As you can probably tell from my review of The Crew, I love trick-taking games. I grew up with them. I learned to shuffle cards when I was about six and started to play Skat with my family when I was about eight. In secondary school, I learned Doppelkopf. I didn’t play them for many years after I left school and it was only when I played Vivaldi at Gaming Rules’ evening during last year’s Essen Spiel Messe that I rediscovered the genre. So I wanted to talk more about my fascination with these games.
Space, the final frontier. We’re on a 50 mission journey to find a new planet in our solar system. We have to work together to seek out new theories, new experiments and new proof. It’s no trick and we have to boldly go, where no scientist has gone before. These are the adventures of The Crew by Kosmos.
We had all the plans ready, planning permissions had been sought and approved, contractors had been signed up, the project manager was ready and a rough schedule had been put together. We also knew what building materials we needed and where to get them, so it was time to build our Micro City by Thistroy Games.
Living in the country is nice, but getting to work requires a car. In fact, getting anywhere needs a car: shopping, going out (unless it’s to the local at the edge of the village), seeing friends (because even though you pretend to, you don’t actually get on with your neighbours) and doing the school run. On the other hand, because it’s so hard to get around, we don’t actually spend as much on things, which is good. However, there is a lot we need to do if we want to make sure our household leaves only a Tiny Footprint by Gaard Games.
It was time to find the next victim. The beaches were full of swimmers, so it was going to be easy pickings. Yet, the sea around the island was patrolled by the Orca, a 42-foot former lobster boat, that was launching barrels into the sea to flush me out. A little speedboat was also making its rounds and using its fish finder to see if it could spot me. So far, I hadn’t been found and already five people had lost their lives to my merciless attacks. I just needed four more victims to end up in my Jaws by Ravensburger.
The more we play games, the more we learn. We learn better strategies, new mechanisms, how to be a better loser, as well as a better winner, we learn that we don’t always have to have the latest games, or that we definitely do, and we learn a few other things besides. In this article, I want to focus on something else though. I want to look at what playing board games has taught me about myself, about the people around me, and how it has changed me over time, if at all.
“Bubble, bubble,” the herb witch cackles. “Stir the pot – nice and slow,” the miracle doctor says. “Slowly, add another ingredient… what will it be?” the quack surgeon asks, looking at you intently. You reach into the bag, with anticipation, not quite sure what ingredient your hand will retrieve. “Come now, come now,” the witch emplores. “Put it in the pot, don’t hesitate,” the miracle doctor tells you, rushing you along. You can’t look. You quickly withdraw your hand and throw the ingredient in the pot and as you do so, you open your eyes a tiny bit and see a flash of white. A cherry bomb lands in the pot with a splash and a fraction of a second later it explodes. However, it’s not too late to seek help from The Herb Witches by Schmidt Spiele.
“So, let me illustrate. Imagine a line that represents time and at one point is 1985, to the left of it the past and to the right of it the future. If we travel back in time and make some small changes, the timeline skews off at an angle, creating an alternate 1985 – or rather, it’s an alternate to you, Einstein and me, but a complete reality for everyone else. It turns out that Biff took the Sports Almanac into the past and thereby created this new timeline. It’s now up to us to find a new way to get Back to the Future: Dice Through Time by Ravensburger.”
A small queue of customers was waiting outside. It was our opening day. We had our tea ready and some bits in our pantry, but still had to buy the flavours, which we wanted to get fresh from the market during the day, so that every tea would taste fresh and our customers would be happy. Everyone was nervous, but there was nothing for it – we had top open up and start serving Chai by Steeped Games.
Lightning strikes around you every few seconds, a hurricane is howling around you and visibility is almost zero. Add to that the fact that you’re on a rickety platform 7,000 feet in the air, barely tethered to the barrier rail by rope in an almost vain attempt to stop you from being blown off and plummeting to your death, and it’s obvious why the situation is so precarious. You are desperately trying to get to the launch pad, get into the rocket and get away and to safety – but you are still exploring your route there and you also have to wire up the launch system – and you’re running out of time. You have to be quick and work together to reach the Forbidden Sky by Gamewright.