Profile photo of Green Level Clearance By Green Level Clearance On February 14, 2012 Posted In Other

Year of the Gamer February Style!

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February 14, 2012

Welcome to the year of the gamer Feb 5 – 11, 2012.  See what you think.  Feel free to comment.

Feb 5:  Punch-Out!! (NES).  A port from the arcade game.  The last boss being good old Mike Tyson.  Your goal is to take your fighter (Little Mac) up the ladder to fame and fortune.  All the bosses had patterns you would have to learn to beat them.  Seriously fun game.  Hard last boss though, even when he’s not trying to bite your ear….
Feb 6:  Tomb Raider (Trading Card Game).  This game has some awesome highs to it and some horrible staggering lows.  The lows were the art.  Seriously?  Just screenshots from the first couple games. Oh yeah such good graphics from the PS 1, you can imagine how good it looks.  Other than that horrible low(which probably killed the game by itself!), the game is great.  It’s basically a huge dungeon run trying to discover the treasure.  Pretty fun and worth picking up even now.  Just make two decks and play with your friends.
Feb 7:  Wheel of Time CCG.  Precedence made this game and Tomb Raider.  Unique because it uses a playmat and a customized 6 side dice to play it.  There were really only 3 releases to it.  Because the fourth release only contained four cards.  Good game, but OOP and pretty rare anymore.  Not cheap to pick it up.
Feb 8:  NBA Showdown (CCG).  Wizards of the Coast didn’t always concentrate on Magic back in the day.  This along with MLB and NFL were their Showdown games.  There was only one set released for it in 2001.  So all you need is 278 cards.  Nothing wrong with the game, WOTC just decided to tighten their game production.
Feb 9:  The Legend of Zelda (NES) Video Game. My vote for game of the week or the next game!  The phenomenon started back in 1986.  And now 26 years later over 65 million copies of the game series have been sold.  This game specifically here is the original.  The game is amazing.  It was a mix of RPG, Action, adventure, and puzzle games all in one.  While the game is an RPG it has more hack and slash elements than a typical RPG (i.e. Final Fantasy).  The game was a huge milestone in the video game world.  From the catchy soundtrack to the dungeons, to the tricks every player had to learn.  Like how to find Gannon’s lair.  The game was top notch.  If you have never played the original, you owe it to yourself to try it out.  Two thumbs way up.
Feb 10:  The Settlers of Catan (Board Game).  This game gave Zelda a run for it’s money as game of the week.  Possibly game of the week…  Amazing game.  The players have decided to settle an island rich in resources.  Now all they have to do is get 10 civilization points before the others do.  Problem is resources are owned by different players so you might have to make a trade or three.  Let the fun begin.  This game has expansions and more to it proving that it’s worth owning.  All geeks need this game in their collection for sure.  And even if you’re not I still recommend it.
Feb 11:  Agricola (Board game).  On Board Game Geek, the top game for 5 years was called Puerto Rico.  This game ended that reign.  This game is based on a simple system.  To win the player needs to have the most balanced farm and the biggest family.  The game has received numerous rewards.  I’ve never tried it.  But I plan on doing so in the future.

  1. Catan…the best game I hate to play. I’m appreciative of it’s ability to appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike, but it’s way too random for my liking, and falls into those hobby games that, to me, are too similar to Monopoly’s reliance on luck for my taste.

    Zelda, 2 big hearty thumbs up…should note that it’s more hack n slash for a Japanese RPG, which until most recently were more story driven than combat.

    Agricola…I’ve never played it or Puerto Rico. My tastes are more confrontational in nature, and Euro-styled everything is balanced games generally don’t appeal to me. Which is odd, because Monpoc’s Action dice mechanic is totally Euro. And besides, Agricola is about Farming! You shouldn’t make games out of mundane acts of work 😛

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      1. You must feel like Igor eh Chris?
        I have never personally liked Catan that much either. Like Bobb said, its more luck based, or how I would personally put it, people based. I have to depend on other players to help me win? Ewww. (I’m not saying I hate the game, but there are other games out there that top it)

  2. Love Puerto Rico, Zelda, and feel the same about Catan as you guys have mentioned. But man it does its job well – when you have company that want to “learn about your hobbies” it’s a good one to bust out.

