Apologies for the late report and having to do 2 weeks worth of gaming in one but I have been trying to get my Essen purchase list together,.This has meant looking at over 450 games, reading reviews about them and then visiting the games website to get background information, occasionally reading the rules came into it as well. All very time consuming - however enough of me and onto the games.
6 people attended on 1st October and the first game on the table was Tsuro , this simple path laying game can cause minor frustration as you try to think your way out of the ever nearing problem of being fed off the board.
We then split into 2 threes, the first group played the new game Five Tribes which has been getting favourable reviews in the gaming world.
The game is simple enough to play, first off players bid for turn order then on their turn select a group of meeples and then drop them off one at a time on the following game board tiles, the last meeple allows the player to collect all meeples of that colour from the tile and then undertake the tiles special action, the aim is to gain as many Victory Points as possible which can come from many sources.
The game plays excellently and the Mancala mechanism works well in this nicely balanced game.
The other table played Power Grid from Friedmann Friesse, this superb route laying game sees players bid for Power Stations which will need a specific type of fuel and will power up to a set number of cities, this phase is followed by an fuel purchasing phase and then a route purchasing phase.
The idea is at games end to be able to be linked to and be able to power the most cities, in the case of a tie cash will decide the winner. The art of the game is timing your growth spurts, grow too early and you will be find yourself buying fuel and routes last, grow too late and the others will leave you behind.
The last game of the evening was Loot a simple card game where you play either a ship card or a pirate card onto another players ship card.
The idea is to collect the ships by either playing higher pirate cards than your opponents onto ship cards or having one of your own ships survive a round without being attacked. With five power cards in the deck it is a bit luck orientated but fun as a filler.
The previous week 7 of us started off with the classic game SET it is interesting to note that this observational card game was first released in 1988 and is still available at all good stockists; 12 cards are layed out in a grid and it is the first person to successfully identify a set that collects that set and the grid is refilled. It is a game you have to “Click into” but is an excellent 15 minute brain-burner game.
I was after lighter games and I started Table 2 off with a game of Kwiiietsch , another observational card game where one player will make a noise they associate with one of the cards, the other players then stake their claim by banging a card of their choice with a squeaker, it is a fun game and yes it is aimed at kids, but it is excellent for a bit of light fun.
We followed this with a game of Feurio! , this simple area control game is played by turning over a tile then placing between 1-3 firefighter pawns on any tile, places on tiles are limited.
At the games end you score for all hexes you are on divided by the number on the tile at the edge of your group.
Next on the fluffy table was Castle Panic , a co-operative game where on a turn you play cards to attack the advancing hordes.
The whole mechanism was quite simple as far as co-operative games go, but it did play quite well and the end was quite tense, something which I think is important in these types of games.
Players divide into 2 teams and on a teams turn a player rolls the dice and tries to create as high a poker-like score as possible, and then scoring this on the chart with a cow, when a team has three scoring chits in their scoring zone they win.
Not quite as simple as it sounds as the other team can pull the cow their way as well, even out of the scoring zone.
Table 1 in the meantime had played a game of Asteroyds , it is a race game whereby you navigate your spaceship through an asteroid belt to reach three check points before your opponents.
Each round a roll of 3 coloured dice dictates which way the different asteroids are going to move, possibly damaging your ship also dodging them is essential for success. This is not as taxing as Roborally and I would put it on a par with Twin Tin Bots.
They then moved on to Ingenious Reiner Knizias popular game of matching colours on a hex grid with hex-dominoes, the game is an excellent bridge game for introducing new players to the hobby.
You have a rack of 6 tiles and on your turn you play one to the board, it scores for every other tile face that matches your tile face in a connected row, as your tile is two separate hexagons this can lead to multiple row scoring.
We all came together for the final game of Ca$h 'n Guns , on this occasion the 2nd edition which was released this year. On each round a number of reward cards are spread out for the players to share. However before the loot is given out the players simultaneously choose a bullet card and then point a foam pistol at one of the other players, each player is then given an opportunity to hide, however even a gun pointed at you does not mean you will be shot as each player is given only 3 bullet cards and 5 blank cards.
The bullet cards are then revealed for those not hiding and any live bullets give wounds. The reward cards are then shared between the players who are not hiding and who have not just been shot. It is a lovely party game and was an excellent conclusion to an evening of fun.