Here we are again, ready for the second instalment in which I explore the fantastic games that may have faded into the shadows of people's memory or are being completely blocked from people's sight by the latest game releases.
The cult of the new train is chugging forward full steam ahead, with lots of buzz - well, less buzz, more jackhammer to the senses - around the game Kingdom Rush which is currently live on Kickstarter. It seemed every reviewer in the universe uploaded reviews and playthroughs at the same time this week, which meant it was almost impossible to avoid. Only time will tell if it holds the attention of gamers, but my guess will be that the shine will soon fade and people will move on to the next thing.
Okay, now I've got that rant out of my system, on to the games that I believe should be in the minds, and on the tables, of gamers everywhere. Once again, I won't be going into the details of rules, but focus mainly on what I enjoyed most about the gaming experience.
Survive: Escape from Atlantis
First published in 1982 and reinvigorated by Stronghold Games in 2011, Survive has really stood the test of time. At 37, this game can beat any fresh faced board game with one hand tied behind its back.
There is so much to love about this game. The first thing I noticed was that even setting the board up was part of the game experience. Once you've added the land tiles you'll add your meeples, one by one, and the placement of your meeple is very important as they are valued between six and one point. Their value is stamped underneath them and once you have placed them, you won't be able to look at their value. You will have to rely on your memory to lead the right ones to safety.
You must also be cautious about placing all of your high value meeples near each other. Sure, you'll be able to remember which ones they are, but they may all be taken out in one fell swoop by a whale, shark or sea monster if they all make their way onto the same boat. But if you do get a boat full of high value meeples to safety, then you are in with a good chance of winning. Do you risk it or play it safe and hope they all get their in different vessels?
I also really enjoy the player interaction in this game. You will be directly impacting those around you, as you take tiles away that they may be standing on, or sending a sea creature to wreak havoc on them. It can be cutthroat, and this could irk some who prefer not to have their game plans destroyed before their eyes, but for me this is what makes the game sing. There is real peril crashing towards you like waves in a raging storm.
I could go on and on about what makes this game great for me, but I must move on.
Published in 2014 by Ludonaute, Colt Express should still be considered a baby, but in the current environment, it is fast approaching middle age. This is a fast-paced, gun slinging, rootin' tootin' programming game that fires on all cylinders. And, as usual, there is much to enjoy here.
Firstly, you are drawn into the American West theme as soon as the train is laid out on the table in all its steamy glory. Immediately, you are invested in the gameplay and you'll be doing your best (but, in reality, terrible) John Wayne or Clint Eastwood impressions. You become your character and player enjoyment shoots up before a card has been played.
The programming element is a ton of fun as you try to be as smart as you can, taking into account what moves you have seen from your opponents as well as predicting the moves they may have made that you haven't be able to see due to the train rumbling through a tunnel. But it can be hilariously disheartening as the cards are finally resolved and you find your cowboy/girl grabbing zero loot, punching thin air and running into the Marshall who will immediately reprimand you with a bullet shot straight into your action deck.
Whether you succeed in your plans or trip, and trip and trip again, everyone at the table will have a good time and will be eager to play again as soon as possible.
Combating Cult of the New - Round Up
As I thought more about the rate in which board games age, I realised that it could be likened to dog or cat years. A game ages seven years for each human year. But anyway, there you have it; a couple of fantastic board games that easily match or best the latest hotness that you should get your hands on or get back to the table as soon as possible.