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Session Report: Die Tore der Welt Kartenspiel, Vegas and Haggis

Antti Koskinen
Finland
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It's been a longish while since my last blog post and reason is simple - second child replaced games almost completely for the first couple of months of this year. With no sessions of games it's tough to find time and topics for blog posts but I hope I'm beginning to find the balance between rich family life and enough time also for my hobbies.

On Sunday I had the chance to try out some games I've recently purchased (no time for playing games has decreased my spending on buying new games but I can't help myself now and then...). First of was Die Tore der Welt Kartenspiel which is Nürnberg release from Amigo and it is, as one can figure out from the name of the game, a card game based on the board game Die Tore der Welt (or World Without End). I really like the board game and actually think that it went little bit under the radar for many for no reason. Normally I'm not too interested in card game versions of good boardgames but DTdW Kartenspiel got good reviews in the latest Spielbox:

Quote:
Just for a fraction of the price of the board game, the card game World Without End provides as much long-lasting playing fun as its big brother. The cheaper alternative could almost be considered the better alternative... (Spielbox 2/2012, 11)


Getting a hold of a copy of the game demanded a help of a fellow BGG user and approx. 9 euro and reading through the German rules and components (cards are in German) took some time. Luckily there's not too much of complicated German involved and playing the is not impossible even with lesser knowledge in German linguistics.

DTdW Kartenspiel was interesting and offers most of the good components which the board game version has to offer. Managing your resources is important and converting resources to points demands for an eye for timing and obviously also luck in the event card draw. Game doesn't last forever but neither is it a filler of any sorts - our 3 player game took probably 45 minutes including rules explanation and some going through the rules as we play when we encountered problems. Not bad for a card game and I'm willing to give it another go to see whether it offers similar experience for multiple plays.

Second game of the day was Vegas which is the new Alea game in their midsize game box range. Vegas was just nominated for Spiel des Jahres and I have had habit of trying to play all the finalists before they announce the winner in July. Nomination is also enough for me to purchase nominated games and more then often this means that I don't really know that much about the games before I read the rules for the first time. Vegas was a good example of such a game and I was little surprised that I'm holding a dice driven gambling game in my hands when I had gone through the rules for the first time. Gambling is not a theme one encounters too often in German style family games and especially not in those games which has been nominated for SdJ.

Vegas turned out to be a positive surprise. It's fast and fun to play, it's simple enough to play with anybody and dice make it appealing for the general gamer. Small box is a plus since it makes the game portable but for a person with 200+ games there's too much empty space even in the midsize range box. We played the game with three and used the variation where each player also controls neutral dice and I felt that for 3 and 4 players that's almost a must. All in all I look forward playing Vegas again and it should not be a problem since it's so fast to play.

Last game of our session was Haggis which I had played once maybe two years past but the session then was with normal deck of cards (with which you can easily play the game). Published game offers a custom deck of cards that are of good quality and graphic design and you do also get player aid cards which definitely help to teach the game (as well as figure out what to do when you haven't played the game in a long while).

Haggis is a climbing game which has been said to be Tichu for three. I would not go so far as to say that Haggis is like Tichu since Tichu is in its heart a partnership game and Haggis does not have this element but there are similarities with these two games; combination one can play are similar and both games have bombs in them. I'd say Haggis is somewhere between Gang of Four and Tichu with similarities compared to both of these games.

I like the game and the variety it offers for a Tichu-maniac like me but what I missed was a original yelling mechanic for points.With this I mean that now we did not figure out why player would want to make a small yell (15 points) since it only makes sense in yelling when you have good possibility to go out first and if you have good chance why not just make a large yell? Apart from little tweaking of the scoring I enjoy the game and when I have three Tichu oriented players there's no reason not to play Haggis.
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Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:38 pm
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Star Trek Fleet Captains

Antti Koskinen
Finland
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It's been really quiet in the gaming front but not so quiet when it comes to purchasing new games. Star Trek: Fleet Captains wasn't actually on my buy list since I have a good fried who's a Trekkie and said at Spiel that he'll probably end up buying the game anyways. Unfortunately game can't be bought from any dealer in Finland and there's not too many places even in Europe who sell it. Thus I had do get it when my friend studying in UK came back to spend the Christmas to Finland.

