Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Games in 2010

I've been playing a few new games this year that have been great fun.

Twilight Struggle is a great two player game that focuses on the events of the cold war. The US and the USSR fight for influence throughout the world in order to gain supremacy. Each game takes about two hours, so I'm not sure about implementation in the classroom, but we're addicted and have been playing for a couple of hours each night. Twilight Struggle is published every couple of years by GMT games and was about $60 pre-ordered over the web.

Three quick games that are great for the classroom are from Fantasy Flight games Silver Line series - Citadels, Condotierre and Colossal Arena. Citadels is a great game for up to 5 (after five it becomes a bit slow), easy to learn and has a great element of backstab and competition. Condotierre is a game about medieval/crusader Italy, where players fight for control of emerging city states. It has a really dinky board but has some real meat in the gameplay that is accessable to students. Colossal Arena is the surprise of the three as the betting mechanic and card flow develops as the game is played. All three of these games can be taught in minutes and promote consideration of strategy for future games. They have a real magnetic quality. Each can be picked up for under $40 online.

Anyone that has played 500 and #$%hole knows that trick and bluff based paired card games can be engaging, strategic and addictive. Tichu (supposedly played by 600 million chinese players every day) is no exception. It has a weird flow and is seemingly random until new strategies emerge the more it is played. I played it with 500 players that were very critical, but I would love to play this more with people that have a more open mind to exploring this game. A tichu deck can be created from a normal deck (and marking up four special cards mahjong, phoenix, dog and dragon). The rules can be found online.

I had a quick game of Sorry Sliders ($15 at Toys r Us) which is a great little dexterity game. Similar to the ending in ludo, players try to reach the end of their target and other players try to eliminate them. It's a great game for the end of a small class or for kids 7-12 on a rainy day.

I found a great new online store - A weird name but he does have a lot of unusual and hard to get games. Ordering was simple and delivery was fast. I was impressed.

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