Monthly Retrospective: Railways of the World, Queue, Roll Player, Captain Sonar, and The Gallerist

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Monthly retrospective: Railways of the World, Queue, Roll Player, Captain Sonar and The Gallerist

Another month goes by and since I doubt there will be any games by Halloween, it’s best to think about it before another month of games comes along and erases my memories. It’s pretty easy to do, especially when the Friday Night Board Gaming group that meets in Sherman Oaks continually throws me new games and gives me more mechanics to think about.

So with a plethora of games at your fingertips, some exciting, some relaxing, and some downright infuriating, here’s the list of new games for this month:

Monthly retrospective: Railways of the World, Queue, Roll Player, Captain Sonar and The GalleristRailways of the world

Some say that games like Railways of the world are what built the backbone of many great economic simulations and all the cutthroat competitiveness that the genre entails. For those who don’t know Railroad tycoon-type games, your objective is to establish a track and then use those tracks to ship the goods to their destination. You can make your operations more efficient by upgrading your engines to deliver goods to more distant destinations and even building upgrades like hotels to generate more income.

But this game can be really difficult and ruthless. When you start, you are forced to go into debt, to look for start-up capital by taking out loans. Only by transporting the goods to their proper destination can you even generate the revenue per turn needed to pay off the interest on the loans. That’s right, loans never go away and you can’t withdraw them, which makes it a drag on the money you make, and therefore the points you could earn.

And just when you have mastered the management of that, you have to deal with other players. Make no mistake – this game is ruthless and when someone disrupts your plans it can hurt a lot. In the game I played I had a wonderful set of roads all set up for someone to rush at the last minute to move some critical cargo. If I could have forced this cargo to move, I would have gained 2 points. As it is, I stayed in second place.

It may all seem harsh and ruthless and not even fun. But there is gratification in seeing it all work out and I would definitely play it again. Still, I prefer economic games in the vein of a Food chain tycoon, where decision-making is a bit more transparent.

[Buy from Amazon]


Monthly retrospective: Railways of the World, Queue, Roll Player, Captain Sonar and The GalleristWaiting line

Continuing, we have Waiting line, a game that could be more of an object lesson more of a real game. Like what Monopoly was built from the The owner’s game and is used to show how terrible and inequitable capitalism is. Good, Waiting line rolls the same, except that it tries to show how terrible life in Poland was during Communist times, but without all of that inspires Solidarność to shake up the system. This is a game where you try to be the first to acquire all of the goods on your shopping list knowing that everything is scarce and you will have to patiently queue for your turn to access the goods.

Except people are ruthless and have no qualms about stealing and meditating. You can take advantage of bureaucratic inefficiencies to get what you need, use the black market to your advantage, and go the wrong way to get the prices.

Is this an illustration of life in communist Poland? It is a light game certainly, but nothing at the level of This war of mine. Performing this is an exercise in frustration and awareness more than anything else. You get a feel for how people can behave during these troubled times as they are doing their best to survive, but in terms of inspiring empathy for your neighbors there just isn’t much. here. i would check This Min ware if i really want to experience the struggle and the tension of trying to survive harsh conditions.

[Buy from Amazon]


Monthly retrospective: Railways of the World, Queue, Roll Player, Captain Sonar and The GalleristRoll player

As a former D&D player, I found the concept of this game intriguing. The term “roll-player” comes from D&D players who are very focused on optimizing character stats so that when the time comes to roll the dice, they will triumph in the end. As someone who loves the concept of planning and optimization, Roll playerThe theme of ‘seemed quite in my back alley: roll up a character and make it stand out as best you can.

Unfortunately, this is where the gameplay ends. Each roll of the dice lets you assign them in certain ways, but the randomness factors in a way that doesn’t make the game so exciting. If you are lucky and the missions go as they should, you will be successful. If you’re like me and you’re not very lucky with the dice, you might get stuck.

But what kills this game for me is that it’s all about character creation and nothing beyond. There are no quests in progress, no monsters to kill, nothing like that. You create a character, try to push her alignment where you maximize points, and maybe give her some interesting quirky traits that you can tell stories about. Mine was Jorvance the Dwarf Monk who has an unwavering sense of justice but often displays a reckless disregard for his self-preservation instinct. While having this creation in your mind can lead to some interesting imaginary scenarios, those scenarios ultimately never materialize. There is no sense of continuity that would make this character a living, breathing part of who you are. It’s a shame too, because with that added twist, the game could be more than just an exercise in character creation.

[Buy from Amazon]


Monthly retrospective: Railways of the World, Queue, Roll Player, Captain Sonar and The GalleristCaptain Sonar

Battleship gets a team facelift and I couldn’t be happier to welcome it with open arms. In Captain Sonar, you are part of a submarine crew chasing another submarine crew, trying to pinpoint where they are located so that you can destroy them with torpedoes or mines.

the Battleship guessing mechanics are not shoot-in-the-dark due to the design allowing you to narrow down where the enemy submarine might be. When someone is moving, their captain must announce which direction they are heading, allowing the other team to sketch a travel map. The rules regarding movement help fine-tune the submarine’s position, and the fact that the submarine breaks down during the game makes it difficult to effectively escape the enemy.

Take these factors together and you’ve got a really tight game. Of course, there are opportunities to align your systems so that you can do whatever it is you try to do stealthily, but your opponents will continually blow your neck down and the threat of a mine or torpedo keeps you on the alert.

Better yet, the deduction extends the Battleship-like the nature of the game, which makes it more thoughtful when teams infer enemy position. There is nothing more satisfying when you launch that torpedo in the dark to hear the other team grumpily confirm that you have landed a direct hit.

[Buy from Amazon]


Monthly retrospective: Railways of the World, Queue, Roll Player, Captain Sonar and The GalleristThe gallery owner

My wife loves art. I love heavy Eurogames. The gallery owner is at the crossroads between the two interests. Or rather, that’s what we thought. If you wanted a Eurogame on art, you better go for Reiner Knizia’s Modern Art. With The gallery owner, you look more at the exploitative art industry, where you catch budding, but hungry artists, and turn them into superstars so that you can profit from selling their art. The concept tickles my imagination, but with one game under my belt, I have become a little more wary in recommending this game.

The main problem is that there are many levers you can manage to market your artists and by extension their art to make monstrous profits. For example, you can land contracts, run public relations campaigns, and even hire international buyers who earn you special prizes or offer you bonus actions that you can use to make artists more valuable. In itself, that doesn’t sound too bad; the problem is that unlike other worker placement games, The gallery ownerThe movements of are so interconnected. That is, a move in system A affects systems C and B and system C can affect systems D and B, and so on. While this does deepen its gameplay, it takes a lot of patience to sit down, play, and mess in order to really understand what’s going on. It’s not like many other games where you can read the rulebook and come away with knowledge of the best games.

So, on your first game, don’t expect to be able to develop some sort of positional heuristic when you compare performance to other players. Just take your time to go through the game and figure out what you have to do.

[Buy from Amazon]


I’m really interested in what games managed to make your new games list last month. Let me know in the comments! And if you want to keep up with my wacky board game adventures, I post on Instagram quite regularly.

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