What Games Do We Play?

People are always asking me "what kind of games do you play?" This is a very difficult question to answer unless you've seen them. They defy description. Below are some examples of games we play and below that are some game notes from past games parties.

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Cattle Baron

Cattle Baron is a game involving lots of dice designed by Sean Patton. This set of dice represents a herd of cattle of different values. As a cattle baron, you collect cattle, trying to have the most valuable herd. You can protect cattle of the same color from rustlers but a herd of a variety of different colors is easy pickings.

Not a deep game but very colorful and easy to learn and play.

You can find the rules (you need your own dice) here: Cattle Baron Rules


Vinci is a game about civilizations. Your task is to develop your civilization to it's peak and then to let it slide into it's dark ages while you create another one. The winner is generally the person who manages to transition from civilization to civilization most smoothly.

This is a game with some depth. It also has beautiful counters and board and it's pretty easy for beginners to learn.


This is a game of Golem in progress. The goal of the game is to create your very own artificial being and send him out into the world to -- what else? -- destroy other golems. Your golem is awarded points for every turn he manages to stay out in the world and you get to keep all the points you can bring back.

This isn't a particularly high quality game but it's a lot of fun and very clever.

You can see someone's golem close up. This one has a few points (white chips) on it and has lost it's right arm. It's got a a clay head, body and leg (green), a flesh arm (red) and a single iron leg (black) giving it a total strength of 12. It appears to have an abnormal brain (blue) which gives it special powers.

Next to it are various golem parts on the "slab" -- these aren't ready to go out yet. Maybe when (if) the main golem comes back the player will be able to use these parts (plus what's left of the other golem) to make a new one (he seems to be missing only a arm).

Martian Chess

I believe this is Martian Chess from Looney Labs. I don't know much about it because I've never played it but according to Looney Labs you can play a lot of interesting games with this same set. (Would someone else like to write a description to go here?)

Settlers of Catan

This is Settlers of Catan, a game primarily of economic expansion. The idea is that you build roads and settlements (the colors blocks on the board) and they produce commodities and then you use the commodities to build more stuff. The first person to a certain score (you get points for settlements as well as other things) wins.

Mississippi Queen

Mississippi Queen is a riverboat game in which players try to navigate a river that changes every game and appears just as you get to so you never know what the river will look like. The leader only sees the next section of river a few hexes away but the boats farther back in the pack have more time to adjust. This makes it hard to hold a lead.

The game has a good system, good interaction among the players and a very nice balance -- although playing well makes all he difference, the win is often by a nose (or would that be a "bow"?).

Air Baron

Air Baron is a game that simulates the airline industry. You pay money to get airports and then, based on a randomizer cup full of chits with each of the different airports, some of them pay off. The player interaction comes after all the cities are taken up and the players start trying to take each other's cities.


Evo is a fun game except for the graphics. You start out with an impossible animal (with one leg) and bid on more legs, better reproduction, better protection and other improvements. Then, as the climate changes your critters reproduce better than the other player's.


Several people are trapped on an island that's sinking into the ocean. But don't worry, there are boats available to carry them to safety. But wait, there are sea monsters and sharks and whales in the water. Your job is to load your people on the boats and move them to the safe lands in the corners before the sharks or sea monsters eat them. Sea monsters and whales can overturn the boats. Naturally, the monsters are all controlled by the players. To make it more interesting, the people are all worth different amounts -- remembering which person is worth how much is all part of the game.

Taj Mahal

This is Taj Mahal. You lay down cards from your hand, attempting to have more of some symbol than anyone else. For example, you might play a card with two purple-skirted ladies and two orange-skirted ladies. As the play goes around I might play a card with two orange-skirted ladies and two elephants. Someone else might play a card with two purple ladies. On your turn you don't have more than anyone else so you have to keep playing. When you have the most of something on your turn you go out, get to play a palace, get to replace some of your cards and get some other benefits. The first people to go out have more choices; the last person to go out gets whatever is left. At the end of the game we score it all out to see who did best overall.


This is Vegas, a game from "Cheap Ass Games". I did not play it but I heard opinions from some that it has some structural problems.

Merchant of Venus

Merchant of Venus is one of my very favorite games. It has exploration (the races' starting positions are randomized and there are asteroids that have random things hidden under them), it has trade (you pick things up in one place and move it to another), it has weird navigation things (some areas can force to go a different direction than you intended) and it has a really cool map (as this picture clearly shows). You can also buy or find technologies that improve your capabilities and you can buy new ships with different strengths and weaknesses.

I'm The Boss

This is a reprint of an old Sid Sackson game. The idea is that every square represents a deal that requires the participant of certain characters. To gain the cooperation of the players who control those characters the "boss" (the person making the deal) needs to give the players shares in the deal. At it's simplest, a deal is pretty straightforward to make: you simply offer each character a share and, as the boss, keep an extra one for yourself. But players can play cards to become the boss, send a character on vacation, or even steal a character from another player. And the players who aren't involved in a deal will want to break the deal, either to get in or to prevent others from getting in. As the game progresses the deals become more valuable and wheeling and dealing becomes more intense. I think this is an excellent game but not for the faint of heart!

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Last changed 3/10/07.

This page (including all images) Copyright © 2003 Dave Menconi.