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.
The irrigation system was ready, but there was still work to be done on the trellises. The windmill, cottage and tasting room were still just ruins and only the first third of the wine cellar was accessible. The crush pads were all clean and ready to receive the first harvest of grapes, yet the fields were still bare. Orders for some red and white wine had already come in and two types of grapes were ready to be planted. It was the beginning of a vineyard that was going to be splendid. Mama and Papa were looking forward to putting the work in and creating a heritage that would make the family name proud. At the same time, it was daunting, because they knew nothing about Viticulture by Stonemaier Games.
Complexity is a fairly vague term. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “the state of having many parts and being difficult to understand or find an answer to.” Yet, it’s not clear when parts are considered “many” or at what point something is difficult to understand. Here are my thoughts on complexity in board games and what I think it all means.
The task in hand wasn’t going to be simple, but the rewards were huge. You could become ruler of Naqala if you were able to influence the people of the land to help you reach your goal. You were hoping to get the help of the djinns, but they would only listen to you if the people were on your side. It seemed impossible, but you knew that you could talk to each group individually and over time you would eventually have the help of all of the Five Tribes by Days of Wonder.
Sparkling jewels, shiny gems and precious stones lay in front of you – but only a handful and not necessarily the best example. Your hope was to sell some them for enough profit to be able to buy shares in a diamond mine and attract highly skilled craftspeople who would transform the slightly lacklustre gems into magnificent jewels and allow you to bask in Splendor by Space Cowboys.
As many of you will know, I absolutely love small box games, and mint tin games in particular (see episode 6 of the Tabletop Inquisition podcast). They’re so easy to stash away and take with you anywhere, and Mint Works by Five24 Labs is a great example. The small mint tin is robust and can easily deal with knocks, it’s quick to set up, as it consists basically of a deck of cards, and the tin itself functions as the pool for the mint worker tokens. The gameplay is also relatively quick, so overall it’s ideal for when you’re out and about – on a train, plane or a bus, or while you’re waiting for food in a pub or restaurant.
The stage is prepared: a dusty old tome in the middle, a silver dagger encrusted with rubies across the open pages marking a specific section in the ancient text, a goblet in front of the book filled with the blood of thirteen poor souls, and five candles arranged in a pentagon around the periphery of the white marble pedestal. The whole room is gloomy and the air is thick with incense. There is absolute silence as you focus your mind on the difficult ritual you’re about to perform. The stakes are high, but if you succeed you will be able to summon a greater demon, who will bestow you the nine favor [sic] you need to become The Chosen, the highest-ranking cultist in your circle. The Blessed Dark by Nathan Meunier drags you away, kicking and screaming, into a world of deck building, rolling dice and casting spells.
Don’t get me wrong – I like heavy games, where you have to plan ahead and think about every step. I particularly like strategy games where you can outmanoeuvre your opponents by choosing your tactics wisely and making the right decisions at the right time. I enjoy it when I make steady progress and my position becomes stronger on every turn. It feels very satisfying when everything snaps into place and your earlier choices allow you to continue down the same route and everything just flows. Yet, it usually takes me quite a while to get good at a heavier game.