There are a lot of route laying games around - which one is this?
Last weeks quiz picture was London by Martin Wallace, a solid game which sits in my top 100 games.
A new record for the club with 19 players turning up, really nice to see so many people, I hope everyone had a great time. Fortunately most of the games I have covered before so on the whole I will be giving most just a brief mention. Table 1 was playing 5-player Cosmic Encounter, certainly a game which is “the more the merrier” and should be played as a role playing game rather than a war game to get the most from it, players try to get bases on other players planets through diplomacy, war or use of their races special powers.
Table 2 played Carcassonne a game I see as ideal for newcomers to the hobby, the rules are fairly straight-forward and each turn comes with limited decision making that gently exercises the brain and although there is an element of luck on the tile draw this generally evens out over the length of a game.
For those who do not know this game on a turn you take a tile which will have a number of features on it and you must place this adjacent to any tile previously played by anyone, the features at your tiles edge must match the tile you place it next to after which you may place one of your meeples on a feature on your tile so long as no-one else has a meeple on that particular feature already. When a feature is completed you score points for it.
Table 3 played Dragonwood and then followed this up with Love Letter: Batman and then Stones of Fate a nifty little game where a player obtains cards from a face-down grid. On a turn a player gets two actions and there are 3 possibilities for each action, move one of your five stones adjacent to an edge of a card, peek at a card to see what it is or flip a card. When a card is flipped players compare their stone placements to the requirements of the cards, a cards edges may have different criteria for each edge. When a card is won the special action on it is enacted. Although I am not a fan of powercard games the stone placement and resolving mechanic does appeal to me.
Table 4 started with Automobiles and played a three lap race, covered a couple of weeks ago this is a very nicely rounded game where players plan their play based on the coloured cubes they draw from their own collection. The shorter races are usually an interesting affair as players have a choice of designing a car normally for a longer race by ditching some cubes whilst collecting others which may work or just going for cubes that will get you a large early lead. Our race revolved around the green cubes which gave a players huge jumps around the track and I thought that would dictate the winner, at the end the first 2 cars were less than one space apart with the others not far behind.
With more players turning up I decided to give Secret Hitler an airing as the rules are fairly easy to explain and its flexibility in player numbers allowed for players to choose between this and any other game and in essence this worked well as we played 4 games in a row with players dropping in and out between games – despite this all four games played with the maximum ten slots filled.
Although I am not a fan of deduction games I am intrigued by this one, probably because it lacks the “special powers” that occur in some games (e.g. Werewolf) but mainly because it plays with your neurons rearranging them and twisting the so that your brain feels like mush at the end. The game revolves around who to trust and the early decision making made by players and the reasoning they give for their actions starts to give clues about who to trust and who not to trust however you are always left with the feeling of “I think I trust this person although they also did that which makes me distrust them equally as much”. As the game goes on you gain more information about them and others which then leads you to certainties about the various players based on the different interactions around the table. Towards the end you become very definite about whether you trust any particular player or not, you just do not know which way to swing still but you are certainly more definite about it.
In the meantime Table 1 played Sheriff of Nottingham followed by Why First? of which I sadly know nothing, with Beasty Bar being played on Table 3, in relation to the latter I have picked up a copy of Beasty Bar New Beasts in Town which is a stand-alone game but can also be amalgamated with the original version giving a lot more variety in play and an element of “deck building” as you select the 12 beasts you want in your own deck but only 1 of each number..
Table 4 played a 2 player game of Roll for the Galaxy, this is a dice collecting game which works equally well 2 player as it does multi player, there is an element of “solo gaming” however you do rely a little on your opponents to give you added flexibility to your game so paying attention to what your opponent is trying to achieve and their current dice deployments is essential to do well, I always lose this when I get wrapped up in my own plans and ignore my opponents which the game can gently lull you into doing.
The last game of the evening was Kakerlakensuppe a sweet card game that trips you up with simple logic. On a turn you turn over a card which will have a vegetable on it all you have to do is say the vegetable, now there are four different vegetables so this is not too hard however if your vegetable has just been played you have to say “slurp”, there are also cards that stop you saying a particular vegetable for the rest of the round in which case you must name another vegetable but not one that has just been played. It is the fun of simple logic and memory and trying to speak contrary to what your eyes see that makes this game a good giggle and ideal for end of the eveningplay.