Last night saw the Fenland Gamers say “so long and thanks for all the fish” to the venue of our monthly meet ups and other gaming sessions for the last two years. For the next three or four months the monthly meet up will be at our Friday evening venue The White Lion. But hopefully by Christmas a new home will have been found for the monthly meet up.
Earlier in the day Gavin had posted on the clubs Facebook page that he was going to bring along Clank. Which I was really happy about. I’d wanted to try it. There has been a buzz about the game since it came out. Deckbuilder, push your luck, fantasy theme, what more could you want?
So our evening started off with Clank. This really is like Deep Sea Adventure but with a deckbuilding mechanic instead of the dice rolling. It has that feel to it.
Now I enjoyed this game. I liked the deckbuilding aspect, the push your luck of how deep do you go to get that treasure. Just like Deep Sea Adventure while you are trying to get deeper to get higher value loot, another player maybe playing the game as a quickly get in and get out, leaving you a mad rush to get out to safety with whatever loot you have managed to grab. I liked the idea of clank, and pulling cubes from the bag to deal damage.
It’s a nice game, that I’d happily play again. Does it live up to the hype? Not really. It’s a nice combination of mechanics. Its a good game, not a great game.
It would have been even better in our game if I’d managed to kill some-one off by making that early dash for the exit.
Despite not being a deckbuilder fan, or big on fantasy, Jonathan took the win.
Our second game of the evening was Barenpark. This game had a lot of buzz pre and during the expo. I don’t know why. I wasn’t struck with the game when it was explained to me at the expo. I’m sad to say that the game didn’t do anything to dispel my initial feelings about the game.Barenpark sucks. In fact I’d go as far as to say it is in fact a big pile of steaming bear poo. It’s as if the designer Phil Walker-Harding looked at Uwe Rosenberg’s work and thought “I know, I’ll remove all the stuff that makes this game a game and fun”. Rosenberg has used the main mechanic of placing polyomino tiles on a grid, trying to fill it up in several of his games. But he adds another layer to that like an economic layer and tile denial in Patchwork. Walker-Harding decided that just placing tiles on a board is game enough in itself. This has more in common with a jigsaw puzzle than a boardgame.
Now I can see why Jonathan likes this game. But it’s not because the game is any good. It’s not. There are other reasons. And to some extent yes this game is definitely not aimed at “gamers” but I’m loath to say it’s a gateway game. I think it’s far far simpler than that. Possibly a warm up to a gateway game.
Jonathan has decided to build an extension to his Nantucket Wing of Shame, by building the Barenpark cellar of over hyped games. Yes the “game” is that bad.
Oh for the record I won the game. I won at a game that I hate. I feel so proud of myself.
This is how I felt after the playing Barenpark. I just wanted to take my anger out on a bear!
That’s me in the bear outfit by the way. I was at a gaming expo a few years back now helping promote an idea game called Fist of Awesome. Which was a really nice 8 bit style graphics Streets of Rage type game. At the expo myself and a photographer would go round getting people to have their photo taken beating up the bear (me). Except the mature gamer podcast guys took it literally and actually did beat me up.
After my victory we had a discussion about the merits of the Barenpark, and some other gaming stuff. The usual boardgaming banter.
A great evening gaming despite Barenpark to say good bye to this great venue.