Board games return to the forefront this week as we prepare to play the game of Risk 2210 that got snowed out in March. Risk 2210 is a supercharged version of regular Risk that adds sea and moon colonies, special commander units that allow people to buy and play diplomacy, naval, space, land and nuke themed cards, and is played over the course of five turns. The game’s been one of our group favorites since we first playtested it for one of my SCIFI.com reviews, I’ve already discussed Risk 2210 extensively in a previous column, so I’ll refer you there for more Risk-y goodness.
HeroClix has continued to enjoy a resurgence within our gaming group, with folks going so far as to organize mid-week gaming sessions in addition to the occasional Friday pre-game matches. Our present Holy Grail is to design effective teams for use in three-way battles which account for perhaps 1/3 to 1/2 of our group’s HeroClix matches. Evil Genius and Erilar have been strategizing about it in our group’s forums, with Evil Genius arguing that good 3-way armies need:
- Lots of actions.
- A two-figure-per-100-points spent ratio.
- Some way of tying up your opponents.
I’m inclined to agree. I recently built a 400-point army designed specifically for 3-way combat. It’s a Barrier/Phasing team that’s designed to bog down one or both opposing teams while increasing my own team’s mobility. I use cheap Barrier pieces like Avalanche and Blizzard to throw up and maintain solid walls and use figures such as Magik, Shadowcat, Vision and Silver Samurai to quickly strike at my opponents, carrying along a cheap combat unit or two along with them. I also use Psylocke, who has Enhancement (which boosts range attack damage by one) as well as Blades, to support and defend my Barrier figures. I’ve only played it once in a two-way battle, but I think it will work well against three opponents.
Catan on Xbox 360
The big news this week for board gamers with Xbox 360s is that Settlers of Catan was released as an Xbox Live game. It can be played locally as a single player game against AI opponents, or online versus human ones. I bought it last night and played two quick single player games.
I can report that the game is extremely faithful to the original, and still feels like Catan. It’s got a randomly assembled hexagonal board, all of the standard development card and a straight-forward trading system. So far the AI seems pretty solid; I won’t my first game against “Easy” opponents, but lost a close game against “Moderate” ones. The AI players are shrewd enough not to trade with you if you’ve got too much of a lead, and they appear to hold grudges against opponents who consistently mess with them (by, for example, regularly hitting them with the robber).
I’m looking forward to some online play this weekend with some of my fellow Geezer Gamers, and this might just be the game that gets my Mom to upgrade to a 360 (she being something of a Catan fanatic because of the Windows version). Although the tabletop version of is very popular with my gaming group, we won’t be playing it online just yet because I’m the only one with a 360 … but that might change over the next year or so.