New to Stew March 2017

Another bumper month of new games hitting the table in front of me. Do any cut the mustard?

Yes, of course, most do. There are very few bad games out there these days. We are lucky people. With a big games weekend in March I had plenty to write about. But it is the middle of April. I know, I know. I have been ill for the first few days then I was away on my hols watching the musical genius that is Jean Michel Jarre play a big gig in Israel and I have come back to a great big pile of work……

Anyway the games…… There was one that stood out from the rest, but there was a number of impressive new games played this month.

Champions of Midgard 9/10

I knew very little about this apart from the Southend group I play with rate it a lot. I was lucky enough to be given a copy of this at Essen and circumstance dictated that it remained unplayed.

I assumed from the title that it was a fighty sort of euro, but it is very much a worker placement with a combat element against the game, not other players. It felt polished and everything about it shouted quality. Worker placement lovers will really like this. I did. It is up there with the best like Manhattan Project, Pillars of the Earth etc. although it will never beat the daddy, Caylus. Nothing will. Fans of Lords of Waterdeep might want to check this out too, similar elements but adds a new level to the genre.

Imhotep 8/10

I had been hearing good things about this and again was keen to get a game of this when offered. A very straightforward worker placement/area majority game. One of those games that is accessible to non gamers as the rules are very straightforward, may even be a contender for my niece. Nice big chunky bits too. But also enough game there for gamers to like it too, I guess in a similar way as Splendor, although the game is nothing like Splendor.

Plague Inc 8/10

I was apprehensive when asked to play this as I wasn’t a huge fan of the computer game and I have played Pandemic Contagion which is an identical theme and going through the rules there was a lot of similarities, too many for my liking. However where Contagion falls down, this shines. The theme is there and is more atmospheric than Contagion which just felt like a bog standard area majority. This is an area majority too, but there is far more too it and the theme is a lot stronger.

One of a growing number of games that can only be played once and you either sell it on or have destroyed it doing the tasks you need to do. This one does not need to be destroyed, but can only be played once. There were 3 different scenarios, each getting harder in difficulty. We did all 3 one after another as a team of 4 and it was really good. There was no dominant player issue and everyone was doing their bit. The third scenario was working as two teams of two and not able to communicate until you meet up as you start separately.

Exit 7/10

There are a number of these games, small boxes with a slightly similar idea to Unlock above, but these only have one scenario in the box and you need to destroy the game to be able to complete the scenario so the clever games company stops the 2nd hand market, but as these are about £12 each new, it is not a huge hit on the wallet. I found this less intuitive than Unlock and there was a dominant player problem as it can play large numbers and there was players just sitting there while some were looking at stuff needed to work things out. It was fun, but Unlock was far better.

Manhattan Project – Energy Empire 7/10

I so nearly kickstarted this and I don’t do kickstarters. I’m kind of glad I didn’t now. It is an OK worker placement, but one player suffered from 2 bad dice rolls (one really unlucky) on the first 2 rolls of the game that put them out for the rest of the game. I’m not a fan of games of where that can happen whether to myself or others. Apart from that it seemed a solid game using the artwork of Manhattan Project, but I think it lacked the charm or something, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it felt like that there was something missing.

Port Royal 7/10

A push your luck, card drafting, set collection sort of game. A very nice filler that took about 30 minutes to play. There is nothing that made it stand out, but what it did, it did it well.

Portal of Morth 7/10

I really didn’t know what to expect with this when I picked it up at Essen. It looked interesting and had nice dice. You basically have to try to survive the hordes of creatures that head onto your player board and you get to try to manipulate whose player board these beasties visit. I enjoyed this, but felt that it was a bit too long at three hours with four players. I’ll certainly play it again, possibly at an all dayer rather than an evening games session due to the length.

Spike 7/10

Ohhh, trains. Hopefully it won’t be as dull as The Last Spike and thankfully it wasn’t. Action management, route building pick up and deliver… all the stuff you would expect from a train game.

Undermining 7/10

An action management resource gathering type of game. The board looks very similar to Super Motherload, but that is a deck builder, this is most certainly not. It has cute little subterranean vehicles that you move around the board, but it did feel a lot like Super Motherload even despite the lack of deck building except that it was not as good as it.

The Walkind Dead : All out War 6/10

Zombies. I am yet to play a good zombie game. This was a miniatures game based on the TV series. There are a number of scenarios and we played a team game and it was over pretty quickly, fighting over supplies while dodging zombies. I often get a feeling of ‘Oh, is that it?’ When playing a zombie game and this was exactly the same. Underwhelming. It’s a shame really as I have just started getting into the TV series.

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