Skull, Euphoria and Fresco

This quiz picture is something which may be familiar to some of you.

The last quiz was correctly identified by BQ as 13 Dead End Drive which can be a lot of fun if you are in a frivolous mood which oft-times I am.

This weeks gaming extravaganza started with 6 nimmt!. This card game has been around for a while and has had a couple of spin-offs such as Hornochsen. It is a light game and requires only a little thought and an ability to read the furrowed brows around you. On a turn everyone selects a card from their hand and these are revealed simultaneously, all the cards are then played to a grid tableau on the table in numerical order. The Golden rule is that a card is always placed against a row where it is higher than the previous card in that row and where the numerical difference is least. When the sixth card is placed in a row it takes all the others and scores penalty points for that player. A round ends when everyone has played all their cards.

We then split into 3 tables of 3. Our table played Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia, this is an excellent worker placement game where the workers are dice and the aim is to lose your stars before the other players by achieving various aims. There is no way I can do this game justice in the few paragraphs I have here so I will only do a very brief overview and say that if you enjoy resource management games you must play this game at least once. The board is of a futuristic city which is split into 4 major zones.

 A view of the board, there is often a lot going on at any one time, but turns are usually very quick as players work to preset goals.

A view of the board, there is often a lot going on at any one time, but turns are usually very quick as players work to preset goals.

The three ground based zones produce 3 commodities namely energy, water and food, these can be traded in for Resources namely Stone, Gold or Clay these three ground zones also each contain a pair of markets which need to be opened during the game for which the Resources are required. The basic rule is that on your turn you either place a worker or you retrieve workers from the board. Depending on where you place your worker, you will receive resources or trade them for commodities or help open up a market.

 The Wasteland sector showing a clay mine (bottom left), 2 revealed markets (centre) and food commodities

The Wasteland sector showing a clay mine (bottom left), 2 revealed markets (centre) and food commodities

Dice remain on the board until you retrieve them or someone knocks them off a single worker space, any time those dice come off the board you roll them and must total the pips of ALL your offboard dice with your knowledge level and if the sum is 16 or over then you lose a worker. Health allows you to collect artefact cards which can be used in certain places to gain a foothold on a market. There is more but I suggest you play it to get the full impact of the game.

 Table 1 started with Kingsburg, this is its 4th appearance at the club and is solid worker placement game which sits 28th in the Family Game geek listing, under-placed in my opinion as it is also an excellent post-introductory game for those new to gaming.

Table 3 started with Fresco, this is one of the nicer games out of the Queen stable and on release was nominated for 10 awards winning 4 of them. On a turn players initially choose turn order, going earlier means you will get more choice, but it costs more and your happiness goes down (no-one likes getting up early).

 Fresco board at games end with Red winning and all bar 2 of the centre tiles "painted"

Fresco board at games end with Red winning and all bar 2 of the centre tiles "painted"

Each player then in secret posts their workers to various jobs which include buying paints, mixing paints for more colours, paint a fresco, collecting cash and  go to the theatre increasing your happiness rating,  all with the aim of gaining the tiles (paint fresco action) in the centre of the board for victory points and extra in game benefits. All enjoyed the game which is placed 9 places above Kingsburg.

Table 3 followed Fresco with San Juan a card game using the theme and job roles from Puerto Rico. Cards have 3 roles, the first as money, the second as various buildings depicted on them and the third as goods. As in the parent game a player on their turn chooses a job role and performs its action as do the other players in turn, the job role chooser gets a bonus, the next player then chooses a job role from those that are left e.t.c.

 This player has 3 fields with goods and 3 other buildings - score shown by cost (ie a total of 16 so far)

This player has 3 fields with goods and 3 other buildings - score shown by cost (ie a total of 16 so far)

The idea is to build buildings which give victory points however to do well you need to build buildings that work well together as well as give the points.

Table 1 went on to play Hanabi and from the laughter emanating from the table I am under the impression that the players at our club have rewritten the rules to allow a large level of latitude in their guesswork and play.

 This firework display is going well - I wonder how many unofficial hints have been given so far.

This firework display is going well - I wonder how many unofficial hints have been given so far.

If you have not come across this one yet it is a deductive game where only you CANNOT see your own cards, you have to make a choice of play based upon the specific information given to you by the other players though that information is scarce and never enough to make completely safe plays.

At this point there was a mixing of the tables and 6 of us sat down to play The Princess Bride: A Battle of Wits, with more players this was a lot better and although I know it will not be a winner at the club, it is a game that I know will work well with certain groups. There are a group of cups in the centre of the table, one for each player, on a turn a player can either play a card face down at the top of a cup or the bottom of a cup. Cards at the top will either be wine or a dose of poison, cards at the bottom are bids for that cup.

 5 player game - Swords dominating the centre cup

5 player game - Swords dominating the centre cup

When all cards are played (eight rounds) then the bids are sorted to see who each cup, should a player win 2 cups they choose which to have with second place then winning the cup. This continues until each player has won a cup at which point the contents for each are revealed. Every other round some cards at the top of cups are revealed to allow some information to flow into the game.  For our games (we played 2) there were multiple winners whereas the rules seem to indicate that it will usually be one or none, perhaps the playtesters were more aggressive in play than we were.

The last game of the evening was Skull, another shortish fun game where the aim is to win any 2 rounds before any of the other players. All players start the game with 4 discs, one of which has a skull on it, the other three have roses.

 One win so far for this player and 2 tiles put into play - is one a skull? Of course it is

One win so far for this player and 2 tiles put into play - is one a skull? Of course it is

Everyone chooses one of these and places it face down in front of them, then going round the table players bid for how many roses are in play, once everyone has passed the winning bid reveals the discs one at a time starting with their own, this stops as soon as they reach the number of roses called in which case they win the round or reveal a skull in which case they randomly lose one of their discs.

 Someone I met at Chester Zoo and the reason I missed MAB a couple of weeks back.

Someone I met at Chester Zoo and the reason I missed MAB a couple of weeks back.