Day 1751. October 17, 2021. Lagos...
Playing Fire at the end of the world, using it to explore picturesque cafés in the region, might be an interesting endeavor. A sort of gaming challenge crossed with a real-world interest in small villages' social hubs.
But there's one social hub in particular that I already know well and will forever be one of my beloved places to play games. The kitchen table.
My second attempt at Level 6 didn't fare much better than the first time last Wednesday. Only one more alien blob killed, but still three short before Level 7. No major insight gained, at least not on a conscious level. I'm sure that my subconscious is doing its own thing to come up with an answer to this particular puzzle while my attention is elsewhere.
But I did gain a better appreciation for this solo-only design, in a way that made me look again at Friedemann's previous solo-only design, Finished. While also making me curious about what sort of thematic intricacies I might have missed when I first played Friday and still lacked a proper solo mindset.
The inspiration is obvious in Fire. 1970's Space Invaders in the age of arcade games. And like in the original, things start slow in Fire! A few lines of aliens and a dumbed-down modus operandi that even a primary school kid could grasp. Probably the same primary schooler that was tall enough to insert a coin and reach the handles on the original arcade!
Then, as you start to progress through the levels of the original Space Invaders, the game stays basically the same. Only the difficulty ramps up with faster aliens in the video game, at the same pace players learn new strategies and gain better skills.
Fire manages, in its own cardboard way, something like that. It can't increase the speed at which the aliens descend, but it can increase its numbers. And the way it allows players to gain new skills and insights is by introducing innocuous tidbit extra rules with each level. Fire becomes more "complex" while keeping its core simplicity.
I haven't played Finished in a while. But I do remember the theme in Finished. Tedious monochromatic routine paperwork at a desk. A work that needs the file clerk to be extremely efficient with the time available. Once again, the theme is perfectly married with gameplay. Sort cards ad infinitum until an efficient and dutiful file clerk can finally emerge.
Add energy values in battery cards... subtract 10... multiply by the number of crosshairs... It's easy to dismiss Fire as a boring math exercise this way. In the same way, it's easy to feel bored with Space invaders if all you can see is shooting down the same aliens forever. You need grit before strategies can reveal themselves.
It's easy to get bored with Finished's samey-samey gameplay routine if you fail to acknowledge that that's precisely what the game is trying to convey!
Persistence is the key to Friedemann Friese solo only designs. Much the same way, Robinson had to persist against the challenges thrown at him by the island. Not just to learn from them but to also thrive until mastery became inevitable.
That's what these three games offer players. A chance to glimpse at what it means to be a master at something after putting in the work.
Congratulations, Mr. Friese, and please, never stop designing solo-only games every few years.
Photos & Images: ZombieBoard, Tobias V. Langhoff, Board Gamers Anonymous, AnalyticGamer
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Day 1749. October 15, 2021. Lagos...
Previously in The Lighthouse at the Edge of the Universe:
17th of Eleint. ...the sea tower...
24th of Eleint. ...the mind storm...
1st of Marpenoth. ...steadfast rain...
8th of Marpenoth. ...it came with the gale...
1496 DR, 15th of Marpenoth
You can scream your thunders as loud as you want! I'm getting out of this rock and away from you, bloody storm! WE, are getting out of this rock.
I got the lighthouse's light on my second attempt. It would have been nice if I got it on my first try on the last night... oh well. I'm just happy to be leaving tomorrow. I've had enough of this storm. When will it end? In all my years as a lighthouse keeper, here and in The Whalebones isles before, that I have never seen bad weather like this and for so long. I can't even tell if it's Autumn or Spring anymore, as it makes no difference.
I can say rain, wind, cold, and I'm the best weather soothsayer in all of Faerûn!
My belongings are all packed and ready to be taken to the supply ship that will supposedly arrive tomorrow, according to the message from Javonn, the wizard. Just one more night of observation so that I can leave with a clear conscience from having done the job until the end.
