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
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.Monster
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.Jorvik
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.Artist
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.Sennon
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...