Columbia Games

mensa select

After 42 hours of nonstop board gaming through 63 different games, Mensa has announced their Mensa Select winners for 2016.  They are:

These are the second wins for Renegade Game Studios and Breaking Games who both secured wins last year with Lanterns and Letter Tycoon respectively.  The win by Bezier is it’s third with previous wins being for Castles of Mad King Ludwig in 2015 and Suburbia in 2013.  As for Columbia Games and Blue Orange games, these are their first wins for the Mensa Select award so hopefully this means good things for their futures.  You can see the article about the winners here, and visit the Mensa Mind Games site to see all the previous year’s winners.

last spike

In The Last Spike, a new game from Tom Dalgliesh of Columbia Games, players cooperate to build a continuous railroad from St. Louis to Sacramento while competing to accumulate the most money from land speculation. The game is actually based on a game they published in Canada in 1975, with updates for faster and more skillful play.

The game is fast paced. You must act quickly to grab the best land, but you also need to give your competitors a helping hand now and then so the railway gets built where you want it to go.  Quick to learn, the game is great fun for both kids and adults.

last spike map

The game consists of the railway track and property deeds. Each player has railway tiles that correspond to a unique space on the map. Each turn, players must play a tile by paying its cost. There are nine towns on the map that the railway can pass through, each with five property deeds. When a player builds the first track on a route between two towns, he receives a free deed (the other deeds cost money). When two towns are connected by a railway, all property owners get paid. Once St. Louis and Sacramento are connected, the game ends and whoever has the most cash wins!

The game, scheduled to release in September 2015, will ship anywhere in the world, and it is EU friendly – there will be no extra customs charges for shipping in the EU.

If you’re interested in this fast-paced railway game, check out the Kickstarter for The Last Spike.



boardgaming life

The Boardgaming Life fires off another super-blog post/battle report studying the many facets of wargaming. This time around, it’s a look into Columbia Games block war game Julius Caesar (designed by Grant Dalgliesh/Justin Thompson) written by established wargaming author and editor Russ Lockwood.

Lockwood explains a block war game

For those unfamiliar, a block game is basically an “upgunned” Stratego where the blocks serve as units, standing upright with their backs showing nothing but the color of the army. If you want to find out what’s in a space, you move in for a battle. Movement restrictions limit the number of blocks that can enter a spot, with those coming ‘via alternate routes’ entering battle as a reserve and only available on the second and third rounds of combat. Three rounds maximum for a battle.

war blocks

Lockwood takes the role of Pompey the Great and faces off against Julius Caesar’s forces during the period of the the Roman Civil War. Along the way, he discovers both the strengths and weaknesses of block-style war games and Julius Caesar in particular.

The analysis, combined with an exciting back-and-forth recounting of the actual game play makes this post a must-read for anyone even mildly interested in this sort of thing. Close games are the best kind, and you won’t know who’s going to triumph in this report until the last turn.