Despite the waves, the water looked abnormally glassy tonight whenever lightning lit up the night. Like a pristine lake filled with moving valleys and mountains. Positively weird, to say the least. But not as weird as the merfolk who I saw rising out of the water like someone leaving a mirror.
At first, I thought it was a man coming from god knows where in this storm, but then I noticed the fin-like legs below the waist and realized what he was. He waved at me to meet him outside, and I did so without a second thought. The merfolk tribes around the Nelanther Isles are known for their good nature.
Moor- that's how he called itself in the Common - was still but a teen in merfolk age and wished to see the world just a bit before settling for a life of sardine herding and algae crops at his grandfather's farm. He was not really adventurous but would be happy if someone could show him a port city somewhere and see how people lived on the surface world.
I told him I could do that for him, show him to the port city of Velen if he was willing to follow the supply ship the next morning. He smiled, dived underwater, and jumped out of it, breaking its glassy surface in glee. He agreed to meet the next day as soon as the boat arrived.
He then went back underwater to get his stuff, and I went inside the lighthouse for the last time.
I know I've stretched the purpose of this zine beyond its original goal. But I sure felt like I needed it to try and fit its sic-fi abstract setting to my old school fantasy-minded thick head.
The game's structure is as solid as the one I found in Artefact, which is a must for solo zines like this one since they would otherwise lose too much of its game part, and become nothing but an elaborate storytelling generator. What I found missing, however, was a well-defined end.
Suppose the worldbuilding in an RPG sandbox is vivid and detailed. In that case, it's easy to wander around the land to your heart's content without feeling that an end is needed. The more you explore, the more you learn about the place, and that in itself is the game's own reward. Think wandering around Forbidden Lands's Ravenland, Kevin Crawford's Stars Without Number, or explore 4AD's Norindaal once supplement at the time.
But with small zines like this one, where players are asked to worldbuild with personal parts like feelings, ideas, or memories, it's easy to get lost when no end is in sight.
I used the week's events as to answer what The Lighthouse at the Edge of the Universe asked me. Lately, I'm feeling drained, trying to adapt to the new routine of my 6yo new school, thus the neverending storm. If a particular memory was strong during the week, I used it for Lighthouse (hut on a beach). If someone visited us, I used that too (genie). All this was fine, but I felt like I needed a closure of some sort, and Lighthouse's response to this was: You can play for as long or as short as you wish.
Well, my shift in the Lighthouse is over. Time to find another role in another solo RPG.One year ago: ...sketching dreams...
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Day 1748. October 14, 2021. Lagos...
A fox wandering through a small valley forest looking for purple butterflies. Not a bad way to start tonight's visit to video game land.
I could hear the sound of a waterfall in the distance, fallen stars on the valley pointing also in that direction. But I didn't go there first. For a few minutes, I just wanted to walk slowly over the grass under the trees, sniffing at anything I might find interesting while taking in the sounds of leaves moving with the wind.
I picked up a few stars here and there before finding a spot with purple butterflies flying in circles. They started to follow me for no apparent reason when I walked through them until I jumped to a nearby rock with a star on top. I jumped way above the rock, with the butterflies granting me a surprise boost in the middle of the flight.
So that's what they're for.
The path leading out of Level 2's valley was barred by a rock too big for a simple jump, even aided by a single group of butterflies. Three swarms of butterflies around the fox, as if she was some sort of delicate and rare flower, was the key to jump that high.
It wasn't easy finding the three groups of butterflies. They flew away as soon as I jumped, so to get three swarms around you at the same time, I needed to tiptoe through the valley while searching for them.
Once I was over the big rock, the fox came upon a wide-open plain with some pillars of smoke in the distance. I ran towards one, and Level 2 came to an end.
In the right mood but still eager to keep playing, I turned to Bad North and the start of my second campaign in this roguelite real-time tactical game. Only this time, I went straight to the Hard difficulty setting to flesh out the Bad from the North.
