February 21, 2012

What's the Big Deal?

Deals and discounts. Everyone is looking for a great deal. They want to feel like money was saved, triumph was had, or just that something is worth more than was paid. I don't begrudge anyone these things, because I think they're inherently human drives.

"What's he talking about now?" thinks the reader. Well as much as I love buying a brand new, shiny, shrink-wrapped box of board gaming goodness, I have also made the leap on occasion and picked up used or clearance games as well. The first one the I can recall buying was Age of Conan a little less than a year ago. The box was a little dinged up but when I opened it, I found that all of the contents were still sealed in their original plastic. Triumph indeed! Age of Conan is a spectacular looking game which I've sadly only tabled once, but is noteworthy as my first used game purchase.

Over time I have found other games in a similar fashion...and have yet to be disappointed. Arena Maximus was the second used game I purchased. While not still in its sealed condition, I would certainly have surmised that it had never actually been played by the original owner. And it's a really fun game!

Shortly before Christmas I bought Colossal Arena and was pleased to find it in the same condition as my Conan purchase. Opened box, sealed components, used price. Score another for me! While I would probably mark this as the weakest game I've bought in this fashion, it's still seen some decent table time, so it was certainly worth my money.

Most recently I picked up a trio of games, sealed and brand new, from one of my local gaming shops. These three games are based on the HeroCard system and produced by TableStar Games. The interesting thing about that system is that the heroes for each game can supposedly, and seamlessly, be used in any other game. I picked up Champion of New Olympia, Galaxy and Cyberspace, including all of their various expansions for a substantial discount. I think each game would have cost on the order of $30 to $35 each (including said expansions), but I spent less than that amount all three. Again, quite the coup...at least in my opinion

I had looked these games over a few times, but not having heard of the publisher, and finding the artwork to be of a substantially lower quality than that of Fantasy Flight or Mayfair Games, opted not to purchase them. Would I be as happy with them paying full price? Probably not. But are they good games? Absolutely.

Of course I have to qualify that statement by saying that I've only played two of the three thus far. I was very impressed to find that Galaxy and Champions of New Olympia are substantially different games, even though the central mechanic for conflict resolution in each is the same. Champions is a rather light-hearted super hero romp that can be played in teams or individually and hits a happy place in my soul for its subject matter. Galaxy is a much deeper game built around capturing and defending territory, but without a map as such. I expect Cyberspace to be even more in depth than Galaxy based on reading the rules. However I do think that while the components are very nice, the artwork and colors used in the game are sub-par at best. I hope the game play will outweigh my first impressions based on looks alone.

Having picked up these three games I'm very tempted to seek out the other three games produced by TableStar Games that utilize the HeroCard system. Each looks to be quite varied in terms of game play and subject matter / genre. The biggest problem will be tracking copies of each down. But maybe a brief quest is just what I need!


Sonneilon said...

Hey, you still use this! :D

Obsidian3D said...

Yup, I still post here. Sometimes quite a bit, more recently not so much. I've been tired and not really in the mood to write anything.