Pevans's Perspective

This was the title of my board games column in Flagship magazine, so I thought I'd resurrect it, 8 years after Flagship's demise. The idea is to get down my musings in a more contemporaneous way - expect things to appear later in To Win Just Once (www.pevans.co.uk/TWJO) in a more considered form. Now, can I manage a less formal style?

Archive for G3 Day

1 , 2  Next »  

Recommend
22 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide

Wherefore art thou Tapestry?

Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Essen attendeeMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: I wear a FedoraMicrobadge: UK Games Expo attendeeMicrobadge: Real ale drinker
I thought I'd bring Tapestry to February's G3 Day (8th Feb) and the rest of the gang was happy to give it a go - only Owen had played before. We used the handicapping that designer Jamey Stegmaier has posted on BGG (Civilization adjustments) to balance our starting civilisations. David picked the Heralds, reckoning there was a reason they started on -15 points. I took the Chosen, as it's clearly a tough civilisation, and thus started on 60 points. Owen picked the Architects and was only 20 points behind me. Dave and Paul complained that they were starting on zero.

The Chosen get points and resources (though not many of either) for Achievements and being ahead on the Advancement tracks. Since the Achievements are about exploring and conquering, these tracks were the obvious ones for me to go for. But almost everybody else did the same - David was the exception, going for the science track. Trying to balance my progress on both tracks left me behind the other players - in fact, I didn't get a single landmark building (for being first to move between sections on the tracks) during the game.

An advantage of exploring and conquering is that you should get extra resources as a result, enabling you to pay to advance further along the tracks. Unfortunately, this didn't work for me - I didn't get an exploration tile with a resource on it until I drew my fifth - so I was actually the first to take an income turn and move into era 2. The early stages of the game were so frustrating!

Then I was first to the centre of the board - one of the Achievements - and got the opportunity to start taking over opponents' spaces. Until a Trap was sprung, bringing that ambition to a halt (knocking over two opponents' outposts is another Achievement). Here's the main board (and landmarks) just after the Chosen (yellow) made it to the centre of the map. I'm even tying for the lead on the military track and only three landmarks have gone so far.
From gallery of Pevans

I was impressed that three of us managed to get into space (reaching the end of the Exploration track). This is one of my personal goals when playing Tapestry. It's just cool. Though it didn't seem to do any of us much good in this game. I was even more impressed by David collecting four additional Civilisations after hitting the AI singularity at the end of the Science track. Again, he didn't seem to get much benefit from them. Here are my player boards as the end of the game beckons - look how empty that capital city is!
From gallery of Pevans

Unsurprisingly, there was significant downtime with five players, three of them newbies, and the game took pretty much five hours (the rules suggest players overlap their turns where possible, which is a good idea). My 60-point start meant I remained in the lead almost all the way through the game, but Owen won handsomely in the end, especially when you remember he started 20 points behind me. And David was a lot closer than the 75-point lead I had over him at the start! Tapestry is proving to be good fun, though I still don't understand why it has this title...

David had brought the latest incarnation of his card game, 5X, and we played this next. It takes just seven rounds, with a different 'Wonder' potentially up for grabs each time. Everybody's got a set of cards with the same five 'X' actions plus two random Leaders with a duplicate action and a special ability. You have to choose actions to accumulate resources, win wonders and, maybe, draw cards back into hand. It's cleverly frustrating ‐ and our game was another win for Owen. Here are four action cards and a leader, plus 6 points in Wonders - not quite enough to win.
From gallery of Pevans

I called it a day after this - I could hear my dinner calling to me - after another fine afternoon's games.
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:46 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
18 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide

Teaching day

Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Essen attendeeMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: I wear a FedoraMicrobadge: UK Games Expo attendeeMicrobadge: Real ale drinker
The first G3 Day of 2020 saw all five regulars roll up at the Leon's in Spitalfields. Five can be an awkward number, but I'd brought along a selection that fitted the bill, so I ended up teaching them all.

First up was Fast Sloths. We stuck to the standard set-up, since it was new to everybody except me (and I'd only played it once). I decided to start in the middle, since starting in a corner didn't work for me last time. I quickly re-discovered the limitations of the unicorn, but the game was pretty even. When one player picked up his next leaf, the rest of us were right behind.

