The quiz picture this week is another new 2-player game.
Last weeks picture was of 7 Ronin a 2-player game which has one person playing the attacking bandits and the other the seven defending Ronin. I have played the game 4 times now and each battle has been very close.
15 Games graced the tables at the club this week so this write up is going to be mainly a list with only a few expanded upon.Istanbul is a medium level resource game which is about finding the winning path through the stalls to create a mini resource engine and inevitably gain the victory points to win. It is an excellent game and plays equally well with any number of players.
Snatch is a word making game where letters are revealed in the centre, players then try to be the first to make a word from the letters in the middle, the snatch part is that you can extend other players words and then steal them. (I have not played this so may have it a bit wrong).
Lotus is a new card game where you are creating flowers by adding petals, as you play you can see the various flowers developing on the table, sadly I do not know the rules but it does look great.
Survive: Escape from Atlantis! I believe is a reimplementation of Escape from Atlantis with a few rule changes, they have also taken to providing “surprise surprise” several expansions for it. I have not played this version but two of the changes are how the island sinks, tiles are randomly placed so that the island can fragment and the volcano piece can appear at any time towards the end of the game as opposed to the very last piece of the game, no swirler though, they have stuck with a die.
Mechs vs. Minions is a miniature co-operative game where the players program the mechanoids, however things can go horribly wrong with the programming causing chaos, I was informed it was an enjoyable game and it did look great, the table played it twice.
Mangrovia is a game about getting majorities on a grid, however the mechanics behind placement are quite neat requiring cards matching terrain and taking an action permitting the building of huts. The game multi-player does lead to some interesting decision making as prime plots are taken quickly and you find yourself manouvering for different majorities than those initially planned for. Arcane Academy was played again, I will get to play this at some point.
Cockroach Salad was one of the filler games, this cute card game relies on a quick brain so the likes of me are left standing. On a turn you flip one of your cards and call out the name of the vegetable that is unless it matches the last vegetable played in which case you must lie which you must also do if the last player said your vegetable (as a lie for their vegetable) or your vegetable is a taboo vegetable. There is much hilarity as your brain struggles desperately to say the correct thing as duplicates and taboo vegetables are played. It has similarities to Cockroach Soup but is a kinder game as far as the memory element goes.
Dominion was played at the club, not my favourite style of game but as far as deck-builders go it is excellent but it has about eight expansions not including promos. The basic idea for those who have not played it is that each player starts off with a deck of 7 single coin cards and 3 single victory point cards, on a turn you take 5 cards from your shuffled deck and play them, you can play one action card then spend any money to buy a card from those decks on offer (these have been pre-picked before the game start and consist of coin cards values 1, 2 & 3, Victory point cards values 1, 3 & 6 and ten sets of action cards). The art of the game is to pick out the action cards that work well together to gain the cash to get the victory points, there is also an element of timing, go too soon for the victory points and your hand becomes clogged with useless cards, leave it too late and all the victory point cards will be taken.
Metro has been played before it is an intriguing route-laying game, each player has a fleet of coloured trams in their colour and the idea of the game is to accumulate the most points, these are gained by the number of tiles that your trams travel over when they leave the garage. On a turn you place a tile in the direction of the arrow printed on it, if at any point you complete a route the relevant tram travels the route and scores for its owner. You can get double points by ending your route in the middle of the board, the art of the game is create looping tracks for your trams thereby travelling several times over the same tiles racking up the points each time. It is not a particularly long game but some tiles can create some interesting decision making on whether to extend your own track or attack another player who is dangerously close to scoring high.
Ice Cool is a filler game, excellent for young as well as the more mature player who cannot help but be reminded of Subbuteo. The board is the game box which has several inner boxes all which cleverly stack inside each other but also clip together to create the playing area. Each player has a penguin with a weight in the bottom so that it wobbles like a weeble, the game is separated into rounds with one player playing the teacher each round, on their turn a player gets one flick to try to get through the arches of the play area collecting rewards as they go, after all players have had a flick the teacher has a flick this time trying to canon against the other players penguins.
A round ends when one player collects their three rewards (fish) or the active players are caught by the player playing the teacher for the round, the game ends after all players have played the teacher once at which point everyone counts up their points. Overall a sweet game and kudos to the design work of the board, it will appeal mainly to youngsters but is good as a frivolous filler.
Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu, follows much in the vein of Pandemic and is a co-operative game but the theme is very different, in this version there are four regions in which cultists practice their dread arts summoning forth the “Old Ones”. The aim of the game is to close the four portals (one in each region) before losing the game which can be achieved in quite a few ways. A turn consist of your character with its special ability undertaking 4 actions the choices are to move to an adjacent board space, use a card to do a special move from a bus station, remove a cultist from the board location you are at, trade a card with another player, close a portal at the space you are at and kill a Shoggoth (takes 3 actions).
After each turn a player draws 2 cards from the location deck – these are needed for travelling and for closing gates, then 2 cards are drawn from the cultists deck each of which places a new cultist on the board. Should a fourth cultist need to be placed in a location a summoning occurs and an Old One is revealed, some cards on the cultist deck moves Shoggoths and should one reach an open portal then again an Old One is revealed, the Old Ones are powerful beings who skew the game mechanism against you making it harder to succeed. You lose the game if all the Old Ones are revealed or the last Shoggoth (there are only 3) OR the last Cultist is placed on the board, you also lose if Cthulhu is revealed or if the location deck is ever emptied.
There is some hope, the players may find relics which will aid them in defeating the cultists, closing a gate also removes cultists from the board however there is a sanity die which must be rolled every time a player uses a relic or stands in the same space as a Shoggoth, should you lose all four of your sanity chips you flip your card which gives you fewer actions and diminishes your special action. We played the game at the easiest level and won however with only 6 cards left in the location deck we were cutting it fine. I have also played it solo and the system works just fine.