Harold and Isolda, from the island of Mollan, were not happy when the barbaric northerners invaded their peaceful homes. Despite the invaders' vicious hardiness, they bravely fenced them off, realizing, as they watched the ground littered with dead bodies, that more would come unless they did something about it.
They sailed to the island of Berry and then Gasholmur, where they struck an alliance with Wilbur's band of militia.
Tougher is a good word to describe the low-level militia of invading northerners this second time around. Tougher to kill and the arrows from their archers pierce twice as hard thought the flesh and bones of our troops.
I wonder how the Brute Archer's arrows will feel like when I find them. If I make it that far that is.
Bad North's main appeal, to me at least, continues to be its minimalist approach to both gaming and visuals. Everything is neat and easy to understand, and at the end of the weekday, I take great comfort in neat and easy. Wondering if Raw Fury had more neat and easy titles, I began browsing through their portfolio.
Townscaper was the obvious "game" that fit the neat and easy bill, as I've mentioned in the past. For a moment, I actually opened the digital wallet to exchange 5€ for a digital version of Lego with rounded blocks. I stopped only when I tried to envision myself building an island city with no clear focus besides mindfulness gaming. I tend to like a clear path in the games I play.
Besides the adventure titles like Sable and Mosaic - currently en route to Netflixian television - the ones that caught my eye were the strategy resource management Kingdom series. They looked interesting and, supposedly, achieved a lot despite their minimalist approach. So I gave their free version, the original Kingdom Classic, a try.
The lonely Queen moved east, leaving the dark forest behind and encountering a few peasants needing a ruler. All she had to do was pay them, which was odd as usually queens and kings tax their subjects and not the other way around.
She distributed her wealth freely, and soon work began on a wooden palisade between the village and the forest. Once the defensive structure was in place, the Queen received higher instructions to defend and expand her new kingdom.
Night fell, and with it, the Queen's common sense was lost in the shadows of naivete. Spurring her horse to full throttle, eager to explore this new 2D pixel world, she raced back into the forest, now covered in darkness. Before long, an even faster Greedling came out of nowhere and snatched her crown.
...but there will be a Restart. Definitely.One year ago: ...charming...
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Day 1745. October 11, 2021. Lagos...
I'm finding it increasingly difficult to find time, and energy, to play games at day's end. As parents, we're getting a crash course on what it means for weekdays to be school days. Sacked of strength after dinner is the norm. Dragging myself to bed like a drunkard hitting the head in every wall between kitchen and bed, the usual sad circus.
To avoid this, I'm trying to shift gaming to daylight instead of kitchen light, and if this means a bit more weight on the backpack every day, so be it. It's a good kind of weight.
Thankfully, the first game I decided to pack was a small box full of nothing but paper.
Is this the new trend of our hobby? Regular paper the one and only component in the game?
A trend first initiated with the latest crop of Roll & Writes, which quickly evolved into Flip & Writes, replacing the dice with yet more paper in the form of cards. A more recent example would be MicroMacro: Crime City. A small box with a mammothian black and white paper poster and a few cards.
Mazescape Labyrinthos didn't even bother to pack cards. Just a lot of paper in the form of rules pamphlets for ten thousand European languages and seven labyrinthine small posters.
I wonder what other games, besides Roll & Writes, have paper as their main component.
Ok. To its credit, there's is indeed a non-papery component inside the box. A pointless, no pun intended pencil.
The rules are the ageless rules brought down from our ancestors since Theseus entered the Labyrinth to slay the Minotaur.
Enter the maze, find the exit. You don't need to find bull-men here. At least not yet. Only treasure chests and lighthouse switches. That's it. Do you want a benchmark? Use a stopwatch to find how long it takes you to find the exit! Really. There's even a tiny white box on the back of each rulebook to record how long it took you. There are a few more boxes in there for each of the seven mazes. Strung like Ariadne's ball of thread to form a quasi-campaign and squeeze every ounce of replay value from each maze in this 10€ game.