We had a lot of fun with this, working out the best way to use each animal and trying not to leave anything set up for the other players. Particularly amusing was the sprinting elephant - David had stocked up on cards and played them all in one go. Owen was first to get his eighth leaf. I was the only player after Owen in turn order and picked up my last leaf, too. However, Owen beat me on the tie-breaker.

Here's the board as we're approaching the end - two more leaves required for most of us. The three sloths top centre all need to head for the top right: first to move may well set things up for the others (thanks, Dave).
From gallery of Pevans

Next up was card game Amul. One feature of this game is that different cards are added to the deck as the player count goes up. I'd not played with five, so this was a slightly different experience. Having a better idea of what to do, I succeeded in managing my hand so that I only had 'hand' cards left at the end - having played all my 'table' cards. If only I'd taken a photo to record this!

I majored in military cards this time, having started with one in hand. Picking up cards that scored for military gave me points and I also had plenty of both Arab and Mongol symbols. Not enough to win either majority, but second place in both is just as good. However, David picked up a ton of Spice cards, adding to his points with cards that scored for Spice and won by a couple of points.

There was a bit of hiatus for conversation before we moved on to Dawn of Mankind. We used a random set-up for this, which left us with only a couple of 'Study' actions on the board (to gain 'Progress' cards and their benefits). However, we did have a lot of 'Newborn' actions and everybody had pretty much all their meeples in play by the end. This also meant we didn't need to take 'Rest' actions to recover meeples.

Here's the game at an early stage as we're still mainly using our initial set of meeples. Note that 'Adaptability' is one of the Progress cards available, allowing players to move sideways when they advance to a new column of actions. Everybody except Dave had one of these by the end and we managed to maroon half of David's pawns on one space!
From gallery of Pevans

I got off to a good start and thought I was in a good position with 48 points (first to 60 ends the game - though with additional scoring to come). However, I then stalled on this score for several rounds as I tried to manoeuvre meeples into the right positions. Owen triggered the end and took the win - I'd made it all the way to 50 points before the end game scoring.

And that concluded another fine afternoon's games.
Twitter Facebook
1 Comment
Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:04 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

I say, Nogbad, I'd like a word with you

Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Essen attendeeMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: I wear a FedoraMicrobadge: UK Games Expo attendeeMicrobadge: Real ale drinker
I suggested Tales of the Northlands: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog before the September G3 Day to see if there was any interest in playing it - my copy needed christening. Both David and Paul were in, so: game on.

The game is essentially worker placement. With knobs on. Lots of them. Thus you don't just place workers (Nogs!) to collect wood, you move the woodcutter meeple around the wooded areas, picking up different amounts of wood depending on where it starts. Each action is a little mechanism of its own, with its own tactical options.

On top of this, you don't just place worker/s to take an action, you also spend time - the more time, the more you get out of the action. Time is marked by moving your large meeple a number of steps around a circular track. You can carry on taking actions as long as you're not in front on the track (and have enough Nogs). So, two things to manage.

It's then the turn of the player who's last on the track and the time marker moves to their position. A complete circuit triggers a new season and the game lasts a maximum of two years (8 seasons) - it can end sooner, depending on what the players are doing. Here we are at the halfway point (start of the second year) and the scores are close.
From gallery of Pevans

So, what are you doing? Gathering resources to spend on expanding and improving your own estate and, crucially, completing inventions and sagas to score points. Sagas score when completed, while inventions provide a large chunk of points at the end of the game, depending on who's got most of them. There are also 'Counting House' cards that are auctioned for time and score points at the end of each season.

However, the game is about the story, not just manipulating the game's mechanisms. We found fishing particularly amusing: David was first to go fishing and got ... two boots! However, he made good use of Nogs and resources to go ahead on inventions. Paul monopolised the Counting House cards to score a lot of points gradually.

My plan was to build a fish-generating engine to give me a ready supply of food with which to recruit characters to complete sagas. It took me until round 6 to complete this (the photo below shows my estate with the large fishing boat and the smokery for storage - I just need the extra fish of the watchtower - plus the sweet [ahem] music of the Grottophoneom). In the meantime, I was competing with David for sagas and inventions and coming off worse. Paul's Counting Houses put him a point ahead of David, with me a distant third.
From gallery of Pevans

This is a game that is both brilliant and tiresome at the same time. All these little mechanisms are clever and entertaining, but they also take time and thought. The result is that analysis paralysis and downtime are constant issues. Against that, it's a delight to play, especially if you're of a certain age (that's all three of us) and remember the TV show from your childhood.

