February 1, 2007

New Year Resolution Progress Report for January

by Susan Rozmiarek

I may have been late posting my New Year resolutions, but I was working on them from day one. I managed to knock four games off the unplayed list:

1. Game of Life card game. Yes, you read that correctly. You may be wondering why we would own and want to play such a thing. Well, it was a minor hit at Gulf Games awhile back although I didn't play it then. It was hard to resist picking up a copy when they went on sale at the mall toy store for $1.50. Heck, I paid more for a baked pretzel while I was there. Besides, even though I wasn't much of a gamer as a kid, I did enjoy the board game version back then. So, as the first game of 2007, I played a two-player game with Ed and it was okay, probably suitable more for family play than anything else. It was very luck-based, of course, but there were some decisions to make and different paths to choose. Its appeal for me was mostly in the story it created and the related funny comments while playing. Ed had a much more wonderful life compared to me. He had a great job, interesting hobbies, fancy sports cars, the whole works. I tried to be a good person, giving some time and money to charitable pursuits, but my life went steadily downhill. It didn't help that I saddled myself with numerous kids right out of college. They sure eat up your time. Like I didn't know that already. This game was very much a family-friendly version of real life. You couldn't have kids unless you were married first. Now I need to try the most definitely not family-friendly game of life, Funny Friends.

2. Augsburg 1520. This playing hardly counts because we played with a few major rules wrong. The end result was a much easier game. I'm looking forward to playing it without the training wheels.

3. To Court the King. I've already commented on how much I liked this one. We just got the corrected components in the mail from Rio Grande. We didn't need new dice, but a corrected character card is nice. Kudos to Games Surplus for contacting Rio Grande with a list of customers with defective copies and kudos to Jay Tummelson for correcting the problem. Amusing observation: The small package had two stamps on it and each pictured the box of a game, that of Medici & Strozzi and Gulo Gulo. Neat!

4. Traverse. I bought this in a thrift store for $1.99 because I vaguely remembered it getting decent comments at BGG. Yes, a thrift store. I have resumed my lifetime bad habit of perusing thrift stores but now for games instead of books. But, that is a topic for another post; back to Traverse. This is Chinese checkers-like game that has players racing to be the first to get their pieces from their side of a chess board to the opposite side. They start out in a row and they must end in a row. The twist is that each player has two each of four different shapes and they each move differently - diagonally, orthogonally, any direction, etc. Like Chinese checkers you can and want to jump other pieces to move as far as possible. So, there is a bit of planning in order to set yourself up for these jumps. Things get interesting as players cross in the middle and you have a myriad of options. I played two games of this with my younger son Shea on the floor of his bedroom while his pet bunny got some supervised exercise out of his cage. All those people who complain about trying to play games with cats around have obviously never had a rabbit hop across their board in a middle of a game. Anyway, Shea beat me twice and I wasn't even going easy on him. We found it particularly challenging to get our pieces placed at the end such that they move smoothly into the final row. The pieces also have various strengths and Shea and I were discussing how best to use them long after our games. We definitely both want to play some more, preferably with more players to crowd the board up some. There are also a few interesting variants to try. I will say that the version I have is u-g-l-y. The wooden pieces are orange, yellow, light green and light purple that look sickly together and clash horribly with a drab board of maroon, black and tan. Gag. There's no excuse for an abstract game that has only a few simple components to be so ugly.

As far as game purchases go, we spent less that $100 this month and easily paid with cash (well, debit card - same thing). This month will be interesting as one of dogs is getting weekly injections at the vet ($$) and we have a few soccer fees to pay. Hopefully there will be something leftover for a few games. Taluva looks interesting.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at February 1, 2007 3:33 PM


That's a pretty impressive collection of untried games from my point of view, Susan. I'm actually a pretty big fan of the Game of Life card game: it plays fast, has some decent decisions, and is a great experience game for a filler. Augsburg scores for me with its unique "poker-like" auction mechanic. I also have no problem with the theme. And I love the decisions and strategies in To Court the King. Those are the kind of designs that should make working through your untried games pile an enjoyable resolution!

Posted by: Larry Levy on February 4, 2007 12:13 PM
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