Got my copies of The Game Report. Thanks! Here are some games you might consider trying out if you haven't already.
Midnight Party (now Ghost Party by Ravensburger) is always a big hit at holiday get togethers with non-gaming friends. It can handle up to 8 easily and is lots of simple, dumb fun (making scary ghost sounds while playing is mandatory. Ooooh! I'm getting scared just thinking about it :).
Roller Coaster Hippo (Ravensburger) - Players travel around a track and have to mime, sculpt in clay and do other silly things to keep advancing. Sort of a hybrid of lots of parlour games. Not too challenging, but fun nonetheless. I've often thought of redoing some of the cards to make more sense for an older and non-European crowd.
Daytona 500 (Milton Bradley) - Snatch up a copy of this fine racing game if you can. Plays best with 4, and is quite simple-- great for non-serious gamers-- but also keeps the serious ones coming back for more.
All of these games should be available in the States. You'll have to look in yuppie kids stores for the Ravensburger stuff and K-Mart or Wal-Mart should have Daytona 500.
Thanks for the recommendations, Carl. Ghost Party, if I recall correctly, is a tabletop version of musical chairs, right? Done with the usual Ravensburger panache, no doubt. I've seen Roller Coaster Hippo in stores but dismissed it as a kiddie game. Perhaps I should take a second look. I've heard lots of good things about Daytona 500, but just haven't gotten around to picking up a copy. I'll have to remember to do so soon.
A friend handed me a copy of your wonderful newsletter, which I promptly devoured. Your 'zine is just the sort of publication that piques my attention. I will be highly recommending your title to the serious game enthusiast friends I have, when I see them over the upcoming holidays. Unfortunately, many of these game-playing friends are now scattered across the United States, and scheduling conflicts with those still local often means we only get to play only once or twice a month. It is such that we spend far more time talking about games than playing them (a familiar story, I'm sure). Sometimes, in fact, I believe I have reached a point where I enjoy reading about and discussing games more than I do playing them. To that end, your newsletter-- no matter how infrequent-- will go far in filling this particular need. I look forward to future issues and your continuing success.... As far as my interest in games is concerned, let's put it this way: if I ever hit the lottery, I'm going to start a game company. That pretty much sums it up.
Thanks for the kind thoughts. I think it's pretty safe to say that many new game companies would pop up if readers of this 'zine hit the lottery (and if any of you do, I'm available...). I know what you mean about scheduling conflicts and gaming friends being scattered across the country. The ready availability of gaming partners is one of the things I miss most about college.
I'll try to get you an updated Desert Island Games article, but I won't have time 'til January at the earliest. Will have to do some serious thinking about my list, since there were so many good new games at Essen this year. The top five is easy, though: 1. Adel Verpflichtet, 2. Wildlife Adventure, 3. Liar's Dice, 4. Modern Art, 5. Niki Lauda's Formel 1.
Believe it or not, number six may now be En Garde, the little fencing card game from Abacus. It breaks all the rules, being a two-player game, being a sports game, etc., but it is terrific. Other new candidates for the list are Tal Der Konige, Rheingold, Das Hornberger Schiessen, Sticheln, Was Sticht, Vernissage, and Rette Sich Wer Kann. The big problem remains where to list the great games which are much more complicated like Die Macher, 1829, and Titan. I rarely play them anymore, but I'm hoping I'll have the time again someday, and being stranded on a desert island would be the perfect situation for that.
I'm looking forward to your Desert Island Games list, Alan. Think you can get it to me in time for next issue? There's an awful lot of German in your list. I guess that shouldn't come as a big surprise, but it is a rather sad commentary on the state of the American gaming industry. Where are all the great games from these shores? There are scads of American role playing companies, but a paltry number of houses producing quality board games. Hell, a paltry number producing any board games. All the best stuff seems to come from overseas these days, and it's getting so that you have to understand German to be a gamer.