While we were in the land of the Nogs, Owen, Keith and Dave played Istanbul. Then Notre Dame. And Twice as Clever!.
Twitter Facebook
2 Comments
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:15 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Friends, Romans and ... more Romans

Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Essen attendeeMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: I wear a FedoraMicrobadge: UK Games Expo attendeeMicrobadge: Real ale drinker
I've had another two goes at the Ragnars' latest, The Romans, since my initial foray at Swiggers (see Catching up with June). First was a two-player game with nephew Tom; the second was a three-player game at the July G3 Day.

To recap, each player has their own board with a map centred on the Mediterranean and expands their own version of the Roman Empire, starting with just Rome. The central board (or rather, cloth) has a row of 'buildings' that provide actions. Players place a Senator chip each turn, either on a building to take an action or on their map with some legions to conquer more territory. In either case, the higher the level of the Senator, the stronger its effect.

One interesting feature is that all players' attacks are resolved at the same time, using the same dice roll. The same applies in the second part of each 'era' when the barbarians attack. The barbarian attacks are a great leveller, particularly if they sack Rome - this costs a lot of points - which is likely early on (they attack from areas close to Rome) and at the end (when they arrive in great strength). Here are Keith and Tim deciding what to do at G3 Day - that's Pax Renaissance in the background.
From gallery of Pevans

One thing I didn't mention before is the way the spaces in each building are reduced with less than the full four players. A random selection of neutral senator pieces occupy one space in each building. This doesn't stop anybody from taking the action provided by each building, but does mean they may not be able to use the strength of senator they wanted to.

There's a further neat wrinkle for the two-player game. When choosing leaders and, later in the round, where the barbarians attack from, the first player can either choose one for themselves or pick their opponent's. In the latter case, the second player then chooses one for their adversary from the remaining two.

After two drubbings, I finally worked out that you do need to conquer Italy first. The garrisoned provinces provide a buffer against the barbarians and holding the whole of Italy allows you to invoke the favour of the Gods that era. You only get one God in an era, allowing you to get the best action in the associated building with any level of senator. However, you can also make an offering to your God in the temple of Jupiter, which can gain you a shedload of points.
From gallery of Pevans

Here's my empire in the fourth era, with the scores still close. I've conquered all three remote provinces (to get the valuable bonus tiles), using my fleets to reach Mesopotamia (via Syria). But North Africa, Macedonia and Asia remain outside the Pax Romana. I'm finding it really good fun so far, though I have not managed a four-player game yet.
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:44 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Undo this!

Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Essen attendeeMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: I wear a FedoraMicrobadge: UK Games Expo attendeeMicrobadge: Real ale drinker
The June G3 Day was conveniently the weekend after the UK Games Expo and thus a chance to play some new games. The gang all wanted to try UNDO: Blood in the Gutter, which I'd received courtesy of Pegasus Spiele.

The deck of large cards starts by warning you not to shuffle them. The first few cards introduce you to the story and tell you how to set up the game. You then have a line of cards of times and places in the order they take place. The players have limited opportunities to select an event, turn over the card and read what happened at that time. And can look at an even more limited number of the additional clue cards.

At the bottom of each card are three options of what to do (in best roll-your-own-adventure style), which is when the debate really kicks off. Eventually, the players will decide which one to choose and then look up the appropriate answer (a separate deck of cards). This will give you a number: positive, negative or zero.
From gallery of Pevans

Once you’ve finished, the sum of these numbers gives your result. Depending on what range your result falls into, there’s a little conclusion to the story, which wraps up the game nicely. With six players it was great fun. It immediately provoked discussion (as the photo shows), but we were quickly on to the story and made some good decisions - just one -1 and several +2s. The only issue with being successful first time out is that there's minimal replay value. Whereas a failure would have left us itching to have another go. It's a very clever system, with the story carefully ambiguous so that players can interpret things differently.

