What's Eric Playing?: Week of April 08, 2019
More reviews! I might be covering a lot of deckbuilders this month, so, let’s get to that. Especially shouting out a new one on Kickstarter, Promenade! As always, click the titles of the games for my full review.
Overall, I mean, I’m a sucker for art and deckbuilding, yes, but I do really enjoy Promenade! I think there are a lot of things in the variable setup that click for me: the market is dynamic, the museum has a lot of random effects and requirements, and even my deck is somewhat random from the get-go! Naturally, some could complain that that might inject more luck into the game than they’re looking for, but I wouldn’t necessarily buy that; I think it just makes the game feel a bit more vibrant to me every time I play. It also does a good job of showing Ta-Te Wu’s (in my opinion) skill and breadth as a designer. This is a fundamentally very different game than the last game I got from Sunrise Tornado. Don’t get me wrong; I really enjoy Cat Rescue, but this is a very different animal (pun intended) from the previous one, and I like it. Naturally, as with the previous game, there will be expansions to look forward to and new twists on the gameplay, and I’m really excited to see what he comes up with for Promenade (and what he does next). If you’re looking for a pretty dynamic (and just pretty, straight-up) deckbuilder, I’d definitely recommend checking out Promenade! I’ve had a lot of fun playing it.
Overall, The Captain is Dead is pretty fun! It’s a nice mix of all the Star Treks, if you’re into that sort of thing, but even if you’re not it’s a solid sci-fi cooperative romp through impossible odds and a spaceship that’s woefully incapable of not being mostly-blown-up. For me, it tracks pretty well as a cooperative game; it doesn’t particularly thematically enthrall me (as opposed to, say, Ocean Crisis, which is a super-novel theme), but it’s perfectly fun (and funny within its own right). That said, it’s also the launching point for a pretty popular series of the-captain-can’t-stop-dying games, so I’m also a bit impressed by that. If you’re looking to break into that series, though, this is a pretty solid starting point for it. Either way, if you want a highly chaotic cooperative experience or you want to live out your dream of being anyone except the captain of your own Star Trek-esque starship, The Captain Is Dead may be exactly the game you should check out! I’ve had fun playing it.
Overall, I really like Spring Rally! Like I said, trick-taking is a favorite mechanic of mine (Skull King still taking the cake among trick-taking games; it’s super fun), but combining it with racing is definitely an idea that I’d’ve looked at and said, “I don’t … think that works”. And it does! I’m pleased to be wrong. Now, don’t get me wrong; this is not a particularly heavy game. It’s very much a light, family game that also happens to be an excellent introduction to trick-taking (and you’ll probably learn it slightly incorrectly, given that the resolution is the exact opposite of most trick-taking games, but oh well). But that’s my wheelhouse (car pun intended), so, I’m super excited that I got to take a look at it. If you’re looking for a cute game that won’t get you too wound up (and won’t take a terribly long time to play), I’d definitely recommend taking Spring Rally for a spin! A few games of it have made me really hope that they make more content for the game. New maps, event cards, special cards, a new suit; there are a lot of ways to really take this to the next level, and I hope they consider it! I’m a really big fan of the game.
Overall, Claim is pretty darn solid! Scott Almes has a pretty good track record, though, so I’m not surprised. My favorite trick-taking game still remains Skull King, sure, but I think this definitely has some appeal as a two-player game (whereas two-player Skull King is only okay). Major points going for it are that it’s a very pretty game that’s easy to learn and plays pretty quickly, and I also really appreciate that you can mix it in with the sequel and make your own Claim set, sorta like the Lost Legacy games. Either way, I’m a sucker for both trick-taking games and solid two-player games, and this is a great example of both, so, I’m appreciative that I got a chance to try it out. If you like trick-taking games, but you can’t quite get more than one other player, I’d say this or Fox in the Forest are great games to check out!