From Stone Age to Ancient Times

First game on the table was Ark of Animals from Fabryka Gier Historycznych, a nice little memory game aimed at players age 6 and over.

Now you may think it’s a bit young for our group but played at the top level (it has 5 levels of play) it provides a nice challenge and is an excellent warm-up game. Each player gets a board which depicts a small grid of hexes, then at the same time each player grabs discs one at a time from a face down pile and add them to your grid, however there are several restrictions, you have to complete the first column before starting to fill the second column, tiles you do not want you can put back face up for others to see.

 An ark before checking for scoring.

An ark before checking for scoring.

Other things to consider are that you do not want to put herbivores next to the corn spaces or next to carnivores unless smaller and you want to gets sets of animals and avoid duplicate animals. Another factor is that when you add an animal to your ark you do so face down and cannot check it at a later point. All will be revealed at scoring time. As a game it is fairly fast, 3 rounds in about 30 minutes 4 player and is an excellent game for youngsters, it is partially a puzzle game and for those of a particular frame of mind it is solvable at which point it ceases to be a fun game, so be warned.

 The same Ark after the carnivores have been nibbling and duplicate animals have been removed.

The same Ark after the carnivores have been nibbling and duplicate animals have been removed.

We split into 2 groups, the first playing Abyss which got its second airing at the club, one of the better games I have tried from this year’s batch of pre-Essen releases.

The mechanics are simple, on your turn you take one action which is either to collect cash cards or purchase a power card, with the cash cards you have already collected in hand.  

 A couple of the cash cards in Abyss

A couple of the cash cards in Abyss

The second table got stuck into a game of Stone Age .

A very nice resource management game from 2008 a “Spiel des Jahres” nominee,  in fact this game has been nominated for quite a few awards (24 in all) winning some. The game revolves around 5 resources (Food, Wood, Brick, Stone and Gold), food is used to feed your workers whilst the others are used to purchase Hut tiles for immediate victory points or power cards which double up as victory points at games’ end.

 The sort of die roll that hurts in games, this is equally so in Stone Age, this is one of my rolls collecting Bricks - this magnificent roll got me 1 Brick (average for 5 die would be 4 Bricks)

The sort of die roll that hurts in games, this is equally so in Stone Age, this is one of my rolls collecting Bricks - this magnificent roll got me 1 Brick (average for 5 die would be 4 Bricks)

The mechanism is worker placement at the resource places, on cards or tiles you want to purchase or at one of 3 power places to gain a farming ability, tools or breed for more workers.

 My player board early in the game with some collected wood - a brick and some tools.

My player board early in the game with some collected wood - a brick and some tools.

The rules encourage you to feed your workers – however the mathematics suggests that letting your people starve whilst gathering richer resources is the better plan.

 Two huts, pay the resources at the bottom and get the points at the top

Two huts, pay the resources at the bottom and get the points at the top

There is a timing element as well, whether you should push for a short game or string the game out for a long one. All in all a well thought out game. In our game the “starving” tactic worked to good effect against 2 balanced players.

Last game of the evening was 7 Wonders – this award winning game is an excellent bridge game enjoyed by gamers and non-gamers alike and has the advantage of playing up to 7 players with equal balance to any other number of players.

 My end of game set up, with only 1 stage of my wonder built and too few points to be in with a chance.

My end of game set up, with only 1 stage of my wonder built and too few points to be in with a chance.

In short the game is about set collecting, each turn you choose a card for yourself from a hand before passing that hand onto the next player. After 18 cards have been played there is a scoring. As simple as that sounds the interaction of the cards and using the cards to best effect requires a bit of thought and there are usually difficult choices to make.

A good evenings gaming.