What's Eric Playing?: Week of December 03, 2018
It’s been an exciting week, with another four reviews to check out! Here’s what we’ve got:
Pikoko, a bidding / trick-taking game from Brain Games.
Overall, I’m pretty into Pikoko! I like trick-taking games a lot just on principle, but this kind of flips it on its head — it’s not just a trick-taking game anymore! It’s a betting metagame for a trick-taking game, which is kind of fascinating. I still haven’t dug into all the strategic implications for a game like this, but I’m really interested in what kind of takeaways you can get from this. Are there ways to add a bidding metagame to other games that seem pretty simple? Imagine a tile-laying game with a similar mechanic; doesn’t it sound kind of interesting? I dunno, something about the aggressive spin put on a fairly straightforward concept is really appealing; it’s inventive. By itself it’s just kind of a trick-taking game where you know more other players’ hands, but adding the betting mechanic means that now you’re trying to figure out how to use the framework of trick-taking to bait them into bad moves or force them to make plays that benefit you, and that’s super cool! Maybe I’m overthinking it; who knows. Anyways, if you like trick-taking games and are looking for something new, I’ve had a lot of fun with Pikoko! Would recommend.
Fog of Love: Trouble with the In-Laws, one of the first three expansions to the smash hit Fog of Love from Hush Hush Projects.
Overall, Fog of Love: Trouble with the In-Laws is a very good expansion! It fits inside the base box, so there’s no sense not just packing it in there, but it also adds some new mechanics without distracting too much from the fun of the core game. It gives players the flexibility to delve deep into a complex family story if they want, or to just have it affect them every so often if they choose. That flexibility can be an advantage or it can further complicate an already-challenging scenario that’s perfect for veterans of the base game. Either way, I’m a big fan — adding in the parents’ trait goals is a simple wrinkle that adds a bunch of complexity to the game and obfuscates player decisions, making it even more difficult to cooperate and fulfill that Final Destiny. If you’re a fan of the game and looking for a new challenge, I’d definitely recommend checking out Trouble with the In-Laws!
Terrible Monster, a quick two-player game of combat and swamp monsters coming from Sweet Lemon / Nice Game Publishing.
Overall, Terrible Monster is pretty good! I think it’s evocative of Supertall, though I think it’s focused in a way that I slightly prefer (since it’s two-player only, you don’t have to worry about another player messing you up for no reason). It definitely slots itself well in the more “combat-focused” microgame camp, which will likely appeal to players who enjoy that sort of thing. Of the combat-style games with this weight, I probably like Cake Duel the best, since it’s also got that near-perfect bluffing component to really drive up the game’s tension. The interesting thing is that Terrible Monster is fairly reminiscent of a Button Shy title, with the unique cards, light gameplay, and simple rules, which I appreciate, since I’ve been writing up a lot of them lately. Either way, if you’re looking for a quick game of monster summoning, some swamp magic, and a bit of countering, or you’re just down to throw down for a quick two-player combat game Terrible Monster may be worth checking out!
and Lost Cities: Rivals, a new spin on the classic game of expeditions from KOSMOS!
Overall, Lost Cities: Rivals is alright — like I said, I’m not a huge fan of auction games. It’s happened pretty much across the board with every auction game I’ve played (except for A Pleasant Journey to Neko, but I’m also pretty sure that was because of the theme). The large number of cards makes it hard for me to value what I should be paying for them, and players will likely have wildly different amounts of money at different points in the game due to how the gold redistribution works. That said, the things that it’s trying to do, it does well — it’s quick, light, and portable, and I assume there are enough players looking for that that this game will sit well with them. If, like me, you are not the biggest fan of auction games, perhaps the base Lost Cities will sit better with you; if not, and you love auctions and are looking for a quick and portable fix, Lost Cities: Rivals might be just what you need!
Check the full reviews out at the links above, and feel free to let me know what you think in the comments!