This week no clues to the picture – the poser seems to have beat everyone so I will save that for another time.
The last picture was of Turf Horse Racing, this has been played at the club a couple of times the picture was of the Gibsons version. There was one successful answer.
There was no warm-up this week we just launched straight into the nights gaming, table 1 started with Mysterium which I briefly touched on last week, I have little extra to say at this time except that it is a very atmospheric game and has become very popular selling out in the UK outlets I am aware of.
BQ commented thus :-
- I was the Mysterium ghost, and I must admit I was impressed with the perspicacity of the psychics - they managed to get the clues I presented with a minimum of wrong turns, though a couple of times I had to bite my tongue as the timer was on the last few seconds and they discussed moving a guessing token away from the correct card to the wrong one, I breathed a huge sigh of relief as the last few grains trickled through the timer (in one case, the player's hand was on the token, literally about to pick it up, when I called "time up". Phew! :) ).
My table played Shakespeare, the theme is that the players are each in charge of putting on a play and have six days (rounds) to hire all the actors and helpers they need, they must also furnish the set and clothe the actors in this time enabling them to earn victory points.
Each player starts the game with 2 actors an empty stage and 2 helpers, the round starts with players bidding for the number of actions (1-5) that they wish to make, the more actions you bid the later in the round order you will go and thereby are likely to miss out on key items, once player order is decided players take turns to take an action, an action could be hiring a character (can only be done once a turn by each player) or to activate one of the personnel in your display (actor or helper).
All characters give benefits of some sort, the actors generally give a boost to scoring tracks labelled as the 3 acts of the play. The helpers are slightly different, a set dresser allows you to purchase tiles from a limited selection replenished each round, these tiles are placed on your own display in the stage section and give small bonuses, the costume dresser allows you to take costume tokens (also from a limited supply) these are placed on the actors, 3 tokens completing a costume, the value of the costume if high enough will give an immediate bonus and in dress rehearsals fully dressed actors give further boosts to the various act tracks, victory points or money.
The victory points come from 3 main sources, high costume values, set dressing and position on the three act tracks and they are not easy to earn, lastly at the games end you have to pay for all your characters, money is not difficult to come by but is easily missed, unpaid characters give minus points at the end of the game. The other key factor in the game is “sleepy tokens” each round most of the characters you use will sit the next round out, thereby only being capable of being activated every other round, quite limiting. In all an interesting, neat well balanced game but did take 2 ½ hours to play.
The first game on Table 3 was Mission: Red Planet this is a re-release of a 2005 game with a few new bits and sadly I know nothing about it, however others have been kind enough to provide me with the following comments :-
- Red Planet was a lot of fun, I would describe it as Citadels with area control. Not to be taken too seriously, as there are plenty of opportunities to totally ruin other players moves each turn. Great looking components too.
- I really enjoyed Mission: Red Planet, it felt plenty tactical without being too taxing and looks pretty good too.
Table 3 next played Dice Town again one I have not played so I may get a couple of bits wrong here, in short all the players roll poker dice showing them one at a time and re-rolling the rest, when all dice have been rolled and played players make poker hands and depending on what hand they have it may allow them to control a building which will confer a benefit on them.
The aim is to gain the most points when all the gold nuggets have run out, points being mainly awarded for nuggets and money. It was enjoyed by the players.
- Dice Town was a new kind of dice game to me, but I enjoyed the theme and we had a runaway winner.
Table 3 played Dixit, this game has lovely art work which is also the driving force behind the game and best played with 5 or more players however it will play with fewer but for a good game the more the merrier. Each player has a hand of cards and chooses a phrase or word that he thinks will suit his card, everyone else now searches for a card in their hand which matches which is placed face down into a pile, all picked cards are collected and shuffled and played face up in a row and given a number all the players now vote for the card they think was the active players card.
If all or none get the active players card then the active player scores nothing and everyone else gets 2, for anything else the active player scores 3 as does everyone else who guessed correctly, any wrong guesses gets the player whose card was chosen 1 point for each guess. This game can be tailored to themes which players all agree on or it can just be a free-for-all depending on the group.
Table 1 had moved onto Traders of Osaka of which I believe is a re-theme of Traders of Carthage and although I have the game I have only played it twice back in 2006 and can remember next to nothing of it other than it is a trading game where you are collecting goods to purchase cards, on a turn you can do one of three actions, buy goods, reserve a card, or take money by taking a card from the market. BQ has provided a short comment on the game (below picture) :-
- Traders of Osaka was a cracker: it is a lot of game in a small box. Some folks on BGG have stated that it's really only good for 2 players, and that with 3 or 4 it's too chaotic. I disagree: whilst game state can change quite a bit by the time your turn comes around, everyone's in the same boat (forgive the pun), and it's sometimes just about maximising what you see in front of you. It's not (and doesn't pretend to be) a game of huge long-term strategies that you have to plan carefully, but if you can predict what the others might do before it's your turn again, you'll improve your chances - I'd also say you can use reservation markers, and judicious grabbing of particular cards to get on board (there's the puns again) a ship that is likely to sell before your next turn.
Table 3 was running through the games at an alarming rate and next was Battle Sheep which is an abstract strategy game but nicely themed and has great looking pieces. Each player has a stack of pieces (sheep) which they place on the board next to the edge, then on a turn you split one of your stacks of 2 or more sheep (only 1 choice with the first turn) and move your chosen portion off in a single direction which continues to move as a new stack until it hits another sheep (of any player) or the side of the board in which case the stack stops in the last empty spot. Players each take turns splitting stacks until no-one can move a stack, the winner is the player who distributed the most sheep (has the most stacks).
It is a good abstract strategy game that can be won or lost in the initial set-up. It is quite quick and has a modular board so you can create lots of different shaped playing areas.
Somewhere along the line they also fitted in Love Letter: Batman this has been covered several times before and was over before I realised it had been played.
My table had finished its marathon game of Shakespeare and next went with Monza which was flyweight in comparison and is a car racing game by Haba. Now please bear in mind that Haba games (in the yellow boxes) are aimed at small children aged 4/5 plus and generally have little appeal beyond the age of 7/8, there are a few exceptions such as Karambolage and I advise anyone to play at least once any Haba game you come across, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Sadly Monza did not do it for me, the game consists of a three laned track with coloured spaces, on a turn a player rolls some dice with coloured spots on and moves their car as far along the track as possible, bumping other cars can knock them back but other than that there is little interaction and it is purely the luck of the dice, you feel that there is a more complex game hiding but in the game as presented it will only appeal to the little ones who will find their planning skills honed to perfection.
Rhino Hero also by Haba was the next game and a complete contrast to Monza, I like dexterity games and this was a nice take on tower building, each player is dealt a hand of “roof” cards, each card will have one or two right angles drawn and possibly a number of emblems also marked on them. On a players turn they must obey any emblems on the current roof tile then play walls as close as possible to the right angle marks shown then finally place one of their own roof tiles on top, then providing the tower has not collapsed it becomes the next players turn, the winner is the player with the fewest cards when the tower collapses.
This is a nice game but it is pot luck who wins, several card powers cause players to miss a turn or place 2 cards so it really becomes luck of the cards dealt as opposed to the skill of the individual builders however the fun of the game is in constructing and watching others precariously perch bits of card atop one another and manoeuvre the Rhino piece between floors, one player said that he had more fun here than playing Monza despite the fact that he did not even get a turn to build.
Lastly when I got home after games I thought I would get a copy of Super Rhino from Amazon looked it up but was too tired to round the order up for free postage, however when I went back the following morning they had all sold out - co-incidence? I do not think so - who is going to own up to buying my copy of Super Rhino?