New to Me: Summer 2013

It’s been another quarter, and thus time for another listing of games that were new to me — mostly including new releases, but also including a few older ones that crossed my gaming table. As always this is an assessment of how much I like the games, rather than whether they’re great or not. I tend to prefer light to medium euros that don’t make me work too hard.

As you can see, there’s still a bit of emphasis on cooperative gaming; that’s because I was finishing up a complete book on the design of cooperative gaming. I hope to talk more about this in the future, but this could end up being the first “Mechanics & Meeples” branded game book! To keep up-to-date, I encourage you to join the Mechanics & Meeples page on Facebook that I’m now putting together.

The Great

Hanabi (2013). A cooperative game about playing fireworks cards to the table in the correct order. It’s a terrific game because it’s all about trust. The other players have to tell you what to play, but the language that they’re allowed to use is so deeply constrained that you have to have faith that what you think they’re saying is what they’re actually saying. Did I mention that it won the 2013 SdJ? I’d prefer to see the SdJ go to games with a bit more meat … but this game is so clever and innovative that I nonetheless have to say it’s well deserved.

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Anatomy of a Genre: Train Games, Part Three — Stock Holding

This is the (somewhat delayed) third article in my series dissecting train games. The first part covered connections train games and the second part covered pickup-and-delivery train games. This one covers railroad gaming’s final major mechanic: stock holding.

In my opinion, stock holding train games can be the most complex in the category. That’s because they’re sometimes full of numbers and can run for many hours. So, consider this the other end of the spectrum from the simple games that I covered when writing about connections. I should also be upfront and say that this is the sort of train game that I personally have the least relationship with, as connections and pickup-and-delivery games tend to be more my speed. (Nonetheless, I seem to have played almost a half-dozen of them!)

Stock Holding



The stock holding mechanic permits players to buy partial ownership in some entity. This allows multiple players to all share in the ownership of the entity — and perhaps to even buy and sell it over the course of the game.

The trick is, of course, to figure out how to value the entity that everyone’s buying into — because the act of buying cheaply into an entity and then having it grow in value is usually how one wins a stock holding game. However, dividends and the sale (or merger!) of entire companies can also raise monies.

It should go without saying that when you combine stock holding mechanics with train games, you get players investing in railroad lines.

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