After this we split into two groups of three. While the others played Founding Fathers (see Gathering 2019 - day 3 for my impressions of the game when I played it for the first time earlier in the year), Dave, Keith and I went for Museum. My first impressions of this game are in my Expo report: see UKGE 2019 - more games played).
From gallery of Pevans

Museum is a really good-looking card-drafting and set-collecting game of curating exhibitions in your own museum. The photo above shows my museum with a decent Roman civilisation collection (the red banner) and several smaller collections: Mayan civilisation (brown banner, top right), knowledge domain (book icons in the left column) and navigation domain (ship's wheel icons, bottom right). The clever bit is that, in order to add exhibits to your museum, you must put the same value of cards into storage (hence the cards to the right of my board in the photo), whence they can be snaffled by other players. However, anyone doing this has to leave cards of equal value in payment - and pay a prestige point.

Prestige points can be gathered in other ways and Dave had amassed a big pile of them by the end of the game (his board is at the bottom of the photo below - all those rosettes are the Prestige points). In his last turn, he used these to buy cards out of his own storage and fill his museum, scoring some valuable extra points - and a good job, too, as those prestige points were victory points. It's a thoroughly enjoyable game that I look forward to playing more.
From gallery of Pevans

And that was enough for another fine afternoon's games.
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Sun Jul 7, 2019 5:31 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Something new, something old

Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Essen attendeeMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: I wear a FedoraMicrobadge: UK Games Expo attendeeMicrobadge: Real ale drinker
With every expectation of six people at May's G3 Day, I carefully selected games that would go well with six - or three - players. But David wasn't well and then there were five...

From gallery of Pevans
Amongst Keith's selection was Railroad Ink which I, for one, had not tried, so this was our first game. It's a roll-and-write game, a genre that seems to keep avoiding me. Anyway, each player's board has a grid of square spaces with alternate road and rail connections around the edges. The dice show road or rail sections, with one die providing crossovers and stations (the only way road and rail can join each other).

One player rolls the dice and everybody fills in four squares with the sections shown. A few times per game, you may also add one of the special stations/junctions, crossing off the icon on your board. The aim is to create integrated networks. These score for the number of off-board connections they include. There are also points for your longest road and rail routes.

The game lasts seven rounds and then you score up - whoever's built the best network wins. My total was 56 (as shown right), which I thought was a decent effort. It was also a winning score. This game is a neat multi-player puzzle and the blue edition has extra dice to introduce rivers or lakes for variety.

One of the six-player games I'd brought along was Space Station. Or, as I think of it now, what Jacob Fryxelius did before Terraforming Mars. We could certainly play it with five, so we did.

It's a card game where each player is constructing their own space station, placing cards to add 'modules' to their starting core module card. Of course, each module lets you do something, giving players more and more options as the game goes on. However, it's only for six rounds, so it doesn't outstay its welcome.

A round starts with players making up their hands, then they take one action apiece until they've all passed (passing can be a tactical option as you can come back into play - unless everybody else passes). The obvious play is to add a module. This costs money, of course, and must connect to an existing module). Or you can play a one-off event card - these have a lot of 'take that' effects - or use a module action, which usually requires crew to operate it.
From gallery of Pevans

At the end of each round, players score a point for each type/colour of module where they have more than any other player - a big incentive to play lots of the same type. Like crew, points are neat little triangular pieces (you can just see them on the photo of my 'running man' space station above), stored on your core card. My mistake was taking an early lead, making me a target. Dave won on the tie breaker (which we found on the Fryx Games website - there's none in the rules). It was good fun, with some tactical niceties, though the cards make it pretty random - the ones that stopped any cards being played for the rest of the round were particularly frustrating.
From gallery of Pevans

Dave and Paul then volunteered to work as a team so that we could play The Castles of Burgundy again. After a crushing win last month, the others didn't let me get away with it this time: I finished third, well down on last month's crazy score. And that was it for another fine Saturday's games.
Twitter Facebook
2 Comments
Sat May 25, 2019 5:09 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

More Corps and some Castles

Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Essen attendeeMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: I wear a FedoraMicrobadge: UK Games Expo attendeeMicrobadge: Real ale drinker
Four of us rolled up for the April G3 Day (on 13th) and the others let me talk them into playing New Corp Order. With the previous game (see Corps, Spice and Spain) under my belt, I was able to give a much clearer explanation and we all had some idea of what we wanted to achieve. Thus there was squabbling over shareholdings right from the off. Interestingly, the conglomerate I played my initial stake in ended up as the one I didn't score for. Here's the game in progress, with the white conglomerate definitely in the ascendancy at the moment (note that we couldn't be bothered to stand up the 'Agent' meeples).
From gallery of Pevans

By the end, the red Corp had been reduced to controlling just a single company, with the others split between the remaining three conglomerates. Having the bulk of the red cards towards the end of the deck must have contributed to this - fewer red Agents on the board, so the red companies were easier to take over. Somehow I'd managed to get the majority shareholding in two of the three, with the help of the tie-breaker. On top of this, these two controlled all but one of my secret objective companies, giving me a useful bonus.

