When people ask me what games I like to play, I always have to hesitate, because there are so many types of games, and I enjoy most of them. Board games, console games, card games, computer games, party games... Every one of those genres contains titles that I really get into. If you take a spin through the Games tag, I've mostly only mentioned the big, expansive console games I've been playing, so I thought I'd devote some space to the smaller games I've been playing lately. A few of them belong to a genre that deserves its own entry, so that'll come later. The other games I've been hitting hardest lately fall into two categories:

Cheapass Board Games

Cheapass is a remarkable game company. Instead of selling a full game kit with all the trappings, they assume you already own things like dice and Monopoly money and tokens, so all they have to send you is a stripped-down board and some rules. Naturally, this drives the price down, and if that weren't enough incentive, all of their games are extremely imaginative. Some friends of mine own a bunch of them, and thankfully figured there's no better way to while away the winter hours than by hosting game nights. Though we've experimented with no less than ten games, we've been focusing on four:

1) Fish Cook: This game is still in its beta version. I feel so special for getting to play it! I've only played once, but that was enough to realize that I'm going to like this one. A bunch of dice are rolled to represent different qualities of fish to go into one market, and number of ingredients to go into a separate farmers' market. From there, you and your competitors buy up the available goods to meet the requirements for the recipes you'll be cooking later that day. Strategy enters in when you aim for the most profitable recipes on one hand, while limiting others' access to the ingredients they need on the other. I'm looking forward to giving this one another go. (Grade: A-)

2) Deadwood: Sometimes, the story behind the game is as entertaining as the game itself. In Deadwood, you're a terrible actor looking for work on B-movies. You make your way from scene to scene, accepting any role that will make you a buck, from "Man Falling Off Roof" to "Aging Saloon Owner". The rules were a bit unbalanced, which the game designers have recently addressed. I haven't played with the updated rules yet, but here's hoping that my star turn as "Man On Fire" will earn me some bank soon. (Grade: B-)

3) Spree: Not all of the professions you take on in Cheapass games are noble. In Spree, the players' chief aim is to rob an unguarded mall. You gleefully dart through the atrium, picking up all the "items" on your list (represented by standard playing cards) and trying to get back to your car in the parking lot so you can score them. Only one thing stands in your way - the other players. They can rob you or even shoot you (not fatally, you just fall down for a while). It's a deceptively simple idea that packs in a lot of mischievous fun. (Grade: B)

4) Kill Dr. Lucky: Speaking of mischief. This one is apparently so popular that it has been adapted into a "real" game. Sort of like Clue in reverse, the object of Kill Dr. Lucky is to... Well, kill Dr. Lucky. But he's called "Lucky" for a reason. You have to find yourself alone in a room with him, out of sight of all the other would-be murderers. And no matter how deft your attack, other players can play cards that cause you to fail in all sorts of ways, from a guilty conscience to a sneeze. This game is a breeze to learn, and highly enjoyable. (Grade: B+)

iPod Apps

Naturally, you can't always throw together a group of people every time you feel like gaming. Sometimes, you're on your own, and are trying to kill five minutes between meetings or whatever. This is where my iPod comes in. There are hundreds of gaming apps out there, many of which are free. There's often a trade-off for that, though, whether it's limited content or irritating requests for personal information and/or making you rope your friends in. I've been cycling through a few of these freebies, lately. Some more successfully than others.

1) Auditorium: A fantastic little freebie that has turned out to be very challenging. All you do is direct streams of light into sound bars. As the sound bars fill, the music swells, and when all of them are playing in perfect harmony, you move on to the next level. That's all there is to it, and yet trying to get the light streams to flow the way you want can be pretty difficult. (Grade: A)

2) The Simpsons: Tapped Out: A world-building game wherein you set your favorite Simpsons characters to various tasks. Once those tasks are complete, you can expand your Springfield and your roster of characters. Tasks can take anywhere from 45 seconds to 24 hours, so it's fairly easy to jump in, assign a bunch of tasks, and jump out. Of course, that facility also limits how interesting the game is; there are some clever little dialogue bits, but so far, the actual gameplay is pretty rote. (Grade: C)

3) Middle Manager of Justice: I first became aware of this game on The Gameological Society, which gave it a negative review. As I read it, everything they mentioned as a detriment seemed like a selling point to me. Building up funny little superheros via corporate management sounded like fun, so I downloaded it. As I suspected, it was pretty entertaining to send my heroes to improve their skills via office lectures and facing petty criminals on the streets. Unfortunately, though the game delivered on that front, it was so buggy as to be unplayable. It got to the point that it would crash every time I sent someone out to fight. After a while, I got fed up and deleted it. (Grade: D+)

4) You Don't Know Jack: I really enjoyed this back when it was a computer game, and when I saw a friend playing the app version on his iPad, I knew I had to give it a whirl. Although there are only five questions daily, a lot of the elements are still the same: Fake ad sponsorship, Dis or Dat, Gibberish Question, and of course, the last question is always the Jack Attack. This game links to your Facebook account, so you can see how you stack up against the friends that also play it. And although the game gives you the option of inviting additional friends, bragging about your score, and other things, it happily doesn't force you to do any of them. (Grade: A)


Post a Comment

Copyright © Slice of Lime