The quiz picture this week is not a game I would normally play but I have enjoyed it when I have played it.
The last quiz picture was Food Chain Magnate rapidly spotted by one of our readers. I am still doing catch-up but I am getting closer to getting up to date. This post covers 3 weeks of games at the club and our second anniversary statistics. As with the other catch-up there are no links to BGG but they will be back soon.
The games played on 20 April were Love Letter – Batman, Mombasa, Ticket to Ride India, Die Holde Isolde, Family Business, Beasty Bar, Saint Malo, Yspahan, Bonn, Skull and Poison. Although Ticket to Ride is not a favourite of mine I found the India map quite interesting as it got very tight very quickly and there was a lot of decision making to be done, I did not play Mombasa at the club but I have played it since and I do not think I have become so frustrated with a game for a large number of years, it is yet another very “bitty” game, I will give it another try but at the moment there are so many other games I would rather play.
BQ > I'd like to give Mombasa another go, as I think - more than this is true usually - it really does pay to know what you're doing, and now I have a bit better idea I'd also be able to assist any newbies I played with. It is long, though. Maybe next time with 3 . . .
GM > Lessons learned from Mombasa: When the game is named after one of the factions in it, back those guys.
SR > Yes to Agricola, no thanks to Mombasa; it's not a bad game, but it's definitely not one for me. I think new players should know that they can't do everything and need to focus on a few scoring tracks to really score big. I also think Mombasa (black) are likely to be an easier company to score big on because of the synergy between playing expansion cards and the bonus to move up the mombasa track.
The club had its 2nd anniversary on 23rd April and in our 2 years we have played a total of 698 games with a steady increase of 1.5 games per month, this figure is not wholly accurate as I only record a game once for a session no matter how many times it gets played, so something like Secret Hitler which always gets multiple plays will only be recorded the once thus I am 100% certain we have played over 700 games.
The most popular game so far is Sushi Go! with 17 plays followed by Port Royal with 12, however these are filler games and the most popular non-fillers are Splendor with 9 plays, Machi Koro and Nations the Dice Game with 7 a piece although these are still fairly lightweight games playing in about 20-30 minutes; of the games that play in the hour + category Abyss, Russian Railroads and Traders of Osaka share the popularity contest with 6 plays each. Since the club started we have played 339 different titles with 137 being played more than once, sadly that is still 202 lonely games (59%) looking to be played a second time, only 81 titles (24%) have been played 3 or more times. Surprisingly there are very few donkeys (in my opinion) among the "single" play games and there are even some great games such as Terra Mystica and Caverna (ranked 3 & 4 on the geek respectively). Moving onto the geek briefly we have managed to play 30 games out of their top 100 and 122 in the top 500.
The games played on 27th April were Warhammer Quest Card Game, Medina, Family Business, Forbidden Island, Die Holde Isolde, Agricola and Archaeology New Expedition. Agricola we played 4 player with one newcomer who had a crash course in the rules and was assisted by us all at one point or another so when he won convincingly I think we all shared a little in the glory. Warhammer Quest card game was well outside my sphere of usual game being a dungeon–bash with power cards, however I enjoyed it immensely, each player has 4 power-cards but can only action one in a turn and all cards need to be reset before they can be used again. It is a co-operative game and we came close to losing with one member down to one lifepoint. The fame system creates a good atmosphere and there was plenty of banter across the table, I enjoyed it so much that I bought a copy.
BQ > Medina I last played about 12 years ago. This time we played the 2nd edition version, which adds in a few neat new rules that definitely improve it, I think. You're collectively re-building the Medina city, using rather pretty wooden pieces (palaces, city walls, stables, merchants), which you place on a rectangular grid representing the desert sands. You get a bunch of these bits at the start, and on your turn you place two of them on the board. That's it. smile emoticon There's four palace colours, but those colours don't belong to the players, instead once a palace of a given colour is started, anyone who wants to add a piece of that palace colour must add to the existing palace.
BQ (cont) > However, at some point, a player can place one of their roof pieces on the palace to claim it - they will score for it at the end, based on its size (and some other things). Another of the same colour can then be started. But players can only acquire one palace of each colour during the game, so when to claim is a tricky question - you want the palace to be as big as possible before you claim, but of course if you leave it too long, someone else can grab it! More palace pieces can't be added to a completed (roofed) palace, but stables can, which means more points. City walls add bonus points to palaces adjacent to them, as do merchants (representing the market(s) of the city). Completing a palace can get you a bonus point tile for that colour, but it can be stolen from you if another player claims a bigger palace later (or uses stables to expand their existing palace in that colour, so it's bigger). Completing a palace next to a wall section can get you a bonus point tile for the tower at the corner of that wall, but, again, it can be taken off you, this time by whoever next completes a palace adjacent to a wall section leading to the same tower. Finally, a well, randomly placed at the start, gives bonus points to palaces near it. It's fascinating to watch the city grow, and I found a lot of enjoyable tension coming from the angst over when to claim a palace, how to block other's from expanding. I inwardly (and outwardly) groaned several times as people blocked me from expanding, or led the merchant line away from my palace. Good stuff, and it looks dead pretty when you're done...
The games on 4th May were Snowdonia, Archaeology New Expedition, Celestia, Android, Cockroach Poker, Onitama and Bonn.
Archaeology I purchased many years ago and thought it a very nice set collecting game, the new expedition varies little from the original but whether it was because we played with 5 players or because of the extra bits but I felt very little control over what was happening and I think luck was too much of a factor, it is still a nice game but I think fewer players may make it better. Snowdonia I undersold when I explained about it to the volunteers who wanted to play, I have played it 2 player a couple of times and solo a good half a dozen times, it was (to me) a dull game however with 4 players it took on a new life and there was some serious decision making to be done and I found it very enjoyable and I am looking forward to play it again, as long as it is 4 or more players.
BQ > Archeology - The New Expedition (I think the subtitle is there to differentiate it from the earlier edition of the same game) was a fun card game on the less complex end of the spectrum, but I felt it had enough meat to make it rather interesting. In summary, you collect sets of treasure cards in order to sell them to museums. The more of a type of treasure you sell, the more money you get, and some treasure types are worth almost nothing unless you have several to sell. There are also map treasures which have an additional power - more on that later. To help with getting the right cards, there's a market of five cards on the table at the start of the game, and you can trade cards in and out of the market, priced according to trading values printed on them. On your turn, without revealing it to the others, you take (dig! smile emoticon ) a card from the deck and look at it. If it's a treasure, you add it to your hand. If it's a thief, you show it, and steal a random card from someone else. If it's a sandstorm...bad news: you show it, and then everyone discards to the market half their hand, rounded down. You can - only once during the game - discard a special tent card you receive at the start, to protect your hand. After the digging, you may trade with the market, sell cards to the museum (place them in a set in front of you for scoring at the end), or explore one of the hidden chambers of the monument, one of six possible special buildings that is randomly selected during setup. To explore it, you surrender a certain number of map cards, and receive treasure cards from one of the chambers. The monuments are all different. With a couple, you just take a pile of cards dealt at the start. A couple have a push-your-luck element, one accrues cards as the game goes on, one lets you peek at its chambers when you sell to a museum....it all depends, but you'll only have one per game. It chugged along nicely, each player's turn is quick but involves some fun decisions: I've got a few pot shards, I should keep collecting for a big score...but what if there's a sandstorm? I have a pharaoh's mask, but I need another, and I only have a couple of cards...should I wait to see if I can get it from the market...but what if someone thieves it from me...? I enjoyed it a lot, and I have a feeling this'll be one I bring as a regular filler.