(Editor’s Note: Apparently there is conflicting information about whether Hanamikoji was a capital at any point. I took my description below directly from the BGG site for the game, but other information seems to contradict that.)
Like any honest businessperson, we would all want to attract as many customers as we could to our shop.
In Japan in the olden days, in the old capital of Hanamikoji (why do I keep forgetting the “j” in that name?), there was a Geisha street where geisha plied their trade. They were graceful women who had mastered the art of dance, art, music, and various performances. It was very prestigious to attract the most talented geisha to your establishment to entertain your clients.
Thus, of course, competition for their favours was born.
So hey, let’s make a game out of that!
In Hanamikoji, two players vie for the favour of seven Geisha Masters.
Azul is an 2-4 player abstract tile-laying game designed by Michael Kiesling with art by Philippe Guérin and Chris Quilliams. It’s published by Plan B Games in North America.
Yes, there is a supposed theme for the game (“Azulejos” were originally white and blue ceramic tiles that the Portuguese king fell in love them with and wanted his palace to be decorated with them, with the players being tile laying artists who are competing to get the job), but let’s face it: it’s an abstract game.
As somebody who doesn’t really do abstract games, what do I think?
Patchwork is a game of grid-management, putting puzzle pieces into your grid in a much more efficient way than your opponent.
That’s basically what it breaks down to.
Since I am not the most spatially aware person around (I once tried to push a 5-inch object through a 1-inch hole), I don’t really care for these games.
In fact, when I played Patchwork on the table for the first (and only) time, I really didn’t like it.
When Digidiced put out an app for it, even though I’m a fan of their work, I had no interest in picking it up.
Then the other residents of the wonderful Stately Play web site forums decided to do a decathlon of various mobile games, and Patchwork was chosen as one of them. I told myself “fine, I’ll learn the game just to participate.”
Lo and behold, I ended up loving the game.
How can you not like a game where you make ugly quilts?
Designed by Paul Peterson, with artwork by Dave Allsop, Bruno Balixa, Conceptopolis, and Francisco Rico Torres, this 2012 game lets you “smash up” (Ha! I see what you did there) two classic factions into a deck of cards that you will use to stomp your opponents.
I’ve read a bunch of R.A. Salvatore’s “Drizzt Do’Urden” books set in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms setting.
I think I’ve read 40, but there are probably 40 more (editor’s note: That’s probably an exaggeration) and I’ve always enjoyed the world-building Salvatore has done with the series, almost even more than the characters.
Drizzt is a Drow (Dark Elf), a former denizen of the underworld that’s fittingly called “The Underdark.” He’s an outcast from Drow society because it is pretty much a cesspool of evil scheming and betrayal and they worship the evil spider-goddess Lolth.
Since Drizzt has his own game, why not play a game where you get to be a conniving betrayer who’s looking out for your family’s interest and trying to bring down the other noble houses among the Drow?
Now you can, with Tyrants of the Underdark (2016), the deck-building area control game designed by Peter Lee, Rodney Thompson, Andrew Veen with art by apparently nobody (I think it just spontaneously appeared on the cards in some miraculous event that should probably be canonized) and published by Gale Force 9 and Wizards of the Coast.
(Literally, the art credit on Boardgame Geek is “N/A”)