Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Game of the Year 2008
This one took me all of about 5 seconds to pick. Besides being a terrific game, Indonesia introduced the world to Siap Faji - one of the most fun things to say EVER. So, what makes this such a great game? Its a terrific economic game that is almost entirely driven by the player choices. The one random part of the game has so little randomness to it to almost not matter (the cards each player gets that indicate the various spots for cities each phase of the game are the only bit of randomness). I love that the game is shaped by the group dynamic, and yet you still have to play the economies of the game properly to win. What I found really interesting is that this game seemed to play out faster with 5 players than with 4 - which after I thought about it wasn't that strange. The game length is based on how quickly companies were put out and in a five player game, they got gobbled up pretty quickly. My friend The Fonz asked me why this isn't in my top 10 games. Well, its right on the edge, but held back by the one thing I hate about this game - the little "chits of fiddleyness". I have yet to hit on a better scheme for handling the shipping, which means each round of the game is full of the stupid chits. That and the shipping payouts are something of a hassle. Now, Power Grid has fiddleyness too, but this is a step up the complexity chart from fiddley to annoying. Now, I expect to play this some more in 2009 and perhaps the beauty of the game will finally overshine the wart on the nose here and push this into my top 10 (though I'd have to bump Ave Ceasar, which I really like). I hope to avoid 4-player games of this as I like the speed of the 5-player games, but will likely not complain regardless of which way it gets played.