Vintage Board Games – The Cult of the Old (6/21/19)

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 . . .

Kingdom of Solomon

Kingdom of Solomon Cover

Kingdom of Solomon was published in 2012 by Minion Games. The game was designed by Philip duBarry, The artwork for the game was provided by Clay Gardner and Ricky Hunter. The game was reissued in 2018 as Wisdom of Solomon.

For us, there is a lot to like in Kingdom of Solomon. The Biblical theme is one that exists in very few games without being preachy. The theme is well-implemented in this game, but even for players not interested in the Biblical theme, this is a good worker placement game. It is a worker placement game that plays quickly, both pluses in our books.

There are a few issues with the game as well. As a 2-player game, this game does not play well in our opinion. However, the problems that we had with the 2-player game are corrected with the addition of the Chronicles of the King expansion. The rule book for the game, while short, is a little wanting in details and could have better explanations in some areas. There is an FAQ document on Board Game Geek to help with questions, https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/759194/fq-errata-comprehensive-collection-rules-clarifica

A couple of other problems bear mentioning too: the components and production quality are not the best. Also, in a 2-player game, we feel that the High Priest is overpowered. The 20 points that the High Priest gives is probably too much, at least in our games.  We have no idea if the new version of the game corrects what we see as problems.  Still, even with the issues we have with the game, we really like it.

Relic Runners

Relic Runners Cover

Relic Runners was published in 2013 by Days of Wonder. The game was designed by Matthew Dunstan with artwork provided by Cyrille Daujean.

This is a terrific family game. We first played it at Dice Tower Con in 2014 and immediately bought our own copy. As with every Days of Wonder game, the artwork and components are top-notch. The theme for the game is terrific – archaeologists are trying to rescue different relics and investigate ruins in the jungle. The game play is quick and the game is easy both to teach and to learn.

As female gamers, both Beth and I have a few issues with the game. All of the figurines are male, but the player boards are double-sided, with both a male and female side. So why not provide at least a couple of female figurines, especially for the female player boards that have the special abilities given on them? One of the player boards has a female figure that is oversexualized, with boobs spilling out of a shirt that no right-minded woman would be caught dead in should she go into the jungle.

Another problem is the rule book. It needs work as there is some confusion with them. In one of the questions that we had tonight, we had a purple tile that had an icon on it indicating that a player’s pathways could be moved from one space to an adjacent space. On my player board, I had activated that had the same icon on it as the purple tile, but made no specification in the rules that it had to be moved to an adjacent space. Those are the kinds of issues that we run into every now and again in the rules.

All in all, this game is a wonderful family game that I would not hesitate to play with the entire family. One word of caution, though, for families with very young children: the relic pieces are very colorful and will appeal to them, but the bluebirds have a very point top, so precautions should be taken if you have toddlers around.

Le Havre

Le Havre Cover

Le Havre was published in 2008 by Lookout Games. The game was designed by one of my all-time favorite designers, Uwe Rosenberg. The artwork was done by Klemens Franz.

This is one of my favorite Uwe Rosenberg games. It is another worker placement game, but in this game the players have only one worker. Their workers can move to the city buildings, their own buildings, and even their opponents buildings – they just have to pay a fee to get in. The game play in the game is easy – they move their ship, pick up resources or activate their worker. However, there is a ton of strategy behind those simple mechanics. And, because this is an Uwe Rosenberg game, you have to feed your people.

Our one criticism for the game is that for players who have analysis paralysis, this game may present problems. There are a lot of things that players can do on their turn and sometimes it is difficult to determine which one is the best thing for them to do. Beth and I do not take the game that seriously, but it may be an issue for those that do.

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.

As always, for information on these and thousands of other games, be sure and check out Boardgame Geek here.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Stasia and Beth

4 Replies to “Vintage Board Games – The Cult of the Old (6/21/19)”

  1. GARY COLLINS

    Thanks X3! Beside avoiding the hype, sometimes old games are available for less $$ (not if by Uwe unfortunately). If Le Havre works OK for two, why did they make ‘Inland Port’ which is rated much lower and costs more? We like Patchwork for 2 but I think something like Feast for Odin would be way too much. Is this somewhere in between?

    Reply
    1. Gary, I have not played Inland Port, so I really cannot comment on it. I have never seen the need to buy it as Beth and I enjoy Le Havre itself immensely and frankly, the game play of Inland Port never appealed to me. I should note that I also really like A Feast for Odin and was brokenhearted when I had to sell it recently. Feast looks more overwhelming than it actually is. I would say that Le Havre is a fair middle ground between Inland Port and Feast.

      Thanks again for coming by and commenting!

      Stasia

      Reply
  2. Charlotte

    Not played any of these! But I would really like to try Le Havre some time, but without buying it right away.

    Yesterday I played Tzol’kin – The Mayan Calendar for the first time and am now set on acquiring it. Such an interesting twist on worker placement. My favourite worker placement game is still Agricola, but that one was cool, too.

    Reply
    1. Charlotte, I have never had a chance to play Tzol’kin, although I would love to try it some time. Being without a game group, I have to buy all the games and that one is a game that I am not sure Beth would play with me. I am sure you can relate.

      I hope you get a chance to play Le Havre at some point. There are a ton of videos out there on the game play, if you want to see how the game plays. It is one of those games that has very simple mechanisms, but a wealth of strategy. I am terrible at it, but still love the game.

      Stasia

      Reply

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