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The Plucky Plank

A recap and my opinion of games tried at various game gatherings or conventions.
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Lords of B.L.O.B. - 3/24/12

Kearn Reif
United States
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Gather yourself around the fire and listen my friends to the tales of courage and chance. The fine hall of the fair maiden Rhonda was filled to capacity with rogues and heroes gathered to test their metal against each other in battles of skill. Some faced the trials of Space Alert, whilst others joined in auctions of Modern Art. A particular foursome made kingdoms for hours in Dominion. I myself faced many a trial in Waterdeep, but victory was scarce and failure more rampant.

The Hotness was rampant this week as Lords of Waterdeep was played 3 times over the course of the day. Everyone who played seemed to be enthralled and enchanted by the game. Lords of Waterdeep is basically a worker placement game with hidden roles. During the course of the game you recruit thieves, warriors, wizards or clerics which are represented by wooden cubes. The “adventurers” or cubes are used on various missions and upon completion you gain victory points and other various rewards. There are also Intrigue cards which allow you to break rules or hinder your opponents.

You can also build buildings which offer better rewards than the fixed areas of the board. Some allow you to break the game rules and others amass cubes or VP each turn. Now I am not a big fan of worker placement games, I don’t like being locked out of choices because of my seating order. That said I never felt my choices were limited when playing Lords of Waterdeep. The buildings, intrigue and mission cards offer more opportunities to gain cubes and VP. I didn’t feel like I was playing a fantasy game, so it shouldn’t deter anyone from trying the game. I would also like to say, Lords of Waterdeep has one of the nicest inserts with everything organized in its own spot.

The Scepter of Zavandor was next to the table. It has auctions and tech trees to further your economic engine to gain more dust or jewels every turn. Every turn you should be earning more “money” than the previous turn. Certain artifacts help you hold more gems or take gems from your opponents. The ultimate goal is to purchase Sentinels to trigger the end game and get more victory points. I am lukewarm about this game. I always feel the turns are scripted based on the “magician” you start with in the game. I made an early mistake when I grabbed a sentinel a turn to early leaving me locked in first and low on funds in the late game.

The day was in full swing and over 25 people were playing games. A coffee table had to be cleared for more gaming. I wandered around and snapped a few photos since I am the official photographer of BLOB. I soon was odd man out and waited for games to end. I was noticed by Joe and he invited me to play Roll Through the Ages with him and his daughter. I was always curious about the game and gave it a go. The rules are simple, roll dice up to three times and decide what you want to keep. Build civilizations for more dice or build wonders for endgame victory points. There are also trade goods and coins on the die; they help you make scientific advancements. It felt a bit like Yahtzee but with more depth. I am always on the look out for more games to play with my wife and I believe this is one she would enjoy.

Suzanne perused the games I brought and wanted to try out Mystery Express. We gathered a few other want to be sleuths and boarded the train. The game is time based and searching for clues in train cars offer you new clues from the other players but takes time. Conductors, passengers and fellow inspectors all have cards, much like Clue, and are shown to you based on your train car choices. The time of the murder is handled in a separate fashion, three times during the game the time cards are flipped or passed for everyone to look at. A good memory is a plus since note taking isn’t allowed. As a child, Clue was always one of my favorite games and Mystery Express is a great addition for any murder mystery fans. The game was really close as many of us were even with clues but it came down to the Telegram to ultimately break the tie and capture the murderer. More important is that everyone seemed to enjoy the game.

We wrapped the night by playing Lords of Waterdeep again. My opinions didn’t change after a second play. It is a fast and fun game which I can see getting more table time in the future. We were packed to the rafters and if BLOB gets any more players we may need to build an addition on Rhonda’s house. Since warmer weather is on its way to Michigan, I could see attendance waning but we shall have to wait and see.

Thanks for reading and I’ll be back in a month’s time with another report.
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