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Monday, June 25, 2007

Carcassonne & Power Grid

Friday night, I hit a buddy's all-night "unplugged" party.

Aside from poker, fine beverages, and premium cigars (provided by yours truly), it was a heavy board game night.

Two of the attendees are hard core traditional gamers, and they brought a huge selection of traditional and not-so-traditional fare.

Puerto Rico. Railroad Tycoon. Carcassonne. Power Grid. And so on.

It was my first experience with Carcassonne, which is a fantastically fun little strategy game. Think fief building and asset management without having to worry about actually managing assets. The timing for my introduction was good, because this Wednesday sees the release of the Xbox Live version of Carcassonne on Xbox Live Arcade.

Power Grid is a cool, actual asset management game. You've got to build cities, makes choices with power options in the context of commodities (supply and demand) constraints, renew resources, and generally try to have the greatest number of powered cities by the time the first player has purchased at least 17 cities. For those familiar with Union Pacific and Railroad Tycoon, it kind of plays like a cross between those two.

The best part of Power Grid for me is the slick retro art, akin to the stuff shown so far in the teasers and posters for video games like BioShock and Fallout 3.

And I really enjoy the in-person camaraderie of table top games. And, as a rule, there are fewer idiots ...


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