Friday, 2 January 2015

A Year of Gaming

2015 is upon us, and that means something very important; it's another year of opportunity to play more games. I mentioned in my last post that 2014 was a fantastic year for gaming however, and promised to touch more on this. Over the next few days, I will talk about this, including my favourite board games, favourite video games, and best events of the year.

Today I am going to start by talking about the best board games of the year. Just to note, when I say best board games of the year, I am of course referring to games that were released this year. To further clarify, I can only accurately discuss games that I have managed to play, so while there are some clear hits out there from 2014 like Dead of Winter and Zombie 15, my game of the year based on my own experiences has to be Camel Up.

Camel Up has a rather clever blend of game mechanics going on to create what could only be described as a 'manic masterpiece'. The premise of the game is that we are all gamblers watching a camel race somewhere arid and no doubt stuck in a hump (yes I did that). However, in a tradition not at all different to that of something bizzare such as Wacky Races, we also have the ability to sabotage and influence the race, not content to just sit and watch from the sidelines.

Each player can take one of four given actions in their turn, and play continues until each 'leg' of the race has finished. This happens once each of the camels has moved. One of the four action is to move a camel. Now the key thing to understand in this game is that nobody owns or controls any given camel. Instead, a pyramid full of D3's whose colours correspond to each camel sits looming in the center of the racetrack until a player decides to get the ball rolling. They are paid a coin for their trouble, and a die is randomly ejected from the top of the pyramid. The colour and number tell us which camel moves and how far. In a similar vein to Ribbit, the camels will climb on each others' backs if they land in the same space, and the bottom one will carry the others with him. This can create a very unpredictable finish as you may imagine.

The other actions are to bet on the winner of the leg, bet on the winner or the loser of the overall race, and to set traps on the board. These traps can either slow down or accelerate a camel stack that lands on them, and pay the owner of the piece when they trigger. The bets are all about order, and the sooner you bet, the more you will get paid if you are right. Finding the balance in timing and surety is the key to the game.

The picture on the front of the box really says it all, and Camel Up is a bizarre and wonderfully unpredictable game that keeps us playing over and over. It won Spiel des Jahres for a reason, and here at Tabled it has won my game of the year also. Well played.


Today's question is rather simple and follows the example of the post above exactly; what was your favourite game to be released in 2014, and why?


Next time I will be discussing my favourite video game of 2014; nobody will ever expect it.

No comments:

Post a Comment