What's Eric Playing?: Week of April 01, 2019
More reviews! Some Red Raven, Steve Jackson, and Jordan Draper games in this set, along with a new one from Korea Boardgames!
Overall, I quite enjoy Roam! I’m thinking, from looking at it, that I might be able to fit it in a Quiver if I really put some effort into it, which is exciting! This is not only a great game to take with you on the go because it’s super fun, but, like Dingo’s Dreams (another Red Raven title I quite enjoy), it’s thematically appropriate to play this on a trip. Either way, I think the game is a solid entry in the genre of spatial games; like Realm of Sand, you’re required to place shapes in order to accomplish your goals, but you have to compete against other players on a central board (as opposed to your own personal board), making it more about area control than efficiency. I’m still a big fan, though; adding in Ryan’s art makes this game even more of a hit for me. It also seems like it’ll be interesting to see what happens next with this; will it have something like Home on Lagrange, where you unlock even more stories based on the collection of people you unlock? Or will it get a sequel with more lands, maps, and characters? I’m not sure, but I’m very enthusiastic about Roam, so, I’d recommend it. If you enjoy that kind of spatial area-control or you like deckbuilding-esque games, I’ve really enjoyed this one, so it might be worth checking out Roam!
Overall, Blob Lobber is … well, I can’t like every dexterity game, right? Like I said, it’s just a bit unsatisfying to play, you know? If you were trying to frisbee the cards, maybe, but unless you have a prodigy moment of some kind, it’s very difficult to get a consistent playstyle down. It doesn’t really inspire me in a way that makes me want to keep it in my collection, but that’s okay; can’t like them all. I think we’ve seen similar mechanics implemented in other games, though, but they’re not usually the whole game. Fireworks, for instance, relies on flipping something to make progress, but you’re not flipping cards; you’re dumping a die to flip tiles and then playing a tile-laying game with them. I think the limited scope is disappointing, a bit. But, like I said, every game can’t be for everyone; this might be a decent stocking stuffer for newer gamers or a perfect game to play if you don’t mind the cards going everywhere. It’s just not a game that I’m particularly enthused about. Oh well.
Overall, I like DIG IT UP quite a bit. I’m all for games where I don’t have to think too much, sometimes, and I can kind of let the game just go and see where I end up. I feel like I have some agency, though, in that I can pretty easily choose what Dig Site I want. Plus, the game doesn’t take that long to play, so it’s not like this is a lengthy game where I have zero agency; it’s just more of a quick family game that can be kinda random with some ability to influence it. Plus, it’s a hoot to play; one of my favorite things is to get the purely neutral cards. They don’t do anything and they’re kinda garbage, but they’re darn funny when you expect to get something else that’s actually useful. My best pitch for this game is that it’s a great way to warm up for a game day or a rock-solid game to bring to a family event if you don’t want to get stuck playing Charades or Candy Land or one of my other Nightmare Games. Either way, if those descriptions apply to you or you’re just looking for a fun game about rolling dice, looking for treasure, and occasionally getting nothing, DIG IT UP might be for you!
Overall, I was really pleasantly surprised by TOKYO METRO! As I’ve said, I’m not the biggest fan of heavier games (they’re just not typically my go-to), but I had been wanting to try it for a while, so I’m glad that I got a chance to do so. I think it’s something I’d love to see in games that I play, though; it’s bright, colorful, and energetic, and players feel like they’re actually living in a system that operates without their input rather than controlling the whole experience end-to-end. That said, not everything feels super realistic (such as trading in your bike to build a station; is it built … out of bike???), and that’s okay, too; it’s a game, after all. Either way, this is definitely a heavier game that I can see myself playing from time to time; it slows down a bit at higher player counts, but I don’t mind that too much; I enjoy it every time I play. And if you’re looking for a modern train game or something bright and colorful to hit the table, I’d recommend anything from the TOKYO SERIES, sure, but definitely recommend TOKYO METRO! I’m really glad I went out of my way to play it.