To create the best apple brandy, you have to freeze fermented cider and remove the ice. It's quite simple and very effective in increasing the alcohol content of an already delicious drink. It's really easy to apply this to cider made after the autumn harvest. Just leave the casks in the winter cold and when enough ice has formed, pour the remaining liquid into another cask. Repeat the process as often as you please to concentrate the remaining liquid to levels of anywhere between 25% and 40% alcohol. It's what we call "jacking" and it will come as no surprise that the resulting drink is called Applejack by Uwe Rosenberg from The Game Builders.
It was the 5th century BCE and we, the Athenians, had been victorious over the Persians. The Delian League was now under our military control and the income generated by federation fees had made us prosperous. It was time for an ambitious building programme and the most talented architects in ancient Greece were ready. We were going to build housing, temples, markets, gardens and barracks. Our planning rules were going to create a harmonious community, enhanced by plazas. We would create new quarries to provide the stone to stretch our city towards the sky. We were going to build our high city, our Akropolis by Jules Messaud from Gigamic.
Each of us was part of a team of four brave explorers who had spent months on the high seas to reach an island of myths and legends. All of us were on an expedition to navigate through dense jungle, trying to uncover paths that had been long lost and many of which were dead ends. If we were lucky we might find treasures along the way: gold nuggets or precious jewels. However, the riches along the way were mere trifles compared to our ultimate goal. Each of us wanted to be the first to reach one of the four temples whose tips we could see sticking out above the giant trees. These temples would reward us with unimaginable treasure and glory. We were determined to make history on the island of Karuba by Rüdiger Dorn from HABA.
Nestled between hills and blanketed with beautiful fields of grass, where cows grazed happily, our village was in the perfect place. Country life was slow and relaxed, because nobody had anywhere urgent to get to. However, that was all going to change soon. Metal tracks were soon going to crisscross between hills and along rivers. They would connect our sleepy corner of the world. They were the Village Rails by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert from Osprey Games.
I enjoy games with quite a wide range of playing times. I like long games that take a couple of hours or more to play, up to a certain point at least. Anything above three hours is probably going to be too long for me. I also love quick games that take 15 minutes to half an hour, but I'm definitely not a fan of real-time games. In this article, I want to look at how timekeeping affects the gameplay experience.
The Great Plague was slowly becoming a thing of the past and you had decided to move into the country and start a new village. You had found the perfect location that was big enough to build new houses, workshops and other structures, while also being close enough to farmable land, a large wooded area and there were indications that coal could be mined nearby. It had everything to support a growing community of craftspeople and labourers. Now all you had to do was find Villagers by Haakon Gaarder from Sinister Fish Games.
Depth in board games is often confused with complexity. They are related, but they're also very different. I wrote a whole article about complexity about two years ago. So now it's time for me to look at depth in more detail.
If you have played a number of games, you will have noticed how the pace in some games changes over time. A game might start slow and then speed up towards the end, or it keeps an even pace throughout. Some games even slow right down in the last round. In this article, I want to look at this more closely and see what affects the pace of a game.
I slammed down Cowgirl and immediately opened the bidding with a "Klik", which was countered with a "Thwak" and to which I responded with a "Splat". A "Twang" played by the other side brought us level again, which meant I could still win this. After a moment's hesitation, the other side played "And" and immediately put down Wheel-Demon, closely followed by "Zooom", giving them the leading bid. However, their unexpected move actually gave me the advantage. I put down "Kerunch", which they countered with "Eeeek!!", which I trumped with "Crrash", which they... no... they couldn't keep up. The bids were level, which meant I was victorious and was inching closer to victory with another two Heroic Echoic by Happyclash Games.
Let's have a little fun and see if we can somehow classify the people we play board games with. Don't worry, the article is tongue-in-cheek. I'm not trying to label people in a certain way. We're all unique and different and we change over time. Yet, I do reckon you will probably see yourself or one of your board game friends in one of the groupings in this article. Oh, and by the way, we're all gamers - whatever games we like to play. We're all here to have fun.