Wednesday, July 19, 2017

New To Me July 2016 --> Has It Stood the Test of Time?

BGG user Martin G does a monthly list - New to you a year ago (date) --> Has it stood the test of time? This month's list can be found at here. I had a pair of new games played in July 2016 and both were interesting enough that I thought I'd talk about both.

Millennium Blades
I first heard about this game the month before at the 2016 Geekway and saw it in play a couple of times. I was fascinated by the crazy stacks of cards and being a fan of deck builders, I sought this out shortly after returning home. I had no clue what I was getting into. This isn't a deck building game. I mean, it is, but not in the Dominion et al sense. Oh no. This is a game about being a CCG player, so there is truly some deck building, but its about the whole deck building experience. This game defines what it means to be META.
The idea is that each player is a CCG player and you spend half the game buying blind boosters (with your wads of cash - literally they are wads) and trading and selling cards in order to build a deck. This is a real time part of the game where you set a timer and do a mad dash to grab cards and figure out your tourney deck. You can also score points for being the best "collector" (like I said, it is super meta). In the second half of the game, you go to a tournament and pit your deck against the other players for rare card prizes. Then you rinse and repeat this a number of times. The tournament play is a little basic, but it works for this game, because if it was more in depth than it is, this would take days to play, not hours. The game itself is fun and the card sets amp up the entertainment value. Most of the "sets" are themed and more than just a theme of Giant Voltron like robots, or Dragons, there is a lot of tongue-in-cheek parodies like sets mocking Mario Brothers and Firefly. And like a real CCG, there are lots and lots of ways to approach the game and win (and lots of ways to win at tournaments). There is some real depth to the game. The only downside is that the game is a little long, and it takes a long time to shuffle the 80 card sets you decided to use and then separate them all after (we usually build the monster set and play at least twice with it, since you won't see but a fraction of the cards yourself anyway). I haven't played this in a while, but its a keeper and I need to get it back to the table.

The other new to me game last year was Patchwork - Ewe's spatial 2-player game of making quilts. My daughter and I got introduced to this by a friend and it immediately became part of the collection, though didn't see much table time. When it arrived on the iPad, my love Alyson and I played it a lot online. If you aren't familiar with the game, two players face off buying scraps to best complete their quilt. Only a couple pieces are available to a player on their turn, and pieces cost both time and money. There is a set amount of time in the game and the player who has spent the least amount of time at any given moment is the current player. So a player that expends a large amount of time for a single piece may give their opponent multiple turns in a row (meaning multiple chances to get the pieces they need/want). However, on the time track are small single space "patches" that allow the player that gets there first the ability to fill in those inevitable holes in their quilt. Additionally, some quilt pieces have a button (or two or three) - buttons are currency and points at the end, so in a way, you are also building an engine. So like any good game, there is a balance to everything you do, which packs a lot into this nice little two-player affair. Has it stood the test of time? Eh, it is ok. I really played a lot of it on the iPad (and still do from time to time) and it has lost some of its shine for me. It still is a good game that I'm not perfect at by any means. I'd actually rather play it on my iPad than at the table though. The app is nice for quickly showing you whether you can buy a piece and will automatically pass for you when you don't have enough cash for any option. This speeds things up and in my mind is a good thing.

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