Another new game from me (arrived on Monday) can you guess what it is?
Last weeks quiz picture was correctly guessed as Heckmeck Junior, it is simpler than the adult version and plays a lot quicker, it follows the same dice rolling format and makes a simple 10 minute filler.
Table 2 started with Battlestar Galactica not a lot I can say about this one except how I never really got into it the TV programme even though it was of my era when it first came out in 1978, I have not even seen anything of the newer version not have I played the gamewhich probably leaves me as the last person to review it. What I can tell you is that it is rated as 7.8 on the geek with 23000 ratings indicating to me that it is a good solid game and one that I ought to play, the downside is that if I do like it not only do I have to get the game but also the DVD series.
My table started with Oh My Goods!, this has been covered before and has a nice resource management structure however I still do not enjoy playing it even after five games. In brief the active player deals some card out to a central display and based on what is in the line players decide to activate a card in their personal display, some more cards are then dealt and if enough of the correct symbols are shown the card you nominated in your display gets activated generating cash which can then be used to build another card into your display. The nice bit of the game is that cards activations can be chained so that goods generated by building “A” can be used to give better returns in building “B”.
On the whole this system works well but for me it falls down in several places, first off you need the right cards to turn up in the deal to get cash from your building, this is very “hit & miss” and shortfalls are made up from your hand, secondly you need to churn through a lot of cards to find cards that chain together well, there is a mechanism for this but these cards are also needed for meeting shortfalls in goods to generate cash (as above) so some serious decision making which is nice but it feels “forced”, lastly there is no real catch-up mechanism, a fortunate player is likely to retain any early lead (this is especially so in a 2 player game). Now I want to like this game, the driving mechanisms are very nicely thought out but it does not seem to reward planning and from my perspective just comes down to luck, I want to be proved wrong so I urge you to give it a try and let me know what you think.
The next game we played was Codenames the well deserved winner of this years Spiel des jahres award, it is an excellent group game and plays best with 6 or more. The players play in teams and there is nothing that makes the game more exciting than a bit of discord in the ranks. This game has been gone over before so a brief explanation here, there is a grid of 25 cards laid out on the table of which 8 cards are assigned to one team and 9 to the other, this is shown on a small grid card which only the captains of the two teams can see. The cards have one word on and each turn the captain will give a one word clue and a number of cards the clue relates to, the idea being the team members identify all their cards before the opposite team. We had several games of this where I managed to be on the losing side each time but this did not diminish from the fun that was had, although out of my comfort zone being both a team game and a deduction game I do enjoy this one.
Table 1 had turned to Taj Mahal, an interesting game with some nice mechanics and several ways of collecting victory points however personally I do not like the combat system for controlling points on the board as it can be very brutal and no amount of planning or preparation can guarantee a victory and once you lose a big battle it is very difficult to recover. It is a good well balanced game even if it is not my first choice of game to play and has been covered in an earlier report.
The last game on Table 3 was Dragonwood a fun card and dice game which is an ideal filler, there are two decks of cards one containing monsters and a few items the second contains combat cards, the combat cards have numbers and a colour, on a turn a player can either take a new combat card or combat a monster or take an item, to do the latter two they lay a set of cards as a run, a flush or one or more cards showing the same number, players then roll a number of dice equal to the number of cards played and compare the total against that required on the nominated monster or item for the set of cards played. The nice thing is if you fail to get the roll you only lose one card so you are not penalised for unlucky rolling, I liked this a lot and it has gone onto my “to buy” list.
Table 1 next played Spookies, this light hearted push-your-luck game is probably best for younger players at whom it is actually aimed. On a turn you pick a playing piece (or have it chosen by a die roll in the basic version) and then choose how many dice to roll, your aim is to get at least the value shown for the next level in the house that the playing piece is on but with only two of the dice you roll, of course the more dice you roll the easier it is to achieve the value however the rewards are reduced the more dice you use. If successful you keep your rewards and may try for the next level, you can increase or decrease the number of dice you roll each time however once you start with a playing piece any further movement for that turn must be taken with the same piece. All rewards are tokens which may have values of 1,2,3 or 5 thereon however you do not get to see what they are on your tokens until the game is over, so the game is really just a scramble to get as many tokens as you can. If you are unfortunate and do not make your roll, you lose tokens to the board which can be taken by any player whose chosen piece reaches that level when rolling only two dice. It is a game of luck both in the die rolling and the reward tokens however no more so than any other game of its ilk (Can’t Stop comes to mind), it is light and fun and plays in 20 minutes.
The last game of the evening was Codenames where my team lost again even though we had a big swap round of players, I can only deduce therefore that I am rubbish at it. I still had a lot of fun.