It seems like everyone these days is concentrating on “the cult of the new” where board games are concerned. We are guilty of doing the same thing, come to that, but we do not want to ignore games that are older. Defining “old” in board game terms is hard to do and feels very arbitrary. Hold old is “old”?
For our purposes, we are going to declare any game published in the United States before or during 2017 to be “old”. Games published elsewhere but not brought over to the U.S. until recently will not count as old for our purposes so Kashgar, for example, will count as a recent game because, although it was published in Germany in 2013, it was not published in the U.S. until this year.
So here are our recently played “vintage” board games . . .
Rise of Augustus was originally published as Augustus in 2013. The game was published by Hurrican in the United States. The game was designed by Paolo Mori with artwork provided by Vincent Dutrait.
This is a game that can be played by anyone because pretty much anyone has played Bingo. This game is Bingo with a few bells and whistles and an ancient Roman theme pasted on. When playing Rise of Augustus, you have a caller who announces whether you should cover up a dagger, a catapult, a chariot, etc with one your centurions on the cards that each player has chosen at the beginning of the game.
Each player has 3 cards that they are trying to cover. These cards give the players special abilities that can be used throughout the game or give bonus points at the end of the game. There are also one-time bonuses that can be earned by the players, although the gold and wheat bonuses can be moved from player to player throughout the game. The game ends when one of the players gets 7 completed cards. The scores are then tallied and the highest score wins.
Kingsburg came out with its first edition in 2007, published by Fantasy Flight Games here in the United States. The second edition came out in 2017 and was published by Z-Man Games in the U.S. The game was designed by Andrea Chiarvesio (one of the designers behind my loved Hyperborea) and Luca Iennaco. The artwork for the first edition of the game was provided by Mad4GameStyle. The artwork for the second edition was provided by Mario Barbati, Davide Corsi, and Roberto Pitturru.
Kingsburg is a dice placement game that game works very well with 2 players. Before rolling their own dice each round, the two players roll dice of non-player colors and place them on the board to simulate blocking by other players. That is all there is to the upkeep for two players.
I have to mention that Beth and I always play the game with the To Forge a Realm expansion. This expansion is built into the second edition of the game. As I mentioned previously, Kingsburg is a dice placement game. The players are placing their dice on the board in an attempt to gain resources with which they can build buildings for their piece of the kingdom. They must also plan for defense because at the end of the round, bad guys are going to try to invade. The king will help provide some defense, but the players never know how much he is going to provide – appropriately the role of the die determines the soldiers he will supply. This is a fast, fun euro and highly recommended!
We have blinged this one out a bit. . .
Roll Player was published in 2016 by Thunderworks Games. The game was designed by Keith Matejka with artwork provided by JJ Ariosa and Luis Francisco. The game plays just as well solo as it does as a multiplayer game.
Roll Player is a dice game in which players are building a fantasy trope, roll playing character. The players can choose between several races. The classes, alignment, and backstory for the characters are all chosen randomly.
The core of the game is controlled by dice. The players place their dice into several categories trying to match the values required by their class and/or match the correct placement of the die according to their backstory. Throughout the game, the players have the ability to buy weapons and armor and gain both skills and traits. Some of these will give the players bonuses throughout the game and some of them will grant game end bonuses.
Beth and I both love this game. Neither of us have ever played a roll playing game, but we enjoy developing our characters and telling stories about them as we do so. My love of this game is one of the reasons that I am so looking forward to Roll Player Adventures, which is one of my most anticipated games of 2019 (see the blog post here:
Shadowrun: Crossfire was published in 2014 by Catalyst Game Labs. There are several designers listed for the game, but the lead designer was Mike Elliott. The game was illustrated by Victor Perez Corbella. We never play the game without the expansion, Shadowrun: Crossfire – High Caliber Ops, which was published in 2015.
The original game came with only 2 missions, but the High Caliber Ops added several including our favorite scenario, Extraction. The expansion also added more Black Market cards, a couple more character cards, and several obstacle cards. Even without the expansion, the original game came with a ton of stuff! Multiple characters and upgrades – one of my favorite parts of the game – to go along with the other pieces of the base game. The expansion just adds more.
This game is hard to win, but I love the challenge of it. The fact that you are playing cooperatively only makes it that much better for me. The game is number 3 on my all-time favorite list of games (see blog post here: https://weboardgamebling.com/favorite-board-games-stasias-top-10-part-2/. I like this game better than Beth does, but she likes it too. We have never played the game as anything other than a 2-player game and it works really well that way. We have challenged ourselves to reach the 100-game mark this year. We are currently at 80 plays.
Old Does Not Mean Bad
Just because a game is not cult of the new does not mean it is a bad game. We hope that these looks back into “vintage” board games helps reacquaint both us and you as to just how good older games can be. For these and thousands of other games, be sure and check out Boardgame Geek (www.boardgamegeek.com). Thanks for reading and commenting!