After a very long stretch of replaying the same games, however fun they might be, I went to Tuesday night board games this week with nothing in hand. My plan was to play at least one new title, Death Angel, the card gameification of Space Hulk, which Josh brought. When I perused Quarterstaff Games’ open play library, I grabbed Back to the Future, Straw and Dixit, just to further prompt myself to play something new.
After a bit of Tales of the Arabian Nights, in which Scheherazade was lost in Leon and got totally rooked by a charlatan posing as a beggar, I jumped over to try out Death Angel. In it, space marines run through a ship infested with genestealers, trying to achieve an objective — killing the biggest, baddest ooglies of the lot, namely — before they’re all ganked. Unsurprisingly for a cooperative game, it’s tough to beat. Each player gets some number of marines to control, who move in formation through four locations. The formation is represented by a line of cards, with terrain features like doors and control panels on either side of the line. Genestealers boil out of the shadows and vents, swarming the marines. It seems like more than a bit of a crap shoot whether any marine will be in a position to attack or properly defend against the teeming hordes of monsters.
I’d definitely like to try this one again, especially now that I have some idea of how it can go. Taking advantage of the door control, for example, seems to do wonders for reducing the number of genestealers on one’s six, for example.
Back to the Future
I hate to say it, but every time I play Back to the Future, I like it a little bit less. I think of Chrononauts and can’t help but see Back to the Future as the clunkercated offspring of an already quirky — but still lovable game. Which is sad, because I love the Back to the Future films.
Dixit is a game I resisted playing for a long time. The rules made it sound like just another comparisons non-game in the vein of Apples to Apples, only with artwork. Only . . . it’s a bit more. And just “a bit” in a nice way.
Instead of just picking a random noun from a hand of them and hoping the leader of the rounder choose it, as in Apples to Apples, players in Dixit choose a picture to go with a word, phrase, sound or story declared by the round leader. That’s the first difference: the players are engaged more than throwing cards on the table by being asked to conjure clues and interpret them. The second difference is there’s art. And it’s surreal, storybook-like art, which I dig, having gotten a good look at some of it. Flip through the pictures at Boardgamegeek and see what I mean.
So there’s a creative component in Dixit that I hadn’t expected to find. There’s also a bit of game play: trying to gauge just how obvious a round leader is being with their clue. Because the leader gets points if some players guess, but none if they all guess correctly. Plus, there’s incentive for others to play cards that fit the clue, because they’ll get some points as well for offering a suitable fit to the clue.
The drought of repetition has — briefly, perhaps — ended. Looking forward to next week.