One of the strange things about the board game industry is that every successful title, no matter how simple, eventually gets a card or dice-based variant. These versions are rarely as good as the games they are based on and Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition is no exception. By reducing the scope of its mechanics, it loses the depth and nuance that defined the original.
When I was a teen, and for many years afterwards, Magic: The Gathering was one of my favourite games. Every week, I would meet in a local shop to play it and it would be rare for me to go more than a couple of days without building a deck or thinking about it. And yet, despite its enduring popularity, I no longer play it with any regularity.
Games with simple mechanics can be difficult to play well. Like I mentioned in my review of Ritforce, it can be difficult to know exactly what leads to our defeat. However, there are three core principles we can rely on in our pursuit of victory: Keeping our opponent in check, being efficient and making the powers of each elemental an integral part of our plan.
Last week I published my 100th article on this blog. While I’ve been writing about games for almost a decade, it was only recently that I began publishing every week. As I look back, I’m amazed at how much I’ve achieved and how many of you have enjoyed my analysis and reviews. Let’s celebrate by looking at our favourite articles and my plans for the future.
The Republic of Rome is long, difficult and drenched with an extreme dose of randomness. It features no cutscenes or flavour text, choosing instead to cover itself in dice charts and a manual coded like a phone book. And yet, it’s one of the most immersive, thematic and plainly exciting games both in and out of its genre. It’s the perfect example of how mechanics can create an incredible narrative and unforgettable gaming stories.