New blog series; San Juan review!

Firstly: wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged! Since I last posted I’ve passed my general exam (and am now a Doctoral Candidate!) and applied for my first big girl grant (an NRSA through the NIH). And now that I am pretty literally counting down the hours until my official vacation it’s time to get back on the horse. And what better way to do that than by starting a new type of blog entry: board game reviews!

This may seem slightly esoteric, but I know a lot of people who enjoy games and cafes & bars that feature board games are becoming more and more popular. Well, that’s a made up statistic, but too bad. This will be fun, I promise.

San Juan:
This is a resource management type of board/card game that can be played by 2-4 players. If you’re wondering what ‘resource management’ really means, join the club. This is just what the clerks at my local game library call it (seriously, I won the jackpot by living a block away from this place). I think it roughly means there are different types of goods/resources you can have, and you must successfully manage them to win. WOW. Insight of the century.

Anyhow, the game looks like this:

San Juan: the game (not the city)!

Overall I would say I was a bit underwhelmed by this game, but I think resource management games aren’t so much my favorite. Here’s a quick and dirty summary of how the game works. The goal is to have the most victory points (aka points… that can lead you to victory!) at the end of the game (when someone has built 12 buildings). You amass victory points by constructing buildings, for which you pay by producing and trading goods, and collecting cards in your hand.

Although you are playing with/against others, your actions don’t much affect the other player. You can’t sabotage them in any way, really. This probably encourages more civilized play, but I really do enjoy a good sabotage (mostly when I’m not the recipient, of course). Anyhow, it’s a little more creative than some other similar card/resource management games. There’s some strategy involved, but it’s relatively straightforward to learn. And not too much lingo to acquire. Also, it is not too cumbersome in terms of space required, thankfully.

All set up and ready to go!

Random +1: They have these nifty score cards for the end of the game. Actually super helpful in counting up victory points because there are some sneaky/confusing ways to earn points!

Random -1: The slot for the cards in the box is oddly slanted so it’s hard to fit everything back into the box. Or I am just seriously spatially challenged. Or both, frankly.

Certainly worth checking out, but I wouldn’t add it to my wish list. (Unlike this magical gem, which I thankfully already own!)

2 stars (out of 5, I guess. I don’t know. Let’s go with 5.)

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