Back in 2008, I met some people who brought me back into the world of gaming, which I believe I’ve talked a lot about since then. It started with a return to pen and paper RPGs (which, in all honesty, hadn’t really left, I just only played online), and was quickly followed by boardgaming.
I was pretty satisfied with playing my handful of RPG titles and Arkham Horror, until one day, my friend pointed me at the Fantasy Flight Games website, specifically to look at the game, Android. Android looked like a really cool game, so I started to look at more games. I quickly found that I had been stuck in a very narrow world of ‘mainstream’ boardgames.
Fast forward to now. My closet is pretty much full of games now. I made some trades with various individuals to get things I wanted in exchange for things they wanted. With all that said and done, I have more unplayed (by me) games than I do played, I think. The collection can be viewed here: Boardgame Geek
Thankfully, I was able to play two games for the first time last weekend.
First up was Small World.
The object of Small World is to generate more victory tokens than your opponents in the number of turns available (which varies based on the number of players). The mechanics of the game are pretty simple, to conquer a territory, you need to attack with 2 more attackers than there are defenders. Your territory must always have one of your units on it in order to collect victory points for it.
There are a few things that I like about this game. First, it comes with 4 different maps, each designed for a different number of players, which forces interactions between the players. The second is the way the races and abilities match together. There are a number of races, with special abilities, plus additional special abilities that grant additional bonuses. Finally, the in decline mechanic is neat, which adds a layer of strategy to the game – when should you pull the plug on your current race? Very neat.
Pandemic is a co-operative game where the players race against the game to cure 4 (or 5) viruses that are plaguing the world. Again, a very simple game with simple mechanics, but we found it to be a good challenge. Each player has a different role, which grants them special abilities. These roles are assigned randomly at the start of each game. Through our play, there are clearly a few roles that make the game much easier (Medic, Dispatcher). The game does a good job of raising tensions, as drawing the wrong card can really make things difficult. The expansion adds new ways to play, which also ramp up the difficulty. In three plays, we only won once (which, in hindsight, was luck on our part), which gives the game replay value, as we still have to work on the strategy on how to beat the game.
I really enjoyed both games and I look forward to playing them again in the future.