How long did I spend inside the maze today?
Ten minutes on the bus ride to Sagres.
Two and a half minutes on the way back, just to make sure I could find the exit and complete all secondary objectives.
Four minutes in the first maze, again, only that this time with my daughter, while waiting for the bus. I had the feeling that she would love this game, as it scratches the same itch as Waldo's books.
Five minutes inside the second maze just before we had to pack it to enter the bus.
It gets to Eschery levels pretty fast.
While the rules state that you should play on a flat surface, the game plays totally fine on a moving bus as long as you're seated. Not so great when the bus is filled to the brim with exuberant kids coming home from school and screaming their hearts out at each other and into our ears!
Let's see... Four sessions in about twenty minutes with a game that's as portable as any Button Shy Wallet card game, and my daughter loves it?
Yeah. I'm keeping the next maze next to Fire's level 5 cards, which I also played at the end of a road café in Sagres. But I'll save that story for tomorrow.One year ago: ...Jarlaxle, the nostalgic rogue...
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Day 1744. October 10, 2021. Lagos...
I always suffer from a severe case of completionism syndrome every time I play Claim with my daughter. Ever since we got the first wave of expansions and base game, that I've been tempted to pull the trigger on the second wave, released last year along with the big box that comes with two more factions. Minotaurs and Mermaids are also missing.
This morning we've even sleeved our collection. Perhaps a bit too late for the base game and the wear and tear of dozens of plays with us, but in time for the many factions, we're still to try.
So after lunch, I grabbed the base game box, flashing it defiantly in front of her as to say, "Fancy a Knight vs. Golbin duel?"
"No. I want to play this one," she said without even looking up at Claim's box while opening - what else - The Fox in the Forest.
Just like that, my daughter cured me of completionism syndrome with her love for our old lockdown game.
Amazingly, just like Claim the other day, she didn't remember the rules for The Fox in the Forest. A fact that made me think if maybe she's been playing too many new games lately, with too many rules systems overflowing her head.
So I gave her the basics - follow suit, trump, the rest you'll see as we play - and immediately proceeded to some trick taking fair.
By the end of the first hand, she won only a single point but remembered that there's a balance between number of tricks won and points in the end that lies at the center of every decision in this game.
By the end of our second hand, she won only three points - not counting the three points from the Treasure cards! - but remembered that Swans can dupe the opponent when he least expects it and that the trump suit is as stable as a sly fox.
By the end of our third and final hand, she won six points, a few Treasures and for a moment made me sweat about my chances of actually winning!
The Fox in the Forest? I'm claiming it as the best two-player trick-taking ever!
I may have said this a few times before...One year ago: ...a wooden activity that's worth it...
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Day 1740. October 6, 2021. Lagos...
If we were going to wait for a bus for an ungodly amount of time for the second day in a row, I might as well put some games on the backpack to play with my 6yo as we wait. Last night, I asked her what she wanted to play today.
"The card game with the wizards," she said. Wizards meaning the Seers faction in Claim 2's box.
I also grabbed the first Claim Reinforcement box on top: Maps.
But the first session had to be one of acquaintance rather than any real trick-taking battle. For both of us. I re-read the rules to ensure I still knew the how-to's, and Alice asked me how each faction played in each of the two phases. We cleared the stale air with the first few hands, and from then on, it was back to our old Claim groove.
Randomness galore in our ineptitude with the genre. The factions acting as mitigators, and other times, as another source of chaotic randomness.
Maybe this is how this game shines best. By not overthinking about high-level plays or metagaming like a texas-hold'em world tournament. Just keeping it cool, follow suit, say a funny line when a Gnome gets trampled by a Giant, or make a whooshing sound when a Seer peeks at a card.
