mechanisms

Aimed directly, and only, at experienced board gamers, Mechanisms: A Posh Party Game is a party game where the more knowledgeable you are about the board gaming hobby, the better you’ll be at the game. Designed by Daniel Zayas and Derek Funkhouser, Mechanisms “uses an assortment of component props to get you and your friends to guess game mechanisms.”

The designers are emphasizing that Mechanisms is for gamers in the know and not for newbies to the hobby. Quoting directly from the Kickstarter introduction video:

Mechanisms isn’t a party game for those who know games it’s for the rare breed who understands them. See, when a gamer becomes…”a gamer”…their game becomes Mechanisms.

For a more detailed look and explanation of the rules, be sure to check out the currently running Kickstarter.

 

 

If you love the smell of burning cottages in the morning, you’ve finally got the chance to burninate the universe with your favorite one-armed dragon in in Trogdor!! The Board Game. Fans of the web comic series Homestar Runner will get their fix of mayhem and destruction in a new game designed by James Earnest of Cheapass Games and the creators of Homestar Runner.

Starring Trogdor, the game is for 2 to 6 players who will cooperate to use the Wingaling dragon and cultist helpers to destroy the kingdom of Pleasantry by burning the cottages… and villagers. The playing field is a set of tiles laid out randomly each game. The players assume the role of the cultists who want to help Trogdor achieve this destruction.  Each of the cultist ‘creepos’ has a different player power, such as moving in a different directly or taking a unique action.

Does this sound too easy?  Well, there are also knights that are there to protect the villagers and make it much more difficult to torch things freely.  Burninating the universe  takes 30 to 45 minutes, making burninating much faster than most other methods of destruction.

The Kickstarter includes multiple backer levels that provide upgrades from wooden meeples to plastic minis and several options for deluxe (very deluxe!) storage boxes.

See the Kickstarter page and the BGG entry for more information.

From BGG

Rio Grande Games announces a new board game themed on Oktoberfest festivals, aptly named Oktoberfest.  In the game, players are artisanal brewmasters working to provide the annual festival with the most popular types of beer–but you can’t just make the beer, you have to get it into the mouths of the festival attendees.

The game consists of three rounds: Morning, Afternoon, and Evening.  On a player’s turn there are three options: start an auction of supply cards, sell a barrel card, or close a tent.  Several mechanics in the game include a closed money system that forces players to vary their auction strategies, as well as the fact that all players contribute to the various tents, making the closing of one a tense decision.  Only the players who supply the most popular beers in a tent receive victory points for them.  After the tenth tent is closed, the player with the most points is the winner.

Oktoberfest is a game for 3-5 players and plays in about 90 minutes.  The release date for Oktoberfest is yet to be announced.  For more information, visit the game’s page at Rio Grande’s website.

Gear Patrol has published an article offering up a brief list of board games for the holiday season “that have gotten great reviews, but aren’t as financially successful as the old classics [like Monopoly, The Game of Life and Risk].”  One of the games mentioned in this list was One Night Ultimate Werewolf, with a few comments by its designer, Ted Alspach.

When asked about the old family classics like Monopoly, Alspach offered to explain why those older games are still so prevalent and games published in the last ten years come nowhere close.  “They put a lot of money into those brands to put them on the shelves. Hasbro continues to market them, and they spend more money than any other board game company…If we got to reset right now, those games wouldn’t exist without the history and the marketing.”

It is because of the strong presence of these classic games and the fact that most people already know how to play them that makes them the usual go-to games for the holidays.  However, the article suggests a new lineup of options in various categories, with alternate suggestions for each:

  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak

    game of thrones card game

  • A Game of Thrones: The Board Game Second Edition

  • Fire in the Lake

    TERRA-Box-front1000_darljd

  • Terra

    splendor

  • Splendor

    dixit

  • Dixit

  • Coconuts

Each of the above-mentioned games brings with it a similar, alternate suggestion, such as Star Wars: Armada in place of Fire in the Lake.

To read the article in full, visit the Gear Patrol website here.

