Surya's game blah blah

My initial impressions on games I recently played for the first time
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Games played last Friday (2012-02-17)

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
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Friday evening brought a couple of surprises. I got to play a couple of games I didn't expect to play (yet)

First up was Bullfrog Goldfield, a game which I had put on my Essen 2011 watch list, but it didn't make the show.

This game has the role selection mechanism of Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) (you get a different benefit from each role, but it also determines player order), has mines and trains like Brass and has a share system that reminded me of Chicago Express (your shares increase in value as you connect to more stuff).
At first the rules where a bit confusing, but I got the hang of them quite fast, unlike some other players involved. Even the splainer, who also happened to have done the Dutch translation, had a hard time of keeping track of what he could do when and what had which effect. It didn't help that the layout of the player aid was confusing and the data on it was incomplete.
Neither of us had any good idea of what strategy to choose, so some players went of a railroad strategy, others for a mine strategy, some for a mix of both. It was soon clear that we all made some serious strategic mistakes which mostly came from a misinterpretation of the end scoring or a misunderstanding of the rules. I guess we'll have less of that on repeated plays.

I liked some of the ideas in the game, even though most of them aren't that original, and would be willing to play again. I still don't have a good idea of what strategies to follow though. Weird game!

I didn't enjoy my play of this, but I am willing to give it a second chance. I won't write it off just yet.

Initial rating: 6.5

PS: what's up with that counter clockwise scoring track and the ugly artwork?

Next we played Palenque.

This is an abstract strategy game in an Inca or Maya theme thrown in for good measure. It's mostly an area majority game in which you get to play with the borders of the areas. A nice twist on the genre.
With the ability to swap 2 player markers on the board comes a good dose of chaos, but it didn't bother me too much. When the scoring cards come up adds some extra chaos, but this isn't outrageous. The rules are simple and there are interesting choices to be made.
One thing that did bother me was that not every player got the same amount of turns. It just so happened that I was the one getting shafted. I got one turn less than all other players, and that extra turn might have given me the win, now I came in second.

Fine, but nothing spectacular. I wouldn't mind playing again, but I'm not sure I would request more plays.

Initial rating: 6.5

Last up was Core Worlds.

I had been wanting to play this game since it came out. I'm a sucker for space themed games I am, however not a big fan of deck building games, which is why I didn't get a copy. Oh yeah, the price tag of $60 didn't help in that department either.
First off let me say that this is the second Stronghold Games title I've played recently that has these tiny cardboard token where I wish they would have used slightly bigger ones or, even better, wooden bits. The rest of the components are fine and the artwork is very nice, if you're in to that kind of style.
This is a bit of a mix of Dominion with Race for the Galaxy in that you build your deck and buy new cards, but you also get to play cards (especially planets) in front of you that stay there.
It played fine, rules weren't too hard. It does take a while longer than Dominion and isn't quite as streamlined.
It's a good thing that you know in advance which goals will come up in the last 2 rounds so you can plan for them, but I guess this will make for a less dynamic end game with repeated plays.

Initial rating: 7.2
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