Monday, 28 May 2012

The Watch List...

As a lover of cinema might watch the titles of upcoming movies with interest and a certain level of excitement, so to a gamer has an eye on those games just published or slated to be published with a similar relish.

As my impulsivity to purchase every game that looks mildly interesting has passed, and my shelves are already groaning to burst - so that ‘where is this going to go’ is of more concern than ‘will I enjoy this’.  And as the number of games published every year has spiralled so high that it is nigh impossible to keep abreast of them all, I have, instead of a ‘wish-list’ of games I want to get, a ‘watch-list’ of games that I like the look of.

The fact that I really need to downsize my collection notwithstanding (that is a potential subject for a future post), I have a new policy in regards to the buying of games.  While I never reached the point where the fervour of game buying outstripped the need to get bread for sandwiches, I certainly used to have a ‘buy it, consequences be damned’, Captain Nemo style, mentality.  Nowadays I am much more measured, if I like the sound of a game I’ll wait, if I still think it will add to my collection in whatever form a couple of weeks later - I’ll consider buying it.

All that said, here are some of the games on my watch list, as it stands at the moment:


What do I like about it?

Dinosaurs.  Yes, I am that shallow.  This is a game that has stood the test of time to some extent; an older game re-published in recent years.  The various mechanisms sound interesting, and I like the fact the new edition has multiple boards for different numbers of players - including a two-player board (important for its chances of actually hitting the table).

What holds me back?

There are people and dinosaurs.  Yes, I am that shallow.  While the art is wonderful, I find the juxtaposition of people and dinosaurs to be somewhat jarring.  I could just let go - it is obviously a fantasy style setting a-la dinotopia... but nonetheless, I find it difficult to gloss over a missing 65 million years.


What do I like about it?

It’s a miniatures style combat game about gladiatorial contests in ancient Rome.  The ‘character building’ aspect sounds interesting, and the card driven nature of the game also seems interesting.  The thing I like most however is the theme of the game.  And as someone who is slowly getting back to painting miniatures, this game, with its four gladiators, just looks appealing.

What holds me back?

In any of these sort of player vs player games the ideal number of players seems most often to be 2.  With 3 the chance that the game can be wind up being won by the player that manages to let the other 2 weaken one another is always present.  Nonetheless, Gladiatori seems to have a team system that looks intriguing.  The other concern is whether, as a dyed in the wool fighting game, I’d actually get to play it all that much - what with my main gaming partner being my wife.  I shall have to decide soon however - as there is a discount going for pre-ordering...

Mice and Mystics

What do I like about it?

The art and the theme.  There seems to be a trend with what has attracted me to these games.  The story driven nature of the game play also sounds intriguing, with each game creating a narrative.  I also like the fact that it is an adventure game that is cooperative.  The pieces and art look pretty amazing from what pictures have been released so far.  I quite like the Mouse Guard comics, and this game seems to channel that visual style.

What holds me back?

Do I need another adventure game?  

Sekigahara: Unification of Japan

What do I like about it?

The game is set during the warring period of Japan.  I’m not that knowledgeable about Japanese history, but this period is one I always enjoy reading about.  The game also has a striking and thematic design, the art of the board and cards is very nice, and for some reason I have a real love of block games - even though I have played relatively few of them.  The multiple uses of the cards in this game is also something I like the sound of.

What holds me back?

As a longer playing 2-player war game I am not sure how often this one would actually hit the table.  My main gaming partner for such 2-player games is my wife, and I’m not sure she would be overly keen to play this game.

Song of Splintered Lands

What do I like about it?

I have some of the miniatures this game was designed to use.  I also rather like anthropomorphic fantasy worlds - if they are done well, and the miniatures are very nice. I know the Song of Blades and Heroes system this game modifies, and they work very well for a short playing miniature war game.  I bought the minis specifically to play Song of Blades and Heroes, so playing Splintered Lands seems the natural progression.  Also - the rules are cheap!

What holds me back?

Do these rules really add all that much to the Song of Blades and Heroes system?  Would I play this game setting over creating my own?


What do I like about it?

