The 3 R’s Meet the 3 E’s
Growing up and going to school, all of us were inculcated with the three Rs – reading, writing and ‘rithmatic. And those 3 Rs have served us well. Not only in our regular everyday lives but in our lives when it comes to gaming.
Reading has been put to good use in pouring over hundreds (thousands) of rules and rulebooks over these many years deciphering the ins and outs of all of these wonderful (and admittedly not so wonderful) games that have hit our gaming tables. Writing has been the means to an end in getting the word out about games for nearly three decades. And ‘rithmatic has been applied to calculating game scores, figuring out the odds that a strategy will be successful and, when it comes to analyzing games, always making sure that 2 plus 2 equals 4. But now it’s time to consider the 3 Es.
With the rise of the internet, the flood of information available has hit everyone like a tsunami. Although Mae West was famously quoted as saying “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”, that is certainly not true in this case. So just how do you separate the good from the bad and ugly? And that’s where those three Es come in.
Experience. In searching for the best games for your particular gaming tastes, you need to trust not only your experience but the experience of people whose judgment you can trust. Which leads us to…
Expertise. If you’re going to depend on someone’s opinion, it’s important they know what they’re talking about. We’ve all seen cases where self-styled “gaming experts” get excited over some game mechanic as “new” and “innovative” when, in point of fact, that particular design touch is neither. No deliberate misinformation here, just a combination of ego mixed with excessive self-assurance with access to electronics combined with a lack of knowing what you’re talking about. An all too common failure. But let’s not forget another important E…
Enthusiasm. You have to like – even love – what you do. Doing something that you don’t enjoy is the hardest work you’ll ever face. And that’s why it’s important to feel the passion for the games you play. If you don’t, how in the world will anyone else?
If we take these three E’s together, if you’re looking to expand your gaming knowledge, become enlightened as to the best games for your gaming interests, explore the vast array of gaming out there without losing yourself in the clutter, and be truly entertained when gaming, you have lots of choices. But you need to choose wisely. If you’re looking for the best mix of Experience, Expertise and Enthusiasm, then there really is only one Excellent choice – Gamers Alliance – and that’s a choice that should be E-Z.
In this issue of GA REPORT, we build bridges and a big house, complete our Roman objectives and makes our points (all five of them). Meanwhile Greg Schloesser gets island fever, Pevans gets mystical, Chris Kovac produces produce, Kevin Whitmore gets the big chill, Liga checks into – and out of – a room and Joe Huber becomes slightly unbalanced! Plus we welcome first time contributor Derek Croxton who watches his garden grow. And, of course, much more!
Until next time, Good Gaming!
Herb Levy, President
Summer 2013 GA Report Articles
Reviewed by: Kevin Whitmore (Rio Grande Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes, $34.99)
The year is 2097, the world is swathed in ice. Civilization has been swept aside, leaving few survivors who must band together for mutual defense and the quest for food. Tribes compete for limited resources, and only the biggest tribe will reign… It’s a bleak future that ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Hurrican, 2 to 6 players, ages 8 and up; about 30 minutes; $39.99)
With the death of Julius Caesar, Octavius, his adopted son, rose to power. In 27 BC, Octavius was awarded the title of Augustus and soon became the first Roman Emperor: Augustus Caesar. Players, in the role of representatives of the Emperor, compete to gather Senators to their side, ...Read More
Reviewed by: Greg J. Schloesser (Alea/Ravensburger, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 90+ minutes; $59.99)
Stefan Feld has developed quite the reputation for designing highly intricate games that contain a multitude of mechanisms, many of which are original and very clever. His designs are typically aimed at the strategy gamer rather than the family market. As such, dedicated gamers usually eagerly anticipate his ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Ravensburger, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 30-45 minutes; $39.99)
Subtitled "a Strategic Construction Game", Casa Grande lives up to its name as players compete to build as many structures as they can in a relatively small area where the sky is the limit! Casa Grande, a Günter Burkhardt design, comes with building blocks, building platforms and player markers ...Read More
Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 13 and up, 60 minutes; $54.95)
Cinque Terre is a "pick up and deliver" game, designed by Chris Handy, challenging players to pick up and deliver produce to five scenic villages on the Italian Coast. The person who has generated the most points by the end of the game wins. Each player starts with a ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Mayfair Games, 3-5 players, ages 12 and up, 75-100 minutes; $35)
In the mid 19th Century era of power politics in New York City, the Five Points area of Manhattan was known for crime, gangs and political corruption. Against this background, Andreas Steding has designed a game placing players into the heart of the struggle, competing to control neighborhoods and install ...Read More
[This issue features an analytic look at Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar by Joe Huber. To better understand Joe's "balancing act", it might be a good idea to refresh your memory of how the game works. Towards that end, we've "flashbacked" to the review of the game as it appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of Gamers Alliance Report.] Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Czech Games Edition/Rio ...
[In this issue, we welcome Derek Croxton. Derek remembers when putting "dice" in a game title was only done sarcastically, as when referring to Avalon Hill's War at Sea game as "Dice at Sea". He got into the hobby via Dungeons & Dragons but quickly moved on to Titan and wargames. Like many gamers of a certain age, he has found his time too limited ...
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (R&R Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 14 and up, 60 minutes; $29.99)
It's back to the track with the latest entry in the stable of horse racing games: Homestretch, designed by Frank DiLorenzo. This game allows players to enjoy two sides of horseracing: ownership and betting. Each player begins with his own set of Bet tokens and a player token ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Nürnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag, 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, about 15 minutes; about $10)
Dice are one of those game components that are game constants; you see them almost everywhere. But after years and years of taking them for granted, the attraction that gamers have for dice can wane until dice can often be, well, boring. And that's why, when a ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Pegasus Spiele, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $49.95)
The beautiful city of Venice provides the setting as players, in the role of Venetian nobles, compete to exert influence while constructing bridges and gondolas to become the "eminence grise" of Venice in the new Stefan Feld design, Rialto. Rialto comes with player boards for each participant, councilmen ...Read More
Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Matagot/Asmodee, 1-6 players, ages 13 and up, 30-45 minutes; $34.99)
As probably you already know from reading my reviews, I'm not a great fan of collaborative games. What is collaborative in the intent often degrades into a solo experience where one player drives the game for all. Throughout the years, designers have cleverly opted for different tricks to avoid this ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Out of the Box Games, 3 to 10 players, ages 10 and up, 20-30 minutes; $19.99)
In the Old West, travelling salesmen often attempted to convince the local populace of the benefits of whatever elixir they had with them. The elixir, of dubious quality at best, was commonly and contemptuously called "snake oil". But whether that concoction had any value was ...Read More
The 3 R's Meet the 3 E's Growing up and going to school, all of us were inculcated with the three Rs - reading, writing and 'rithmatic. And those 3 Rs have served us well. Not only in our regular everyday lives but in our lives when it comes to gaming. Reading has been put to good use in pouring over hundreds (thousands) of rules ...Read More
Reviewed by: Pevans (Feuerland Spiele/Z-Man Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 90+ minutes; $7
9.99) I came to Terra Mystica late. I missed it at Spiel ’12, but noticed when several people mentioned it as one of their favourite games of last year. I somehow got the impression it was a card game, a notion that was rapidly dispelled when I saw the deep box ...Read More
[Throughout the years, Gamers Alliance has been fortunate in attracting to our pages some of the finest talent in the World of Games. One of those talents is Joe Huber. Not only is Joe knowledgeable about games from a design standpoint (after all, he is the author of several successful published games - with his Starship Merchants - co-designed with Tom Lehmann - recently featured ...