Great Western Trail
Almost made it – Dice Forge
I really enjoy the trend of deck builders becoming another mechanic within a game. If deck builders frustrate people it’s likely to do with the randomness of the cards dictating the play, much how dice are viewed by some (most?) pgamers. In Great Western Trail you are using deckbuilding to mange the herd of cows you are selling You are given lots of tools that allow you to manipulate the deck. The deck itself is small enough that you can always have a good idea of what you might draw. Being given ways to mitigate the randomness of a game is one of my favourite aspects of board games.
Dice Forge may not have much in common with GWT but it’s another example of a new offshoot in the deck builder family tree. It doesn’t quite have enough going on to be ranked as a favourite but I’m very interested to see where dice builders go. I think there’s a lot of applications for this mechanic and expect to see a lot more games come out using this in innovative ways.
Almost made it – Mansions of Madness
My opinions on Time Stories are very similar to Charlie’s I think it’ an incredible experience with great highs that unfortunately come with awful lows when it feels like the game has tricked you into wasting time. What really gets me about it is the idea that when you start a session of it you have absolutely no idea where the game is going to take you, which is pretty exhilarating. No matter how exhausted we get during the lows of a session we always end up sending a message the next day to each other arranging when the next expansion should be played.
Mansions and Time Stories have a very similar feel when playing them, and for the longer adventures very similar play times. I would say my preference for TS comes partly from the price, partly from the box space and partly from the genre hopping. The app is far better than having a DM with a board game (just play an RPG if you’re going to have to do that) but solving puzzles on the app is pretty boring. I do love the simplicity of MoM, it’s very easy to teach and the fact that it allows splitting the party is a big plus over TS, even if that is generally a recipe for a bad time.