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Subject: Let's Go Clubbin' -- Ooh Yeeeah! rss

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chris carleton
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bon accord
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The idea of this game and its bits intrigued me quite a bit when I first heard about it. When I found out it was designed by Reiner Knizia, I became more interested, but reading about the game made me hesitate. While the bits looked cool, their names, Champagne Charlie, Saucy sue, etc, were not. When I skimmed over some of the write-ups about the game, I decided against getting it.

However, on one of those days where I just didn't want to leave BGG (yes, I was at work), I read closely the review posted by Octavian, and decided I did want this game. My wife and I have now played it about 20 times, and have found it to be a top-notch filler, if lacking in a fleshed out theme.

Bits:

This is part of the Kosmos two-player line and comes in the standard sized box. The tokens used in this game are very cool, and Kosmos did not cheap out. They are of wood, colourful and are silhouettes representing the different characters used in the game: two bodyguards, Handsome Hal, Dancing Deb, Saucy Sue, Champagne Charlie.

The 55 cards are of very good quality, and so is the gameboard, which represents a street with a club at either end.

Set Up:

The board is set up lengthwise so that each player has a club (the end two yellow squares of the board), in front of them. Each player is dealt eight cards.

The tokens are set up in a specific way. Champagne Charlie has his own track (a darkened section) on the side of the street, and he is placed in the middle of the board. So is Saucy Sue, but she is placed on the manhole cover in the middle of the street. Her bodyguards are placed on either side of her, one space away. On the space in between goes either Dancing Beb or Handsome Hal, depending on which one the starting player chose (the other player conceals each figure in a different hand for the starting player to choose from).

Play/Rules:

The object of the game is to attract the characters to your club. Playing cards, and the character's special powers, move them towards your club (Champagne Charlie is an exception).

Each card indicates a character and how many spaces that character can move. On your turn you can play as many cards as you have of a single character. Also each character has special powers or cards that can effect their movement.

Saucy Sue: There are 12 cards for her, and each one allows her to move only one space. Her movements are restricted in that she must always be between (although not necessarily adjacent) her two bodyguards. If you play a pair of her cards, you can move her and her two body guards one space each towards your club. If you can get Saucy Sue into your club (keeping in mind that you would necessarily have to have a bodyguard in your first space) you win the game.

Bodyguards: Bodyguards have more cards than any other character. Four of their cards allow you to move one of them a single space. Ten of them allow you to move either both of them one space, or one of them two spaces. Finally, there are two cards that allow you to bring both bodyguards adjacent to Saucy Sue.

Hansome Hal: Most of his cards allow you to move him two spaces, but Handsome Hal also has a special power. On your turn, instead of playing a card, you can move either Saucy Sue or one of her bodyguards to the same space as Handsome Hal.

Dancing Deb: Dancing Deb has the second highest number of cards, some of which allow her to move four or five spaces. Two of them allow her to move to the centre of the board from her current position. She moves alot during the course of the game. Her special power is that if she is positioned between your end of the board and Saucy Sue, her cards can be used as wild cards for any other character (having declared what her cards are substituting for for that turn, you cannot use them for Dancing Deb on that same turn), except Champagne Charlie.

Champagne Charlie: He is not moved by cards or by any other characters' special powers. He is more of an indicator of whose club is currently more popular. At the end of your turn, you check to see how many characters you have in your club and move Champagne Charlie that many spaces towards your club. If Saucy Sue and both of her bodyguards are on your side of the board, you also move Champagne Charlie one space towards your side of the board.

After playing your cards, you draw back up to eight cards. Instead of playing cards, you can also choose to discard cards and draw an equal number. Then you move Champagne Charlie if neccesary.

The game ends when a player gets either Champagne Charlie or Saucy Sue in his club. If you go through the deck twice without these conditions being met, then the player with Saucy Sue on his side of the board wins. If she is in the middle, the player with Champagne Charlie on his side wins. If he is in the middle, the game is tied.


Strategy/Tactics:

This game is properly described as a tug-of-war, but there are may ways to tug.

The first area to exploit is the number of cards that can be played on a turn. I could for example play all six of my bodyguards on one turn, if I could use them all. This can really swing a game, if you have enough cards to move someone a long distance; morever, you also get to draw all the way back up to eight, so saving up for a big move can also re-invigorate your hand. There are lots of bodyguard cards, so you can often get them into your club, although they may not stay there for long for the same reason. Sometimes you can get Handsome Hal in your club, and if you have a lot of his cards, he will likely stay there because you can keep moving him back in.

If Champagne Charlie is getting close to your opponent's club, remember that putting a character in your club is at least as good, and often better than taking one out of his. In effect you cancel or lessen your opponent's hold on Champagne Charlie, and can prepare to move another character in your club to really wear down your opponent.

Handsome Hal doesn't move around as much as the bodyguards or Dancing Deb, but his special power can be very useful, especially if you get him in your club. He can attract a bodyguard to your club, and then your are moving Champagne Charlie twice. If you get the bodyguard in the back of your club and can move Handsome Hal to the front, you can then attract Saucy Sue and win the game.

Dancing Deb is equally powerful. She has a lot of cards so can easily be moved into your club, and using her cards as wild cards can bring any of the other characters your way. This is often a necessary tactic when Saucy Sue is on your opponent's side of the board, so that you can draw customers away from your opponent.

