New Year, Old Year: 2018 Revisited

Day Four: The Hilarious!

What I Got Right!

Okay, here’s the problem with this category: board games don’t do humor very well. Flavor text can be amusing, but you can only read it so many times before it’s like reading a joke book. In many cases, the best a game can do is hand you the tools to create humor on your own. It almost goes without saying that such an approach is highly group dependent.

All that’s to say, I’m hedging, because there’s only one game on this list that I totally stand by today. SEAL Team Flix is effortlessly funny in much the same way that a game like Space Alert is effortlessly funny. By undercutting an oh-so-serious tactical battle with flicking, the result is a wonderful juxtaposition. We still talk about that one time Evan threw a flashback at our squad’s feet right as we entered the level. That’s gold right there.

What I Got Wrong!

The issue isn’t so much with Insider, Decrypto, and Pantone as it is with my group, because we got bored of their particular formats for sharing goofball jokes with each other. That’s the trouble with party games. What’s the difference between one that sticks around and one that fizzles out? Often, it’s that one, well, sticks around, while another, um, fizzles out. The voodoo behind those outcomes is hard to understand in hindsight, let alone predict like the weekend weather. The good news is that most of these games have found a good home. Usually with my sister, because she plays lots of entry-level party games with her friends.

Meanwhile, the significant flub is Temporal Odyssey. I’ll confess to a great deal of fondness with Level 99 Games, one of those indie companies that hits more often than they miss. This is a game I wanted to love, and because of that I did love it, if only long enough to recognize its flaws. So it goes, sometimes.

For the rest, check out day five revisited.

Posted on February 18, 2020, in Board Game and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. You come to El Salvador often? That happens to be where I live. Let me just say that I haven’t discovered a thriving gaming community yet. It has turned me into a solo gamer.

    • My father goes every year to do eye surgeries, and last year I came along and helped do near acuity vision tests during the screening process. Which means most of my time was spent working, although we did manage to see some sights around San Salvador before setting up. I didn’t go this year, but may consider it in the future!

      Which part of the country are you located in? We spent most of our times in the mountains, so I didn’t get much sense for what people’s regular lives are like.

      • Christopher Miller

        I live in the country about an hour mostly north, a little west of San Salvador. If you look for a little town called San Pablo Tacachico that would be quite close to where I am.
        But my status as a US citizen working for a non-profit, means that, while I don’t live like I do in the states, neither do I experience some of the truly hopeless living conditions that many of my neighbors do.

      • Ah! I was on the other side of Santa Ana from you, in a mountain town named Juayua. Very friendly people, at least those who attended the clinic. But yes, the living conditions were rather disheartening.

  2. Ahhhhh CIV sees major table time for me. It’s my go to pick for a game that is light enough to get people to play (it’s just cards!) but strategically deep enough that everyone wants a second go after we finish the first game. I love it and really wish more people played it. It also has such expansion potential! Small addon cards to give each person a flavor, shared boards, etc.

    • I’m glad to hear that! It really is a smart little game that only gets better with repeat plays. Not sure whether it lost its luster on its own or if that’s just part of reviewing as many games as we do. If it earned an expansion, I’d happily repurchase the game for its sake.

      • In my mind, it’s because our final play was perfect. Outside of the legendary flick (mentioned with respect to Seal Team Flix), my final CIV game is towards the top of (positively) memorable Space-Biff sessions from 2018. Me, you, Geoff, and each of us had played multiple times to understand the way the cards form leverage. The early game starts by staking position via card draw. Mid-game causes some temporary alliances. You get an advantage, so Geoff and I start dragging you back. Geoff gains an advantage, so you and I start dragging him back. All this occurs with just eye contact. No words. Towards the end game, the alliances permanently break. Every player attempts to position for victory, which means positioning for tie-breakers, due to the early checks on the leader. I don’t particularly remember who won, but I remember the eye daggers being thrown around as we watched each other take their final turn. I haven’t played it since with you or otherwise.

      • Ha, I remember that. Hard to top a play with so much eye-stink.

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