Baker’s Dozen! Yep, this is my thirteenth gaming column. Not much to report except for a couple of games I have or thinking about backing on Kickstarter. The first is Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King. The main reason I want this is that included in the game is a way to play co-operatively which might get it to the table more often. When we play it, we normally have4 to 6 players which means a player is controlling only a single hero when the Consul gets a dozen or so characters. This can lead to a good amount of down time while waiting for the other players. Perhaps I have issues with the “one against many” mechanic more than I do with Super Dungeon Explore. The second on my radar is MERCS: Recon – I have about 3 days left if I want to get into it but I’m a bit worried. Everything I have watched makes it look like it will be a fun game, but I’m worried that the game’s replay value will be minimal and that the missions will be fairly repetitive. Maybe I’m having Myth envy…
Well, onward to the games.
First off the list is Merchants & Marauders. If you ever have played the old Sid Meier game Pirates! – you have the basis for this one. Each player is a captain of a ship trying to amass 10 glory points. Will you go pirate and raid the coastal waters of the Caribbean or will you attempt to make your name as a wealthy merchant? With Rumors to gain, missions to complete and ships to attack, this game has it all. Game play is pretty easy and fast until you get to ship v ship combat (player v NPC or player v player) where it can get a bit drawn out and complicated. Be warned that being a merchant is a bit easier for new players to play which made us call this Merchants & Merchants for the longest time. I barely won have one more ‘actual’ glory point then an opponent (you can use 50 gold as 5 glory points) when last we played!
Second off the list was Ascending Empires. This empire building game add a new dimension to the genre by using a dexterity mechanic to move your empire’s ships around the game board. Players get a single action on their turn: recruit troops, build research facilities, outposts or cities, advance your tech (tech trees correspond to the four planet colors) or move your starships to name a few. If you aren’t good at dexterity games, this one isn’t for you – most of the victory points gained in the late game will be using you fleet of starships effectively. Honestly, my only gripe is the game board comes in 9 sections and is prone to warping and the section joints can make for some interesting (and a bit upsetting) ricochets! Still, it’s a very fun game that I recommend.
Lastly was Subbuteo – otherwise known as table soccer. This is a highly addictive game if you are a fan of dexterity games and soccer. I must admit that I owned a cheap version of this game when I was younger and thought it was pretty miserable. Once I able to play it with a better pitch (gaming surface) and figure bases, it all came together. The game is very popular in Europe for obvious reasons, but there are some groups in the US. The game is played in two halves of 15 minutes. The basic rules are as follows: the attacker (the person in control of the ball) must flick one of his figures into the ball. Once that is complete, the defender may flick one of his players (who can’t hit the ball or any other player) to block the progress of the attacker. If the attacker fails to hit the ball after flicking his player or the ball hits a defender, it’s a turnover and the defender takes control of the ball and becomes the attacker. This is the simplest explanation of the rules, but you can get the basics of how game is played. I have a pitch and a couple of teams – if you ever want to play, just let me know!
Dexterity games are a very interesting genre of game and can be at times really entertaining, but beware that they are not for everyone. Some games require a steady touch to play effectively and others require quite a bit of movement to enjoy both of which could be an issue with your gaming group. Be prepared if you are looking to bring one of these to the table as they aren’t for everyone! With the influx of all the games out there, the dexterity mechanic has been paired with every other mechanic or genre. Finding the right combination will be the hardest problem in my opinion!
Until next time – Flick to Win!