There’s nothing wrong with puns. That said, if your game prominently features one on the front cover its box, I’m less likely to pick it up. Scape Goat has two. “Goat milk?” and “Someone’s goat to take the fall.” I couldn’t bring myself to look at the back.
So how did it wind up here? Two words: Jon. Perry. Co-designer of Time Barons and designer of Air, Land, & Sea, a short stack of eighteen cards that still managed to be one of last year’s absolute best. That’s a pedigree that deserves a second look, puns aside. And I couldn’t be happier, because Scape Goat continues Perry’s tradition of breeding rattlesnakes — tightly coiled, easy to overlook, and packing one heck of a bite.
If I were forced to list three things that I have a history of disliking about board games, I would arbitrarily choose the following: Firstly, “pure” deck-building games, because the era of the hybrid is upon us. Secondly, cooperative games. And thirdly, fixed market pools in deck-building games, as opposed to the “river”-style markets of games like Ascension. Give me some variety! Some uncertainty! Some drama!
Aeon’s End, designed by Kevin Riley and published by Action Phase and Indie Boards & Cards, is a cooperative deck-building game with a fixed market pool. If I were a keeping-track man, that would make three strikes, and if I understand baseball correctly that means it’s time to pick up another chili dog and head to the car before the second inning starts. Fortunately, I’ve never counted past two in my life, because Aeon’s End has quickly become my latest obsession.
Way back last year, I highlighted a title that was pretty much my ideal filler game: Coup. Confrontation, deception, and bullying, all crammed into one fifteen-minute package. Glorious.
Well, now I’ve been given the opportunity to review it all over again, because Coup just got a mouthful of a sequel. Coup: Rebellion G54 they’re calling it, for some reason. And it’s totally blowing me away.