Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

The Laser Game: Khet 2.0:
This game has been on our shelf for a few months now, but we've only played it a few times. It's a very neat concept, similar to chess with lasers. There are a handful of different game pieces, each with very simple movement rules, and at the end of each turn, you push a button to fire a real laser across the board. Some pieces are defenders, and can survive a frontal laser, but not one from the sides or back, while other pieces have mirrors which reflect the laser at a 90 degree angle. The goal is to kill your opponent's king with the laser.

Playing the game requires a change of mindset from normal board games, since geometry is involved, which is probably why we turn to more traditional games when we're tired at night. However, I can see this being plenty of fun for people looking for a purely strategic two-player game without any luck involved.

Final Grade: B-

Jaipur:
Jaipur is a two-player card game of market trade. There are various types of goods that you can sell for tokens, and the goal is to have the most tokens at the end of each round. You can only have seven cards in your hand, so saving up for a big sale will prevent you from grabbing newly arrived expensive goods on the market. There are plenty of camels involved too, but they are a double-humped sword. Owning camels will get you bonuses, but taking them from the market instead of goods frees up a market slot for new goods that your opponent can then take. This game plays like Lost Cities with slightly more setup time.

Final Grade: B+

Game of Thrones, Season One:
I didn't expect to like this going in, because it looked like Lord of the Rings, and Lord of the Rings was stupidity stretched over a near infinite time period. However, the HBOification of the genre made it compelling and instilled an urgency to quickly watch it to the end. The first season had solid character actors, a good momentum (in spite of a final episode which just felt like setup for the next season), and a dense but followable tangle of intrigue. Since I was not familiar with the books, having the bundled pictorial family tree with the DVDs was very useful. I'm slowly reading the book now, and find that the progression of the story is nearly identical between the book and the show. HBO also takes its inventory of boobies to an epic level, which sometimes does nothing to further the story at all.

Final Grade: A

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