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 . . .
World’s Fair 1893
World’s Fair 1893 was published in 2016 by Renegade Game Studios. The game was designed by J. Alex Kevern. The artwork for the game was supplied by Jason D. Kingsley, Beth Sobel, and Adam P. McIver. The game was a 2016 Mensa Select Winner and a nominee in 2016 for the Golden Geek Best Family Board Game.
In World’s Fair 1893, the players are spreading their influence throughout the fair, which was held to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas in 1492. There are several areas of the fair in which the players can spread their influence such as Manufacturing and the Fine Arts. Not only will the players get rewarded for spreading their influence, but they will gain Midway tickets and bonus supporters who provide special abilities that the players can use on their following turn.
Why We Enjoy this Game: This is an area control game that works extremely well with 2 players, a feat that is sometimes hard to pull off in the board gaming arena. The components of this game are great, but we replaced the cubes that represent the players’ influence with meeples that we purchased from MeepleSource. I love the artwork and the snippets of trivia about the Fair that are on all the cards. The rule book is well-written and well-illustrated. This is what I would call a mid-weight game, and for us, it is the perfect weight and length on days when we do not want something heavier.
Abyss was published in 2014 by Bombyx Games. The game was designed by Bruno Cathala and Charles Chevallier. The artwork for the game was done by Xavier Collette. The game was a 2015 Origins Awards Best Board Game Nominee.
Abyss is primarily a set collection and hand management game. In the game, the players are trying to influence the lords of the Abyss and put locations under the player’s control. They can also “fight” sea monsters in order to gain extra points.
Why We Enjoy this Game: The theme in this game is pretty much meaningless, but the artwork, which I love, certainly helps with that. We enjoy set collection and hand management games, and this one is a family favorite. We like the challenge of collecting the correct cards to recruit the lords that we each have our eyes on. The components of this game are very well done, as is the rule book. The rule book has some of the same artwork that is on the cards and it is very much appreciated. This is pretty much a Euro game through and through, and that is just fine with us. It certainly does not overstay its welcome.
Sagrada was published in 2017 by Floodgate Games. The designers of the game are Adrian Adamescu and Daryl Andrews. Both Adamescu and Andrews were artists for the game as well, along with Peter Wocken. This game was a 2018 Origins Award Nominee for Best Family Game.
Sagrada is a pattern-building game in which the players are attempting to fill in all of the spaces on their own individual stained-glass windows. There are restrictions on their windows though – certain spaces must be filled in with a die of a certain value or a certain color. Along the way, the players can use the tools that are available for that particular game, but it will cost them. Each player begins the game with a few baubles that they can use to pay the cost, but the number of them is limited depending on how difficult the window they chose is.
Why We Enjoy this Game: My one real dislike of this game is the rule book, so I want to get that out of the way from the get go. It is not that the rule book is not well-written or anything like that, it is the size of the font and the line spacing that are problematic for me since I do not have wonderful eyesight. The components of the game are terrific – the dice are translucent and I love the look of them. I also love the player boards that are shaped like stained-glass windows. The game play for this game is terrific. We love the puzzly nature of the game. The game is more thinky than you think it will be. The replayability of this game is high due to the variety of the potential windows available for the players to choose from and the fact that only 3 of the tools are played in any game. There are both private and public goals and these will vary from game to game, although there are few private goals. I would like to see more of them, which hopefully we will see in future expansions.
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