It is all about the Pillaging and the Plunder

This weeks warm-up game was No Thanks! otherwise known as Geschenkt! a game I last played some 10 years ago when it was first released. A round is started by turning over a card from a limited deck, then each player in turn chooses to whether to take the card for negative points (value of the card) or pay a VP chit which is put on the card, any person who takes the card takes the VP chits as well, the neat twist is that for any runs you form you only lose the points on the lowest card of that run.

The group then split into two tables with table 1 tackling Tortuga, a Pirate game that I have yet to play despite its 3rd appearance at the club. In this game everyone has a batch of dice with different symbols on the faces, on a turn all players roll their dice simultaneously and then collect one type of symbol, any remaining dice are re-rolled and again a symbol collected.

 The Green Players board in Tortuga

The Green Players board in Tortuga

In this way everyone ends up with a different selection of dice. Each symbol is then taken in turn and the players with the best and second best score of that symbol get the benefits.

Table 2 started with Machi Koro a nice card game from Japan which has now been translated into English. It is a deck building game except that your deck is always open and in play, each player in turn rolls a die and triggers the effects on all cards, this may produce money which is used to buy more cards for your display.

 Part layout of cards in Machi Koro, with a roll of 8 this player is looking to gain 36 cash.

Part layout of cards in Machi Koro, with a roll of 8 this player is looking to gain 36 cash.

The game continues with progress bringing a second die which may be rolled to affect more powerful cards, some of which action in your turn or possibly also/only in your opponents turn. The game ends when a player builds all four of their Monument cards. It is fast and fun with a certain amount of tension from the dice rolling.

Table 1 moved onto Splendor, this game is a simple trading game I have covered before, on your turn collect Gems from limited stacks or buy a card which gives a permanent gem and possibly victory points. In my mind the pirates were splitting up the booty from the previous game, this game is still played in silence but turns come round quickly so no real time to chat.

Table 2 next played Vikings, one of my favourite games, the game is played over 6 rounds, at the end of an odd round players collect cash from their Gold Merchants and on even rounds they also collect victory points from their display.

 The game board, round 3 after the first action

The game board, round 3 after the first action

On a players turn you collect a tile and the Viking next to it, the tile must then be placed into your display adjacent to other tiles, if the tile is placed in the colour row for the Viking taken then the Viking is placed on the tile. In this way your display grows. Warrior Vikings repel ships and gain cash or victory points, Noble Vikings and Trader Vikings score victory points whilst the fishermen provide food at the games end. The game is a mix of balancing cash, collecting the right tiles for your display and Vikings for scoring.

 Players display, all ships current un-repelled which affects all the Vikings in column 2 (so they are lain flat).

Players display, all ships current un-repelled which affects all the Vikings in column 2 (so they are lain flat).

It is one of the most balanced games for random tile drawing I know and with power tiles and game end scoring interesting and one that keeps you thinking and planning throughout.

The diehards got together for the last game which was to be Carcassonne, one of the best introductory games for the hobby but also interesting enough for experienced gamers to enjoy. For those that do not know it you draw a tile, match it to the display after which you may place one of your meeples (wooden figure) onto one of the features on the tile. In this way the playing area grows, players score victory points for the various features they place their meeples on. The game went well until about 5 minutes in when we found that we were all playing to different scoring rules, 2 of us were playing to the original 2001 rules whilst everyone else was playing to some new scoring system. A quick discussion and a check of the written rules for the version we were playing and we continued with the more modern rules (they were the ones in the box). Fortunately this early discovery did not affect the game play or the end and victory went to a well deserved winner (says he with a big smile on his face).