March 23, 2008

You sunk my battleship!

by Susan Rozmiarek

Ed added a two-player card game that had flown completely under my radar, quite possibly because of the very boring Cold War theme, to a recent game order. The game is Cold War: CIA vs. KGB and it is published by Fantasy Flight of all companies. It's such an itty bitty little game compared to the monster boxes full of plastic that I've come to expect from them. It's by two designers with no other published games in the BGG database. Note that it has an astonishing 7.1/10 rating with over 400 raters. How the heck did I miss this one?!?

Wow, this game might turn out to be a real gem. We played it tonight for the first time and I can already tell that it's going to keep me awake later thinking about it. It's got lots of things I love - bluffing, pushing-your-luck, hidden role selection and card interactions that make for clever tactical plays. The theme is actually far from boring because you get to play spies and the game really captures the theme with secretive, sneaky play. There's even an assassin and a double agent. Great, great stuff. I can hardly wait to play again.

We also played Quinamid which is sort of an advanced Pentago. It's yet another five-in-a-row placement game but on a four-leveled board with levels of increasing size from top to bottom. The levels can rotate and slide which gives the game a memory element since pieces can get covered and uncovered during the game. I can't believe Ed let me win one of our three games. He is so much better at spatial games than me.

The final game we played was Battleship Express, part of the line of new, little, dice games by Hasbro. Like Risk Express, this one is by Reiner Knizia. It even says so in teensy letters on the back of the packaging and rules which is amazing for a Hasbro game. The game isn't bad, although not as quite as good as Risk Express. Here you are trying to sink your opponent's ships which are lined up in front of him. You target one of the two ships in the front of his line and roll dice to hit by rolling that ship's color. You choose your attack ship from your lineup, each of which have a special ability and different number of attack dice. The twist is that the ship you attack with must be moved to the front of your line, making it vulnerable to attack on your opponent's turn. It had a few tactical decisions to make, but I didn't think it was as good as Risk Express. I still think Monopoly Express is the best of the lot so far. We also got a copy of Clue Express which we will try next.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at March 23, 2008 11:56 AM


Battleship Express works best with 3 players, when you play to 4 kills rather than player elimination. (The 4 player game is only to 3 kills, which is just too dang short & makes the targeting pretty random.)

I think Risk Express is the best of the bunch...

Posted by: Mark Jackson on March 23, 2008 3:01 PM

Hi Mark,

I was kind of wondering how well it worked with more players. With two, you have to eliminate all of your opponent's ships. Our game actually went a little long and was pretty even throughout because the dice hated both of us.

Posted by: Susan on March 25, 2008 8:14 PM
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