Bruno Faidutti's article this month seems rather timely. I've noticed talk in several forums of "German game burnout". When one is introduced to all these wonderful games it's a whole new exciting world. Not only are there brand new games being released but there's an incredibly rich back catalog to explore as well. After a few years though the repetitive nature of the games starts to reveal itself and one is left with a feeling of "sameness" when playing. How many auction games or "majority in multiple area" games does one really need after all? Lately, I find that the games I'm enjoying (and looking forward to playing) are the ones that are more heavily themed. I don't think this is necessarily an indication that the more abstract games are bad, just that variety is a good thing and the game collection needs to be well balanced.

January's puzzle involved creating the most difficult Ricochet Robot puzzle you could come up with. Well, the response was less than stellar so I guess that interest in it is less than what I suspected. One of the responses I did get was from Brian Hanechak who stated that he had previously devised a computer program to tackle just this problem. However, it would take far too long to run on a regular 16x16 board but was very manageable on the much smaller 8x8 one I suggested. Hopefully I'll be able to get Brian to give us some details about his program. For now you can check out one of his setups. This was very similar to most of the entries and involved blocking yellow's path to its home base with a couple of other robots. I must admit that this wasn't all that satisfying as the solution seems rather straightforward but hey, that's what you get.

-Greg Aleknevicus

Michael Schacht (perhaps best known for Web of Power) seems to have a whole slew of new games announced at the recent toy fair in Nuremberg. Here's a look at one of his earlier games...


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