Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Update (7/29)

I've been in and out of town so I haven't updated the ol' blog in a while, but I'm back and should be reviewing again shortly. For anyone wondering I went on a mission trip with my youth group to Athens, GA for a week, and then I spent some time with my wife's family in Rhode Island, and then I spent some time in the Charlotte area with my family for my niece's fifth birthday party.

Erin and I have a couple new games we like: Pickles, which is a game played with two standard decks of cards. I learned this game on the mission trip and now Erin and I are hooked. We also have a game called Bananagrams, which we found in Rhode Island. It plays a bit like a mix between Scrabble and Boggle, so if you like word games, google this on and check it out. A review of Bananagrams will be up in the future.

We've also been playing a game I made up for use with a standard deck of cards that is based on the concept of Lost Cities. It has a few twists to separate it from being a clone of Lost Cities. We call it "Gilberts," after our dog, though I may come up with a better name at some point.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Monday Update, 3 days early (7/3)

I'll be out of town next week sans computer access so I thought I'd update what games Erin and I played this week. Only played a couple this week, but Heroscape is my favorite game so that makes up for it.

Games played with Erin this week
Loot-fun, casual card game(1 game)
Heroscape (1 game)

I'll be updating and reviewing again the week of July 13.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Card/Board Game Review: Politico

I bought Politico, published by Small Box Games, a couple years ago, fully expecting to like it because of all of the good things I read surrounding its release. I did like it, and I’ve introduced it to many friends since buying it. Without exception, everyone I’ve played this game with likes it. This group of people includes Erin.

I didn’t expect Erin to like Politico because it can seem a bit complicated at first, and complicated games usually aren’t her favorites. Don't get me wrong--Erin is not a simple person; she just likes simpler games. Unless it’s the game of playing with my mind. Then she weaves a complicated web of distractions so that she gets exactly what she wants and I’m left wondering what happened. When this happens, I say, “You just Bugs Bunnied me.” Erin always says she doesn’t know what I’m talking about.

Anyways, Politico can seem a bit complicated at first to someone who doesn't play a lot of games, but after a game or two, the game mechanics become second nature, almost intuitive.

Politico is a card game for 2-5 players which requires that you collect enough followers (represented by tokens of four different colors) needed to win an election in a new democracy. To win the election you must collect 13 followers total, with at least one follower from each of the following classes: clergy (white), merchant (yellow), the guild (brownish red-Erin swears they are brown, but I know they are maroon), and peasants (green).

To win over these followers, you must choose each turn whether to shake hands with them or draw and use influence cards to, you know, influence them. These influence cards do things like turn a peasant into a member of the clergy and steal followers from other players based on how many of a certain follower you have. The trick of the game is to balance these three things: what followers you need, what followers your opponent will need, and what followers you think your opponents think they need. For every opponent that chooses the opposite of what you decide to do in regards to shaking hands or drawing and using influence cards, you get an extra action to take during your turn.

I have to say that this game plays good with two players, but it plays great with three to five. The reason that two-player game of Politico is a slightly weaker is that there are less factors to keep in mind; you only have one opponent to take into your calculations when choosing whether to shake hands or go after influence cards. The rules remedy this in a two player game by creating a sort of ghost player—each turn you draw at random a card to shake hands or a card to go after influence cards. This clever mechanic works and saves the two-player game.

The Verdict
This game rocks to play with the Mrs. Erin and I always have fun when playing this game together, and we have even more fun when we add in other friends. The rules are simple after you get a game under your belt, but you will find a lot of strategy in this one. Another great feature of Politico is that a player is never truly out of this game, and victory can be snatched from the front-runner in a one short turn. It only takes 10-45 minutes, so you can usually get in more than one game in a sitting. I highly recommend this game for couples, especially if you ever have friends that like to play games with you.

I just checked Small Box Games' website, only to find that Politico is not currently available for sale. Here is a link to the rest of Small Box Games' games, which I bet are also good:

Small Box Games