Kingdoms, Buccaneers and Goths

 No Thanks (The German Box)

No Thanks (The German Box)

We started this week with a four-player game of No Thanks, a light game with simple rules: you either take the face-up card from the centre of the table, or refuse to take it and pay one of the supply of 11 chips with which you start the game.  The 33 cards in the deck show values from 3-35, and all cards you take count towards your end score - the player with the lowest score when all cards have been taken is the winner - but sequential runs of cards (12-13-14, say) score only the lowest value in the run (12, in that case).  The twists are that nine cards are taken at random from the deck before you play, so you can't be sure of making runs, and all chips paid to refuse a card are taken by the person who finally accepts the card, so taking a card others don't want gives you added chances to refuse cards later in the game...and chips also count towards reducing your final score.   Fun, and quick.

 Carcassonne Mid-game with red laying claim to a massive town

Carcassonne Mid-game with red laying claim to a massive town

When two more arrived, making our group a total of six, we split into two tables of three for the evening. One table (the one I wasn't on) started with Carcassonne, the well-known and popular tile-laying/landscape building game.  It's always interesting to see how the landscape grows during the course of the game.

 Part of the board at games end after scoring - Reds town eventually earned him 46 points

Part of the board at games end after scoring - Reds town eventually earned him 46 points

 Kingdom Builder

Kingdom Builder

They then moved on to Kingdom Builder, another game with landscape-building elements, but a rather more complex one: instead of just connecting cities or cloisters, players must construct settlements to create their "kingdom" on a board that changes every time you play, with goals that *also* change every time you play.

 Yellow has gained the influence of a nearby tower, yellow also will get 3 points for adjacency to the city at the games end.

Yellow has gained the influence of a nearby tower, yellow also will get 3 points for adjacency to the city at the games end.

 Battle for control along the waterways and for the farmstead.

Battle for control along the waterways and for the farmstead.

 A Fistful of Penguins

A Fistful of Penguins

This table finished with Fistful of Penguins.   This is a dice-rolling/push your luck game we've played at MAB before, quite a light one, it has some rather lovely transparent purple and yellow penguins.  

 A score of 26 points (16 for Kangaroos, 9 for the squirrel moose pair, and a penny from the next player).

A score of 26 points (16 for Kangaroos, 9 for the squirrel moose pair, and a penny from the next player).

On my table, we started with Tortuga, another dice game, and one I acquired quite recently, so was very keen to try.  Players are commanders of their own pirate fleet, and are trying to get treasure chests from a treasure island back to the pirate enclave of Tortuga, where their booty (no, not that one!) will be safe from the other pirates. Dice rolls are made in secret, the best dice are chosen from those rolled, and then the choices are revealed by all players simultaneously.  You're trying to out-score the other players in at least one of five action categories - expanding fleet or crew, hunting for treasure, boarding and raiding other pirates - represented by symbols on the dice.   The symbols also each have a value shown below them, and it's these values that add up to give you a score for the category, but only the highest and second highest scorers in each category for the round get to take actions.

  The scores on the dice in the top left-hand corner blue's going to get to expand his fleet..not so sure about the crew, though...

The scores on the dice in the top left-hand corner blue's going to get to expand his fleet..not so sure about the crew, though...

It's supposed to be a quick 30 minute romp.  Unfortunately, in my rush to explain the rules I missed out a rather crucial point in respect of second place in boarding and raiding actions, and we collectively forgot a rule which gives everyone a free treasure chest at the end of each round.  Although we eventually caught on, and corrected these errors, they elongated the game, and didn't allow it to play to its full potential I feel.  So, I'm keen to get it back on the table, playing with the right rules this time...

Finally, in Attila - other spellings of the famous chieftain are available - we migrated various 4th-7th century Germanic tribes across the steppes and out into Europe: the Franks, Huns, Saxons, Teutons, Vandals and, of course, the Goths mentioned in the title of this post...what's that?  You were expecting a game about pallid folks dressed in black who listen to a lot of Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy?  Sorry, not in this game...  :-)

  Look at the time!  It's already the 7th Century!

Look at the time!  It's already the 7th Century!

It's a card driven game - you play a card to place a tribe marker into a region on the board, and to take "influence" in that tribe.  Too many tribes in one region will lead to a conflict between the tribes and some, possibly all, will "leave" - a euphemism, I think,  for "get stomped into the mud by the other tribes", but Eurogames are generally a bit coy about such matters.  After a certain number of conflicts in a century, a scoring takes place, with players who have most influence in tribes getting points, and after four centuries, or one player reaching maximum influence in a tribe, or all of a tribe's markers going on to the board, a final scoring is held, and the winner decided.   It's quite a sparse set of rules, I feel it still has some interesting decisions, and has quite a good thematic feel, as the tribes spread out through the course of the game.

Thanks to all who were able to attend, and see you next time!