She won the first game, which prompted a rematch. But this time, I laid out the three factions from Maps while looking at the rules for locations and buildings to see if she was ready for them. The locations seemed a harder extra to our newly re-learned rules, but the buildings looked simple enough. One day will try both at the same time.
Alas, she took so long picking which factions we should play next that when I finally shuffled the deck, we had but 15 minutes before the bus parked next to the café. We'll try the buildings another day.
She switched the Seers with the Unicorns, and as soon as I read the rules for the one-horned stallion, I recalled how broken and overpowered this faction was in the second phase. Wizards of the Coast sometimes bans cards that are too strong for Magic The Gathering tournaments. Well, if White Goblin Games ever decides to try the tournament route with Claim, I'm calling Unicorns the first to be banned!
By sheer chance, I was to start the first hand of the second phase. I played a mighty unicorn, Alice played a minor one. I won that hand, and with ease, all others that followed.
But not game over for Claim. Here's a game that continues to resist oblivion - not to say thrive - among the sea of new games each year. Last year, the publisher came out with three new expansions Fear, Fire, and Frost, each with new factions. This year, it's Sun, Sky, and Sea, as well as the first of four comic books set in the Claim world. A way to create more lore in what would otherwise be a straightforward trick-taking game.
With these new expansions, that makes what? Over 40 factions for players to choose from? Impressive. Maybe random picking of factions for each game IS the way to go with this game, rather than deeply explore each possible combination.One year ago: ...biking trough a new maze...
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Day 1737. October 3. 2021. Lagos...
I somehow was able to squeeze the duty of defending Planet Earth from space invaders using but a small corner in our breakfast table!
While daughter drew and mom chewed, dad calculated against pixelized blobs in their neat rows with nothing but spaceship batteries. Last time I was thwarted by a medium-sized alien hiding behind a smaller and seemingly non-high priority target at the start of the game. The problem here is that if you leave that duo for the end, the battery deck will be too depleted to beat them.
I'm getting better at math too. Not that it's challenging, but in the first plays, I found it hard to focus on the game part itself while I tried to math critical decisions. A fact exacerbated by the big font of the numbers in the battery cards that quickly disappear under overlapping cards. But the more I play, the more I can keep in mind the battery levels in each of the three ships, making the game part much more interesting and prevalent.
Keep mathing until the actual game surfaces is the trick to enjoy Fire!
I won, smiled, and as I was searching for the level 4 cards to take with me tomorrow, I happened to peek at the invader's layout card of the final level 9. My smile quickly faded...
There was no time to go on adventures in Andor today. Only twenty minutes before dinner to build a house with my daughter in Dream Home.
I remember this game getting a somewhatish decent spotlight when it first came out in 2016 before fading away like all new games do in the recess of gamers' minds. Then the expansion came out a year later, and that was that.
Dream Home will never gain the most innovative awards anywhere, but this drafting game aimed at kids is so easy to play and cleverly designed that I'm amazed why it isn't more popular. All the nuances between the set collecting, decors, special helper cards, different levels in the houses, and endgame bonuses are strung together like a beautiful cobweb in a sunny windowsill.
When I compare it to another, albeit recent, drafting game for kids, Draftosaurus, I find that building a Dream Home trumps building a Jurassic Park.
Easier to teach and with a simpler setup without having to trim the decks to player count the way you have to lighten the dino bag. Same turn structure until all houses are completed without a dice circling around players confusing who is allowed to build what where. Even scoring each house is easier, thanks to a scoring pad included in the game instead of no pad in Draftosaurus.
And there's a lot more in Dream Home for a grown-up gamer's mind to mull over than in Draftosaurus if Deep Diving a game is your thing.
We played until the houses ran out of space for more rooms and I, for one, was sorry that the game had ended. Alice too it seems, as she was quick to ask for a rematch.
Pretty soon, I'll fish out the expansion underneath the insert of the base game and surprise my daughter with a Sunny Street.One year ago: ...browsing series...
