This time last month I thought my game of the month for July was going to be Cubitos. It had arrived in the last week of June as part of my subscription to the new board game rental service Rent, Shuffle and Roll. My first two plays of it had been a resounding success and I could not imagine playing or enjoying any game more. On the third play we started mixing up the courses and dice powers as the rules suggested and for me what it added in complexity, took away from the fun of the game. The fourth play became a little turgid with more different powers and another course. Desperate to rekindle that joy of the first two plays we reset back down to the easier course and dice. What I then discovered was that some dice were fairly overpowered, while other more expensive dice were far more risky than they should be. In the last week of June I was ready to turn my rental into a purchase, but by the second week of July I was pleased to have only rented it.
Also in the rental box was Gizmos, which was great fun, and if ever it became widely available at retail I would be very tempted. But it was the third game that arrived in the parcel that I am truly sad to parcel tape back into the box and send back. Bärenpark is a game that I have always wanted to try. However, the box art tart in me has never been fulfilled enough to check out on it. I mean the box is pretty… pretty darn ugly! The game isn’t that beautiful out of the box either but displays a certain charm I suppose.
Where Bärenpark does excel is in the tile-laying gameplay. It offers two forms of difficulty: a simple version and one where common objectives are on offer. The simplest form meant that all my family could play competitively. Adding the objectives into the board game meant there was more longevity to it outside of the family environment.
I thoroughly enjoyed the racing element of trying to complete sections of your park first, and balancing this with getting the best and most valuable tiles for yourself. It seemed tricky to achieve both in unison and I liked the conundrum this generated. This was the firm favourite in July and I look forward to choosing my next games to be delivered by Rent, Shuffle and Roll soon.
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