I invited both my friends and one additional buddy to give STFC a shot on Saturday and to make it as exiting as I could, I did not tell my trekkie friend that I had purchased the game. You should have seen him when he saw what we were to play. Awesome!

Game is impressive - massive box and extremely cool miniatures. Unfortunately other components are average and I would have liked to see a bit better quality. I suppose having miniatures does this to other components and I can't complain too much since miniatures are so cool.

My trekkie friend went first to choose side and took Klingons and desided the sides for rest of us - my friend visiting Finland took the other Klingon position and me and my fellow Federation buddy began to select the fleet for us. Obviously we had to take USS Enterprice and while we did my fleet was smaller and crappier that the one my friend controlled.



There's quite a lot of rules and details in the game and we desided that we'll just jump into the game and I'll explain the different actions once there's any idea of taking them. This worked quite well even though we did not have any player aids and I presume that some of the actions were not taken simply because I had not talked too much about them. Rulebook for the game could have used little bit more editing and reordering the information. There are bits and pieces of information here and there - a method which makes it almost impossible to find the information you need right now.

Session culminated in a huge battle in which three Klingon ships tried to take down Enterprise and a another Federation ship. What Klingons did not do was cloak after they had attacked and they were easy targets for Federation when they attacked. We scored three kills before Federation had to retreat to the nearest space station to do some repairs. At this point we had gathered 16 points together with missions linked to battles and exploration (and couple points from events).



We liked the game even though it wasn't praise in unison. I think the feel of the game nails it even though there are some issues with the gameplay and components. I'm also pretty sure this is going to hit the table reasonably often which would be great. Next I'd like to test whether Klingons are worse than Federation as the loosing team complained (My opinion is that they played like monkeys).
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Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:22 am
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Finally back in business

Antti Koskinen
Finland
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It's been a long pause for boardgamingfinland but finally I'm back in business now that we've moved to a new location and I have a room dedicated for work and gaming. I kicked it off with three friends and three fun games.

First game of the night was Hamsterrolle which is at the moment unavailable at the market and I suppose Zoch is not going to republish it any time soon. It's a pity since Hamsterrolle is a very entertaining dexterity filler with gorgeous components. The game takes maybe 10 minutes and filling the wheel with wooden pieces is challenging enough to keep it interesting for several plays. I can't recommend Hamsterrolle as the beef of the game night but fortunately there's plenty of other games to play when you need meatier game.

One good candidate as a meatier game is Principato which we played next. I've had the game for some time now but have been unable to play it because of the boxes lying around waiting to be emptied. I had read the rules a couple of times and Hessu68 had played the game once before so we had the game running in no time.

There's several reasons why Principato is interesting from the boardgamingfinland point of view. Firstly the designer Touko Tahkokallio is a friend and a Finn and there aren't too many Finnish designs in the international board game market. Secondly I really liked the game after reading the rules; it seemed that there were clever card mechanics and enough meat in the game for a hobby gamer.

Principato is actually quite straight forward type of game where on your turn you have two actions of three possibilities. You can activate a card you own, you can change a card you own to one of the general stock or you can take a joker resource. Players build an engine which generates points from military and or culture and the one who does it best wins the game. This sounds very euroish and that's just what Principato is - a solid and streamlined eurogame.

I liked it but it took a tad too long with four players for what it is. I'm pretty positive that playing time can be reduced once everybody knows what they are doing but there is always the AP danger in a game like this. For all of you who are fans of engine building Principato might be what your looking for.

The last game of the night was Dominant Species which has been sitting on my shelf for nearly a year since I last played it. Unfortunately year was too long and after three hours of playing we finally noticed that we had played one crucial rule wrong (each player controls animal and species refer to cubes players have on the board not like species refer to a player and all his cubes like we played). One mistake can have severe consequences and we decided that the way we had played had ruined the game and there wasn't a reason to finish the game.

I probably should try to get Dominant Species on the table soon so that we could have another go with the correct rules. I like the game and the concept but there's not enough time to play the game very often these days.
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Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:58 pm
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