Category Archives: Definitive Gaming

Chris Handy’s Pack O Game

Chris Handy’s Pack O Game

I travel a few times a year for work to another state or sometimes another country. I always take games with me, although they rarely get played due to lack of time, energy, or opponents. Baseball Highlights 2045 has been to El Salvador twice, and a few other games have made similar trips.

I was very interested to find out that Chris Handy had created another four games for his Pack o Game collection, which went live on Kickstarter yesterday. I was a backer of the original eight games, and I’ve enjoyed these tiny packages of fun. Each game is 30 elongated cards in a package similar to that of a pack of stick gum. I requested review copies of these next four games and they fit great in my current storage solution, an Iris 4×6 photo case. Fortunately I received them the day before my first trip of the year, and I knew I’d have a pretty good chance of getting one or two played since I was traveling with a member of my lunch gaming group.

 

PackOGame (Large)These twelve games currently showcase Chris’ design diversity. The first eight games include HUE, a tile laying game, TKO, a two-player simultaneous selection game, GEM, a bidding game, FLY a dexterity game, TAJ, a negotiation game, LIE, a card based version of Liar’s Dice, SHH, a cooperative word game, and BUS, a pick up and deliver game.I read the rules for the four new games on the plane, but was not sitting next to a friend so I had to wait to actually play.

While we were eating our continental breakfast the first morning, I got to play ORC. ORC is game 12 in the series and is a two-player area control game. I found the choices interesting and the scoring pretty clever. My opponent has asked to play it again, but we haven’t yet arranged a time.

The next night we found ourselves with a 45 minute wait between projects, so we gathered in our meeting room. I had hoped to play one of the other new games, but there were five at the table, which gave me two choices, HUE or LIE. HUE really shines for its scalability and simplicity, so we played that first. Everyone seem to enjoy it, but in true gamer fashion, I suggested we play LIE next. There were a few complaints, since my coworkers were looking to play HUE again since they had just learned the game. After LIE we got back to work.

The next night I found myself sitting with three coworkers, so I brought out the games and suggested RUM, GYM or SOW. LIE was requested. I sometimes forget that not everyone wants to seek out the new games. So LIE it was, then I brought out RUM. RUM is a pirate-themed game where players try to get large sets of the same color rum in order to control Captain cards. This game has an interesting timer aspect, and from what I can see, requires a bit of non-intuitive play to mitigate the luck of the draw. More plays will tell, because sadly, this was the last game of the trip.

At this point I’ve been able to play ORC a second time and GYM once since returning home, and I think both games are fantastic. I look forward to more, and I plan to do individual reviews in the next few weeks once that happens. For now, I look forward to seeing how the Kickstarter develops. I expect that Chris has more games designed and playtested and ready to unlock.

 

Starting Anew with Dominion

Starting Anew with Dominion

Back in 2008, I remember telling my friends about a new game I had preordered. The game was Dominion, which consisted of over 500 cards. The core of the game was twenty-five sets of 10 to 12 cards each, and in a game you only used ten of these sets. Huge replayability, I told them. My friends returned blank stares.

I fell in love with the game instantly, and played multiple games in a night. My best gaming friends bought the core set, then Dominion: Intrigue, then we started playing on the website http://brettspielwelt.de

Over the course of four years I played Dominion over 400 times, including the online games, and greatly enjoyed Seaside, Alchemy, and a dozen games of Prosperity. Then, I stopped playing, not because I tired of the game, but because it was getting harder to play, harder to find opponents, and harder to set up since we felt impelled to include and randomize all the sets. We continued to buy the expansions but it was rarely hitting the table.

In 2011 I played twelve 12 times, twice in 2012, and only once in 2013 (a horrible loss that gave me the nickname, Rat King). Dominion My Dominion spiral ended with no plays in 2014. I decided 2015 had to be better (one of many goals I made in a recent podcast episode MN 0033 Gaming Goals 2015. I set the goal of playing the game 43 times, which was the approximate math that would allow me to play each kingdom card twice.

Then Rio Grande announced another expansion, Dominion: Adventures. Another 30 kingdom cards (no complaints).

At this point I’m 11 games in and having a blast! Hopefully my partners in play continue to enjoy the game as much as I have. I use the excellent randomizer resource at http://users.resourceinternational.com/~nmx/games/Dominion/getRandomDominionKingdomCards.cgi

I plan to blog every few weeks on my Dominion progress. Future topics include:

  •  Dominion Storage
  • Big Money – How many turns does it take to win without buying any kingdom cards?
  • Suboptimal play is fun, but not effective
  • Analysis of the sets – I haven’t explored Dark Ages, Hinterlands, Cornucopia or Guilds yet
  • Analysis of specific games – The good the bad, the muddy
  • Attacks, and which one(s) are counter to the spirit of the gamePlease comment with your Dominion experience! Even you, Ryan.