Once upon a time there was a game called Himalaya about yak traders plying their wares in the exotic mountains that separate the Indian Subcontinent and the Tibetan Plateau, and I absolutely did not play it. I’d never even heard of it.
Well now I’ve played it, or something very like it. Libellud, publisher of some of our favorite games like Dixit, Seasons, and Ladies & Gentlemen, recently rebranded Himalaya as a game about noble heroes who wander the countryside, recruiting soldiers and fighting monsters as they go — and let me tell you this new setting is a relief, because I’m buried up to my ears in games about yak trading.
Besides lauding its phenomenal box, I never really got around to talking about Lords of Waterdeep, the labor administration simulator set in D&D’s City of Splendors. For what it’s worth, it was probably my favorite worker-placement game — scratch that, it was the one that bored me least. Even with its ever-evolving city, myriad quests, and cutthroat intrigue, it remained a solid “pretty good” with me. That’s probably why I never wrote about it. You folks don’t
pay me read Space-Biff! for chatter about how a game is perfectly decent and it’ll appeal to a certain type of person; you want the latest gossip about my recent engagement to Archipelago or why I plan to bury Mage Tower in the backyard guarded by the corpse of my reanimated pit bull.
So it was a pleasant surprise to discover that Scoundrels of Skullport, the recent expansion for Lords of Waterdeep, takes a game I wasn’t particularly excited about and transforms it into something that’s really rather good.
Okay, I’m taking Space-Biff! across the threshold into true nerd territory. This is nerdier than a sixteen-hour game of Runewars, a GLaDOS pumpkin, or dressing up as characters from RAGE… alright, less nerdy than that last one.
I’m writing this because if there’s one thing I can’t stand (and trust me, there’s at least one thing I can’t stand), it’s poorly-designed board game boxes. That’s right: When the box is too big, too small, won’t play Tetris with other games, or falls apart after a year, it really ticks me off something mighty. And I’m sure there’s at least one other person out there who feels the same way. Cue The Board Game Box Review.