I have a bit of gaming problem. I’m starting to fall in love with some pretty heavy games, and I don’t have anyone to play them with.
I won’t bore you with the details. It’s enough to know that I’m kind of low on free time and on accessible friends who are also fans of heavy games. If I want to play, I’m playing on my own. Yeah, I’m working on fixing this, but for now, that’s my sob story. The reality is that this doesn’t both me too terribly much. I view solo gaming much the same way as reading a good book or playing a video game. It’s just another single-person activity, but while there are a lot of great books and video games out there, I’ve had trouble finding many great solitaire boardgames with depth. I’ve pined for something to sink my teeth into, that would transport me to a new world and let me struggle through it, alone.
This is when I discovered the series of COIN games from GMT. I’d encountered the term “COIN” before. I’d heard whispers about the system, but I didn’t know much about the games themselves. I had them pegged as “just another type of wargame”. As a euro gamer, and even as a euro gamer who enjoys heavy games, I didn’t want to get myself mired in the thick porridge of wargaming. Too long. Too complex. Not especially fun. Right?
Back in the summer of 2013, Tim Fowers posted his Kickstarter page for Paperback, not expecting that it would pass it’s goal line for funding in four days and go on to fund at over 700% of it’s initial goal. It was a big hit in the Kickstarter world… and I missed it entirely.
Paperback (for those who haven’t heard yet) is a deckbuilding word game. If you’re familiar with Dominion (the granddaddy of the genre), you’re halfway to understanding how Paperback plays… you just need to substitute the knights and wizards on the Dominion cards with letters and letter combinations. It’s a genius mix – and it works beautifully.
I’m not really a wargamer. I’m a euro gamer tourist in wargame land. The COIN series of games from GMT are aimed at people like me… who don’t take well to serious hex and counter warfare, but enjoy the strategic historical aspects of wargames. These games bring more traditional boardgame approaches to this subject matter.
I didn’t think anything would beat 2012 for games, but 2015 turned out to be a big year for acquisitions for me, and a lot of great games showed up. I’m still wading through them all… a bunch of these are post-Essen titles. Nippon, The Gallerist, Signorie, Lignum, Spirits Of The Rice Paddy, Mombasa, Food Chain Magnate, Pax Porfiriana, Neanderthal, Grand Austria Hotel, King Chocolate… just to name a few.
I’m hoping to slow down and play some of my backlog in 2016. I’ve been talking on Twitter about an austerity program, implementing a 6-game limit in 2016. One title every two months! Okay, that’s not likely realistic… but if I can even manage a 12 game acquisiton limit, I’d be proud of myself.
If you’re a heavy game fan, you’ve heard of What’s Your Game? – the company that brought us Vinhos, Madeira, ZhanGuo, and other high quality titles. This October at Essen, they’ve got two new great looking titles on the way…
The first is Nippon, from designers Paulo Soledad and Nuno Sentiero, who brought us Madeira (also from WYG) and Panamax (from Stronghold Games). The second title is Signorie, from designers Andrea Chiarvesio and Pierluca Zizzi, who previously worked together on Hyperborea.
You can now pre-order both games directly from the WYG website.