Kings, Frankenstein and Sushi!

For once I arrived at the club early, there were 4 of us who turned up early so Spellcaster rapidly hit the table  a game I had not managed to play when it last appeared at the club. It is a 2 player game, but splays equally well with 4 players playing in teams.

 The Green card is usable only by the Southern player as it is pointing towards that player

The Green card is usable only by the Southern player as it is pointing towards that player

On your turn you draw a card and can then take 2 actions which are drawing another card, playing a card or activating a card which is facing you. When you play a card you play it facing you overlaying any previous cards of the same colour of which there are four, if you activate a card it must be one that is already facing you.

 Four of the many spells available in Spellcaster

Four of the many spells available in Spellcaster

You have 2 colour gems and the idea is to deplete your opponents life force or attain a set number of victory points and it is through the activation of cards that this is possible. It is a simple short game giving you a feel of trying to keep several balances all tipping in your favour.

Others arrived and numbers were up with 10 of us at the club and as a warm up for the new arrivals I went with Om Nom Nom. This nice little game which I explained last week, it plays very well with new gamers as well as those of experience and is probably at its best with 6 players, it is all about trying to read your opponents minds which I constantly fail to do. It was a fun starter.

We then split into 2 groups, table 1 chose Frankenstein's Bodies a game from new author Andrew Harman which is self-published in the UK. The game seemed to go well with everyone enjoying it, immensely, at our table the odd strange phrase could be heard with some muted laughter such as “my leg is rotten” and “I need a female body, who has a female body?”

 Two bodies under construction in a players lab

Two bodies under construction in a players lab

However other than it was an amusing game I do not know a lot about it other than it is a hand management game where you are trying to complete 2 bodies using specific cards, the game has a certain amount of interaction as you can take body parts from other players.

My table chose Kingsburg, with 5 players it played in a little under 2 hours (including rules explanation). I have described this one before but in short the game plays in 5 rounds of 8 phases, in phases 2, 4 & 6 you get to roll 3 dice which you use to choose jobs on the board. You can take any job providing your die/dice match exactly the number on the job, each of these jobs provides resources which are then used to build buildings for which get you victory points and generally help you in some small way. In the last phase of each round players combat incoming foes which if beaten provide more goods, but if they beat you your losses could be victory points, goods and even buildings.

 Basic player board in Kingsburg

Basic player board in Kingsburg

Our game was a low scoring one, the King who sends assistance in each years battle, decided to send apologetic letters instead of troops and most players suffered losses in the game, sometimes more than once. In addition one of our number rolled badly throughout the game (a curse I usually suffer, but nowhere near as bad as I saw in this game) fortunately Kingsburg has a balancing mechanism that means the odd bad die roll can still be used successfully, but you still need the odd big roll to do well. Despite the disparities in die-rolling it was a good game, hard fought and congratulations to the winner who despite an early lead had several players chasing her heels to the end.

Table 1 chose Cacao as their second game, I gave an overview of this one on 30 March 2015 where we played it 2 player. The dynamics though are quite different in a 4 player game, not only is it 3 turns between plays so it is difficult to consolidate holdings on Temples but the collection of coins is essential to enable you to overlay tiles later.

 Coin tile bottom right hand corner has little value in a 2 player game but gains greater significance in multi-player games.

Coin tile bottom right hand corner has little value in a 2 player game but gains greater significance in multi-player games.

In the 2 player game the jungle tiles do not run out, however in the 4 player version they do and when they do another player option is available which is to pay a coin and overlay one of your previously played village tiles with a village tile in your hand, thus reaping the benefits from adjacent tiles a second time.

 Your village can only store 3 coins, in a 4 player game you need to fill all 3 coin stores. 

Your village can only store 3 coins, in a 4 player game you need to fill all 3 coin stores. 

This is quite a powerful play normally when you play a village tile you only control 2 of the sides where you get rewards, by paying a coin you control all 4. All seemed to enjoy this game with one player contemplating purchasing his own copy.

Our last game was 7 Wonders an excellent card drafting game. On a turn you pick a card from a hand and pass the remaining hand to your left all players then reveal their chosen card adding it to their personal tableaux in the search for victory points, they take the hand just passed to them and again select and pass, and so on.

 Examples of Military, Monument and Resource cards.

Examples of Military, Monument and Resource cards.

In 7 wonders most of the cards you collect need raw materials to build and these come from resource cards, there are also battle cards to earn points by fighting your immediate neighbours, trade cards to gain better buying power, research cards (needed to make sets for big points) and when all else fails you can build your own wonder often giving a special one off power. Our game went well and it was interesting that even with a variety of different collections of cards the scores were quite close at the end.

Most had gone home by now – but there was still playing time left and four of us still chatting so we ended the evening with a quick game of Sushi Go! Which rounded off an evening of excellent games playing.

The picture quiz last week was quite easy, it was Ingenious or if you prefer Genial by Reiner Knizia. This week something a little harder.

 The card on the left is purple in colour. This game is an excellent form of "Brinkmanship"

The card on the left is purple in colour. This game is an excellent form of "Brinkmanship"