This weekend, me and a group of friends went on a trip to a cabin out in the woods to play games all weekend. We had video games from Super Smash Bros. Melee on the Gamecube to Mario Party 10 on the WiiU as well as nidhogg and towerfall on PC. We also had a ton of board games with many titles I haven’t ever played so I was super excited for this weekend.
My favorite 3 board games played this weekend were Power Grid, Tokaido and Arkham Horror.
Power Grid is a fun strategy games about building new houses in different cities and getting paid to power as many of them as you could. It was interesting to juggle between expanding houses to bidding for new power plants that could power more homes while also trying to predict which resources would get more expensive as others bought them. I found it had the same elements of area control as Settlers of Catan without the random drawing of resources that I didn’t like about Catan. The bidding for power plants was a great way to directly compete with other players and even if someone got a great deal, it wasn’t long before an even better power plant opened up. Lastly, the fact that all resources were constantly available, only some were more expensive than others made it very easy to get the resources needed to expand rather than waiting for ore to finally come up. However, the need to calculate exactly how much was necessary to try and be as efficient with my money did take quite a bit of time and slowed the pace of the game down. I can definitely see it getting tedious as the game progresses and expanding became more expensive. Furthermore, power grid did not have any achievements for the longest connection of power plants nor strongest power plants though it could be argued that winning the game goes to the person with the strongest power plants as the winner is the player who has the most homes powered once one player reaches a certain number of homes built.All in all, both games have their merits and I’m happy to play both.
Tokaido is beautiful thematic game about traveling along the famous east sea road in Japan. Players are competing to have the best journey, taking in all the sights, enjoying the food, collecting souvenirs, taking a spa day and so on. Just like traveling, there is so much to do and see but one can’t quite see it all. It a juggle to try and see as much as you can while also focusing on something that might you might particularly favor more than others. The panorama portraits were quite a sight to see and the food was quite appetizing. While the artwork and theme were extremely strong, I felt the strategy was a little weak in Tokaido. There wasn’t much I could do if a player had the same interests at me other than trying to beat them to the punch. But if I pushed ahead too quickly to beat them to the punch, I was heavily penalized by not taking in as many sights as I can. Tokaido also has an interesting turn order mechanic where the person further behind on the road gets to go first. If all the other players for some reason pushed ahead very far, the slowest player may be able to take multiple turns at each stopped all the other players skipped.
Arkham horror is a interesting cooperative game where all the players work together to try and stop several Lovecraftian monsters from destroying the town/world. Monsters constantly emerge from portals. Monsters interfere with the players actions of collecting items to kill the monsters and the final Ancient One as well as trying to seal all the gates. If players manage to seal all the gates before the Ancient One awakens, all the players win but this is a very difficult task. If the Ancient One awakens, all players immediately must work together to stop the Ancient one before they all die. Working together with a lot of people I just met this weekend was a lot of fun. It was an excellent ice breaker and great way to get to know one another as we tried to optimize everyone’s actions and also watch out for potential dangers and tried to help one another. Unfortunately, it was quite depressing to all lose together despite all our best efforts. Several events had left us under prepared for the final event and though we were very close to winning, we simply did not have enough turns before we were all drained of our sanity and health by Cthulu.