Stone of Remembrance

October 5, 2007

Going to Philcon

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 09:53

I’ve accepted an invitation to Philcon in Philadelphia, which I’ve missed for a couple of years.

Philcon will take place on the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, November 16-18. I’ll be there all weekend.

Winnowing the Game Collection: Round 3

Filed under: Games — admin @ 09:42

The game collection contraction effort has reached the third round. In the first go and second go we kept five full-sized games and one small card game, gave the thumbs-down to eight games, and have retained one for consideration.

Here are the games in Round 3. Again, please keep my objective in mind: to send games away that don’t get played, not to pass judgement on games that might be favorites (but not our favorites.)

Medieval Merchant

This game is a Christwart Conrad design, originally published in 1998. It didn’t get played during the second round, primarily because it’s not much of a two-player game and I think it’s a bit outside A.’s wheelhouse, and has been retained for this round.

UPDATE 14 September: After a long delay, we’ve gotten back to this list. Medieval Merchant doesn’t do anything for L., so it will go to our game club to be played, or go on the trade pile.

VERDICT: Looks like it goes.


A 2003 game from Marcel-André Cassasola-Merkle, this is a tile laying game with multiple paths to victory. His 2007 Taluva has a very similar feel, but Attika is a much more intricate game. Building tiles are placed on a player mat and then moved to the modular board; buildings are easier to place when they are part of a sequence, and so forth.

Game in Progress

UPDATE 16 September: L. and I played this a couple of times, and she found it more interesting than Capitol (already traded away), and more enjoyable than Medina.

VERDICT: It stays.


This is an exploration game from Wolfgang Kramer – the quest for the secret temple in the lower right corner of the board. It’s a beautifully-produced game: nice components for the equipment and the treasures, wooden pieces for camps and explorers as well as thick gold disks.

The game is fun to play and doesn’t take a long time. My concern is that the game plays essentially the same way each time, and the play might be mechanical making it uninteresting.

Lookin’ for that Temple of Doom


This 2001 game was originally published by a small game company, and was described as “advanced rock-paper-scissors”, but there’s more to it than that. Tiles represent performers, and using a simple mechanism they are promoted upward toward the Sultan’s palace (the top of the board) or down into the street. The game was a limited edition and was rereleased by Winning Moves as Message to the Czar; we don’t own that version, and apparently the victory conditions were changed and broken.

I’m not sure if the game is interesting enough to keep, but it is unusual. I’d like to see this one stay, but it may depend on how it strikes the ladies.

VERDICT: We’ll keep it for now.


The 1999 SdJ winner is an abstract building game that has just been re-released with new graphic design. Still, at heart, it’s one of those games that people either like or don’t – Kramer/Kiesling seem to be good at designing games like that.

We have a copy of it because of a late prize table pick. I’ll be interested to see L.’s take on the game – maybe she’ll be one of the folks that like it.


Stefan Dorra doesn’t have a huge ludography – we have his Intrige and Kreta, as well as Heckmeck im Brautwurmeck, but there aren’t as many Dorra titles on our shelf as Kramer or Knizia. This game is essentially a tile-laying game with (as the box tells us) “beautiful wooden pieces”. As with some other similar games your success may depend too heavily on the inexperience of the person who plays before you; it’s been dismissed as a dud because of that. We’ll have to give it a try to see.

Beautiful wooden pieces

UPDATE 14 September: Beautiful wooden pieces or not, the game really didn’t work for L. As a multi-player, as noted above, it suffers from the problem of inexperienced players moving before experienced ones.

VERDICT: Looks like it goes.

Caesar & Cleopatra

A 1997 game, one of the first in the Kosmos 2-player line. The players attempt to influence members of the Roman Senate with card play. Our copy is in German; it’s rarely come out, and we’ll have to see if L. takes a liking to it.

UPDATE 14 September: We played this on vacation, and neither of us liked it very much.

VERDICT: It goes.

Blitz & Donner

Also called Hera & Zeus. This is a Borg game, in which two celestial competitors fight each other using legendary heroes and creatures. Again, it’s going to depend on whether L. takes a liking to it (or maybe A. – hard to tell whether she might like the mythological theme.)

UPDATE 14 September: L. really liked this game, and A. said that it looked like “War with special rules” L. wants to play it again.

VERDICT: It stays.


This game is another early Kosmos 2-player, originally published by Bambus; it involves area control on a series of Pacific islands. The strategy is based on creating cascades, where one play causes others to happen – very “Go” like. We bought it years ago and played it a great deal, but it remains to be seen if it still has a place in the collection.

Black is the Big Kahuna, by a nose

UPDATE 14 September: Now I remember why we don’t play this game anymore. My head hurts. Even if I drew the “right” cards, I’m not sure I can look ahead far enough to figure out what the hell to do.

VERDICT: Looks like it goes.

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