The game played much better this time. However, it remains, as Paul described it, "opaque". That is, you know what you can do and you know what you want to achieve. However, translating the first into the second is not clear - and depends substantially on what the other players do. So, it's about trying to optimise your position, having something in reserve and keeping a careful eye on your opponents. This was enough to increase my appreciation of the game, but not enough to make me want to play it more. Mind you, if I could get it down to the promised 30 minutes playing time, it might have more appeal.

After this we moved on to The Castles of Burgundy, which Paul had not played before. We chose our boards, only Dave taking the basic one. I've been playing this online and wondered whether this would make me any better at the face-to-face game. As I won by an embarrassingly large margin, I think the answer's yes. Here's the game at the start of the fourth round and I (green) have a substantial lead - though that could be deceiving in this game.
From gallery of Pevans

And that was all we had time for. Only two games, but a full afternoon's play.
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Wed May 1, 2019 3:03 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Time and ... Space

Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Essen attendeeMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: I wear a FedoraMicrobadge: UK Games Expo attendeeMicrobadge: Real ale drinker
The four of us who arrived first at Saturday's (9th March) G3 Day settled down to try David's latest prototype. The players grew to five as Owen arrived during the rules explanation. This is a clever drafting game with an Elizabethan theme. In its latest incarnation, David has dumped the board, making it a pure card game. I thought it worked really well. However, the first rule of prototypes is that you don't talk about prototypes, so that's all you're getting.

Joining the usual gang this month was an old gaming friend, Michelle, and her nine year-old daughter, Amy. They fancied trying Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks and Keith made a fourth player. With three newbies (and I've only played once) and careful explanations, this turned out to be a lengthy game.

We had a lot of fun recruiting companions, travelling the universe and defeating Daleks - and other baddies. Apart from Keith, who had a spectacular failure, losing both his companions. He headed off to Earth Past, which was an easy adventure, where he could pick up two companions at once. He failed, however, placing a Dalek to make it a harder challenge. Next round he tried again and failed again. Another Dalek meant three of them on Earth and the Doctors lost. Oops!

As last time, the game is a dice fest, which is fine if you like that sort of thing. It also felt as if it should be fully co-operative, both for game play and theme. The big selling point remains the theme and the game is packed with Doctor Who.

While this was going on, the others started Macao and were still going.

We weren't done with dice rolling and played Heckmeck while waiting for the others to finish. I followed my usual strategy of going bust at every opportunity (I did get one tile, but lost it again almost immediately). Amy stormed it! Stupid game.

Michelle was surprised by my opinion of Exploding Kittens and insisted I should play it properly. She's right, there is a game in there. I must have missed a rule or two when I tried it. I still loathe the artwork, though.

The Macao game finally concluded and they decided to finish up with Love Letter. Since there were two copies on the table, we did the same. A great way to wrap up a fine afternoon's games. Here's a photo of the gang to make up for the fact that I completely forgot to take any pictures of the gamess in progress.
From gallery of Pevans
Twitter Facebook
4 Comments
Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:44 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

A surfeit of games

Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Essen attendeeMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: I wear a FedoraMicrobadge: UK Games Expo attendeeMicrobadge: Real ale drinker
From famine to feast as Saturday 12th was the first G3 Day of the year.

From gallery of Pevans
There were 5 of us initially, but Owen was expected, so we played Kokoro as a filler. This looks a delightful little game. Then your brain gradually trickles out of your ears... The aim is to draw connections between the 'sanctuaries' and the flowers and caterpillars printed on your board. Except... What you draw occupies a square and there are no junctions. The sanctuaries score in a random order and each score must be higher (or it scores -5). Aargh!

As the photo shows, I just need a '1' to score (triggered when the fourth gold card is drawn) the next sanctuary (E)... Damn it! This was actually a cracking little game. My strategy of joining everything in a loop almost worked, but a single line would have been better. As David demonstrated.

