What's Eric Playing?: Week of June 03, 2019
Another four reviews this week! Some expansions, more from KOSMOS, and a boba game! All exciting stuff. As always, click the game’s name to see my full review!
Overall, I think Bubble Tea is pretty great! It’s nice to have a go-to light real-time game that’s not the thinkiest. It’s not very stressful partially because it plays so quickly, which I appreciate, and it’s got a bright, vibrant theme, which looks great on the table. Plus, it’s fundamentally kind of a silly game, and I always appreciate that! I’m glad Renegade brought it over for wider distribution; I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, and I’m pleased to see that it didn’t disappoint. There are a lot of bubble tea fans, and, I mean, I assume they all like pretty diverse games, so not going to give a blanket recommendation there, but this will definitely turn some heads (and I think it’s pretty solidly fun, so, that’s good). Always nice to see more real-time games getting their due. Either way, if you’re looking for a cute and fast real-time game or you’re just a big fan of bubble tea as a drink, I’d definitely recommend checking out Bubble Tea! I’ve quite liked it.
Overall, I think Sprawlopolis: Beaches is a solid expansion! It’s a weird one to score, though, because, like, I like it quite a bit, but I don’t think I’ll always play with it? Sometimes I want to go the simpler route and not have to explain the new rule to someone, or other times I’ll just prefer not having to deal with additional borders. That’s fine, but thankfully, the expansion is light enough and small enough that I can just slide it into my Sprawlopolis wallet anyways, so it’s not really taking up much room as a result of being there. One perk that I like is that new art in Sprawlopolis is always welcome, especially art that breaks up the city and adds some local color. Plus, it adds a new, interesting constraint that feels thematically consistent with the game, which I like a lot, and it makes me want to see what else you could add to Sprawlopolis. Museums? An Alien Invasion? A Volcano? I’m pretty much down for whatever, and I appreciate Sprawlopolis giving me more thematic options. It’s still one of my all-time favorite games, and this is a welcome addition to the Sprawlopolis collection. If you, like me, can’t get enough of the base game, I’d definitely recommend trying it out! It’s a very interesting expansion.
Overall, I think Targi is a very solid game! It’s got a pretty novel framework to it, but the nice thing about that is that it doesn’t come with a ton of rules overhead to compensate. It’s a simple game without too many complications, which is nice. Only a few types of resources, a few sets of actions, and not a ton of variance in what comes on the cards. The Tribal Cards are the most complicated part, but even those you can read before you use them and you don’t necessarily interact too much with your opponent’s cards (save for the one that forces you to place one fewer Targi in the next round). That’s a good foundation for a game to have, that simplicity. And I respect that a lot about Targi! Like I said, my only real gripes are that it uses the same VP token for each denomination and I wish the insert were better, which is pretty good. Hopefully KOSMOS will localize the expansion, because I’d be excited to play Targi again in the right circumstances. Either way, if you’re looking for an interesting worker placement game with a cool action selection mechanic or you just really like salt, pepper, and / or dates, Targi might be worth checking out! I’ve really enjoyed it.
Overall, I solidly like Venture Angels! I think it’s reminiscent of an Oink Game, in that it’s cute, quick, and easy to teach, but it lacks Oink’s specific thing for very compact box design, which is a shame. It’s not the worst thing, though; it’s just a thing. On the advantages side, it boasts some fantastic and whimsical art from Ian O’Toole which really sells the theme of being vaguely sci-fi investors that are just throwing money at whatever, and there are some smart design choices and scaffolds added so that even players who had a bad round aren’t completely out of the game (unless everyone had a bad round, in which case, don’t let one player take everything). These kinds of games are a delight to own, so I’ll hopefully have more opportunities to play it, but if you’re a fan of blind bidding, fast-paced games, or games with great art, I’ve quite enjoyed Venture Angels; maybe you will too!