Old and New Games at Our June Library Meetup


We had a great turnout at our June library meetup! Lots of Fun People Who Like Games in attendance, lots of games played, and one of our broadest age ranges in both the games and the people.

On the people front, I have to give props to eight-year-old Brandon, who took on the task of learning Smash Up with gusto. I hear he later proclaimed it to be his new favorite game, which is understandable since he got to play Dinosaurs AND Zombies. (He also got in a lot of reading practice figuring out what all the cards did, but he doesn’t have to know that games are good for you.)

On the games front, we had several new games hitting the table. I brought in Sail to India, a 2013 entry among the Japanese micro-games that have been making their way across the Pacific. This is a surprisingly deep economic game built around 26 cards and 52 little wooden cubes; I’ll have a more detailed review soon.

I enjoyed Sail to India, but Eight Minute Empire outshines it in speed and elegance. Designer Ryan Laukat crammed most of the best mechanics from civilization games and area control games into a tiny box and a blazingly fast game. You set up, you buy eight cards and do what they say, and the game is over, but there is a lot to think about in that simple procedure. Eight Minute Empire and its younger brother Eight Minute Empire Legends were played several times over the afternoon, a testament to both its speed and fun value.

New games aren’t the only games, though. Dominion and Zombie Dice were on the table, but the Old Master of the afternoon was Sopwith, a 1978 game that can claim Air Force / Dauntless, Wings of War, and X-Wing among its descendants. Sopwith has the pre-planned movement, firing arcs, and progressive damage that we’ve come to expect from flying games and (based on my look-overs from another table), still plays remarkably smoothly for a mid-seventies wargame. It also didn’t hurt that the game was beautiful, thanks to David’s lovingly constructed miniatures and playing aids.

A good time was had by all at the June library meetup, and there are plenty more to come this summer. Look for our next meetup on July 27, and don’t forget our meetups every other Tuesday at the Hungry Gamer!


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