When in the midst of an intriguing board or card game, the thought may flash through one’s mind as to what makes the game so exciting and interesting.  If this has happened to you, then likely it was a particular moment or mechanic in the game that presented a conundrum, an unusual challenge, or a difficult decision.  Perhaps it was which strategy to focus on in Race for the Galaxy, or whether to risk taking that long route in Ticket to Ride, hoping you can complete it and not lose all those points at the end. Whatever your experiences like this have been, it’s these types of which-way-do-I-choose-they’re-both-good-or-bad decisions that provide nail-biting experiences to remember in our favorite games.

Grant Rodiek posted an article for Hyperbole Games that addresses board game design from this perspective, one that emphasizes the importance of providing tension in games to promote a more exciting and dynamic gameplay experience.  He explains why a game’s design should constrain the players within a box to provide structure, but not too narrow as to create monotony and boredom.

You can check out Rodiek’s interesting article here at Hyperbole Games’ website.

Hyperbole

Courtesy Hyperbole!

We all have game mechanisms that we really enjoy, and we will often seek out games that use these mechanisms or rejoice when our favorite mechanisms are used well in a game.

But are there any mechanisms that you DON’T enjoy in a game?  Or outright detest?  That is truly another question entirely.

Grant Rodiek recently published an article for Hyperbole Games in which he discusses mechanisms that perturb.

Do any of the following perturb you:

  • Interrupt Cards, and/or Out of Turn Play
    • “I want to do this.”  “Nope.”  “…Okay.”
  • Worker Placement without Blocking
    • “Worker placement without blocking is like beer without alcohol. It’s lite sour cream. It’s a wolf without teeth. It’s another metaphor.”
  • The Mimic: Choose any card to copy
    • “This card can be anything, just name it.”
  • Complex Line of Sight and Range
    • “Counting around squares constantly is so tedious!”
  • Trading, because sure?
    • “Trading needs to be fully integrated by giving players a reason to trade.”
  • Variable Ending
    • “I prefer games have a set time period, such as a deck running out, a finite number of rounds, or when a nigh guaranteed event will occur.”
  • If the game ends with no winner, Bob wins
    • “It feels like someone’s getting an easy win.”
  • Losing earned points
    • “This just feels nasty.”
  • The Passive Overflow
    • “Remember that players can only track so many things.”

Rodiek wisely allows plenty of room for error and exceptions in his list of annoying mechanisms, but on the whole he give some solid examples of those mechanisms that are annoying and are often not used in a way that betters the game in which it is being employed.

You can read the article in full here.

armada ships

In Armada, your fleet isn’t just the collection of miniature starships and fighter squadrons that you bring to the table; you also bring a collection of cards that define how your starships will function. These include ship, squadron, upgrade, and commander cards.

Fantasy Flight Games continues to reveal the overarching concepts and gameplay of their upcoming release, Star Wars: Armada.  In a recent article on FFG’s website, a detailed look at the mechanisms of building a balanced fleet is explored.  Each fleet is allocated a set amount of points (i.e., 300 points) with which to select ships, pilots, upgrades, and commanders.

armada ships 3

In building a powerful fleet that will change the fate of the galaxy, one begins with selecting the ships that will comprise the fleet, with each ship costing a set number of points.  Next, squadron cards are selected for each ship to determine whether the ship or squadron is being piloted by a non-unique collection of fighters or an ace pilot, such as Luke Skywalker.  As with ships, squadron cards each carry point costs that reflect the strength of the cards.  Upgrade cards are then selected, outfitting ships with the weapons, systems, and equipment necessary to succeed.  Each fleet then needs a commander to command the fleet, and the ship on which the commander is placed becomes the flagship.  Flagships lead the fleet and bring with them unique special abilities.  Finally, objective cards are selected that give each player specific objectives that define their own reasons for the space conflict and what each side is trying to accomplish.

As you select the specific ship and squadrons that you’ll add to your fleet, along with any upgrades that you intend to use, you begin to form the outline of a larger strategy. As you change your selections, this outline changes. Accordingly, even with a limited number of ship miniatures, you can field an impressively diverse assortment of fleets, each of which may pursue its own strategy in battle.

Star Wars: Armada is expected for release during the first quarter of 2015.  For more information on the game and the fleet-building mechanisms, visit the full article here.