Irish Dinos in the Park
Welcome back! I was able to play a bunch of new releases at the Alliance Open House. Too many to put in this post, so I’ll be sprinkling them in over the next couple of weeks. On to the games!
To be honest, I wasn’t too excited about this game, and I was wrong. Irish Gauge, published by Capstone Games, has the feel of an economic rail game without the complexity or two-week playtime commitment.
In Irish Gauge, your options per turn are limited to auctioning stocks of the five available railroad companies, building routes for companies you own, upgrading towns to cities, or calling for dividends. That’s it. That’s all you can do in the game, but timing and strategy play a big part in when you execute those actions.
The graphic design is simple, and maybe it’s a bit bland, but it works for this game. It’s a good example of servicing the gameplay instead of shooting a bazooka of color at the gameboard. I think the art style will bridge the gap between casual fans and hardcore rail barons, and I’m anxious to try this one again.
SOS Dino is a cute and cuddly children’s game published by IELLO and their imprint LOKI. SOS Dino is a cooperative game about helping the cutest dinosaur pawns in the universe and their eggs escape the dangerous lava flow from surrounding volcanos.
This game worked with my 8-year-old and my 4-year-old. Both girls were able to grasp the concepts, and I loved seeing the excitement and tension build throughout the game. I have a feeling this title might wear out our table, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the dinosaurs mysteriously disappeared.
When I heard about this game, all I could think about was lawsuits and gimmicks. ClipCut Parks, published by Renegade Game Studios, includes four pairs of scissors!
Each player gets a sheet of paper with park segments, five park cards, and a pair of scissors. On each turn, a dice is rolled to determine how many cuts a player may make. As the players cut pieces from their paper, they add them to park cards to fill in spaces. If a piece of paper falls off and it won’t fit in one of your parks, you have to crumble it into a ball and set it in front of you. The discarded paper balls are tie-breakers at the end of the game. But, until the game ends those crumbled paper balls taunt your inefficiency.
Clip Cut Parks offers a unique take on the roll and write genre and had enough puzzling choices to avoid gimmick status and remained solid. I’ll be playing this one again!
Obscurio, from publisher Libellud, is about a magical book that guides your team out of a haunted library and an evil sorcerer attempting to trap you for eternity. At its core, it’s Mysterium with a traitor. That’s not a bad thing, more of a shorthand for folks in the know.
I’m not sure if I like it more than Mysterium, but it does solve some of the issues in Mysterium such as the wonky scoring and add-on “gamer” elements. Obscurio, unlike its grandfather Dixit and its step-father Mysterium, feels complete.
The artwork in Obscurio is even better than Mysterium and contains even more odd details. The game also features magnetic arrows that allow the clue-giver to focus on a specific aspect of the art. The arrows and the distinct art give the traitor a leg up on trying to bungle the escape. In fact, it can be challenging to uncover the traitor based on how players interpret the illustrations, even when they’re trying to be helpful. This confusion takes some heat off of the traitor and makes Obscurio more accessible than most games with traitor elements.
I want to get this one to the table again before I make a final verdict, but if you enjoyed Mysterium or Dixit, give this one a try. It’s almost worth owning just for the art.
|Doug Kotecki is the Chief Curator at Tabletop Game Gallery, and even though his brain tells him not to, he still loves Taco Bell.|