Second Season – Our Second Impressions of Board Games (Week of 7/28/19)

Too often we find that the first play of a game is centered on learning the rules and mechanics of the game, so it is hard to give coherent thoughts on what we like or dislike about that game. We are going to give our second impressions, a “Second Season” if you will, to those games we have just played for the second time. First up:

Great Western Trail

GWT Cover

 

Great Western Trail was published in 2016 by eggerspiele and later in the United States by Stronghold Games. The game was designed by one of my favorite designers, Alexander Pfister, and the artwork was provided by Alexander Pfister and Andreas Resch. The game was nominated for several awards and was recommended for the Kennerspiel des Jahres in 2017.

Great Western Trail is set in the Old West as the players are rival cattlemen, trying to get their cattle from Texas to Kansas City, where they ship the cattle off via railroad in order to earn the most money. Along the way to Kansas City, the players can visit buildings and take advantage of the abilities that the building grants them. Do you want to build more buildings? Do you want to purchase more cattle to upgrade your herd? Tough decisions must be made.

Pros:

  • For the most part, the components are pretty good, with one exception (see below) – the cardboard tokens are of nice thickness and the wooden tokens are OK. The cards are of good quality;
  • I like the look of the board and the cards. I know some people do not care for the cover art, but I actually like the sepia-look of it;
  • The game features some of our favorite game mechanisms – worker placement, hand management, and deck building;
  • I really like the theme of the game;
  • Beth and I very much enjoy the game play of this one. There are tough decisions that have to be made throughout the game;
  • The game has an expansion, Rails to the North, which adds to the replayability of the game, but it is not a necessary expansion in my opinion.

Cons:

  • The rule book is a huge con on this particular game for me: I do not care for the size (that is a personal preference, I know), I do not care for the size of the font or the spacing (as I have mentioned previously, I have bad eyesight), and trying to find things in the rule book is difficult at times;
  • The player boards are thinner than I would like. I bought overlays from BoardGameBoost on Etsy.com (you can check them out here);
  • The game play can be long, depending on the player count and whether there are AP-prone players;
  • The iconography can be difficult, especially for new players to the game.

Bottom Line: Beth and I enjoy this game quite a bit. This is definitely a game for us where the pros outweigh the cons. It stays in the collection.

 

New Bedford & New Bedford: Rising Tide

New Bedford Cover

 

New Bedford and New Bedford: Rising Tide were published in 2016 by Dice Hate Me Studio. The game was designed by Nathaniel Levan with artwork provided by Nolan Nasser.

New Bedford and its expansion are both set in the town of New Bedford, Massachusetts. The players are owners of whaling ships in the 19th century who are not only attempting to catch the most valuable whales, but are trying to add building to the town in order to enhance its prosperity.

Pros:

  • The components for the game are very nice and the rule book(s) is well-written;
  • The theme is unusual and since I enjoy Moby Dick, one I like;
  • The game features one of our favorite mechanisms, worker placement;
  • The expansion adds quite a few buildings and also gives suggestions of game set-ups using the buildings in both the base game and the expansion;
  • The two-player game plays quickly;
  • The game has a solo mode;
  • The game is easy to learn and play.

Cons:

  • The game really needs the expansion, I think, due to the limited number of buildings in the base game;
  • The game can feel like multiplayer solitaire at times, which does not bother us, but might bother others. I am speaking here of the 2-player experience. That might change with more players.

Bottom Line: I would happily play this one when I am looking for a shorter euro game to pull out. It stays in the collection.

Dinosaur Island

Dinosaur Island Cover

 

Dinosaur Island was published in 2017 by Pandasaurus Games. The game was designed by Jonathan Gilmour and Brian Lewis. The artwork for the game was provided by Kwanchai Moriya, Peter Wocken, and Anthony Wocken. In 2017, the game was nominated for the Golden Geek Best Thematic Board Game as well as the Golden Geek Game of the Year.

Dinosaur Island has been called “Jurassic Park in a box” and to a certain extent, it is. The players can use their scientists to research DNA and then use that DNA to create more dinosaurs. Of course, holding those dinosaurs is a security risk and you have to guard against the threat level getting to be more than you can handle.

Pros:

  • There is already an expansion to the game, Totally Liquid;
  • Beth, especially, loves the theme. Since I have never seen the movies or read the book, the theme is interesting to me, but I cannot compare it to Jurassic Park;
  • The rule book is well laid out and very readable. I have no problems finding information for any questions that I might have;
  • I like the artwork. We have the Deluxe Edition of the game and the components are awesome. I cannot speak to the regular edition of the game;
  • I love the fact that there are variable end game objectives, which certainly adds to the replayability;
  • There is a solo mode;

Cons:

  • To me, drawing the hooligans out of the bag is way too swingy in a 2-player game. The last game Beth and I played, the difference in the game came down to the luck of the draw. I was drawing hooligans and she was not. There are things that can be done to mitigate this luck, such as hiring security guards, but that is assuming those particular cards come out;
  • Beth and I find the short game completely unsatisfying;
  • Some people might consider the artwork for the game garish. It does not really bother me – hey, I lived through the 80s!

Second Season Continues. . .

We are hoping that publishing this Second Season as we are calling it will encourage us to get our once-played games to the table and determine whether they have a place in our collection. See you next week with more Second Season games!

As always, please be sure to check out Board Game Geek here for information on these and thousands of other games.

Stasia and Beth

2 Replies to “Second Season – Our Second Impressions of Board Games (Week of 7/28/19)”

  1. Charlotte

    Not played any of these, but I would like to try Great Western Trail some time. I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy it. I need to find someone with a copy.

    Dinosaur Island otoh doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve watched some gameplay videos and it just looks too lucky and too basic, with little to make it interesting over other euro games. But clearly it resonates with a lot of people! (I guess I’d try it if someone else wanted to play it, but I wouldn’t seek it out.)

    Reply
    1. I hope you get a chance to play GWT at some point, Charlotte. It really is a good game!

      Dinosaur Island is one that Beth enjoys more than I do, but I do enjoy the game. The luck of pulling hooligans out of the bag is an irritant to me though, which is one of the reasons that I like the game less than Beth.

      Stasia

      Reply

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