Saucy Sue doesn't move around much, but being able to play two of her cards may sometimes get her and her two bodyguards on your side of the board. Getting her into position to play the bodyguard card to move them adjacent is a very good move, especially if you already have some one in your club. Many games do not end with either Saucy Sue or Champagne Charlie in a club, and Saucy Sue's position becomes the tie breaker. Keeping her on your side of the board, or having a plan to get he back on your side of the board is crucial if it appears the game is going to be a tie. This can really change the game it boils down to a tug-of-war over Saucy Sue with bodyguards in the way.

Forcing a player to decide who to move out of your club, or side of the board, puts them very much on the defence, and that can easily be the beginning of the end in this game.



Conclusion:

This is a game that requires a good offense, but manages not to be overly confrontational. It definitely takes a few plays to uncover all the possibilities here and they are interesting. There is nothing unbalanced or broken about this game if you are taking advantage of all the possibilities when they present themselves.

The decisions are interesting, although not deep, and the theme is quite abstracted, despite the shoes strewn about on the street. As a light filler though, this is a very good choice, and a very good couples game.

I give it an eight.

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Alex Martinez
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Intriguing review. I've looked at this one's box a few times and was never motivated enough to buy it, but you may have sold me on it.
 
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Tim K.
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I think any ideas about strategy in this game are an illusion. It is ultimately just what the tag line says, "A continuous game of back and forth". Once both players are familiar with the vagaries of the different characters' movement abilities it pretty much boils down to the luck of the draw.

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David McLeod
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Great review!

I would diagree with anyone's view that this game boils down to luck of the draw however. I think there is enough to assess from the cards played that it makes for some light tactical decisions. For example, knowing a Dancing Deb sewer card has been played and having one in your hands let you more easily manipulate your opponent using her special powers.

Regarding the theme. Perhaps it's cause it's my love of pub life but I think it's kinda fun and me and my girlfriend both enjoy the light-heartedness of the characters and trying to lure them to our own clubs. Not the strongest but it's there.

30 games, not bored yet.

 
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Tim K.
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Axelfudge wrote:
For example, knowing a Dancing Deb sewer card has been played and having one in your hands let you more easily manipulate your opponent using her special powers.

But you only got that tactical choice due to the luck of the draw
 
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David McLeod
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EvilTimmy wrote:
Axelfudge wrote:
For example, knowing a Dancing Deb sewer card has been played and having one in your hands let you more easily manipulate your opponent using her special powers.

But you only got that tactical choice due to the luck of the draw


Then I can conclude that every game with cards has the same problem.

I guess all I'm trying to get at is that it does not ruin this game.
 
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chris carleton
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I think the most important decisions in this game occur when you don't have the cards you want. This is when your hoped-for strategies don't pan out, and you have to resort to tactics to regroup and try something else.

I would compare it to rolling a one in Street Soccer. While such a roll does not make for a big play, what you do with those kind of rolls (which are inevitable) determines the better player. Over the course of a best of three or five, luck will be weeded out.

Granted, of course, neither game involves deep strategy, and strategies change often enough that the game is definitely more tactical.

 
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Tim K.
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ccarlet1 wrote:
I think the most important decisions in this game occur when you don't have the cards you want. This is when your hoped-for strategies don't pan out, and you have to resort to tactics to regroup and try something else.

Yeah, I'm not trashing the game or anything, it's just not my cup of tea. It seems like (more often than not) what I do is largely determined by the cards I draw and it feels like the game is playing me rather than the other way around.

There are certainly other card games that I play where I don't feel this way since I have a larger set of options with the cards I draw (e.g. Lost Cities, Blue Moon).

Someone [famously] described Babel as both players kicking each other in the balls until someone falls down and, while not as violent, I get that same kind of feeling with Times Square.
 
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David McLeod
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EvilTimmy wrote:
ccarlet1 wrote:
I think the most important decisions in this game occur when you don't have the cards you want. This is when your hoped-for strategies don't pan out, and you have to resort to tactics to regroup and try something else.

There are certainly other card games that I play where I don't feel this way since I have a larger set of options with the cards I draw (e.g. Lost Cities, Blue Moon).

Someone [famously] described Babel as both players kicking each other in the balls until someone falls down and, while not as violent, I get that same kind of feeling with Times Square.


So Times Square is like feeding eachother shooters until someone falls down! So much for the claim that it has no theme!!!

I see your point but for me there is tactics and I don't find the decisions to be mundane.

My favourite move of all time. Saucy Sue was one space towards my side of the board. My girlfriend had Champagne Charlie one space away from her club. As per instructions; I can count the cards left in the deck (it was the second time through) so I counted them and noticed there were 7 cards left. Now I knew she was going to win with one more move so I discarded 7 cards and drew the last 7 and game over... boy was she mad! She had the instructions in her hands in seconds looking up the game ending conditions... She still kicks my butt all the time but anyways... It's the small pleasures in life that make it worth it right?
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Tim K.
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Axelfudge wrote:
Now I knew she was going to win with one more move so I discarded 7 cards and drew the last 7 and game over... boy was she mad! She had the instructions in her hands in seconds looking up the game ending conditions

Beautiful. And at that point you utter the well-rehearsed line, "Hey, I didn't make the rules!" devil
 
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David McLeod
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EvilTimmy wrote:
Axelfudge wrote:
Now I knew she was going to win with one more move so I discarded 7 cards and drew the last 7 and game over... boy was she mad! She had the instructions in her hands in seconds looking up the game ending conditions

Beautiful. And at that point you utter the well-rehearsed line, "Hey, I didn't make the rules!" devil


Yup! It was a revelatory moment... the heavens shining down and old doctor Knizia on my shoulder whispering in my ear... "David... think of the rules... think of the rules..." Kinda like Luke and Obi-Wan in Star Wars except I would never compare my gf to the Death Star. well... (love you honey!)
 
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