Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Age of Empires III, Le Havre, Fairy Tale & Loot On The Way... Goodbye Stone Age!

Found out that an ex-student of mine was making her way back from the States after completing her degree so I took the opportunity to request a delivery favour which she graciously agreed. Did some research on BGG (where else?) and finally decided on a package of Age of Empires III, Le Havre, Fairy Tale & Loot - the last necessitated by the need to break the free shipping barrier at

Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery

Was contemplating between this and Chicago Express but after getting favourable comments about it at BGG, I figured that this would probably suit me better. It seems relatively deep with a multitude of ways to victory, and most importantly, sufficient conflict between players to keep me interested. I was initially undecided because I was wondering whether I needed another worker placement game since Le Havre was a definite order but it was reassuring to hear that it had a variety of mechanics including some area majority.

Le Havre

This was the game that prompted the order because after 3 tries with Marcus's copy, I realized that this was a game worth owning despite the price point. It was between this and Agricola and despite the latter being a more accessible game and the one Van preferred, I couldn't help but feel that Le Havre was inherently the better game due to its less constrained gameplay. I realized I highly valued multiple paths of victory and my experiences with Le Havre gave me that feel despite some opinions that the coke strategy seemed invincible.

Fairy Tale

This game had been a couple of my previous orders but I took it off every time. I finally took the plunge thinking that my collection lacked a deeper filler ever since I sold Race for the Galaxy. While no way as complex as RftG, I have heard good things about Fairy Tale and its CCG elements were particularly enticing since I realized that while I have never tried a proper CCG, those elements in various eurogames such as Glory to Rome and Catan Card Game appeal to me.

Loot (Reiner Knizia)

As highlighted above, this inclusion was due to a need to breach the US$100 barrier. I was pondering the option of acquiring Archeology: The Card Game instead but decided to opt for the safer choice based on BGG game rankings. Additionally, the ability to play up to 8 was appealing since it would serve as a option to entertain big groups. I gave away the same game at a Christmas gift exchange despite having never tried it and the feedback I got from the non-gamers who ended up with it was promising.

I was hoping Dominion:Intrigue would be released in time for the order but in vain. While I wasn't as impressed by its predecessor but I figured its accessibility coupled with the heightened interaction promised made it an interesting potential acquisition.

With such a load of games on its way together with BSG, Sorry! Sliders, Railroad Tycoon and Nexus Ops, I figured there was a need to trim down my current collection. In the end, I decided on Stone Age and got it sold today. It was a good-to-have game to have in my collection due to its accessibility to casual gamers. I enjoyed the dice which reminded me somewhat of the feel from Settlers but at the end of the day, I deem it too light for a worker placement game of its length. I would rather spend the time and some on a worker placement game such as Agricola or Le Havre. The game also lacks the tension of those games and blocking is rare, reducing the interactivity. At the end of the day, I decided that it was dispensable.

The only other non-filler game that I considered selling was Galaxy Trucker especially in view of its cost but Van likes it considerably. I too enjoy the ship building phase but what comes next is often disappointing. Nonetheless, its one-of-a-kind mechanic makes it worth keeping in the collection, at least for the time being.

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