Monday, January 1

December Report

Happy New Year!

It's been another good month for games, mainly due to having a long break for Christmas, and trying to get a lot of Border Reivers construction done in preparation for the BBC MindGames review. I also managed to make it to Paul's for Monday games night at least once, Dave came round for prototyping and Space Hulk and I made it to Beyond Monopoly once as well.


I played a bunch of new games this month, yet more progress on my quest to experience as many games as possible to improve my games designing skills. This month I played Shogun Dirk Henn's reworking of Wallenstein to a feudal Japanese theme, Modern Art Reiner Knizia's classic 'every type of auction going' game, and Carcassonne - The Castle Reiner Knizia's 2-player take on Klaus-Jurgen Wrede's Carcassonne series. I'm not sure what to make of Shogun, I only played it once, and we got some of the rules wrong, it's beautifully produced and illustrated though. Modern Art was good fun, sadly the 'art' was pretty shocking in the version I played. Carcassonne - The Castle is great, it's a bit more invovled than vanilla Carcassonne, and the inability to score incomplete features catches you out the first couple of times you play. Favourite new game for December? Carcassonne The Castle, I think.

With Christmas in the month I got a new game too: The Wife got me PitchCar, which is excellent. It plays well with any number of players from two up to eight, it's lighthearted good fun, and suitable for pretty much anyone from fairly young kids and those who don't like hard (read: strategy) games. I love this one.

Excluding prototypes I played forty games in December, including a few old 'favourites', which I really didn't enjoy, but if you're the 'games man', sometimes you have to play the game the others want to play, even if it physically hurts.

  • PitchCar: 13 plays
  • Carcassonne - The Castle: 5 plays
  • Carcassonne: 5 plays
  • Hive: 2 plays
  • Diamant: 2 plays
  • Trivial Pursuit: 2 plays

Plus one play each of: Saboteur, Modern Art, Shogun, Ticket To Ride, Settlers of Catan, Guillotine, Puerto Rico, The Menorah Game, Space Hulk, Mission: Red Planet and Risk.

I still didn't get a chance to play Canal Mania, it turns out that neither Beyond Monopoly or Jon (who runs BM and owns at least a billion games) have it - I guess I'll have to wait until a convention to play that one. What would I really like to play this month? Hmm. Nothing really stands out. I've still not played Thurn and Taxis which won last year's Spiel des Jahres, and a couple of the big games from Essen: Space Dealer played in real-time and Die Saulen der Erde a cathedral construction game. Maybe I'll get a chance to play those at BM.


From a design point of view December was a cracking month, lots of prototyping and playtesting since I had loads of time off for Christmas. I also made good progress on Border Reivers construction.


A new one this month, a slightly modified version of a game submitted to me by another designer. I've changed the theme, and I'm trying to expand the game to support a few more players. I've played this a few times now and I'm starting to form an opinion about it. I think it's a really good game, but I need to play it with more players to determine whether my modifications break things or not.


Only played this once with Dave, I don't think he was enamoured of it (it plays like a game of two halves with little interaction between players), so this one still needs some work.


Only played this once with Dave too, his comments were that it's difficult to keep track of which areas you control, which needs some thought.


I finally finished the prototype that I started ages ago, but I've not got to play it yet.

Border Reivers

It was a crap month for sales of Border Reivers, really dire. Still, I managed to get a load of copies made in preparation for the BBC MindGames review, and I did a bunch of work on the website adding the rules and PayPal integration. Hopefully January will be a better month for sales...

Plans for January? I want to play the Sennon prototype a few times, start working out the kinks, I also want to play Monster with more players (maybe Paul's games night is the venue for that?), to see if my modified version supports five and six players while still being fun. If it does then I need to begin approaching artists and contract negiotation, which will be a whole new dimension for Reiver Games...


hmocc said...


I've been curious about Carcassonne: The City. Have you ever played this one? Do you think it is/will be simmilar to The Castle?

Anyway, I'm just looking for the best Carc as vanilla feels too simple (and random) for me and Mega-Carc (with all or most of the expansions) feels a bit overwhelming.

Re: Pitchcar/Carabande, when I was a child (somehow I don't think I completely crossed over to adulthood yet...) I used to make my own with bottlecaps and sand tracks. I feel rather nostalgic of those days.

But similarly to subbuteo, I don't see myself deliberatly choosing and buying dexterity games. I don't know why. Maybe in a few years time I've completely changed my mind. I have to give them a go, I suppose. Which dexterity game is your favourite?

Finally, I think that there is someone in Headingly who's got Canal Mania. I will check this and let you know.

Best wishes for 2007!

Jack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack said...

I've never played Carc: The City, so I've no idea I'm afraid.

I'm not a huge dexterity game fan, but I do love PitchCar, and I think it's worth having one dexterity game in your collection. PitchCar's the best I've played, but I've not played many (Hamsterolle, Polarity).

Interesting, I ought to get along to Headingley once to try show off Border Reivers...

hmocc said...

The only dexterity game - I think it fits into this category - I have is Mikado (or "Pick Up Sticks" in English) - and I interestingly is a game I never mind playing again.

I would like to get Jenga because it is so popular, but may go for Vila Palleti instead. PitchCar and Crokinhole are also in the D-list.

The thing is, there are always so many games I want to buy, let alone play, that dexterity games never seem to make the cut...

Jack said...

I'm buying very few games at the moment (limited space) but I'd like to have a range of games, so I've got something for every occasion.