Reviewing Games on Yucata – Previously Reviewed Ones

YucataAs promised, here are reviews of Yucata board games that I’d previously reviewed on this site. Since I’ve already discussed the games in depth, this article focuses mostly on how well Yucata implemented them for playing online. All three covered here are worker placement games whose mechanics naturally fit in a turn-based system, so there’s no point in dwelling on that in the reviews. My grade for the Yucata implementation accounts for how fun they are, though, so the game’s quality does matter. Just read the original reviews for more information about that.

Also, as I warned in last week’s article about Boîte à Jeux games, the ones here don’t reflect the quality of the site overall. For some reason, Boite’s games that I’d already reviewed tend to be the best that that site has to offer, while Yucata’s show the site at its worst. I still definitely recommend Yucata in general, though, and I’ll eventually review other games that demonstrate the full breadth of the site.


Egizia looks great on an iPhone when everything is sized correctly.

Egizia looks great on an iPhone when everything is sized correctly.

Egizia

(Originally reviewed here.)

Egizia hasn’t aged well since my original review, but is still a fine if forgettable worker placement game. A strong implementation could make this worth playing from time to time. Yucata’s version disappoints, though. It makes use of multiple frames in the browser window, which doesn’t cause any problem on a PC. On my iPhone, though, it doesn’t properly calculate the space available. Usually, after the first click on a turn, it will redraw the screen so that the playing board’s frame is less than half the size it should be. For a long time, I thought that it was impossible to finish a building action from my phone. I’ve since learned that if I tap and pause briefly before dragging my finger, I can scroll around the frame instead of the entire screen. This makes it possible to look over the board and find the place I need, though it’s frustrating. Since Yucata requires turns to be played in the order they arrived, it’s not always an option just to wait until I’m back at my computer.

If you only play Egizia from a computer, this is a decent game. There’s nothing about it that’s good enough to justify the trouble that it gives mobile devices, though.

Grade: C-


Trying to resize Hawaii on an iPhone. Only a small portion of the screen is viewable, but the whole frame holding it shrinks, and will snap back to the original size immediately.

Trying to resize Hawaii on an iPhone. Only a small portion of the screen is viewable, but the whole frame holding it shrinks, and will snap back to the original size immediately.

Hawaii

(Originally reviewed here.)

Like Egizia, Hawaii is a decent worker placement game that doesn’t stay too compelling after the novelty wears off. It also suffers from allegations that one strategy dominates the others (go heavy on ships and put all your buildings in one village with a double-point Hula girl). But again, its main problem is that the implementation doesn’t play well with web pages. This one is even worse, though, since it impacts PC browsers as well as mobile ones.

Many online board games show only your playing area by default and make you click something to switch to another’s. That is a fine way to use space. This one instead makes you hover over a hotspot to view another board. But the player’s board is shown at the bottom of the window, and if you scroll down, the view switches back to your board. On an iPhone, there’s no way to see any of their board (since this game uses a frame that takes up the window, and resizing is interpreted as a failed attempt to resize that frame). But even on a large monitor, only the top portion of the opponents’ boards is visible.

I can still do well in the game without watching my opponents, since that basic strategy I mentioned above can work on auto-pilot if no one else is playing well. But the fact that that’s possible doesn’t say anything very good about the game, either.

Grade: D


Targi, on the other hand, fits iPhone screens just fine.

Targi, on the other hand, fits iPhone screens just fine.

Targi

(Originally reviewed here.)

Don’t think that all the games on Yucata are disappointing. Targi stands out among the very strong collection of new worker placement games from the past couple years. Even better, it makes a perfect fit for Yucata’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s easy to find responsive players on Yucata for fast two-player games, but multiplayer games usually drag on for weeks, so it’s nice to have a strategic game that was designed specifically for two. Also, the main frustration with Yucata is its limited information about past moves. Targi is tactical enough that you can usually figure out everything you need from a quick glance at the board without looking through a history of turns. It would be nice sometimes to see what your opponent just did, especially if a card you might have wanted was discarded, but it’s almost never necessary. (Strangely, the game does show the cards that the player used on their most recent turn, but only for that turn. Since the player order keeps changing, you’ll only move immediately after they take cards half of the time. The other half are never accessible through this history. This could be fixed easily, but as it is it’s just kind of frustrating.)

Other than that, the game is straightforward and does a good job with the many special abilities that cards can give you. (It shouldn’t let you undo and redo your move if you used Tribal Expansion or Caravan to see the top card of a deck, but as long as both players know that option is there, it just becomes a variant way to play.) There are no quirks that make this hard to interact with or difficult to see. This implementation did teach me that I’m not very good at Targi, but I can’t blame the site for that. And even so, it’s fun to keep coming back to it.

Grade: B

 
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