Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Alex Randolph


Blogger mark aka pastor guy said...

Nothing interesting about the voting, except that I was surprised that Twixt (one of those dry abstract "classics") attracted as many votes as it did.

OTOH, I think three games of Randolph's that didn't make the nomination list should be mentioned:
- Leinen los!: a dexterity racing game with cool wooden bits
- Square Off: one of the first games to feature the designer's name on the cover... a sweet real-time puzzle game
- Monster Fressen/Die Heisse Schlacht am Kalten Buffet: two different (but closely related) push your luck games... the "Americanized" version of these games is Pushover, which is odd but not particularly good.

12:27 PM  
Blogger huzonfirst said...

I agree, nothing surprising, and a category that figured to be flat. Mark may wonder about the popularity of Twixt, but it IS a classic abstract, one of the original 3M games, and frankly, there wasn't much competition. Only six of the 14 nominated games fell outside of the family/filler category and four made the finals (the only omissions were Big Shot and Sisimizi). Given half a chance, this group (present company included) will almost always go for the meatier stuff.

Randolph was a pioneer and a talented designer, but with his predilection toward the light and the abstract, he wasn't one of my favorites. Still, Ricochet Robots is a classic and Code 777 is very good. Incognito is clever, but the endgame seems weak. I didn't vote for Raj (never played it, probably never will, DEFINITELY not my kind of game) and went for Big Shot instead, which I think is quite a good game, but not too widely played. Of the other games, the only ones I've played are Russelbande, Wurmeln, and Oster Insel, all of which are silly fun but pretty forgettable. I do agree about Die Heisse Schlacht--even though the game is light, the dice rolling mechanism is clever and makes for a nice subgame.

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Erik Arneson said...

I will third the notion that there's nothing particularly interesting about the voting here. But I want to put in a good word for Inkognito, which I love to play. I don't think I've played it yet in 2006... need to change that.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Chris Farrell said...

Well, I for one have some doubts about Code 777. This is a brutal brain-burner even by the standards of brain-burners and, quite frankly, I'm not even sure it merits inclusion as a game - it's more of a puzzle-like activity. I mean come on, it's a deduction game where you don't even get to pick what questions you're going to ask!

To me, this seemed like a game for extreme deduction fans only.

As for the rest ... Ricochet Robot(s) is a brilliant game, although they missed a glitch (a broken, or at least extremely confusing, reflector) on one of the boards in Robots, which is not so good. Raj is a little minimalist for my tastes. Die Oster Insel is fairly mediocre.

Personally, the only game I ended up voting for Ricochet Robot. Part of that was just a lack of exposure, though. Inkognito is a well-regarded game I haven't played. I've played Twixt only once, and it was ages ago. I wouldn't be suprised if this got a voting boost not because people actually play it, but because it was a "known classic". I dunno, maybe there are pockets of Twixt fans out there, but I haven't seen it on the table in our local game groups, at local GamesDays, or at Cons ... well, ever.

10:12 AM  
Blogger huzonfirst said...

Actually, Chris, of the three "pure" deduction game standards (Black Vienna, Sleuth, and Code 777), I'd say 777 is the lightest, precisely because you DON'T pick your own questions. It's a brain-burner all right, but the others are even tougher.

Oh, and by the way, "extreme deduction fans" is a redundant phrase. In my experience, people usually either love deduction games or they avoid them; there's little middle of the road.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Kurt Adam said...

I'm a Twixt fan, but I haven't played it recently just due to the 2-player abstract-ness of it. It's harder to entice people to play something like that when we have an assortment of multi-player goodness to choose from.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous josh miller said...

Larry, I don't think "extreme deduction fans" is redundant. I neither love nor avoid deduction games, and I can say the same for much of my gaming group. The problem with deduction games is that in their most basic form, they're often more puzzle than game. That's certainly the case with Code 777, which I like but don't love. I did vote for it. Like you and unlike Chris, I see it as a lighter-style deduction game. Someone whose brain is wired for deduction games is able play flawlessly. If you have more than one such player at the table, then Code 777 is a pure luck game.

Along with Code 777, I voted for Inkognito and Richocet Robot. The last is my favorite Randolph game, but again, there's very little "game" there - just speed puzzle solving. But it's the only Randoph game that generates any enthusiasm from me.

I also nominated Xe Queo, but it didn't make it to the final voting.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Derek Carver said...

His finest game, by far, has to be CORONA (that subsequently appeared with modifications under other names, but he original is still the best by far.)

The other is KANGARUH - the one Randolph game that is still regularly played here (our brains not longer being able to cope with the demands of CORONA!)

7:47 AM  

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