Bobby's Games

I will be posting monthly recaps of my gaming which I have been doing in GeekLists. I'll also be commenting on games on occasion, though I can tell you that I will be behind the curve because I just don't get to play the new games as soon as some people do.
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Keltis, Bohnanza, and Zooloretto with dice? Almost...

Bobby Warren
United States
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Last night we played three new dice games which are based on already-existing favorites. Mike ordered these from Time Well Spent when they had them in stock a couple of weeks ago and this was our first chance to try them out.

'Clover' little dice game

First up was Keltis: Das Würfelspiel. It comes in a small cube, about four inches on a side, with five dice, 16 wooden player markers, 40 wishing stone chits, German rules, and a four-piece, double-sided board. The dice are all the same with each having one of the five path symbols on one side and wishing stone on the sixth side.

The game is simple and plays much like a streamlined version of Keltis. Each player gets four pieces which they will use to mark their progress up the columns of the board. The active player rolls the five dice and may roll any of them a second time. They then move one of their four pieces along one of the paths equal to the number matching symbols rolled on the dice. They must be able to move all the available spaces or the piece cannot be moved. They would also collect one wishing stone chit for every two stones rolled on the dice. Each player can only have one piece on any path and they have only four pieces, so they will be at least one path they will not be scoring.

There are three symbols which appear on the board, which should be familiar to anyone who has played Keltis: clovers, wishing stones, and leprechauns (from Keltis: Das Orakel). If a player piece lands on a space with a wishing stone icon, they collect a wishing stone. If it lands on a space with a clover, that player can move any one of their pieces one space along the path that piece is on. Should the lucky roller land on a leprechaun they will get to take another turn.

The game ends when a specified number of pieces (depending on the number of players) passes the line between the sixth and seventh spaces. Each piece scores between -4 and 10 points depending on the row it is in when the game ends, plus each player will score points between -10 and 10 points based on the number of wishing stones they have collected.

The second board (pictured on the right) scores the same but plays slightly differently. There are a number of spaces which crossed sticks in the shape of an "X". The difference for this board is a piece cannot stop on the X spaces so the player might have to roll two or three of a symbol to continue along a path.

Mike, Hilary, and I played the first board and it was a lot of fun and fairly quick, which you would hope for in a dice game filler. Mike and I then played the harder side and it added a little length to the game. It made some of the decisions on which dice to re-roll and whether or not to risk getting an additional space on a path when trying to get a wishing stone on the dice. I would likely want to play the harder side most of the time, while the easier side is more family friendly.

After playing it, I still want to acquire a copy of it.

A market for beans

Hilary then rejoined us for a game of Würfel Bohnanza.

This comes in a standard Amigo card box with seven dice, 61 harvest cards, five reference cards, a bean field, and the rules in German.

There are three tan dice and four white dice. The reference cards show which dice have which beans on them. On their turn a player rolls the dice and must freeze at least one by placing it on the bean field and these will represent the available beans the player will have to fill orders on their harvest card. Once they are done rolling the dice they will then compare the available beans with their harvest card. A die can be used to fill multiple orders, but the orders must be sequentially filled.

At the beginning of the game, each player gets two harvest cards dealt to them. The first one lists the orders they need to fill and the second one is the future market and is used to track the orders which have been filled by covering them. The orders are filled beginning at the bottom of the card and moving to the top. Once three orders have been filled the card can be harvested for talers (coins/VPs/etc.). It will be worth one to four talers depending on how many orders are filled. Once it is scored, the future market card becomes the current harvest order card and the player will receive a new future market card. The active player may use the dice currently in the bean field to fill orders on their new card.

That might be a fun enough game, but there is far more player interaction that, my friends!

When the active player rolls dice, the other players need to pay attention, because they can use the dice which were just rolled to fill their current order, if all the required beans are available. This does not include the dice on the bean field, just the dice rolled.

The game is won by the first player to collect 13 talers.

I suspect this could easily be re-themed into the Le Havre or At the Gates of Loyang dice game and it probably fits one of those themes more than it does Bohnanza's.

This is a little heavier than a filler game because every player needs to be paying attention to the rolls of the other players. I was not in the mood for something which required this much attention so I wasn't thrilled by it after we played. As I thought about the game, I liked it more but would need to play it when I was in more of a mood to be attentive the entire game. So it is still on my to-buy list.

He bought a zoo (dice game, that is)

We finished the night with Zooloretto Würfelspiel.

This one comes in a small box, about the same size as the Zoch dice games. It comes with 10 dice, a double-sided board, a pad of 50 double-sided score sheets, a pencil, and German rules.

Each player gets a score sheet, the board side and number of dice are selected based on the number of players. On their turn the active player may choose one of two actions. They can roll and place two dice or take all the dice on one of the trucks. Once every player has claimed a truck a new round begins with all the dice being available and the last player which claimed a truck starts the new round.

When the dice are rolled, the player can place them both on one truck or can split them up. Each truck can hold three dice. To claim a truck and the animals on the truck, the player just takes the dice from the board and places them in their holding area on their score sheet to show that they have finished their actions for this round. They then mark off the animals on their score sheet. If an enclosure is filled, then the player checks to see if they were the first to fill the enclosure for that type of animal. If they are, then they mark the bonus box.

The coins work differently from that animals in that there is no bonus for filling all the boxes. If a player ends up claiming a die for an animal with a full enclosure, they will have to mark the animal off in the barn.

The game ends the round when any player has completely filled either all five or four of their five animal enclosures. The players score one point for each animal they collected, plus any bonuses for being the first to complete enclosures, minus two points for each type of animal in their barn. Each group of coins (three boxes, then two boxes, then one box) is worth one point or can be used to clear the mark (and the negative two points) from an animal type in the barn.

This was the lightest of the three games, even lighter than the basic board for Keltis: Das Würfelspiel, but it was also my favorite of the three. It gives the hint of playing Zooloretto as a filler dice game. You have choices to make and there is the same type of interaction with the other players as in the namesake game.

More money to spend

It ended up being a fun exploration of the three new games in the respective franchises. The first and last of them felt very much like lighter versions of their parent games, while Würfel Bohnanza might have fit the theme of one of Rosenberg's other games a little more. All three are good games which I will be getting when I have the chance.
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