Monday, January 01, 2007

Back By. . . Er. . . Popular Demand

I decided at some point in the fall of 2006 that I wanted this blog to focus on the minutiae of my play experiences. Over on Have Games, Will Travel I tend to get caught up in the 10,000 foot view of gaming so much that I often forget about the little things. In 2007, I intend to use this space to counter that trend by touching on every game (board, card, or roleplaying) that I play, starting with today.

This afternoon was spent cleaning out the game closet, figuring out what stays, what goes, and what needs to played and evaluated. We managed to fit all of the "to be played" games on the top shelf, and now our goal is to go through all of them as quickly as we can. Tonight, we checked Ark off the list. Ark looks like it's a game about trying to fit lots of animals onto a ship, but really it's an area control game with a complex placement mechanic. Whenever you put an animal on the ark, you get credit for it in one of five scoring pools. You win by controlling these pools, but in order to do so, first you have to draft a card (which is tied to a specific pool), and then place it, but only according to strict and complex conditions. It's a little fiddly, but at points it reminded me of El Grande, one of my favorite area control games. It's a deceptively interesting little game, and it's terribly cute as well. It's definitely staying.


Blogger daw65 said...

"It's a little fiddly"

A little? I find it fiddly in the bits (keeping the cards in the right rows, making sure the ark is sufficiently balanced, moving the little dino meeples about), and finicky in the rules (those placement requirements you mentioned). I liked the game, but that combination will definitely make it hard to bring to the table. Not everyone is as tolerant of fiddly and finicky as I am (and apparently as you are as well).

12:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Tevis said...

I didn't have a problem with the bits, as they all seemed to be about the best way of representing the problem at hand. I suppose you could take chits rather than place the dino meeples to indicate who has which majorities, but I think the current system is a better way of displaying that information. I did feel like the rules had a lot "non-essential complexity," which is what I really mean by fiddly (I think). I think you could streamline several of the rules and still have essentially the same game. As it is, it does present some teaching difficulties, which may keep it from seeing a lot of plays.

I do love the artwork, though.

1:33 PM  

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