No one took a guess at what was possibly one of the easiest quizzes I have set to date so that will ride for another week with the addition of this weeks’ picture quiz which is possibly the second easiest.
This week we launched straight into 6 nimmt! (aka take 6) where only 2 of the players had no idea of the rules thus they had a steep learning curve of “Play a card and see what happens” – actually the mechanics are a lot easier to see in action as opposed to just explaining them so this was not as harsh as it sounds. Our winner beat me by 3 points to set up a 3 in a row winning streak for the night, the two players at the back of the field appeared to be trying to gather every card that was out there for as many penalties as possible beating all previous club records for worst one round score.
We split into 3 tables – Table 1 went for Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game, this game is (world) widely enjoyed and has been printed in 8 different languages, it currently sits in 18th place on the geek list of all board games placing it above other excellent games such as Dominant Species, Keyflower, Caylus and 7 Wonders however this is a game I am unlikely to play and although the concept is interesting it really does not call to me.
It is a co-operative game but only to a limited extent, in addition to the joint goals everyone also has a secret objective which sometimes will result in a lot less cooperation than the other players may expect, I am not comfortable with “secret” stitch-up games, but this should not deter others from playing who enjoy this sort of game.
Table 2 went with Suburbia a game I have put off purchasing for several years however I played it earlier this year whereupon it got bumped onto my “to buy” list. Suburbia has a simple mechanism but which creates quite a bit of a book-keeping which can become a nightmare for those of us with disordered minds. Players each build their own suburb within a great Metropolis on a turn purchasing a tile from those on offer and adding it to their domain, all parts of a suburb must have contact with at least one other tile. The tiles are of four colours depicting heavy industry, business, housing or municipal and usually confer a benefit which normally comes from tiles in your own suburb but may also include those of other suburbs, the benefits are cash income and prosperity, the prosperity is your turnover of victory points each turn.
The benefits conferred may take effect on any players turn depending on what tiles they place, benefits also multiply up when you start grouping buildings, towards the end of the game I was placing a tile then calculating the costs, new income and prosperity bonus by which time two others had also bought and placed a tile so I was catching up on what they had bought in case it also affected me. The score track is interesting in that there are barriers to cross, each barrier decreases your prosperity and cash income by 1 point and as these barriers occur closer together the more points you get it is possible to reach a stage where you are losing points each turn, so timing your end push can be crucial. Despite the book-keeping aspect, it is a very nice game.
The following observation from another player was
- Glad to have finally played Suburbia. I didn't want to be short on money but it meant that I had to sacrifice not having a good reputation for the most part of the early game. The big turning point was the doubling of a key tile that increased my ability to get victory points every turn.
Table 3 in the meantime were playing Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game a game about cakes. Apparently the game is based on a computer game which I have never played or even heard of but the anticipation of this game amongst others has caused some excitement.
I know nothing about it but BQ has kindly given some feedback.
- Portal was fun and intriguing, but short, because one of the game-end triggers is any player not having any people on the board, and when one's playing for the first time there's a lot to keep track of, so it's easy to miss the fact that you're about to lose your last person :) . I really enjoyed the jeopardy elements, and was sad we didn't manage to incinerate any cake :p . Next time!
My table had agreed to try a game that I have had for several years but never played before this week Fiese Kühe, I tried it out two player before the club and found it a bit bland, however I could see that it probably played best with four and thankfully I had three willing volunteers. It is a race game with the goal being to get your four cows from one end of the playing area to the other, however with four players there are sixteen cows all trying to rush down a gap five lanes wide. Players have a hand of five cards and on a turn you play a card and then draw a new one.
Each has their own deck which is identical to the other players. There are restrictions which are no diagonal or backwards movement, your whole move must be in a straight line and unhindered by obstacles (other cows or cow pats). Fortunately the cards all have a special ability as well as the movement, for instance a Stoss card allows you to push other cows, a Muh card allows you to make all cows adjacent to you move 1 space (this may be backwards) Platsch allows you to wade through cow pats, Huh allows you to choose how far you move, Zig-zag allows you to change direction during your move and Grrr allows you to swap places with a anothers cow. There is a lot of swapping and being moved around that you feel that you are never really in control which makes this game a little frustrating but also generates quite a bit of fun for instance one of my cows started the race at least three times as he kept being frightened back off the board by more aggressive cows and at the end when I thought everyone was moving off the board I cleared a lane to get one of my cows off with a Huh card just to have my way blocked by someone else who took advantage of my clearway.
There are some tactics (which I totally failed to grasp) for instance cow pats although blocking can be defensive spaces against the Grrr card and one of our number won convincingly despite being the last in the round. The feedback I got was that it was not a bad little game, crib cards would have been very handy though, ironically I had them at home but did not think they would be needed – I was wrong.
Table 3 next went for Vault Wars – why are there so many games I know nothing about? This was described to me as being very close to the TV programme storage wars, players outbid each other for the contents of various vaults hoping to find treasures to sell at a profit, there are hidden roles and everyone only gets to see a small part of each vault.
There is quite a bit of bluff and lots of player interaction and those that played seemed to enjoy it, the only caveat seems to be it really needs 4 or more players.
BQ fortunately gives some feedback
- Vault Wars was a very enjoyable bit of fantasy-themed, auction-based game, with a good amount of bluffing and player interaction . The various powers of the "vaults" you auction off (yes, it IS a high fantasy version of those "Storage Wars" TV shows) add a nice bit of variation, and the multi-use item cards (that one can keep for victory points, sell for cash or "equip" for their special ability) mean there's a surprising amount of interesting decisions for a game whose mechanisms are, on the face of it, quite simple. We didn't use the "workers" expansion this time, so I'd been keen to try it again with that in play: it too adds additional ability options.
Table 1 had moved on to Sheriff of Nottingham, this is a revamp of the 1950’s game Contraband by Pepys and introduces pouches and extra bits, the aim of the game is to make the most cash. Players place items in their pouch to take into the thriving market town of Nottingham however the Sheriff (the role of which moves on a player each round)gets to speak to each player and demand to know what is in the pouch, players can bribe the sheriff to let them into Town with the bag unopened and if accepted they get all the goods in their bag.
If challenged by the Sheriff the bag is opened and penalties applied for contraband, however if the player was honest about the contents the player gets bonus money for having their character maligned. I personally am not sure all the extra bits are necessary – Contraband (later Smuggle) was a solid card and cash game that played 3-6 players in about 20 minutes, Sheriff of Nottingham is fiddlier, plays 3-5 players in 60 minutes, however it is certainly more tactile with nice bits and colourful graphics drawing the players into the game, the earlier versions were not as “nice”.
Table 2 next played Zooloretto: The Dice Game, this is a simple dice game where a player on their turn can take a truck with at least 1 dice played upon it or roll 2 die which they must then add to one or two trucks in play, each truck has a limit of 3 die. Each dice has a different animal on each of five faces and a coin on the last. When a truck is selected the player takes the die and ticks off boxes on their display sheet, if they are the first to complete an animal row they get a bonus point (2 points in the case of the lion).
They now take no further actions in that round. Once everyone has taken a truck the round is over and the start player moves on. The game plays smoothly and has a stitch up factor, tactical play is possible and there is a fair amount of decision making to be done, however this is not a game I rate highly, with only 2 dice to roll each turn there is a fair amount of luck on what you will be providing for your opponents, but as a filler it is ideal and should play in about 15 minutes.
The last game on Table 3 was The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet, this has been covered before.
We finished off the evening with Super Rhino which I covered last week. Three of us played 2 rounds, this is a game firmly on my “to buy“ list and probably fits my intellectual level being aimed at players aged 5 and above.