This quiz photo is of a territory claiming game with a flower growing theme.
The last quiz photo was the Box cover of Block Mania by Games Workshop from back in 1987, I know that was ancient times before some of you were born but for those from my era it was one of only a few games that was not “roll the dice and move the dobber” that was available in the UK.
Table 1 started with Above and Below which is really a resource management game the aim of which is to gain the most victory points through enlarging a village and collecting various resources. Each player has a number of workers which usually have either a hammer (used for building) or feather (used for recruiting more villagers).
Buildings usually have some resources, victory points or a method of boosting victory points, however some of the buildings cannot be constructed above ground and need caverns to be explored first (hence the below in the title), exploring is a chance encounter from a booklet the paragraph of which is looked up dependent upon a die roll, this is read out with a list of risk levels which the player uses his explorers (workers) to combat, success brings rewards equal to the risk undertaken.
The other thing a player may do is harvest resources from buildings, these are generally stored for scoring, the more variety you have the greater the rewards. On the whole a very pleasant game the encounter booklet bringing plenty of atmosphere and the mechanisms meshing well to provide a well rounded game which I would place at the lighter end of spectrum.
BQ > I enjoyed it very much - the combination of the underground encounters and their decisions coupled with building the village was a fresh one for me. I did wonder afterwards how much of a role luck ends up playing if you did what I did and explored a LOT - I was thinking maybe a run of really poor or really good luck could overwhelm any other planning considerations - but reviewing the game in my head, I think that it's simply one strategy you could pursue out of many, and it may have more divergent spread of risk vs. reward but you still need to manage your villager resources well to put yourself in the position of being able to succeed more often than you fail. But then I would say that, wouldn't I?
Table 2 started with a warm-up game of Sushi Go! This is a popular card game well liked by the club and it currently heads the table of games played at the club.
Table 3 started with Blood Rage, this is a game I regret not backing on kickstarter the models are fantastic and the backers got all sorts of extra goodies, it was everything thatone would hope from backing a game but rarely gets. It does not fall into the category of game I usually play but it has proved to be very popular currently at 40 on Boardgamegeeks ranking system. Players control a Viking Clan, Leader and Ship and take them into battle for glory, the mechanics include card drafting and variable player powers which gives plenty of variety. This is one that is on my “to play” list but buying it and all the expansions will have to wait until I have won the lottery.
J > Blood Rage is already good looking and has the potential to be awesome looking once the detailed miniatures are painted. The game was complex but not too difficult to learn. The theme works really well with it. It was definitely fun to play and I'd play it again.
Table 2 moved on to Roll for the Galaxy a game that ticks a lot of boxes for me, a worker placement game with lots of variety, it plays in about 45 minutes (shorter for fewer players) and it has very little downtime as there is always something to do and players do their actions simultaneously. The aim of the game is to earn victory points through building tiles onto a personal display or undertaking a trading action for victory point tokens, the tiles you build will either provide extra dice or special powers for your position. It is effectively a die rolling worker placement game with the dice being the workers. There is plenty of dice rolling and the rules allow for a limited level of latitude in worker placement which nullifies all but the worst of luck that tend to affect a lot of dice games, this is an enjoyable game in which careful management is rewarded.
Table 3 played Prohis, so quick was it that I missed it being played, I failed to get photos of the game in progress and know nothing about it – apologies.
J > Prohis was the light game contrast. Players pointed out that it was a lighter card version of Sheriff of Nottingham. It looks like a fun filler.
Table 1 moved on to Abyss with the Abyss: Kraken expansion, the base game I have covered before and from what I understand (not having played it) the expansion adds some more variety and the addition of black pearls which attract negative points.
BQ > Really enjoyed the new twists that the Kraken expansion brought to Abyss - the Kraken allies are a tricksy thing to manage, given the negative impact of the black pearls, as Rob found to his cost.
Table 3 moved on to Jerusalem another game which I sadly know nothing about.
J > I was able to sneak in Jerusalem to the table finally. I've only played it as a two and three player with family so I was curious how it would play at the club. It's definitely more fun than previous plays. I discovered that the game can bring out the AP in most people when the cubes start accumulating. That means dead time. Still, I had a great time playing with the group and I'd bring it again in the future if anyone's interested.
My table played Unexpected Treasures next, a fun card game where players try to outguess what cards are being played by other players (from a hand of 6 identical cards). If you play a unique card you collect tokens from a limited pile which you can trade in for victory point cards, where duplicate cards are played only one player collects the other sitting out for the round which is decided by tie-break tokens which are swapped by the duplicating players, there is also a thief card to take tokens from other players. Thus with the limited knowledge of what tokens are in play, what victory point cards are available and what tie-break token you have you can make a rough guess at what is best for you and your opponents to play and therefore deduce which card is the best for you to play.
The last game for us was Port Royal (without the expansion) which I have covered before, an interesting night starting off the year with 10 games played and 4 new games added to the clubs list.