The Plucky Plank

A recap and my opinion of games tried at various game gatherings or conventions.
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2/25/12 - Cat hugs and plastic bits

Kearn Reif
United States
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Hello all of my loyal followers. Once again it is time for me to recap the games I played at B.L.O.B and share some of my pictures as "Official B.L.O.B. Photographer". Which just means I am the only one who brings a camera. I am going to start off with something lighter this month, Cats. Rhonda has three cats who like to visit and get attention as you game. For some reason, one of her cats (sorry I forgot it's name) likes to lay on and hug the shoes by the front door. I found it funny so I took a picture to share with you. I make a few appearances in the photos this time, Rhonda snapped a few photos of me playing so I wouldn't be excluded.

This weekend the majority of the tables seemed to be longer games as Arkham Horror and Mage Knight kept several people enthralled for hours and others caused a ruckus during a game of Wiz-War. A few played train games, while others fought through jungles for Incan treasures.
I sat down to play Sid Meier's Civilization: the board game based on the old computer games. While I am not familiar with those games, I am told if you "loved" the computer game, you will love this board game. So on the board you have plastic flags which represents the army and covered wagons which represent scouts. The 4 x 4 grid boards have different terrains from deserts to mountains and lots of symbols that represent goods to harvest or villages to conquer.

I set out to discover new areas of the world playing the ancient Greeks and competed against the Germans, Indians (India) and United States of America. The basic premise of the game is you are trying to enrich your civilization by conquering new lands, learning new technologies or by adding culture. Now I was very disappointed with the teacher of this game. He did a poor job explaining the rules and the rest of us took turns flipping through the rule book when it wasn't our turn. Now once I got the hang of what I was doing, the game opened itself up to me and I devised a strategy. Unfortunately, the three of us took a vote while the rule teacher went to the restroom and unanimously decided to quit the game. We just felt that after two hours, nobody was close to victory and chalked it up as a learning experience.

I would really like to try Civilization again, but only with a better understanding of the rules. After our abandonment, we debated on what to play next and the three of us ended up playing Kingdom of Solomon. T, Mike and I placed our workers on the map collecting goods to purchase buildings, build the temple or sell at the market. Unlike most worker placement games, I never felt like I was settling when it came to placing my workers. Turn order on the other hand can be brutal, goods are limited and if you are last to collect, you will be shorted. Kingdom of Solomon played fast and offered some tough decisions in resource management or purchasing. I liked the way the game played and though basic, the artwork was nice.

While playing Kingdom of Solomon, we keeping hearing cheers and groans from the backroom. T informed me they were playing a game called Wiz-War. I only recently heard of it but apparently it has been around since the '80's. The rules couldn't be any simpler, gain two points by collecting two books from your opponents or killing one of the other wizards. You get a handful of cards that help you move, destroy or protect you. This is not a friendly game as Joe and Jim started casting spells at each other and one time punching each other. T and I silently went about stealing books and staying hidden from the two spell flingers. The game plays quick and is total chaotic. I actually won but I owe the victory to T. Joe was going to win this turn, so T moved Joe's wizard towards me hoping we would slow each other down. I obliged and cast a 5 point fireball at Joe turning his wizard into a smoldering heap. I then proceeded to teleport to my home square with a book in tow and win the game.

The board layout reminded me of Pac-Man with it's maze like look and opening on the sides of the board. It was only missing the floating fruit and ghosts chasing you around. If you don't like confrontational or random games, avoid Wiz-war. After the game, we waited for some of the other tables to finish their games. I was asked to teach a everyone how to play Core Worlds. I feel I do a good job teaching but sometimes I see the glazed over looks and begin to question myself.

Core Worlds is a card drafting game that takes place over ten turns. You draft infantry, spaceships or tactics cards into your deck so you can attack worlds which provide you the energy you need to run your empire. I think the game was a bit long for all the first timers since it clocked in at 3 hours. The cards are a bit text heavy and can be daunting for new players. I still have to read everything and I have played it a few times. For me, Core Worlds is a great game. You can see the designer put a lot of thought into the creation of the cards and combinations hidden within.

Back to the game, Jim had to take off mid-game and instead of quitting, I took over playing his deck along with mine. I am sorry to say Jim, you didn't win. T managed to beat me by two points with Rhonda coming in a respectable third. General consensus from the players seemed to be positive. In fact Chris was at another table teaching a few other players how to play with a second copy that was available. I am very happy with the next generation of non collectible card games and will post a separate blog post of my comparison of Core Worlds versus Eminent Domain. Andrew Parks, I hope the sales are solid and you have an expansion in the works.

Since Chris was using T's copy of Core Worlds, he couldn't leave yet so Rhonda convinced T and I to play a game of Dominion with cards from Dominion: Intrigue and Dominion:Seaside. I will go on record and say Dominion isn't my favorite of the deck building games due to the theme-less design and lack of player interaction. Now the player interaction has be circumvented in the later expansions with Attack actions. Which makes it more appealing to me to play. T also voiced his lack of interest in playing but joined us. What was he going to do sit and watch us play? Heck no.

I was always curious how I would do against people who play Dominion more than I do. Does their familiarity with the cards give them a leg up? In this case, I would say no. I felt like I was neck and neck with Rhonda and T in both of the games. Sure Rhonda won both of the games, but not by much. She usually won by a Province at most (That's about 6 points to those of you who never played). Seaside offered some interesting cards that stuck around until the beginning of your next turn. You could draw extra cards or stash a card for use in the next turn and so on. I think that if you can find a few expansions you like of Dominion, you really don't need to purchase every set. I felt like some of the cards got repetitive, much in the same way as Magic the Gathering did.

That brings me to the end of another game night recap. Thanks for taking the time to read this and please leave me any comments or questions below.
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