Board Gamer's Playlist

I have an unabashed passion for board gaming. It started long ago in junior high with massive, multi-board games of transdimensional Risk some friends and I played during recess. It's culminated these last few years in my many pilgrimages to GenCon. I wondered if there are any other like-minded folks here in the forums that wanted to talk shop and share their experiences.

I thought I'd use this space to catch you all up with what I've been playing and doing lately in board games, and encourage you to do the same. Maybe we can learn something from each other.

Charlie's Playlist

Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery: I picked this game up at GenCon last year. It was from a company new to board games, and their demos were tucked back in the rear of the main hall near a concession area. But they had about a half-dozen tables out that were always filled. One of the demonstrators was a huge guy who would bellow about the "sands demand blood." I'd seen the first season of the television series and enjoyed it. I put it aside until Rock Paper Shotgun's Cardboard Children named it game of the year for 2012. Dug it out a few weeks ago and, well... it was all I could play for the next two days. I was at a friend's place with about 50 other board gamers and I put 6 playthroughs into that game in 24 hours. It is incredibly social, incredibly fun, and moves very very quickly. Anyone else enjoying Spartacus?

Dune: This is a game that's been out of print, and effectively in copyright hell for going on 30 years now. It's been republished by Fantasy Flight as Rex: Final Days of an Empire, but lost something when it was stripped from the license. It's an Ameritrash area control game with a unique mechanic. Each side in a battle wagers in secret how many troops they're willing to lose in a battle. The side that sacrifices the most troops wins. Add to that a circular board, the fact that one player is literally the bank (everyone pays them), and a mechanic whereby teams of two or three players can win together and you have something really special. A few artistic individuals have posted complete re-designs of the game to Board Game Geek. I've just begun having various elements, like the decks of cards, printed at ArtsCow and mailed to me. With luck I'll have a complete game that I made myself in time for GenCon in August. Haven't decided how I want to make the board yet. Either canvas on a lazy-Susan or an inkjet transfer to wood.

A House Divided: This is a classic now in reprint from Mayfair games. It's an American Civil War game that is fairly simple. Battle play out not unlike a combination of Risk and Axis and Allies, with units being offloaded to a side board and simple roll-offs with the defender winning ties. Advanced rules include supply lines and other things that make the game longer, but even the simplest method of play is very compelling. What I find most interesting about it is the freedom the board's layout gives you. In Axis and Allies there are two or three hotspots that are always contested in the first few rounds, every time you play. In A House Divided opponents can go off in multiple directions, taking the fight to the enemy by unusual paths through states that never saw much conflict during the historical war. I'm half-way through my first game but it's already a wargame I can see is going to be in heavy rotation for me in years to come.

Anyway, I'll drop some pics and links in here tonight. This has been a post I've been meaning to get started for a few days now so this will have to do.

Board gamers check in!

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