The idea of placing historical inventions, events and so forth in order is something that appeals to my general love of history.  I can imagine I would gain some enjoyment out of looking through the cards on their own never-mind playing the actual game.  Also the game is extremely well priced.

What holds me back?

Not all that much to be honest.  It’s cheap enough that I think I’ll add it to my next order...


What do I like about it?

Game Sarl and Dominique Ehrhard have both demonstrated their worth in my eyes.  Game Sarl has produced some fantastic light family games like Animalia and Water Lily, while Dominique Ehrhard has designed some games I really enjoy.  The theme of the game also sounds a lot of fun, with just enough of a twist between each round to make things interesting.  From what I’ve read players are playing numbered cards in order to win the round - though each round exactly what is required to win changes.  It sounds like it requires some hand management, some double-guessing and luck to make it through - and these are all elements I like in a short fun card game.

What holds me back?

Do I need another short card game?  With my shelves already groaning from a surfeit of games - do i need another?  In the end I think I probably will get this, the publisher and designer have proved themselves to me before - and I tend to follow designers like other people follow authors.

Well - those are some of the games on my ‘watch list’.  Some have been released already and some have yet to come out.  All of them have managed to pique my interest in some form or other.  Now I have to decide whether any of them seems interesting enough to warrant the purchase, and the limitations on shelf space and the quantity of games I already own will delimit me from just getting them all (as I might have done a few years ago).  Ultimately I am looking for games that sound fun to play, will add to my collection, and most importantly - will hit the table.  We shall see.



  1. What? Dinosaurs and Humans didn't live together?
    What about Rachel Welsh and that lovely Creationist Museum I went to ?

    Sekigahara is not so long. Two hours tops - much shorter than War of the Ring (ah, we are not worthy) or Twiglet Struggle.
    It's a fine game. Probably not wife fodder, though.

    Timeline looks cool. Like you I am a sucker for this kind of thing. I still like Chrononauts even though no one wants to play it with me.

  2. You've been to a creationist museum? I'd love to visit one someday. I much prefer my fiction in book and game form however - even so, my issue with the juxtaposition of dinosaurs and humans in Evo is a sad indictment of my fantasy-fiction loving character!

    Sekigahara just looks nice - and I like the sound of the gameplay too.

    Yes - I can't imagine too many of my friends would willingly sit down to a game of Timeline - but it just sounds cool - it's also rather cheap - which is nice.

  3. Even fantasy fiction has to have consistency.
    Canon, if you will.

    I agree that dino v man is a bit juxtaposed. Only really works with Godzilla and Tokyo.

    I have to confess I am erring towards the mouse thing. I love cheese and I yearn for more games with an RPG element. Less cubes, more adventure, says I. Are you with me, sir?
    Take arms, blow the Buckland horn and let's head east into the forest before dawn breaks.

  4. Yes, Mice and Mystics looks very interesting. I love the sound of the way the story rises from the game play. I think this is one I will definitely get - though I think I'll wait till it has landed in the antipodes - shipping from the US is more than the game itself.

    So, I am with you sir!

    Awake! Fear! Fire! Foes! Cheese!

  5. Hey Giles. Just found your blog and am enjoying reading through your posts—this one in particular. I don’t need any more games to play either, but now thanks to you I’ve added Mouse and Mystics to my never ending shopping list of games. Like you, my main gaming partner is my wife, but since we don’t get to game as much as I’d like, I’ve fallen down the solo board gaming rabbit hole. When my son gets a bit older I’m hoping to have another gaming buddy to play with. Mouse and Mystics seems just the ticket for those future play sessions.

    By the way, I can personally vouch for Tschak. It’s a fun, light card game that I’m actually able to bring out with my mother and wife.

  6. Thanks Randolph! Glad I've managed to scrawl something of interest to somebody - my wife only reads these posts because I ask her questions afterwards to make sure :p

    Mice and Mystics does indeed look very interesting - and some of the pictures coming out of GenCon have made it look even more interesting! :D

    Solo games - yes - I play a few of those as well! Should put that up as a post sometime.

    Thanks for the advice on Tschak! I think I'll order it... :)