Kim & I headed up to San Francisco for an afternoon of gaming with Matt, Grant, & Phil, in this case a round of Die Macher. This is a game I haven’t played in quite some time, due to some mixed feelings about the game. In a nutshell, I’ve often felt that Die Macher is just a bit too abstract and too complex – there are so many variables to manage, and so little of it actually makes any sense, that it’s very hard to manage (unlike wargames, which can be very complex, but since they have simulation grounding you can get an intuitive sense of them). I don’t know what clicked with this playing that hadn’t in the past, but I enjoyed the game much more this time than in the past despite my distant 4th place finish. Part of it was simply that the game wasn’t as complex as I remember, and part of it was probably having played Civilization recently; Die Macher isn’t perfect, but it is in my opinion better than Civilization – it’s of more modest length, it packs a much higher density of interesting decisions into the playing time, and it doesn’t (quite) have the same “runaway leader” problem.
That said, Die Macher probably doesn’t quite have enough control for the length or complexity – you can often be hamstrung by the simple inability to draw platform cards to make a viable party. But even this should average out, and the risks should be generally manageable even if it doesn’t work out in the end.
All in all, a very enjoyable game and one I hope to play again reasonably soon.