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Musings: Food for Thought in Bits and Bites

RANDOM MUSINGS on the fin-de-millénaire games scene . . .

6 May 2010 . . .

Ever notice that a playing of Dominion: Seaside that includes the Pirate Ship, unless there are significant defenses, and sometimes even so if there are enough extra action cards, is always a pirate ship game. You can choose to participate in the piracy or avoid it, but you can sure you'll have to incorporate it into your plans.

Isn't it interesting that Ameritrash fans appear to have more love for Puerto Rico than for Agricola? Is this really justified? After all Puerto Rico doesn't even include a pirate ship (though it could). So what is the reason? Is it the roles? Maybe the interaction? both?

Ain't it cute how interactive has become a euphemism for screwage? Games with constant auctions or trading à la Settlers of Catan have interaction too, but that's not usually what's meant when people use the term. In fact Agricola may have just as much "interaction" as Puerto Rico, but it's just a lot less obvious. Unless, that is, you take the last chance of food out of someone's mouth.

Whatever happened to positive forms of interaction? When people in Catan trade, it's win-win.

Funny isn't it that over the years almost no successful games have picked up on the Settlers of Catan trading mechanism. Is the thunder stolen because because there's a new Siedler product every year ... Or is it that an elegant market – one which sufficiently differentiates each player's supply and requirements – is a real bear to design?

Is Le Havre always going to be a complex network of development paths or with more playings do broader, simpler patterns emerge?

Remember how just a few years ago the perfect number of players for a German-style game was five and three was an unfortunate number? Whatever happened to that? These days four is ideal, sometimes three and you're lucky to find something that supports five well, or at all. ...


by Rick Heli    twitter image