What's Eric Playing?: Week of August 12, 2019
Another five reviews this week! Find some cats, build a canal, win a duel of fairies, or return with your crew for one more heist. Check them out! As always, clicking on the title of the game will take you to my full review.
Overall, Kitty Cataclysm is a very cute little game! I think it retain’s Bez’s well-known quirky style and makes for a quick little game that usually ends up with everyone laughing, which is always good. Bez has a solid eye for those style of games, and I definitely saw that when I played In A Bind (now Yogi). This is actually a good in-between point for Yogi and Wibbell; it showcases the humor and silliness that a lot of Bez’s work captures, but it’s simple and dynamic in a way that’s been well-informed by Wibbell. It’s a nice little game. I’m not the biggest fan of take-that in games and even I’m enjoying this when I play it, but I think that’s in part due to the fact that, well, that’s the game, right? It sets expectations and doesn’t violate them, which I appreciate. It also does a good job of making sure every player is on the same page. This isn’t a game that surprises you with take-that or messes up your engine; it’s a game where you’re supposed to clown on your friends with extreme prejudice. And it does that well. Add in some really lively and silly puns and art and you’ve got yourself a nifty little indie game! If that sort of thing sounds like it will be up your alley, honestly, it probably is, but I’d recommend trying out Kitty Cataclysm!
Yeah, I really like 7th Night! It’s probably my favorite of the doujin games (and 20+ plays so far really helps cement that). I think it’s a neat, smart little game (similar to Maskmen at 2), and I really like what it does with limited resources in the space it occupies. A 9.25 seems ambitious, I think, but I don’t really have any problems with the game, per se, and that’s after 20 plays! I think it’s quick and sharp, and it requires players to essentially engage in a complex dance, moving back and forth over seven spaces while vying for control of them. I’ve tried some similar games (Hatsuden, Hanamikoji), and I think this one is my favorite of them all for just streamlining it. There’s not a whole lot of extra things happening in the game beyond “play the cards you can play and then move”, and I think that really speaks to me. I generally have a soft spot for some simple games (Catch the Moon, for instance), so it’s nice to find another one for the permanent collection. I just wish it came in a normal box. If you’re looking for a really fun two-player game and you’d like to go head-to-head, I’d overwhelmingly recommend 7th Night! It’s a rock-solid fixture of my collection.
So this is a funny number, because, I think I actually like Burgle Bros. 2 better than the original? If you ask me, almost everything in Burgle 1 has been iterated on and improved for Burgle 2, and this game enjoys the benefit of that iteration. That said, if you go read my original Burgle Bros. review, you’ll notice that it has a much higher rating than this one! What gives? Well, for one, it’s been almost a year since I’ve last played it, and I think that that score was reflective of where I was at in gaming when I tried it. I think it’s a wonderful introductory cooperative game, but I think my tastes have evolved a bit (and I got much busier with reviews), so it’s been a hot minute since I’ve actually gotten to play it. Burgle 2, however, I can compare to the other games I’ve played and this is about the right place for it. I think it’s pretty great, especially for a not-quite-finished version of the game, and I’m really excited to see where it ends up. The question most people will ask (correctly) is whether or not there’s space for both in a collection. I think so, personally; the first one’s a bit more introductory, with the strategic part being the three-floor variant. I think this one starts out about as difficult as the three-floor variant, so for someone like me who only plays the two-floor version, it’s a perfect mix. More finales will definitely help keep this fresh (especially if they continue to support the game after it’s published), but I have had a lot of fun with the game in its current state. If you’re looking for a solid successor to the classic Burgle Bros., I’d recommend checking out The Casino Capers! Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.
Overall, XO is a neat little abstract game. I think I’m hoping to see more variability from the Kickstarter, be it additional cards, additional themes, additional modes, or something to make the game feel a bit more vibrant and enthusiastic. As it stands, it’s rather themeless, which, of course, is by design, but I generally prefer games to have a bit more going on in the thematic department. That’s how I get invested! I think an interesting comparison can be made between this game and, say, The Stars Align. For me, the latter edges out slightly because it’s got a solid theme to build off of (and the name’s a really good pun, so, props on that). For people who prefer themeless abstracts, though, this is likely going to appeal to them much more, and I’m totally on board with that. Either way, I did enjoy playing XO, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the Kickstarter ends up doing to mix it up!
Yeah, overall, I wanted to like Venice Connection more than I did, apparently. Happens, sometimes. I think I’m a bit positive on it just because it’s extremely short and it’s got really nice art, but, the whole “wait until one player makes a mistake” isn’t the most satisfying game, for me? That said, I actually like the expansion a fair bit, so it might still be worth me writing up that review. In the meantime, the core problems I have with it is that I don’t think it ever really hits a point where it’s … super interesting to me. The space of available choices isn’t large enough that a player can’t just compute them out, and whichever player does a better job with that is just the player that wins. There’s very little to this that’s like, variable; Nim, its core game, has already been solved, and I imagine it’s possible to solve this one, too, but I haven’t spent any time really thinking about it. But, if you like that kind of game, I do think this is a strict upgrade over Nim; it’s very pretty, even if you end up losing. Beyond that, though, it’s not going to hold my interest long-term.