Jazz, Artifacts and Modern Art

This weeks quiz is a doddle if you have been following the blogs.

The last quiz was Dino Race a nice simple race game with a medium slice of luck thrown in, playing in 20 minutes it is great fun for younger gamers as well as adults.

The warm up was a new one on me, normally I steer clear of memory style games but this was a lot of fun. Jazz: The Singing Card Game  consists of a deck of cards with mixed Jazz sounds written thereon such as “Bop”, “At” and “Scoodily” to name a few there are also blank cards to make up your own jazz noises. On a turn you name every card in the sequence already played and then add your own card, if no-one spots a mistake then play passes to the next person, a player making a mistake takes the cards played so far into their forfeit pile, they start a new round. It was an excellent warm-up with quite a few people getting into the rhythm of it. I won but only by dint of collecting 90% of the extended solo cards which allowed me to bow-out without penalty which I did almost every other turn.

We split into 2 tables, table 1 went with a brand new game hot off the press Artifacts, Inc.. In this game players roll dice to collect various artifacts which they sell to dealers and museums for cash, this in turn is then used to finance expeditions and purchase items of use, all of which give victory points.

The start cards for each player which begins their personal display

The start cards for each player which begins their personal display

The driving mechanism behind the game is a set of dice which you roll on your turn, these are used to activate cards in your personal display which generally give you artifacts but also allow you to make purchases of cards which you add to your display. The game is played to a fixed number of victory points, these points are earned from cards you have bought or upgraded in your display (all cards are 2-sided and by having donated the most exhibits to each of the 4 museums in play.

There are many different cards available depicted here are Treasure from a dive, 2 items (boat and diving suit) and an expedition.

There are many different cards available depicted here are Treasure from a dive, 2 items (boat and diving suit) and an expedition.

The game plays smoothly although the first few turns are preset and there is a quick grab of extra dice cards to gain the best chances in the game, die rolling can go against a player though this is not a huge problem as you can always use the dice you roll to get something but too many bad rolls (low numbers) will limit flexibility and will not help your game.

The Museums, Private Collector and Guide card

The Museums, Private Collector and Guide card

The only other drawback in the game is downtime, although it is not a huge factor there is nothing to do during other players turns except read the cards available for purchase, you cannot plan anything until you have rolled your dice and seen what numbers you have to play with. I remedied this in a 2 player game by adding an extra set of dice so that we could roll and plan whilst the other was activating their turn.

Our table went with Glory to Rome this game has been around for a few years now, ten to be exact, and is rather nice and brightly coloured card game, however it took me about half the game to wrap my head around what are essentially quite simple rules. The game consists of a large deck of cards and each card has multiple functions; depending on what is happening in the round dictates what function each card has. A card can by one of 6 Characters (Patron, Soldier, Craftsmen, Architect, Merchant or Labourer), it will also be one of 6 different building materials (Rubble, Wood, Brick, Stone, Marble or Concrete), it will also have a cash rating for game end scoring (1, 2 or 3) and it will also have a building described on it. Cards can have one of 6 locations, in the hand, in the pool (all players have access to it), in your stockpile as a material, in your vault as victory points, as a material under a building you are constructing or as a character added to your client list.

Each players has a player mat to assist with the roles of the characters.

Each players has a player mat to assist with the roles of the characters.

On a turn a player chooses a character from his hand to action or just refills their hand. If they play a character every other player has a chance to follow and play the same character or refill their hand. It is the play of these cards together with the powers given bybuildings that you have completed that are the guts of the game, the early interactions are easy to predict but the buildings make safe plays more in doubt as the game develops.

My display early in the game, I have 2 Labourer clients to the left of my board and plenty of materials at the bottom. The Stone (blue) could have been played as a Merchant (left of card) or the building (centre - a Colloseum I believe) depending on the circumstances of when it was played. 

My display early in the game, I have 2 Labourer clients to the left of my board and plenty of materials at the bottom. The Stone (blue) could have been played as a Merchant (left of card) or the building (centre - a Colloseum I believe) depending on the circumstances of when it was played. 

It is an interesting game and is well liked lying 67th in the strategy Game Ranking on the geek, it is not my preferred style of game essentially being a deck building game but I hope to play it again so that I can play it without struggling with the game mechanism as I did on this occasion and I thank my opponents for their patience as I struggled with the mechanisms.

We had a late arrival at the club and went for a 5 player game of Modern Art, this Reiner bidding game can be a lot of fun and is as much about judging what your opponents are likely to do as it is about playing the game itself. In short you play a card which is a painting by one of 5 artists, a bidding icon in the corner of the card shows how the bidding is to take place, such as closed bid or once round the table etcetera.

Four of the five artists in Modern Art - Yoko showing a "Once round the table" bid

Four of the five artists in Modern Art - Yoko showing a "Once round the table" bid

The bid winner gets the painting and the seller gets the cash, this play continues round the table each auctioning a painting in turn until one of the artists is represented by 5 paintings. At this point the artists are rated by how many paintings of theirs have been bought (the more purchases the more valuable each painting is), this is converted to cash and the paintings are sold at the rated price. There are 4 rounds and the ratings are cumulative so in the last round paintings can attract a very high price, it was a relaxed game with no clues as what was a fair price at any one time and with some interesting bidding tactics which led to much confusion and fun.

In the meantime table 1 played Cacao  which I have described in a couple of previous writings. It is a gentle tile laying game with players collecting points from undertaking various actions depending on where they lay their tribe tiles.

The last game played was Sauerbaum, this excellent co-operative game I will cover in a write up in the future, to pique your interest I will just say that this is an excellent game played with a box of smarties (4 tubes of smarties do equally well), as the smarties double as victory points it is important not to nibble mid game.