Owen had arrived by then, so we had six players - and several six-player games. We went for Key Flow. This worked really nicely and the scores were pretty close - apart from Owen at the front. I had a better idea of what I was doing and we played with David's house rule that everybody keeps 2 of their initial winter cards (making the winter hands 1 card less). It didn't make much difference to me.
From gallery of Pevans

The photo shows that there's so much pondering about which card to play Owen's reduced to chewing his t-shirt. And we're drinking water! Having played Key Flow twice now, I can see that it is a very different game from Keyflower, despite re-using some of the theme and the individual mechanisms. And there's less angst without that bidding mechanism.

From gallery of Pevans
We then split into two groups of three. The others played Aloha - a Corné van Moorsel/Cwali game I'm not familiar with. See photo for what it looks like.

David and Owen joined me for Quartermaster General: The Cold War. This proved highly entertaining as the west (me) liberated East Germany, but ignored the Soviet (David) build-up in Cuba which then took the USA! Western Europe remained under my control, but I could only acquire a few other bits and pieces (including China, briefly). Despite their success, the Soviets could do no more than match the west. It was the non aligned nations (Owen) who surged into the lead and eventual victory, knocking me back into third place into the bargain. I think you need to have a decent understanding of what cards are in your deck to be able to play this game well. Next time...
From gallery of Pevans
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:14 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Mine, all mine

Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Essen attendeeMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: I wear a FedoraMicrobadge: UK Games Expo attendeeMicrobadge: Real ale drinker
Producing the games I'd brought along to December's G3 Day, I noticed almost all of them were playable with five. Which was handy as five was the number of players we had.

The others seemed to take my unwrapping of Darwinning! as a signal to play it. Well, why not. It's a light card game on the theme of evolution that I had fun with at Spiel. Player boards set starting positions: population, position on the food chain board and which types of environment provide food. Plus one or two traits for your creature - such as "hard shell", which stops you being eaten.
From gallery of Pevans

It's then a question of winning tricks or, rather, making the highest Poker-style set. The winner adds one card to their creature: as a trait, environment, offspring or to advance on the food chain. All of these are worth points at the end of the game (after three rounds), though it's also a case of balancing this with the immediate advantages. The last trick of each hand works differently and then players have to feed their creatures. This is where being ahead on the food chain is helpful: you can eat the other creatures (though maybe not the poisonous ones).

It was thoroughly enjoyable again - though I did rather run away with the game. The photo shows round 2: the extra environments I'm adding finally paid off in round 3, providing my beetles (now at the top of the food chain) with plenty of food.

Second game to try was SteamRollers. This uses the deliver-cubes-to-a-city-of-the-same-colour mechanism as Age of Steam. However, there are plenty of differences. For a start, that's only one city of each colour. Second, while the cubes to deliver are on the central board and available to all, each player builds their own rail network, drawing on a paper version of the board.

Finally, players' actions each round are powered by the dice rolled by the first player. Each player takes one die and uses it for their chosen action: build track, improve locomotive, deliver goods and so on. This is a neat way of constraining players' options, but it's also a large luck element.
From gallery of Pevans

As delivering goods is the main way to score points, this is what you need to concentrate on. However, this means checking the central board against each player's own map to see who's capable of what. I made things tougher for myself by having my map upside down in relation to the board. Though I don't think this made a big difference - my problem was other people delivering the cubes I had my eye on just before I could. Just like Age of Steam! This is definely one to try again.

Our final game of the day was Dôjima. This again involves players rolling dice, though this time everybody has their own set. The values constrain which provinces you can assign your cards to this round. Each player has three standard worker cards plus an 'advisor', drafted at the start of the round.

The aim is to get your workers assigned to the same - or adjacent - province as the relevant advisor. Get it right and you avoid losing water, produce rice and sell rice for coins. And what do coins make? Yep, most money wins after three 'seasons' (a season ends when the allocated money runs out).
Given the right dice rolls, it's easy enough to get the right worker with the advisor you place, but trying to work out where the other advisors are is pot luck. We found players' stock of water diminished rapidly, which then meant they lost rice instead. This left us with little to sell, so the seasons were dragging on. (My own problem was finding the market advisor: I had plenty of rice, just couldn't sell it.)
From gallery of Pevans

Diminishing returns were setting in with a vengeance and we called a halt after two seasons. Despite everybody getting extra water at the start of the third season, it looked like it would take a long time... I'll give it another go some time, but this is not looking good.
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:05 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls

1 , 2  Next »