Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sizing Up My Collection: Heavy Strategy

In my last post I reviewed the light strategy portion of my collection. This time I'll tackle a somewhat smaller set of games: my heavy strategy board games. What you will not find here are kids' games and 'classic board games,' the former of which will get studied in future posts and the latter, while I still do enjoy playing them occasionally, are not a central part of my collection.

Heavy Strategy Games

Fury of Dracula
5 plays (mostly 2-player with one 4-player game) I don't think this is best with 2.
8/10 Very initial rating, could certainly change w/a couple more plays.

Fury of Dracula features some very interesting mechanics especially those involving Dracula's movement system and his hidden trail. I like the deduction element here, but the real key to the game is the heavy theme. The game falls a little flat for me with 2-player simply because the theme feels weakened. Rather than a group of heroes combing the countryside for the elusive Count, discussing strategy, perhaps stumbling a little with miscommunication, sharing moments of both frustration and elation, 2-player is a bit more cerebral, chess-like if you will: quiet, contemplative. I just don't feel that sense of adventure when one player is forced to control all four hunter characters. Fury of Dracula needs several more multi player games before I can really rate it.

5 plays (all 2-player)

This one I do enjoy playing with two, although, as with most of my heavy strategy games, it really needs to see some plays with different groups of people for me to grasp where it fits within my collection. The farming theme is fun, and the worker placement mechanic works rather well here.

Puerto Rico
2 plays (both 2-player)

Just tried the 2-player variant this year, and it is surprisingly enjoyable. I love this game with 3 or 4-players, in fact it may be my favorite board game. I've probably played this one 20 times overall (mostly in previous years), so I know it is a great game and probably the key title amongst the heavy strategy games I own.

1 play (2-player)

Thus far I've not cared too much for Caylus. It is a very dry, quite heavy resource management game, and generally as I move through the actions of the game I don't feel as if I'm accomplishing anything, but rather just going through the motions. Caylus is a very well designed game from a technical standpoint, as there are many mechanisms that mesh together beautifully, and I can certainly see the potential for a great game here. It is certainly possible that I'm still overwhelmed by all the information and difficult choices in the game, and maybe, just maybe when I grow a little more comfortable with it I will enjoy Caylus much more. Thus, it needs more plays.

El Grande
0 Plays
8/10 Could certainly be higher with more plays.

I've only played this one three times total, two of which were 2-player learning games. So, although I think this is a great game, I really don't have the play time to get a good feel for it. I can easily see this being a perfect 10 game and a mainstay of my collection, but not until I start getting some of these heavier games to the table more frequently.

Where To Go From Here

Really there is a ton of potential for great multi player games on this list. With the exception of Caylus and to some extent Agricola, these all work much better with more players, so exploring these current titles will be plenty to keep me busy during multi player sessions. My next purchases in this category will almost certainly be focused on heavy games best (or only) for 2-players. Right now I'm looking at Twilight Struggle, 1960: the Making of the President, and War of the Ring, all heavy 2-player games. I'm not sure what the Mrs. will think of the card draws in the first two games and the dice in the latter, however.

Next up: party, filler, and abstract games.

1 comment:

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