Issue 24: Games I'm excited to play with friends
Game nights are on the horizon again, and I'm feeling quite pleased with the potential fun.
Well, hello! It’s been just over a month since we last met in this newsletter, and while I promise I can explain my absence, I don’t feel I have to. (Also, it’s this: I didn’t write a newsletter until yesterday. Sorry.)
I’ve been trying to figure out what to write about today, and I think I landed on a topic that’s interesting to me, and I hope it’s interesting to you. It’s full of anticipation and excitement. It’s … games I’d like to play soon with people I haven’t seen in quite a while. I focused on new (or mostly new) games here, because that’s sort of what I do, but I know I don’t really need to. Still, that’s what you’re getting here, and you’ve probably come to expect it.
For many of us, game nights have been few and far between over the last 12 months, and it has honestly put me in an interesting position. On one hand, I’ve missed the planned meetings to just play games between people I didn’t otherwise see often. On the other hand, it’s allowed me to build piles and piles of games that I’d like to play with people, so that’s a bit of fun.
In all seriousness, we’ve been lucky enough to have a small set of vaccinated friends we’ve been able to play games with for most of 2021. It’s been a nice boost to enjoy games together. We played through Pandemic Legacy Season Zero — a fantastic game, and one I wrote just a tiny bit about in my last issue, which came out far too long ago. (Apologies! I know I said I’d write about board game apps in that last one. I still will at some point, but I haven’t been devoting a lot of time to board game apps. I’m still scrolling unnecessarily and incessantly, though, so don’t worry too much about me.)
But there’s a sort of game night I’ve missed, and it’s the one where four or five us gather together for the sole purpose of playing a whole bunch of games of different sorts. (There are many types of ‘game nights’, you see, and I love all of them. It’s a great chance to spend time with friends you might not otherwise see.)
Of course, it’s still worth undertaking precaution around gathering. We’re lucky enough to be vaccinated, and I’m looking forward to games with fellow vaccinated folks that I haven’t seen in over a year.
With that in mind, I wanted to go through some of the games I am most looking forward to playing. They’re not in any particular order, and I will undoubtedly forget a bunch of them, so you’re just going to have to deal with that.
Railroad Ink Challenge
I’ve made no secret of my love for Railroad Ink, and the latest explosion of game content coming from Horrible Guild looks like it won’t be an exception to that rule. I’m excited to play with teleportation, electricity, forests, trails, canyons, deserts and so much more. It’s almost like this content was produced specifically for me.
I’ll be honest, though, I will probably get the most enjoyment out of this playing it solo. I think this is exactly the sort of solo game I want. An individual box is small, portable, erasable, and thought-provoking. It plays quickly, and it’s easy to expand to other people if they’re interested. I guess in a way this makes it one of the games I’m excited to travel with, actually.
I don’t honestly remember too much about this game. I picked it up knowing it was something I would likely enjoy, but, uh, let me check BGG.
Oh, right, yes. I love a good abstract strategy game, and I’ve come to trust Pandasaurus Games with my money. There are actually several abstract strategy games I’m excited to get to the table — the latest Sagrada expansions, or Calico, and plenty of others — and this is one of them. I guess I’ll talk more about this game once I’ve played it.
Super Skill Pinball: 4-Cade
I love this game. I love roll-and-write games. I love the idea of pinball as a roll-and-write game, especially if it’s not eating my quarters. This is a game I can’t wait to show people, because it’s such an interesting idea. I’m going to shout about this game near-constantly.
I love getting multi-ball. I love when my wild plan for getting buckets of points works. I love when I finish a goal section and get a cool effect. This game is everything I love about pinball, just a bit slower-paced. I want to share this game with everyone I see.
Abandon All Artichokes
We played this one a few times over the last year, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’ll be one that’s easy to teach new players, but it’s also inventive in a way that will catch experienced players. That’s exactly the sort of thing I love taking to game nights. Combine that with some lovely, fun art and theming and you’ve got a game that can really create excitement in people who aren’t knee-deep in the hobby.
The latest from Oink Games: Moon Adventure, In a Grove and Dokojong
Oink Games, a Japanese publisher, has a wonderful reputation of inventiveness, and I’m excited to see how these games meet that particular expectation.
Is a cooperative version of Deep Sea Adventure in the form of Moon Adventure really going to be that great? (I’m guessing it will be.) Dokojong looks like a ridiculous little bluffing game of finding a dog among an opponents’ tiles. I’m here for that. And an expanded edition of In a Grove, a game I never played? Sounds great to me!
MicroMacro: Crime City
So. I haven’t played this game, but I’ve seen photos. I’ve read descriptions. I’ve looked longingly at it on my shelf. I might even play it sometime very soon. The idea of basically a cooperative, difficult Where’s Waldo? I would never have thought it would work. Does it? I’ll let you know!
I absolutely adored the first game from Flatout Games, Calico. It was a tremendous first publish. Cascadia looks like another nice one, and I love the Beth Sobel art. Is this going to be the year I play loads of abstract strategy games? To be honest, it’s likely.
This is a Kickstarter game that hasn’t quite come in yet, but I understand it’s very close to fulfillment. I’m excited to give the latest from Leder Games a spin with the right group. It looks like it will be a bit on the heavier side. Will I enjoy it? I just want to know. I guess I could have played it online much earlier, but you know what? I want to play it in person. I’m excited to eventually have the opportunity to do just that.
I do think this is the sort of game I’ll have to plan a day of games specifically around. I miss doing things like that. It’ll be nice to return.
Let’s wrap this up with a game I played solo last year (or was that this year? Time is hard to figure out.), and I quite enjoyed my exploratory experience. I’d like to get this one in front of some friends and play a campaign. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve played from Red Raven Games, and this was no exception. It might even be my favorite from the company to this point. I can’t say that definitively, though, until I’ve tried it with people who aren’t myself.
Well! Thanks for reading all this way. I know it’s probably much more interesting to hear about games I have played, and I’m hopeful I get back into that groove sooner rather than later.
Oh, and a side note! I’m working currently on a new podcast, and I’d love to share it with you as a test listener. If you enjoy short science fiction stories from the 1950s, drop me a note, and I’ll add you to my test listeners group and give you a little bit of a spiel. (Also, thank you!)