Ah, the Western. I’ve waxed eloquent about it before. It’s easy to do, really. Picture sunsets and six irons at the same time, imagine breaking a horse while breaking ore, and utter silly swears like “goldarn” and “skinny as a sack of deer horns.” For such an iconic genre, there are hardly any games set in the Old West. Fewer good ones.
Western Legends hopes to make up for that deficit. All of it, in fact. How? Well, none other than by featuring a dozen dusty-trails tales rolled into one. And the biggest surprise of all is that it does a decent job of it.
The best thing about Truck Off isn’t that its headlines write themselves, though that’s nice too — and by the way, alternate titles include “What a Trucking Game” and “Mothertrucker.” But again, it isn’t that. Rather, it’s that Truck Off offers a surprisingly solid primer on how to craft a dice game that doesn’t completely turn on the roll of the dice. What a novelty! Sort of like the food truck craze itself!
It’s hard to imagine anybody improving on good old Tigris & Euphrates. At over twenty years old it still remains a monument of our hobby, a surprisingly fluid combination of setting and systems, simple enough to learn, incredibly difficult to master.
Yellow & Yangtze is Reiner Knizia’s attempt at besting his own classic. What’s there to change? A whole lot, it turns out. And much of it has to do with that staple of Tigris & Euphrates strategy, the monument.
Despite being terrible at theoretical math, one of my favorite classtime activities was to take a large number — probably something like 55378008, since I was a hormone-addled thirteen-year-old — and divide it mentally into the smallest possible quantity. Dividing by two or five was easy; three was tougher, but there were tricks. Sevens or other primes usually left me stumped.
Lovelace & Babbage, on Kickstarter right this very minute, is all about the joys of simple arithmetic — with the caveat that it must be done fast.
To this day, Happy Salmon remains the only game to occupy the hallowed annals of Best Week without first getting reviewed here on Space-Biff! Doubly embarrassing, considering that it earned its spot two Best Weeks ago. That’s right, way back in the dark ages of 2016.
But today I’m setting things right. Especially because North Star Games has since rounded out their Happy Planet line with two more creatures.
I sat down to write this review. Then I realized that last night’s dinner was unsettling my stomach. During my trip to the gentleman’s closet, I began playing a game on my phone to pass the time. Then, digestions completed silently and rightly, I went to the couch to finish up, because those gems aren’t about to match themselves. Now with an empty belly, I consumed an entire spoonful of peanut butter, scraping the jar clean. Time for a walk through the neighborhood to clear my head. On the way back, I concluded to finally sit down and finish this review.
And therein lies the main problem with Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game. Come on down and I’ll explain.
Last month I called out a particular roll-and-write game as handsome but dull. It isn’t necessary to mention the game’s name (it was Ancient Artifacts) but some part of me was left wondering if the entire genre was a flash flood of hype — a dull roar, a rush of water, and the sudden crashing realization that this slot canyon was the wrong place to pitch camp.
Benoit Turpin’s Welcome To is the roll-and-write that changed my mind. And it doesn’t even feature any actual rolling.
Okay, I lied. Sometimes the little golf pencils included in the box fall off the table. That’s a type of rolling.
Disclaimer: No realms are shifted in the process of playing Shifting Realms.
And that’s honestly a shame, because relocatable fantasy dimensions could have added something wonderful to this competent but by-the-numbers take on the gather’n’build genre.
Rémi Amy’s CIV: Carta Impera Victoria is so cute that I could vomit. No, it isn’t the way the bobble-headed artwork by Christopher Matt recasts human history as one limitless highway of nodding along to the radio. Nor is it the pun hidden right there in the title. Carta Impera Victoria. CIV. Civilization. We get it.
Nope. It’s the fact that the game entitled CIV should contain 104 cards, just as the Romans would do. Ugh. I don’t even believe in assigning scores, and already this thing is pulling zero stars out of a hundred.
Which is a pity, because CIV is one heck of a slick card game.
At last! A book we don’t love! Join Brock, Summer, and Dan as they engage in the third-ever episode of the Space-Biff! Book-Space! to talk about the legality of cloning, what our AI-selves would be in charge of, and how little is too little for a Catholic priest to know about the Bible. It’s Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty. And although we’re spoiling everything, there isn’t much need to read this one before listening below, or over here for a download link.
Join us next month for a discussion about The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley, and share your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org!