I'll never get a regular blog going if I don't write regularly. So expect a lot of garbage for a while.
I got five games in the last month: Tikal, Torres, Traumfabrik (bought before I realized that I had no more money), Battle Cry (gift for son), and Abalone (gift from parents.
So far I've played Torres and Abalone.
Torres is a nice game, but definitely more on the Chess side of the spectrum. The point gain for each move is very clear: height of knight for placing a base piece, base of castle for moving a knight up one step. Also, whenever moving, you try to create dual steps for yourself, and deny them for your opponents. Lastly, you have to ensure that there are no N-1 levels available in your castle for knights to sneak into.
So the joy of the game isn't in the wildly unexpected, but in the careful planning, like PoF, Goa, Chess. Careful planning games are what some people call "dry". So be it. There is plenty of roon in the game for fun and, often enough, the unexpected. Plenty of interaction, too.
Abalone is a simple abstract. Hard to decide how deep it is, as it seems that your object is to stay in the middle while trapping opponent's pieces in a corner. Not that hard if your opponent is careless. I will need to play against some careful opponents to see how it goes.
I also received two excellent books: A Gamut of Games by Sid Sackson, which I haven't read yet. And New Rules for Classic Games by R Wayne Schmittberger. The latter book is all about taking the boring games that were around until 1990 (it was written shortly thereafter) and adding new rules, fixes, variants, and even new games from the components. Anyone who knows me knows that this is so perfectly up my alley that I am in love. Wow, is all I can say. Maybe I can write the sequel for German games.