Peloponnes

This picture quiz should be easy for the more mature of us, answer next week.

I am back (of sorts) illness has had the better of me for nearly 3 months, nothing major but horribly debilitating. That is enough of me on to the Blog, the last quiz picture was of course Colonists a game which (in November) I had only just obtained and it rapidly entered my top 10 games of 2016.

The format is going to change for a bit until I get myself together again, it will just be a list of games played with a review of only one of them as opposed to my many mini reviews of the past.

Table 1 – Secret Hitler, Bohnanza, Firefly Fluxx

Table 2 – Peloponnes, King Lui, Medieval Academy

Table 3 – Star Trek Frontiers

Peloponnes  by Bernd Eisenstein is a much under-rated game of empire building based around the early city states of Greece however it is not a war-game and there is no military, instead it is a game of resource gathering, building your City, expanding your lands and trying to protect yourself from the five disasters that will happen. The aim of the game is to score the most points however each player has two running scores and it is the lower one that is used, one of them is the points shown on all your tiles collected in the game, the other is 3 x your population level.

The player board for red showing current stocks - population is 6 giving a cash income of 3

The player board for red showing current stocks - population is 6 giving a cash income of 3

Each player has their own board for keeping a tally of wood, stone, wheat, luxury goods and population, they also start with a random city-state tile detailing their starting goods. On a turn players bid for tiles in a display, each may obtain only 1 tile in a round and there are only 9 rounds (8 in the base game) so at best at the end of the game you will have 10 tiles including your starting tile. Tiles can have up to 7 pieces of information, a) minimum bid price, b) victory points, c) instant bonus on purchase, d) special power, e) cost to build (if a town tile), f) production, g) tile type (whether a town tile or a terrain tile). 

Pylos is the start tile here - this is a mock up just showing layout, the wheat field could not be played here as there is no matching production symbol on it and the adjacent tile. The Port tile required 3 stone and 1 wood to build, came with an instant 2 population and a choice of 1 income from any of the 4 base commodities. The wheat field gives an income of 3 wheat.

Pylos is the start tile here - this is a mock up just showing layout, the wheat field could not be played here as there is no matching production symbol on it and the adjacent tile. The Port tile required 3 stone and 1 wood to build, came with an instant 2 population and a choice of 1 income from any of the 4 base commodities. The wheat field gives an income of 3 wheat.

A round consists of a) bidding for tiles, b)collecting tiles you were successful on, c) adding them to your display and collecting the instant reward, d) collecting resources (money is dependent on how large your population is), e) revealing 2 disaster tokens and dealing with any effects. Simple so far and now for the complications that make this a tight and highly interesting game. First off any terrain tile you take must be placed next in line to the last terrain tile you bought and at least one production symbol must match on both tiles, secondly any town tiles you purchase must be built with resources in hand if not one of your spare coins must be placed on it, thirdly when overbid on a tile you may move your bid to any other tile, you may also stay where you are and raise your bid. With any bid you make you can add money but you may never reduce the size of a bid. You may pass on the bidding phase completely and receive 3 cash from the bank, however if you bid but later decide to withdraw from the bidding round you only receive 1 cash as compensation.

I mentioned disasters, there are 3 tokens for each of the 5 disasters and 3 blanks, 2 tokens  are drawn at the end of each round, when the 3rd of a specific disaster is drawn that even takes place immediately and they can be game losing if you have not accounted for them, for instance plague reduces your population by 1/3, early in the game not too much hassle but later when you have your population up to 12 (36 VP) and you lose 4 that is a loss of 16VP and needs to be countered. Other disasters destroy terrain tiles, town tiles, luxury goods or food stocks, fortunately a small number of tiles provide defence against the various disasters.

The top right town tile gave me immunity from plague (middle bottom symbol), it has a coin on it denoting I had not yet paid the 3 stone and 3 wood to build it. Note the common income symbols on adjacent land tiles.

The top right town tile gave me immunity from plague (middle bottom symbol), it has a coin on it denoting I had not yet paid the 3 stone and 3 wood to build it. Note the common income symbols on adjacent land tiles.

If that were not bad enough 4 times during the game there is a feeding session, these come out as follows :- one between rounds 4 and 6 (inc), one on either round 7 or 8, one in round 9 and another at the end of the game. A feeding session takes place immediately a tile with the relevant symbol is revealed (this is done at the very beginning of a round), population must be fed 1 food each, any not fed are lost, secondly any town tile with a coin on it MUST be built or lost. Sounds easy, but if you get a famine as a disaster depleting your food stocks at the end of one round and a feeding at the start of the next you lose a big chunk of your population. Another example (from our game) was the destruction of luxury goods followed by a feeding session, with all my luxury goods gone I could not build a building which was defending me against plague, so I lost it, its power, its production and the victory points it had and later in the game I lost 3 people (9vp).

Overall this is a lovely game, its mechanics draw you in and there is a lot to think about, it is thematic but perhaps is not as “pretty” as some would like being just tiles and counters, it is highly interactive in the bidding phase and once you know the game it plays quite quickly in about an hour, it is more of a “strategy game” than a “family game” every play giving you lots to think about with plenty of decision making and the rules are such that . I was gratified that everyone at the table said they would like to play it again not a normal response to some of the games I bring to the table and with the different city states available it has a high replay value. I strongly recommend Pelopones,

The star Trek Board played on Table 3

The star Trek Board played on Table 3