In Ye Olden Days, I used to rant on this blog. I complained about indie games and game boxes, about colors and player numbers. I whined about people whining and respectfully stated why I didn’t respect highly respected games. At some point it faded away — which is too bad because I at least enjoyed those pieces. So, today I’m going to return to that old style of writing and rant about something that’s been bugging me.
The topic is player aggression, by which I mean the ability to wantonly and freely attack another player, to crush their hopes of victory, to see their resources driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women (or men). For a long time, eurogames were afraid to approach the topic at all, but as eurogames have spread beyond Germany — in particular as they’ve mingled and reproduced with American games — aggression has slowly come into the field.
Increasingly, deckbuilder games come in all shapes and sizes. The subgenre no longer always equates to a big box containing 400 cards that’ll be supplemented every six months.
Instead, you can have a deckbuilder that features a small, fixed decks of cards packaged in a single small box. That’s the case with small-press Pergamemnon, by Bernd Eisenstein’s ironGames — which also offers a lot of additions to the deckbuilding field as well.
Over the course of 2009, I deliberately played through all 22 games then published by Alea, from Reiner Knizia’s Ra to the brand-new Alea Iacta Est. As I played each game, I wrote an analysis of it at my livejournal. If you wish, you can still read the original 22 Alea posts there.
Rather than keep all that material locked up on a non-gaming site, I’ve decided to bring it over here, where I’ll be revising and regularizing the content to make it into a more coherent series. So, here is the first of several articles on Alea, based on my thoughts from a couple of years back. I’ll be publishing more every 2 or 4 weeks, so as not to dominate the blog with this material. Continue reading