    Puerto Rico though…oh man. Louis Brenton got me hooked on that one.

  3. I have played Agircola on a number of occasions and it is a really great game! There are many expansions that can go with it, but if I am going to recommend any, it would have to be the one where you actually get the tokens which look like the things they represent! (Little sheep tokens instead of the white cubes that are supplied by the game, orange vegetables, etc.)

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      1. Small World is in the Catan category for me… sure they have killing in Small World, but it’s just too luck based. If I want to play a luck based game, I will play Talisman… for 12 hours a stretch.

      2. I think Small World is a really fun game, especially with the Tales and Legends cards which, yes, add a random element (though I would argue that there’s not very much luck in the base game), but also provide objectives that can increase the level of conflict between active armies. In any event, it’s a lot of fun.

      3. Small World is no so luck based as you think. I played Talisman a couple months ago and it was excruciatingly luck based and brain numbing with it’s lack of decision-making. I couldn’t wait for it to end. Small World Underground is a bit more balanced and so luck based aspects of the game are less extreme.

      4. The excruciating part of Talisman is what gives it’s charm. It’s totally luck based, but I don’t feel there is much more thought in Small World. Perhaps the illusion of thought. 😉

      5. I used to despise Talisman…It’s essentially fantasy Monopoly. But since I didn’t have to part with my own money for it, it’s a great game to play with my 5 year old. And I know that someday it’s going to lead to bigger and better games. Plus, it does LOOK great, even if the play is very basic.

  4. Now do you play Catan plain vanilla or do you house rule it up? I play Catan on the Seafarers map with with random tiles placed around. It makes for islands that you need to use ships in your trade routes to get to. For extra challenge, start with the numbers upside down when picking starting settlements. You can even leave them upside down throughout the game until a settlement is placed next to the adjacent hex. The game to me, along with a lot of games, is more fun when you doctor it up and make it your own.

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  5. I’ve only just played Catan the board game for the first time recently – a six-player game with new friends of ours. Kate and I have been playing the card game version for two players for a few years now. Randomness still plays a major factor (rolling dice at the beginning of each turn, order in which the cards appear – although you can spend resources to search a deck), but for those of you looking for a bit more confrontation should try it. Because you’re up against only one person, control over knights, action cards (moving the brigand, stealing resources, etc), and trying to win the commerce token (specific to the card game) happen to everyone with more regularity.

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  6. The best Co Op game is Pandemic, and it get’s even better with the Expansion. You play Medical personal for the CDC and try to find the cure to 4 or 5 super plagues. In the Expansion you can have one player be a Bio Terrorist and they get to help the board. It’s a great game.

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  7. Monpoc players thinking Catan is too luck-based? Wow. Yes, the is an element of randomness to Catan, from the layout of the board, to the roll for first player, to what cards come up when purchased, but none of those things have too undue an impact on the success of the player. But for those who think it’s too luck based, I have two suggestions:

    1) Play with a dice deck, which is a 36 card deck with all possible rolls of two dice. That way, you’re guaranteed a perfect distribution of dice rolls throughout the game.

    2) Play with Cities and Knights. It adds complexity, but diminishes the role of resources in the game.

    Personally, I have no issues with the role of the dice in the game, and regularly am in first or second place when the game ends. Guess I’m just lucky.

    I do have a complaint with Catan, and it’s the imbalance between experienced and new players. It’s too easy for a new player to become trapped with few options when playing with an experienced group, which just leads to an unsatisfying game.

    Puerto Rico is also excellent, but the newbie factor here also leads to the player after the newbie being boosted by their inexperienced play. But with a group of equal experience, it’s a very solid game.

    Pandemic is a great co-op game, and a great intro to co-ops in general, but you’ve got to pay attention to the communication rules to prevent the “the person who talks the loudest plays the game, while the other players just follow his instructions” issue. The Bio-terrorist is a great solution to this problem.

