Chief EGG Head(lorna)United States
Well, I've had the opportunity to try a few more fall releases.
The first one is Love Letter. This is a cute little filler from Japon Brand/AEG. Not much to it, but you have to admire the minimalism from designer Seiji Kanai.
I also picked up BraveRats from the same designer which only contains 8 cards. Similar to Love Letter but for two players.
In contrast, we also had the opportunity to play Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island. This game comes in a large box with lots of cards and bits. This is a coop. I'm not sure why I keep trying coop games, as most of them I really don't care for them in general but I guess I keep thinking one of them will resonate with me. There is a fair bit going on this game and the rule book could be a bit more clear with better examples. The game comes with different scenarios and we played the basic one. Each player is assigned two pawns for worker placement around the island. The game seemed fairly repetitive: explore, gather food, shelter and doing inventions to modify those actions. I didn't really feel like there were a lot interesting choices. Some role playing incidents occurred but not enough to give the game an experience feel like Tales of The Arabian Nights.
Express 01 arrived and we played a 3 player game. This game comes with a lot of cards! The card stock is nice and extra thick which is good since the cards have multiple uses. Cards form the "board" which is a map of Germany. You then can use other cards which can overbuild the map - building stations and track. Cards are also used as currency. Lastly cards also represent stock in companies.
Your stock value increases with the number of stations in the network for that company. You earn income for doing runs where the number of stock in players hands equals the distance the train can go and the number of stations reached provides the payout amount.
Cards can be overbuilt in 3 colors and each cards lists the numbers of the possible cards that could be played over it. This is the fiddly part of the game, finding the right cards and making sure the tracks align legally.
An interesting game, I like the multi use cards and I think there is a lot more to explore here as you get used to the cards and which ones can over build which.
Trans-Siberian from a small one man company Mondainai. As such the components are not the same standard as from larger companies but I think that adds to the charm of these types of games. We played with 3 and it might be better with 4 or 5. It's a light track placement game, where you draw resources from a bag (yes lots of randomness and cube drawing skill will give players an advantage) and trade them for other resources or use them directly to build track. You can overbuild other players track and you can pay to use other players track as well. Nothing complicated here but I had fun playing since my cube drawing skills were particularly good at the beginning of the game.
Le Havre: The Inland Port I have played once. I like Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small and was anxious to try this new mini version of Le Havre. It actually plays like a short cross between Le Havre and Ora et Labora complete with rondel. In this game the buildings actually go on the rondel though! It's good if you want to scratch the Le Havre or Ora itch but want something quicker.
Fantastiqa I received my kickstarter copy. I liked the whimsical theme and though deck building isn't a favorite mechanism of mine I though I'd give it a try. Fantastiqa has simple mechanisms. You start with a basic deck of cards (your backpack of random goods like a magic toothbrush and dangerous spatula) and add creatures to it by subduing them with said goodies. These items and creatures then help you complete quests and enough quests will win the game. Would make a good family game.