Wednesday, March 30, 2011

El Grande

El Grande is in my eyes a classic board game. In the realm of Settlers and Age of Steam. A solid design that is still playable. My favorite area control game is probably Shogun, but I think there is maybe more player interaction and screwage in El Grande.

Monday night saw it hit the table, and it went down very well. It was a very close game but I was pipped by Mudhoney by 5 points in the end. I was doing really badly but managed to pick the scoring card a few times and having the majority in my designated area scored quite well several times over. What I didn't manage was to score enough points over multiple areas. I tended to keep to only a few areas.

The Castille played its part with numerous cubes being placed into it then moved onto the board. This is one of my favorite parts of the game. Trying to think where to put your cubes on the board but also trying to make sure they help you get the majority and not swallowed up by an influx from the other players.

Why is it that all good area control games have to have a tower?
We also played a couple of games of 7 Wonders, the first I lost. I was just too spread out and had the Mausoleum as my wonder. Playing the B side doesn't allow you to score that many points. The second was a tie but decided on coins, I lost.
I still really enjoy this game, its quick and easy to teach and has enough options to keep it entertaining. I am looking forward to the leaders expansion later in the year.

Must do better.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An explosion of Plastic

It seems to me that every new game has some plastic piece in it. I am not adverse to them if they add to the game but I wonder if they are really necessary?

When I rebooted my board game hobby it all seemed to be about wooden cubes and meeples. Plastic mini's were a rarity other than in a Games Workshop box.

My copy of Dungeon Twister and Arkham Horror came with cardboard figures and that worked fine. Yet Mansions of Madness is filled to the brim with plastic figures for the investigators and monsters.

I wonder how the amount of plastic affects the cost of the game? If there were two versions of the same game, one with plastic figures and one with cardboard at a cheaper price what would the sales figures be like?

Personally I don't mind plastic figures but if they are not there or as extras I wouldn't really be that bothered. If the plastic figures could be bought as an expansion that would be nice, especially if they were pre-painted.

Are there any games that you couldn't possibly play without plastic parts? Battlelore comes to mind, yet C&C Ancients works well with sticker'd blocks.


Thursday, March 10, 2011


I have fallen for the hype and bought a copy of Mansions of Madness. I like the Cthulhu setting and have Arkham Horror and Mansions looked quite interesting. It looked like it was going to play like Descent but with a slightly different feel.
Reviews were good although I suspected it had a bit of a fanboy following and the bits looked really nice. Cost was going to be a bit of an issue, yes its expensive but you get a lot in the box and currently the game is cheaper than a tank of petrol! (Don't get me started on that one)

On Monday we tried out the game, I played the role of the Keeper controlling the board and the monsters. The three investigators made there way into the house trying to find clues as to what had happened to its owner. It played along quite nicely, I made a couple of mistakes along the way but the game progressed along nicely. The game mechanics work quite well. The investigators need to listen to the narative and try to find and follow the clues. The team got a little waylayed after teh first clue not realising that the time was ticking.

The game ended in a draw, but we all agreed that it was fun and the mistakes made were due to it being the first time we played. I enjoyed being the keeper but could have been a little more evil, I was aware that I wanted everyone to enjoy the game. I forgot to spawn some monsters and left a zombie out in the garden instead of moving it into the house to cause more trouble.

I think the bigest downside to the game is the setup. It takes a while to put together the board and sort through all the cards. There are a lot of cards so this can take a while. I think next time I will sort out all teh cards I need before hand to speed things up but it does add time to the game.
Components are up to usual FFG standards, the minis are great and the abundance of cards and counters are overwhelming. I now need to decide wether or not to paint the minis.

I need to read the rules again and give it another play before it get a BGG rating from me. But so far I am not disapointed.