Monday, January 23, 2006

Mark's #11: Entdecker

...and don't get me started about WHICH version of Entdecker. Well, actually, you should, because I think that the first version of Entdecker (published by Goldsieber) is a brilliant family game which plays quickly & cleanly, while the second version, Entdecker: Exploring New Horizons (published by Kosmos & Mayfair) is a bloated mess that is too long by 30-60 minutes & unnecessarily chromes up a perfectly good game.

If you need to "gamer up" the original Entdecker, you can use Manu's variant (listed on the Geek & any number of websites). But even without this variant, the game is a splendid 15 minutes per player exploration game with a great sense of story. And it's simple enough that Braeden can play it with help - a plus in my book!


Mark's #12: Carabande

Literally every place I set this wooden monstrosity up, it acts like a people magnet. Almost everyone (but not our friend, Anna) loves to flick the wooden discs (race cars) around the track. When we set up Carabande at a Board Game Cafe we hosted for a youth convention, it was played every minute.

And how do I feel about it? Well, you can see I rank it #12... I first fell in love with it at Gulf Games 2, when Frank Branham clobbered the rest of us mere mortals with his own set. (Somewhere, there's a picture of Frank in a Carabande track costume... gotta hunt that down. Of course, I'm dressed as one of the cooking devils from In Teufel's Kuche, so maybe the pictures should stay hidden.)

Unfortunately, the game is OOP and expensive when you do find a copy - esp. the Action set, which adds chicanes & a jump to the game. I'd like to find a 2nd Action set (I have 2 base sets + 1 action set) but I'm not made out of money. (Heck, I'm not even made of barterable goods.)


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Mark's #13: Union Pacific

I can still remember my first playing of Union Pacific - Chip Triplett, Ty Douds & I (along with some other folks who have washed out in my memory) got to play a pre-release copy at Gulf Games 3... and by the end of the game, all of us were anxious to our hands on our own copy of the game. Union Pacific had it all - tension, arc, planning, tactics - we were mesmerzied.

And I still am. Alan Moon (the designer) published "2nd edition" rules that tighten up the game... and my buddy, Dave Arnott, designed a splendid 2-player variant, so the game works like a charm with 2-6 players.