Archive for the 'games4two' Category

Review: Galaxy Trucker

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Red says:

Patch and I have some very dear, gamer friends.  These friends are in possession of, or perhaps possessed by, a very active eleven year old boy.

We adore the whole family, spawn included, but the mixed generations make game selection difficult.  Most of the time, game nights are a series of compromises, and we try to fit in something for everyone, and the kid is very good at wandering off when the grown ups decide to play something truely boring.

Just for a change, Patch and I decided to go searching for something that would be perfect for the entire group.  Our list of needs was so specific, we knew we would never find something that would hit every point, but there had to be some game which came a little closer.

The list:
No direct conflict between players (when families are involved, this can be key, trust me).
Layers of strategy, with just enough elements of chance that players of all levels can still win.
Aliens, but not as bad guys unless the game can be tweaked and played from the alien’s perspective. (This one was quite important for keeping the kid enthralled.)
Rounds that move quickly (no eight hour games).
Art that doesn’t turn Red off.

Amazingly, we found something that fit every criteria.  Galaxy Trucker caught my eye first because of the space theme, which I hoped would include aliens, and second because it was put out by Rio Grande Games, who I trust to put out interesting, quality products.  (The box art showing a galactic hauler with pudgy pink cannons and batteries strapped on every which way didn’t hurt either — the art carries through to the game with a cute aesthetic which somehow doesn’t take away the sensation of being a tough, inter-space trader one bit.)

The game play is broken up into three (four for experienced players) rounds, each one lasting half an hour or so.  The first half of each round is spent building the player’s ships.  For those of you familiar with Carcasonne, this section of the game is rather like a mutual solitaire version of that — mutual solitaire because all the players are building their own ships at the same time, with very little interaction, other than chatter and a non-intrusive bit of competition introduced by way of an incentive to finish first and/or tidiest.

The second half of each round involves all the ships flying through space and meeting up with various obstacles and bonuses.  There is no direct competition, but you are trying to get the most bonuses and come home with the most cargo aboard your ship.

Because you are privy to some of the challanges that will come up on the flight (pay attention to those radio broadcasts as you outfit your ship, Captain) there is strategy to how you build your ship — will guns or engines be more important this flight?  Will there be lots of cargo to stow, or am I better off putting in shields?  On the flight its self there is also strategy, whoever is in the lead at the end of the round gets a bonus, but if you are in the lead when pirates hit, watch out!  Yet bad luck can make even the most careful of planning go awry, and that clunker that didn’t look like it would make it out of dock can swoop in and make ridiculous amounts of space credits, winning the round.

And of course, there are aliens.  Friendly, helpful aliens that you can build life support systems for, and who use their mad technical skills to get more power out of your guns and engines.

All in all, it was the perfect game for that little group, and I suspect it will play well with most of our gaming friends.  It even plays well two player, so Patch and I can get a game in before bed.  Absolutely delightful, and highly recommended.

Adorable Death and Destruction

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Red says:

This week, Patch and I both have individual video-games going, as well as a co-op.  All three are utterly cute, in their own fashions, and all three manage to embody doom and gloom in a delightfully chipper way. (more…)

Stress Soup

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Red says:

Patch and I know better than to play competitive games together unless we are both VERY chill.  So most of the time we prefer co-op games, and one of our current favorites is ‘Splosion Man, which is set in a fun world, and has achieved a set of game play challenges which work really well for developing the individual players and the team.

However, the stress levels at our house have reached a point where even a nice, co-op session of ‘Splosion Man can turn into a nasty fight, with lots of deep button pushing.  Le sigh.  Statistics say that a majority of couples break up over money issues, and it’s true, unstable times can make it really hard to find the romance. (more…)

WiiWare Launches!

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Patch says,

So Nintendo just made me very happy and launched the “WiiWare” part of their store, which means that the Wii has original games for download at last. As I happen to be (not entirely coincidentally) on vacation, I went ahead and bought the four games out of the six launch titles that interested me, and settled in for some serious play.

First impressions:

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First Impressions: Terakh

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Patch Says,

So I recently picked up a little board game called Terakh from Tanga.com, and Red and I made time to sit down and play a couple of games last night.

First Impressions:  Red thought the game was just a tad bit on the fiddly side, but for me, it struck some nice balances between flavor and abstraction, and between skill and luck.  The game players a little bit like a cross between chess and WizWar, with some nice twists.

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Review: Double Dungeons

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Platform: Wii (Virtual Console)
Players: 1-2

Consensus: Very little co-op involved, mind numbing on all levels.

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Competitive Vs. Co-Op

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

Patch says:

Red and I played a normal and then a solitaire version of Quiddler together the other night, and it really drove home how well cooperative play works for us, vs. how poorly we tend to do at competitive play.

This isn’t isn’t to say that the standard game of Quiddler was bad. It’s just that, to maintain the easy flavor of the evening, we had to refrain from keeping score from round to round, which took away, perhaps, some of the point of playing the game. When we switched to “cooperative solitaire” mode, we could engage our full intellects and emotions in the game, and it felt much easier and freer and fun.

Red and I are both highly competitive, and while we can play head-to-head and have a fun evening, it works out much better if we’re working side by side. I suspect that we may not be the only gamers who run into this issue with zero sum games; part of the point of this blog is to highlight some of the better co-op games out there, both in electronic and in more traditional formats.

Review: FF – Crystal Chronicles

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Platform:  Game Cube linked with GBAs

Players: 1-4

Consensus:  Probably the best cooperative living room multi-player game out there right now.

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