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Day 1726. September 22. 2021. Lagos...
A zine from the latest Zine Quest arrived a couple of weeks ago, but I only got around to look at it today.
I don't really know what I was expecting with Mud: A Golem Memoir, by Evan Rowland and Hannah Shaffer. The theme sounded interesting, with players impersonating a golem construct for a ride through a solo RPG session. I remember during the updates, after the campaign was over, that the designers had decided to switch to a full graphic novel layout and presentation.
I guess I was curious to see how the cross between graphic novel and solo RPG would turn out. If it had more parallels to the not-so-unusual Choose Your Own Adventure-style comics, or with the increasingly traditional solo RPG zines. Where tables and prompts dictate the experience around the initial setting.
From the little I saw while gazing at the blackish and whiteish illustrations depicted in a foggy undertone, the game proper revolves around filling the golem sheet with various prompts and cues given to you as a choice while progressing with the story. And in the end, compare the final sheet with the possible endings.
This part looks cool.
What's apparently less cool is that the story doesn't change, and the prompts and cues available are not that many. Also, because of its graphic novel form and predetermined path, there are few chances to mix and match Mud with other RPG's tables, settings, flavors... For me, this is one of solo RPG's greatest strengths: flexibility and modularity when it comes to mixing and matching various rules.
So let's see what happens with Mud after the first session.
Experience tells me it will go down the same path as The Wretched. Play once a year, once every five years, once every life, enjoy it for what it was, and appreciate its finality.One year ago: ...welcome to gunter's puff...
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Day 1713. September 9, 2021. Lagos...
I barely had time to put the backpack down and wash my hands after arriving home from work.
Alice ran up to me in the hall and all but dragged me into playing a game with her and my wife. I had the feeling that it would be Andor. Instead, I found a bunch of dirty laundry and washed clothes in need of drying splattered all over the floor. Washing Lines.
I had to stop the game a few times, though. The rules were not as fresh as the washed clothes anymore since it's been many months since we last played this game, after all. We set collected for a bit, each going for the preferred colors and anything else to make the clothes dry faster. My wife and I fought each other by denying each other's blues and white clothes, so, as expected, Alice came out as the winner in pink.
Alice was due for a walkabout around town. So once again, I barely had enough time to gobbled something before going out again, this time with Alice and a specific rulebook that she was adamant that I needed to read as soon as possible: Andor Junior. Or is it Andor: The Family Game?
With this one, I'm confused. When it first came out in Germany, it was Andor Junior. All seven of the localized versions around the world translate as Andor Junior. All but the English version, which gives BGG its Primary Name in the credits: Andor: The Family Game.
I guess Junior isn't part of the family...
So while Alice dipped her feet in the waters surrounding our secret island of lockdown, before moving to the swings, I read the rules of engagement. True to its predecessor, Legends of Andor, the rulebook is big and full of large blocks of text! Not an easy read, but thankfully, an easy game to play.
As we walked home, Alice questioned me about the game. I told her that Reka, the Witch was back, and she sold torches as long as you could find her. I told her about the wolf cubs lost inside a dark mine, the bridge keeper, and the dragon moving towards the castle.
She replied by asking what their names were and the names of the kids. "Huuuu... they don't have one?" I said. Apparently, only Reka is old enough to have a name in the land of Juniors. And unfortunately, as we would find out later on, she's also the only one who knows what she is...
Back at home again, Alice took the box to play with the components.
An increasingly vital part of teaching any kids a game with so many moving parts. By letting them get comfortable with the pieces, you assure that when the time to play finally arrives, they won't be distracted by the novelty of everything.
After playing for half an hour, she showed up in the kitchen holding the hero boards, with an inquisitive look on her face. "Which ones are the boys and which are the girls, daddy?"
