Modern designers try not to include poor mechanics in their games. Losing a turn, for example, used to be absolutely commonplace, until they realized that not being able to play wasn’t much fun. However, designers are not always successful at avoiding their use. Sometimes, they make their way in, unintentionally. This is the case of Vagrantsong, whose 1920s cartoon extravagance is contrasted by its dated mechanical design.
There are surprisingly few mystery board games. While it seems a popular subject, most entries in the genre seem more concerned with logic puzzles than they are with investigation or murder. As a pastiche of Agatha Christie’s mystery novels, Suspects is one of the few new releases that bring a true whodunnit experience to the tabletop.
The Mind is, above all, a funny game about failing to do a simple task. It’s not a complex, multilayered experience or a deep, strategic brainburner. No, it’s a short filler where you try to play numbered cards in order. There’s only one catch: You cannot talk or show your cards. All communication is forbidden. Good thing you are a psychic, right?
In the 13 years since its release, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game has become a cult classic. Its fate, however, was tied to that of the TV show. After the license ran out, it became increasingly expensive and hard to find. Now it returns as Unfathomable, with slightly different mechanics and set in a Lovecraftian world. Which one is better, and why?
The Lord of the Rings is not a story of war. At its core, it’s not even a story of orcs, elves or magicians but one of sacrifice and friendship. Knizia’s adaptation of the literary classic is the only game I’ve played that truly recognizes this fact. Through its mechanics, it reflects the difficult journey of the novel and how only cooperation could overcome such dire odds.