What's Eric Playing?: Week of May 20, 2019
Another five reviews this week! Back to Kickstarter, twice, ambition turning into a rivalry, and some nonsense about horses! As always, click the game’s title to read my full review!
Overall, yeah, I was really pleasantly surprised by Fickle! When I first played it, I was like “oh, this is pleasantly novel”, but digging more into the different modules, well, there’s quite a neat little game, here! I’m always a big fan of modular games, so that helps. I love the subterfuge element of getting to choose the order of the cards your opponent gets to see and then the suspicion that follows; it’s a blast! I definitely yelled “oh no, you goofed me” at a player because they buried the worst card on the bottom and I skipped the second card, which was decently good, so I got … well, I got goofed. Add in some nice art and you’d have a pretty good game, but any game that can be played this fast is automatically going to get some points from me; I love fast games. It’s also super easy to teach, making it a really interesting modular filler, sort of similar to what Trickster does for trick-taking games, this does for light set collection (I mean, it’s almost a spin on Sushi Go Party! with more take-that and an I-cut-you-choose element in lieu of drafting, if you wanted to be particularly reductive about it). Anyways, I definitely underestimated Fickle and was surprised; I really enjoyed playing it, so hopefully if you give it a shot, you will too?
So here’s the thing. I like Rivalry a lot, and I’m probably going to start using it from now on. The reason it’s not surging up my list of expansions really comes down to its weight for new players. It’s kind of heavier Roll for the Galaxy; it can extend the game, it adds extra phases, the phases are a lot to learn, and even then the game can be (and until this point was) pretty effectively played without them. Some of the disappointment you get with new players is that the phases feel a bit inessential. That said, that’s a problem that gets solved after multiple plays, as players figure out how to leverage those new phases to create new strategies and they figure out what to do with the new tiles and the new dice and the new interactions. The problem is, a lot of expansions have to start strong out of the gate, whereas I think this one needs a bit more time to heat up before you start seeing its true nature. Whether or not you’ll wait that long is up to you, but I’ll say I certainly enjoyed Roll for the Galaxy: Rivalry, and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re a big Roll for the Galaxy fan!
Overall, I’ve enjoyed Construction Fever! Like I said, I generally am not a huge fan of auction games, so it’s nice to see one that I like well enough pop up on my radar. To be fair, Ninja Star has made / published a bunch of games that I’ve enjoyed — Yokai Septet was a ton of fun, Sweets Stack is solid (and I still need to review it!), and, I mean, Wolf & Hound is delightful. It’s good that they’re changing it up with mechanics every time; all of those games are wildly different from both each other and Construction Fever. What I like about it is the multilayer auction system that goes with managing your reputation and how you work somewhat cooperatively with other players so that they can work on projects that you can also hop onto. The whole thing is very nice. Add in a nice ramp for potential expansion content and you’ve got yourself a solid Kickstarter title. I’m interested to see what else gets added as the campaign progresses (although it’s getting tougher out there for Kickstarters). Either way, if you’ve wanted to live out your CEO dreams and occasionally develop some potentially shady projects, Construction Fever might just be the game for you!
Overall, I really like Tokkome! Don’t get me wrong, it hurts me every time I play, but I’m slowly learning to get better at it. That’s exciting, given that the best score I got during my first rounds of play was 1 point. I think that none of us were ready to get as bodied as we did by that game, and I respect that a lot, honestly. It’s the kind of game that takes you a bit by surprise, since it’s a very small, very light game about taming wild horses. You think, “oh, that seems fine; you’re set collecting, but the set is horses”. Yeah but these are the meanest horses straight out of hell. You’re losing points left and right as you watch other people barely scrape a triple here or there. It’s an absolute riot. It has that same sense of “give up and just go with it” that I really liked about HEBOCON, as well, but it presents as a pretty simple set collection game. I think there are a lot of cool ways to build off it, but I’m definitely a fan of the game as-is. It’s a quick, fun little card game, and it will probably end up in my Quiver for upcoming travel (though I might have to get a separate Quiver for all these doujin games, to be honest). If you’re looking to get brutalized by a seemingly simple set-collection game about horses, Tokkome is definitely worth checking out!
Overall, I’ve quite enjoyed Imhotep! I think, for me, the very tactile nature of the game is really appealing; you load up blocks, you sail ships, you create markets, and the whole thing kinda looks great. The table presence of games is often enough to draw me in, and this is definitely an example of a game with a rock-solid table presence. I particularly like that the tactile treatment also differs based on which board you’re going for, be it the vertical obelisks, the flat burial chambers, the wall of the temple, or the literal pyramids; they’re all very unique, and I appreciate that. I do kind of wish that there were a board for the quarry or something so I’d remember not to pull from the area with all my stones before I put them on boats (just a personal problem; it’s unintentional), if I were allowed to nitpick, and I’d love fewer random Market draw effects; they can be kind of swingy. That said, I’m still enjoying it a lot, and I’m looking forward to the expansion. If you’re looking for a neat tactile game and you’re not afraid to get a bit mean, Imhotep might be right up your alley!