    My fave co-op is Ghost Stories. You are Taoist monks protecting a village from the rising hordes of undead controlled by the evil Wu-Feng. It’s brutal, and a blast.

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    1. I’ve got Catan on the Xbox, which tracks dice rolls, and has a graph to show you the rolls for your current game, overlaid on a graph showing the distribution of rolls by percentage. I get frustrated when a game has 8 10 rolls, but only 4 6 rolls. I know it happens, and that’s chance for you…but there’s no way to control it. You play the odds, and maybe over the course of many many games, playing the odds gets you a win. But essentially, I don’t like gambling, and that’s what Catan comes down to.

      And I find it amusing that you suggest that Monpoc is anywhere near as dependent upon luck as a game like Catan. You mention all the areas that involve luck in Catan…dice rolls (which you don’t really even mention), cards, tiles, and start roll. None of which the player can control.

      Monpoc has the starting roll, and then the rolls in game. Monster, city, force, even map choice….are all within the direct control of the players. Dice rolls in game are the only thing that involve luck….and you have a lot of control over what odds you face on nearly every roll. Yes, luck sometimes hits you with bad rolls…but it’s not nearly as prominent a feature as Catan uses.

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      1. My point is more that there are a number of other factors in play in Catan than the random elements that can allow you to overcome “bad” rolls, just as there are in MonPoc. It may not show in Xbox games of Catan, because of the limitations on the trading interface, but F2F games allow for a much wider range of interaction. Catan isn’t a resource management game, it’s a trading and negotiating game. If you’re only relying on the rolls of the dice to allow you to progress in the game, you’re ignoring over half the game.

        I was surprised at the response of the MonPoc community because that is one of the chief complaints I’ve heard about the game (that it’s luck based), but we all know MonPoc is more than that. I’m surprised that they haven’t looked more closely at other games that seem to be only luck based.

      2. Even the trading aspect is based on the luck aspect….resources are ONLY generated by the luck of the roll. What you get, what others get, is all determined by the dice. Yes, there’s strategy in what and where to build…but limited by the luck of the board arrangement and what resources you have. The only aspect that’s essentially without luck is where to place the robber.

        I freely admit that I don’t like Catan. Another mega-popular game that’s a gateway game that I don’t like is Munchkin. Talisman I have, but only really care to play it with my kids, who aren’t ready for games that I enjoy more.

        Trading in Catan only takes you so far. At some point, every other player should realize that trading with Player X will give them the game, and then they stop trading. Victory then is totally dependent on the dice.

      3. I agree Catan has a lot of luck involved in it, but that doesn’t mean it sucks. I read one of the points of Catan is to force you to have to trade. No monopoly here(except for the card monopoly of course ha ha!). I have never been in a game where you lost because no one would trade with you for a certain resource. You always have the four for one option to trade with the board. If you can’t get four of one resource, you probably placed bad in the first place anyway.
        I love that Catan gives you more than one way to win. Through bad die rolls I got stuck one time fenced in and maxed out on what I could build. I still won the game by biuilding the largest army and getting a few victory points in the developement cards I bought.

        Sure it’s not my go to game, but I find it an excellent game to introduce light gamers (Monopoly, Sequence, Life players) into the next level of gaming. And anything that keeps players playing is good for the gaming community as a whole. In my opinion of course. :)

      4. I think you are absolutely correct about Catan being a good “level up” from Monopoly and the like. Personally, I just don’t get into it… I’m far to accustomed to games where killing is involved.

      5. Seth, I totally agree with you on a few things: Catan is an excellent game to introduce people to gaming when all they think of is Monopoly. It’s easy to grasp, plays quick, and involves more than just roll, move, buy, roll, move, buy. For me, it’s just too random…It’s not that it has so much luck, but that the randomness of the game detracts from my enjoyment. That, and I prefer games with direct conflict.

  8. Catan isn’t my favorite, but I’ll gladly play it when it’s being played. It does serve as a truly excellent “gateway” game into hobby gaming. Other good gateway games are Ticket to Ride & Carcassonne.

    Some of my favorites are Puerto Rico & Railways of the World. Those 2 constantly flip back & forth between #1 & #2 on my favorite games list.

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