Quick Setup

Self-sorting games (Topic Discussion)

We all know how some games can take a while to set up. Sometimes it’s because there are just a lot of components and different pieces to take out of the box and place on the table. Other times, it’s because you have to sort components a certain way, after they were all mixed together in a previous play of the game. The opposite can also be true, where you have to shuffle tiles or cards, after they ended up all in order when you finished playing the game last time. In this article, I want to look at both: games that sort or shuffle themselves during play and are virtually immediately ready to play again, as well as games that expect you to shuffle or sort components before you can play them again.

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The Split (Saturday Review)

We had pulled off the heist of the century and everyone was still buzzing, pumped with adrenaline. We had made it safely back to our hideout and now it was time to divvy up the loot. We were about to count out cash, gold, gems, paintings and microfilms when the boss came up with a crazy idea. “Let’s play Blackjack,” they said, “and sort out who gets what that way.” They even gave it a name. They called it The Split by Michael Fox from Wayfinder Games.

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Mini Memory Mischief (Saturday Review)

Your 8-bit computer may seem to be collecting dust in your loft, but actually, there is still a lot of life in the old box yet. Two of the microprocessors, Mikro and Chip, are keeping themselves amused by playing little, fun games. After all, their buffers and memory stacks are still in working order. With a handful of assembly instructions, they keep each other entertained: push, pop, peek as well as some Mini Memory Mischief by Atikin Games.

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Bots Up (Saturday Review)

With a loud “Bang!” the head flew off, followed by a “leg-splosion” that severed both legs, leaving only the body and the left arm. It wasn’t pretty. Yet, you knew you could turn it all around. There were still plenty of options. You just had to duck and dive and try and swap body parts with another robot to boost your own. You were sure that in the end you would be a Bots Up.

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Cracker Games (Saturday Review)

I know, it’s not yet Christmas, but bear with me on this one. Cracker Games by The Dark Imp is going to be on Kickstarter on 1 September 2020 and is scheduled to reach backers in December, before Christmas. So, yes, lead times are a bit longer. However, even if you’re not in the mood for the festive season, the Cracker Games are worth checking out, as you’ll see in my review below.

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Vivaldi (Saturday Review)

It’s been a very long time since I have played one of the classic, German trick-taking games, like Skat or Doppelkopf. My family and I used to play Skat at home a lot when I was in my late teens, early twenties, and I used to play Doppelkopf pretty much every break with my friends in school when I was in my late teens, keeping the session going virtually all day, as one person would leave to get to their lesson and someone else would take their place. I had very much forgotten how much I loved these sort of games, especially the uncertainty in Doppelkopf where you don’t know who your partner is until later in the game. However, when someone bought Vivaldi by XV Games at Spiel Essen this year and brought it to the Gaming Rules meet-up, we had so much fun and all my fond memories flooded back.

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The Hanging Gardens (Saturday Review)

Strolling along the parterres, taking in the view of the stepped garden to one side and the water garden on the other, you relax and try to fully appreciate the immensity of this Wonder of the world. The whole arrangement is cleverly emphasized by carefully placed temples. The huge amount of work and dedication that has gone into this expansive and exquisitely manicured design, the countless shrubs, hedges and flowering plants, all add to the feeling that you are but a small creature in this giant world. Suddenly the zen-like peace is rudely interrupted by deafening noises, as you watch in disbelief as the water garden is bulldozed to the ground to make room for more parterres. Welcome to The Hanging Gardens by Hans im Glück, which are in constant change to score the gardener as many points as possible.

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Keeping it in

If you host a regular games night, you probably know the feeling of getting everything ready in time before everyone arrives. Set up the games table, make sure the drinks are chilled, glasses and coasters are put out, crisps and other snacks put in bowls and the games is set up – and this is often the crux. Some games take a long time to set up and sometimes even longer to put away again. It can feel like the setting up and putting away takes longer than playing the game. It’s such a chore.

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