The second in a series of capsule reviews about games from small publishers that I enjoy and that are in my collection. This one is about games from Cwali.
Their biggest hit is probably Factory Fun which was recently republished by Z Man and it is definitely one of my favorites from Cwali. But for my purposes I'll try and mention some of the less known games.
Sun, Sea & Sand was Cwali's release from Essen 2010 which hasn't gotten quite the interest it deserves. Here is the game being played at EGG. The game's theme revolves around build attractive resorts for different kinds of visitors/tourists. Here are the types of visitors. It's basically a worker placement game with a new twist. The twist involves have workers that are assigned to different tasks have different amounts of times or turns for which they are unavailable. Workers can build huts for the tourists to stay in, build attractions for visitors or do advance booking. You earn money from having visitors stay at your resort which you spend on more tasks. A really nice touch is that each game came with a unique starting piece, a seashell.
Definitely worth taking a look at the game especially if you are a Cwali fan or like worker placement games.
I have really come to enjoy Gipsy King especially after playing it 2 player on www.mastermoves.eu I had tried the multiplayer version initially after I picked up the game but wasn't that impressed. I find the game really shines with 2 players. It's a simple area influnce game where players take turns placing their caravans around the numbered lakes. All the spots around lake 1 are filled then lake 2 and so on. If a player passes, any spots that remain open around the lake are filled by their opponents caravans. The player with the most caravans around the lake earn points equal to the number of fish in the lake.
Players also earn points for having groupings of their caravans, the more caravans that are adjacent the more points. There may be some luck in the random set up and the first player but the game is played in 2 rounds where the 2nd player starts the second round only by placing around the lakes in reverse order so it is mitigated somewhat. I'll have to give this one another try as a multiplayer.
Surprisingly, I really enjoy O Zoo le Mio despite the fact that it incorporates blind bidding-not necessarily one of my favorite mechanics but acceptable to me in the right settings. The game makes up for this with me in the theme, zoo building, and the puzzle like aspect of building the best enclosures of each animal,for most trees and for enclosing lawn areas for benches for end game scoring. It's a quick game and this reminds me that I should pull it again one of these days.
I like race games and Powerboats is a lot of fun. It has a roll and move mechanism which is fine for a race game. The 3 sided blue dice are pretty nifty and the little powerboats are nice too. There is the ecstasy of a lucky roll when adding a die and the agony of crashing into an island or being forced to go in the wrong direction when you get too greedy!
There are a couple of Cwali games I'm going to try and get to the table soon Isi with a homemade version and SeaSim which I haven't played in quite some time. It has really nice shark and fish bits as I recall and I might be more into the abstract nature of this game now.
Cwali has made some game expansions and small games as well. I have tried a few of these and
Floriado has become my recent favorite. It's a very quick 2 player abstract with simple rules of set collecting but challenging enough to keep it interesting. You are only allowed to move forward , left or right to land on a new tile. To collect the tile it must be either the first tile in a suit or a lower value tile than the ones previously collected in the same suit. You score for collecting sets of the suits-more tiles in a suit equals more points.
Territories is another fast 2 player game where you try to fence off the large areas around your houses. The total most area surrounded wins.
Dutch Mountains is a clever mathy game and well, ok I stink at this one, really badly! My brain doesn't think in the right way for this one.
is a nice portable little word game. It's kind of like 6 nimmt! with letters. It's a lot harder than it looks!