December 5, 2004

The Past Month's Gaming

by Susan Rozmiarek

Yeah, I know. Itís been quieter than a tomb in here lately. Iíve been playing loads of games, my weekly gaming group ensures that, but my opportunities to plant myself in front of the computer to write about them have been few and far-between. Rather than bore you with excuses related to my personal life, Iím going to sweep out the cobwebs here, squash those chirping crickets, and comment on all the stuff, much of it new and shiny, that Iíve played over the last month or so. Iíve gotten some great close-ups of most of these games in action, but alas, we are having problems with the Picture Gallery software right now, so I canít use them here in this blog :-(

Betrayal at House on the Hill

Despite the numerous flaws, this game is just plain fun. The haunts donít always quite work or seem balanced and you may find yourself plugging holes in the published rules with house ones, but itís a fun ride of a game, nevertheless. The theme is great and I loved the exploration aspect of it. I predict that the fun is really going to be group dependent, however. Players need to lighten up, not take the game seriously and just enjoy watching the story unfold.

Dancing Dice

Sigh. I really wanted to like this one more than I did. It has a unique theme, some nice ideas and really cool dice. There just really isnít enough tension or a push-your-luck element to it. Only one gamer in our group seemed to really like it. I thought it merely ďokay.Ē On the other hand, my 8 year-old son, Shea, loved it and wanted to play it over and over. It has a Yahtzee-like feel to it and probably reminded him of his old early childhood favorite, Pokemon Yahtzee. Iím wondering if it would appeal to my BuncoĖloving friends as well. Like Bunco, it would be easy to socialize while playing, as it doesnít require a great deal of concentration.

Viking Fury

This one has been climbing higher and higher up my all-time favorites list with each playing. Ed really needs to get busy painting the little ship miniatures that he found for it.

La Citta

This is one of those games that you wonder why the heck it doesnít come out more than it does. I enjoy every playing of this game, even as Iím getting walloped as soundly as I was this time. People were just leaving my cities in droves. I highly recommend keeping up with your population and grain during the game with the scoring track found on


Itís no secret that Iím fond of a western theme in a game, but Iím not letting that color my view when Iím say that this game is loads of fun. As expected, itís got a hefty Bruno dose of luck and chaos, but the clever, clever auction mechanism in this game adds plenty of fun decisions as well. Its shorter playing time makes it a very good lunchtime game candidate too, I think. I do have to gripe about one thing however and with me being female, I think you know what that is. The art! Sheesh. Put some clothes on, sweetie! I could be placated, though, if a hunky cowboy replaced one of those gap-toothed geezers.

Oltre Mare

Itís rare that I want to play the same game again right away, but Oltre Mare has the distinction of being one of those rarities. This game has so many little interlocking mechanisms, all driven by the same set of cards, that it is really hard to digest the first time around. The second time around, I got ďinto the groove,Ē so to speak, and really enjoyed it. While some of the mechanisms remind me of other games (Hansa, Bohnanza), the sum of the whole feels like nothing else Iíve ever played.

Well, thatís about the best I can do for now. Pretty lame when compared to the longer session reports that I usually write. Hopefully, the picture problem will get resolved soon, too.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at December 5, 2004 5:08 PM


I prefer it nice and short. Thanks. :)

Posted by: Iain on December 6, 2004 5:03 AM

Sympathies on not having gaming time--your reviews were always appreciated at Game!--but congratulations on advancing toward a house. I am looking toward the same future, because my game collection is decreasingly willing to share the available floor space here with me.

Posted by: George Phillies on December 18, 2004 4:38 PM
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