Saturday 24 November 2007


Just played two games of Beowulf: the Legend over Thanksgiving weekend. I didn't win either game. My opinion of Beowulf hasn't improved either. Beowulf is like one of those old "light gun" games in the arcades: Terminator 2, Area 51, and so on.

It is an auction game because
auctions are what Beowulf did best!!? (Forget dragon slaying.) You have cards which are the different "currencies" of the auctions. These currencies are supposed to represent Friendship, Wit, Courage, and so on. The players just call them foxes, boats, fists, and so on. (Can you match the "thematic" name to what we called them?)

There are 2 types of auction: blind bids and "regular" round the table, but always the same auction types in always the same order. Even the goods up for auction are in the same order. After all the auctions the game is over. Most victory points wins.

You are stuck on the rails and there's nothing you can do to fix it. This game feels like it has tactics, but nothing I'd call strategy. There are tactics in when to risk. Tactics in managing your hand, but you are always optimizing your hand for the exact same suits for the exact same auctions for the exact same goods.

Maybe playing two games of such a static game is a mistake. I did find out that I was over-valuing some of the items. It's an okay game, but it feels more like a filler than a real game (something true of a lot of Euros).

If you are wondering what I over-valued: it was wounds. I took zero wounds each game, but ended up in 2rd or 3rd place. If I'd been at 2 wounds and 2 scratches then I'd have won more than 5 extra points, putting me in first. (But notice how even this simple analysis makes this game sound even more like a mindless optimization exercise instead of epic adventure with Beowulf.)

I hear the Zemeckis Beowulf film is also disappointing.