In the publisher's quest for gender inclusivity and respectful illustrations of boys and girls, they made them all with an androgynous look behind their swords, helmet, and magical staffs. Is this the future of kids' games? Androgynous illustrations confusing their target audience as not to wound the susceptibility of the people who actually buy the game: the parents?
One dive with Nautilion was all I could muster at day's end.
One dive that didn't last past the midpoint of the submarine's journey. As the Nautilion and the Phantom were about to cross, I noticed that in my efforts to grab the last #1 crew member, I'd failed to connect the ship with the other crew members so that I could actually reach the #1 slot!
Game over before it was over, but a very soothing end-of-day nonetheless.One year ago: ...3,266,206...
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Day 1712. September 8, 2021. Lagos...
Here's the game with which I hope to jumpstart the cooperative side of gaming in my six-year-old daughter!
It's been on the shelves since the end of the grape harvest, but only yesterday did she noticed the new smiling girl with a purple wizard robe on the side of the box. Today, I told her we would open the box together once I got home from work. A shared gaming-related event, almost as essential to spark motivation in kids as the look of the game itself.
We were about to move to the cards when I heard someone shouting my name from the street, two stories below. Joel was here with both her kids for an impromptu visit. It didn't take long for my daughter to forget the wondrous world of Andor at the sight of her friends.
Play ensued on both sides of the age group. The kids built real-life houses with wooden boxes; Joel and I built Golems!
A snack of a game that never fails to look gorgeous on the table. I taught him the rules in five minutes, ensuring not to forget the often neglected rule with the traders. Trade as much as you like, as long as you have the right gems.
In the first part of the game, each vied for the first golem due to its three-point coin bonus, and for a while, the race for points and the sixth golem was tight. But then I pushed my luck too far, dropping too many gems on the market just to get first dibs on some random card. Joel was happy to take the free gems to himself, along with more cards and eventually the game itself after only 20 minutes.
The next game would be Concordia, on that we were sure.
But the question this afternoon was, to either make Concordia a two-player breezy fast euro in the Crete map. Or convince my wife to join us for a ruthlessly tight three-way battle while also contemplating the fact that we had a five-month-old baby in our midst and dinner time was a mere hour away for everyone!
But there was no need to convince anyone. The three of us decided we could pull it off and settled down to play Concordia as fast as we could.
An easy thing to do when you start, and choices are bound by the scarcity of goods and sestertii. I expanded West of Knossos, unperturbed, while Ana moved East. Joel didn't move at first, and at the time, I couldn't figure why he wasn't following with his signature opening move. Control the closest cloth city to finance future expansions elsewhere. Instead, he bought cards with the Senator and used the Mercator for meager results. When he did use the Architect for the first time, though, he set up shop right next to two of Ana's previously built cities.
That was game over for everyone but Joel right there, but we would only realize it when everything was over.
A shift in the gameplay happens when you play Concordia with more than two.
The game is as good as it gets for two-player euros. Limited interaction, mostly non-aggressive, and ample chance to build your card engine undisturbed. But with three or more, a new element entered the island of Crete: politics.
In a board this tight, you'll eventually need to build next to someone else's house, for the same reasons you need to cover as many different numbers as possible in a Catan board. Passive earning of goods. Joel knew that couples tend to fight each other in games rather than cooperate, and he also knew that the two of us could never work together for the prosperity of the same regions. Too many years of competitive gaming between us, I guess. That established Ana as his ally.
When both of them started to give goods to each other with the Perfect, I knew I was in trouble. When the baby, who stoically played unperturbed on the floor for a blissfully peaceful 30 minutes, started to pull his mother's attention from the game, I knew who would win today's game of Concordia.
I knew that the Crete map was good for two-player, but I couldn't find on the rules for any mention of it being fine for three players.
It is. Crete is amazingly interesting with three players, which should have come as no surprise, really. This game is the holy grail that every euro game about trading in the Mediterranean should aspire to be!One year ago: ...our favorite last stop...
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