What's Eric Playing?: Week of September 02, 2019
Five more reviews this week! Two types of towers, two types of art, and one big board game cafe are going to be top of mind, this week! As usual, please click on the game’s title to read my full review.
Yeah, overall, I’m pretty convinced MegaCity: Oceania is a triumph, as far as I’m concerned. I can see where some people are going to have issues with it. The dexterity bit won’t be for everyone, and I don’t think it’s got quite the catch-up mechanism I’m looking for. The nice thing is, though, that even if you’re getting clowned, there’s always a lot of cool stuff to do and build, so I feel like players get a lot of accomplishment out of the game regardless of their actual placement. To be fair, that’s a known bias I have towards building games; it’s part of why I love Catch the Moon so much, and even why I enjoyed Expancity, Carcassonne, and other games where you’re trying to build out a physical presence. I think those games are really, really cool, and I generally love seeing what’s being innovated on in those spaces. And I think this is innovative! It took TOKYO JUTAKU‘s pieces and elevated them into a pretty solid strategy game, which is worth celebrating, in my mind. Plus, it’s got a cool theme, great color scheme, and awesome table presence, so I’d say I’m not out of line to say that I’m really enthusiastic about i! Hopefully you’ll get a chance to try it soon, but either way I’d definitely recommend MegaCity: Oceania! I’ve quite liked it.
Overall, I think Board Game Cafe Frenzy is fun! I think, being real, it’s probably slightly heavier than I tend to go for for trick-taking games, just in terms of cognitive load and complexity. You’re tracking money, capacity, types, customers, actions, and mystery customers on any given turn, and while that’s plenty fun, that’s also a lot to keep inside my brain. That said, I think there’s a lot of appeal there for people who are looking for a more challenging trick-taking game (instead of your more casual ones). I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest, and I think it’s a really cool evolution in the space. I’d argue that it might be more of an economic tableau-builder with a trick-taking element, but calling it a trick-taking game where you get to prepare your hand in advance is equally fair (and a bit more compelling, if you ask me). The game is definitely helped by Citie’s quality art and some solid color / graphic design work, and I really appreciate how the whole product came together. It looks great on the table and I’ve had fun playing it, so if you’re looking to take your trick-taking to the next level, I’d suggest checking out Board Game Cafe Frenzy! If you like more of a challenge, it’s certainly interesting, and it’s even got more challenging variants!
Overall, I actually like Jikkuri Millet a lot? I think that it gives players a lot of opportunities to be creative and silly, and the art in particular enhances that. I prefer it to Catalogue (marginally; it’s close) since I think it’s a bit more open-ended than “let’s get to know each other”, which doesn’t always particularly interest me (though I like the way that Catalogue does it well enough to consistently enjoy playing it). I think that the improvisational aspects you can add to this game really allow it to interact with the art and the players in a way that makes the entire experience more meaningful. That’s how I’d like for it to be, at least, and I’ve been fortunate enough in my plays that it’s consistently been that way. If you want to learn to appreciate art or learn to stop appreciating your friends interpretations of it, or you’re looking for a quick and neat party game with a little bit of improvisational storytelling, I’d recommend keeping an eye out for Jikkuri Millet! Assuming it ever comes fully stateside. I’ve had a lot of fun with it!
Overall, LOTS is a solid little game! I like that it blends dexterity with a bit of strategy, and does so in a way that’s bright, colorful, and consistently interesting. I will admit that I wish there were a bit more that I could do around luck mitigation, as a player, but it’s a quick enough game that I wouldn’t say that always matters too much, to me. My real problem is that I often feel like players fall behind in a way that isn’t particularly easy to catch up, which is a bummer. That said, I’ll be really interested in what the final version of this game will look like; the prototype version is nice and all, but there are a lot of ways you can upgrade this into a superb version of a game. Heavier pieces, thicker cards, make the whole thing bigger; the possibilities aren’t necessarily limitless, but they are certainly expensive. Thankfully, it’s a generally nice and pleasant game to play, so I don’t think that will be an issue. Either way, if you’re looking for a fun little dexterity / strategy game, LOTS might be right up your alley! I’ve had fun with it.
Overall, I think Folded Wishes is pretty fun! It’s a very quick abstract, which occasionally will throw some players off. I try to remind people that, at the end of the day, it’s a 15-minute game where you’re trying to get four pieces in a row, and once you do that you win. What ends up happening more commonly is players try to go after skills and build up that engine, and before they can even get the engine built the game has ended. To that end, I think a minor complaint of mine is that the game seems to benefit experienced players to the detriment of novices, since they have a better sense of when and how to value skills that I haven’t always seen from newer players. I do like how Skills are organized, though; it’s reminiscent of Roam in a way that I like (and, as I’ve mentioned a dozen times, I’m all about those types of games). Beyond that, it’s a pretty game, but I can’t help but feel like the theme doesn’t really shine through in the gameplay. I get that folding is a fairly abstract concept to represent on a 2D level, but it doesn’t feel like it’s really coming through when I play. It feels more like a 2D abstract game, and that’s fine, but I would have liked to have seen more from it in that regard. It may also not be helping that my pieces are sort of random tokens with the correct color, but that’s the nature of the beast with these sorts of things. Either way, if you’re looking for a quick abstract or you love colorful games, you might like Folded Wishes! I’ve enjoyed my plays of it.