October 2014 Mailbag

Time again for another installment of the Bottom Shelf Mailbag. You have questions and I have answers and sometimes they're related. If you have a burning question that only I can answer or you're just bored, feel free to ask you own question and have it answered in a future mailbag article.

What type of game is most attractive to you? -Chris Headley

My taste in games is always evolving and what I look for in a game now is different than when I first started. I first started off playing and seeking out the driest, dourest games there were. Trading goods in the Mediterranean? I'm on it. Investing in a railway company? Count me in! Middle aged man frowning on the cover? Hold me back! I didn't need pretty pictures or  silly stories. All I needed was a strong design and a handful of victory points and I was happy. Things change and now I want more. I'm still decidedly in the 'Euro-game' camp, but I now appreciate presentation to a high degree. Game design has come a long way and there are so many great games coming out that I don't want to settle for a good playing game with poor art. I want everything! Games like Yedo, Troyes, and Archipelago are proving that strong game design and strong theme are not mutually exclusive. And I, for one, couldn't be happier.

What games coming out this year are you most looking forward to playing? -James G.

As many games as I play or own, I'm always looking toward the next one. Funny how that works, isn't it? And it's a particularly good time to be looking ahead in the wake of SPIEL in Essen. If you're unfamiliar with the show, it's one of the largest gaming conventions in the world and will usher in the release of hundreds of new board games. I actually previewed the event previously, highlighting some of the games I'm most looking forward to. If I had to narrow it down to just one I'd have to go with Deus because of one man: Sébastien Dujardin. He is responsible for perhaps my favorite game, Troyes, and I will blindly follow wherever he goes next.

Favorite Zombie or survival type game? -Chris M

As prolific as zombies are in the board game world I can't say I've played very many. The only zombie game I actually own is Zombies!!! I was young and didn't know any better, please forgive me. If I were to broaden the criteria out to survival type games, my played games is also surprisingly sparse. I'd probably have to go with Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island. It's a great game about surviving on island. There's great tension and the stories that it tells are always memorable. I suppose I tend to gravitate towards games that focus on building up rather than fall apart. Though I am looking forward to giving Dead of Winter a try (a survival and zombie game!).

That's all for this month. Remember to send your question my way to have them answered in the future!