When you hear of a certain new game, you can get very excited about it. Put it on your watchlist. Let it cool for 6 months. If 6 months later you still feel hot for it, then go for it. The wait will also allow you to read more reviews. Early reviews tend to be positive.
- Don't impulse buy. "Don't marry a person you can live with. Marry a person you can't live without". Something like that.
Here are my 2009 purchases and what I feel about them:Happy
- Le Havre - (11 plays) I like it a lot, almost as much as Agricola. I wonder why I haven't played this more. Somehow it didn't have an addiction period or hot game period like Agricola did. Maybe it's the number of cards in Agricola.
- Axis & Allies anniversary edition - (2 plays, but both PBEM games and not using my physical copy of the game) I have a soft spot for the Axis & Allies family. That all I need to justify this purchase.
- Automobile - (8 plays)
- Civilization - (2 plays before I bought this on eBay, 0 after) Need to find the right group and a right time (i.e. long enough). Kind of like Die Macher. This doesn't work with 2P.
- Keltis - (20 plays)
- Wasabi - (17 plays)
- Space Alert - (3 plays) Need to play more to have a more solid opinion. I can't even beat the Level 2 (of 3) tutorials yet. This one also needs a right group. My wife doesn't like it.
- Indonesia - (1 play) Want to play more. This probably needs 4 players. And 4 hours.
- Pandemic: On the Brink - (11 plays) Excellent value for money.
- Galaxy Trucker Big Expansion - (1 play before I decided to buy it, 2 after I had it) After many games of Galaxy Trucker, this expansion becomes necessary to keep the game challenging and brutal.
- Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium - (18 plays) Buying this is as natural as eating rice (to a Malaysian).
- Mystery Rummy: Bonnie & Clyde - (21 plays) I didn't realise I have played this many times. Good game and good addition to the Mystery Rummy family. But I don't seem to play it much now. Our default card game is Race for the Galaxy. Used to be Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper.
- Metropolys - (1 play before buying it, 6 plays after) It's quite unique. Haven't played much recently though. Well, at least it passed the 5-plays-in-1st-year-of-purchase mark.
- Barbarossa - (1 before, 0 after) Bought a used copy. Anticipating playing with my children when they are older.
- Um Reifenbreite - (1 before, 3 after) Chong Sean gave me an offer I couldn't resist. I think this is the only race game in my collection. I don't fancy race games. One good thing is I have played this (albeit with much simplified rules) with my 4-year-old daughter.
- Kakerlaken Poker - (1 before, 1 after, and both being 2P games, the "least good" way of playing I think) I intended to buy this piggy-backing on Chong Sean's game order, but afterwards he declined my payment and gave it to me as a gift. This is a game good for bigger groups and for non-gamers. I don't have such occasions often, so this becomes kind of an on-standby game.
- Rabbit Hunt - (1 before, 2 after) Interesting first game. So-so second game. Need to play more.
- Monopoly Deal - (4 plays) Impulse buy. I bought it using a gift voucher, which I should have spent on something else. The game is not bad, but nothing really draws me.
- A Game of Thrones LCG - (4 plays) One I wanted to like, because I love the books. I haven't given up on it yet. I don't think 4 plays is enough to confirm I don't like it.
I feel a bit better after writing this down. It seems I didn't do too bad in 2009. Hopefully in 2010 I have more in the Happy list and less in the Unsure and Unhappy lists.
My current watchlist. Not the full list, just the higher ranked ones. Darn... that's already 17 out of 20 slots for 2010. Trim trim trim.
- Agricola: Farmers of the Moor (buy)
- Axis & Allies Pacific: 1940 edition (buy)
- Axis & Allies Europe: 1940 edition (not out yet) (buy)
- Race for the Galaxy: Brink of War (not out yet) (buy)
- Power Grid - Factory Manager
- At the Gates of Loyang
- Campaign Manager 2008 (not out yet, I think)
- Dominion: Seaside (I don't have Dominion: Intrigue though)
- Times Square
- Greed, Incorporated
- Hansa Teutonica
- Twilight Struggle
- Dungeon Lords
- Warriors of God
- Carson City
- Power Struggle / Machtspiele
Already ordered. Oops... I'm actually already over 20.
- Funny Friends
- Planet Steam
- Keltis - Die Erweiterung
- Tales of the Arabian Nights
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium is the second expansion to Race for the Galaxy, my most played game ever. There has never been a doubt that I would buy this expansion, and the next one, Race for the Galaxy: On the Brink, expected early 2010.
Rebel vs Imperium adds new start worlds, new cards, new objective tiles, and takeovers. Takeovers is probably the most interesting new mechanic introduced. It adds some direct aggression to the game. During the Settle phase, if certain conditions are met, you can rob a military world from an opponent's tableau. Only four cards in the whole deck allow takeovers. You need to have played one of them to be able to attack someone else. In addition to that, your target need to have a specific vulnerability that your specific card can attack. E.g. if you have positive military power, you can be targeted. If you have rebel worlds, or you have Imperium cards, you can also be attacked. For a takeover to be successful, the attacker's military power needs to be at least the defender's military power plus the defense value of the military world.
I have played 12 games with Rebel vs Imperium, 8 of which had takeovers turned on (you can opt to play without this). However so far I still have not seen an actual takeover. Maybe it's because all my games have been 2-player games. With fewer players, it is harder for the conditions for takeovers to be met. However, having takeovers turned on did impact our games. We were conscious of it, and it made us think twice before playing Rebel, or Imperium, or military strength cards. However overall the impact of takeovers to the game feels small. I think whenever it does come into play it will become a major factor in deciding that particular game. Just like armies. In peace time you don't feel their impact, but when war breaks out, their strengths decide the fates of nations. I think I will continue to play with takeovers all the time, since with 2-players it is so hard to have an opportunity to see it in action anyway. The rules recommend turning on takeovers for alternative games, but I think that is probably for games with more players.
Rebel vs Imperium adds more new cards than Gathering Storm (the 1st expansion). Most of them are interesting. There are quite a few 6-cost developments, which will allow new strategies to be pursued. There is an 8-defense and a 9-defense military world, which are such tempting targets, and yet can be a hindrance if you keep holding the card in your hand and end up never being able to play them. There are quite a few quirky new card powers (e.g. you end the game at 14 instead of 12 cards), and quirky cards (e.g. one of the cards is both an Uplift and an Alien card). I find the new cards very interesting. They make the game richer. I really enjoy exploring the various strategies and various combinations of cards.
Two of the new start worlds were designed to work with the Rebel and the Imperium strategies respectively. Not that they are all that powerful. It's more like you start with the respective vulnerabilities. You start being at risk of getting conquered by the other side. You can have both Rebel and Imperium cards in play. However it will also mean you are vulnerable to more types of attacks.
The new rule that allows you to select one from two start worlds is good. One option will always be a blue (usually peaceful) start world, and the other a red (usually more militaristic) start world. That gives a bit more control. You choose your start world after looking at your initial hand of cards.
The new objectives (objectives are introduced only in Gathering Storm) are nothing spectacular, but they do add some variety. I find that by now the objectives that came with Gathering Storm are starting to feel a bit repetitive. So I welcome some variety.
For those who like Race for the Galaxy, getting Rebel vs Imperium is a no-brainer. The only issue I have with the game is - damn, there are a lot of cards to shuffle.