Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month weâ€™re looking at October 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008.
In October 2008, I was introduced to four great games for the first time. Witch’s Brew is a nice card game with lots of second-guessing and groaning when someone pinches the role you wanted. Powerboats is an under-rated race game where dice control your speed but you have more control than in something like Formula De. And the ground-breaking Dominion arrived amid a mountain of hype – luckily the game lived up to the hype.
Five years earlier, I only got to play one game all month but that game was a good one: Martin Wallace’s Liberte is based on the French Revolution with players trying to gain the most victory points while guarding against the possibility of the game ending early through a landslide election victory or a Royalist counter-revolution.
October 1998 saw my first trip to the Essen game fair, during which I managed to play the prototype of Ra from the new Alea game company. It was released the following Spring. A fantastic game which remains one of my favourites. Another Reiner Knizia game appeared in the form of Samurai, the thinky area control game. And Medieval Merchant also came out at Essen, a very nice economic game by Christwart Conrad.
Finally, in October 1993, I played a couple of interesting but not top-notch games. Pony Express was an Alan Moon design about racing across a Wild West landscape and Topple was a light balancing game, the plastic equivalent of Zoch’s wooden balancing games.