Jump! Forbidden Island and Libertalia

After missing two weeks of reports (first a wedding and then too much gardening to do the second week) I am back this week with a full report of the evenings events. The number of regular attendees has increased and 3 gaming tables is now a regular occurrence and a particular thank you has to go to our Jaffa Cake Genie.

Table 1 started with a game of Parfum, this new game from Queen games is about rolling the right dice at the right time to get the right tiles to complete pots of perfume, I did not play it myself but I am left with the impression that this is mainly a luck based game (please correct me if I am wrong), nothing special but balanced and playable.

What perturbs me a little about this game is that it was released this month (June) but an expansion is due out next month (July) why was it not made part of the original release? Exploitation?

My table started the evening with a game of Jump!, I introduced it at the club last week and was glad that it got another airing this week. The game is played over three rounds with the aim of gaining the most victory points by parachuting your pieces as near to the edge of the beach as possible, falling in water though attracts negative points.

 3 player game of Jump (last week there were 3 of us, this week 4)

3 player game of Jump (last week there were 3 of us, this week 4)

Each round players are dealt a hand of cards, the players then place their pawns on the 2 planes on the board. On a turn the players select a card and play it face down, these are revealed one at a time and actioned. The majority of the cards are movement cards for the planes both forward and backwards, other cards allow you to jump from a plane, swap seats, prevent others jumping or even blow others off course when they do jump.

 A few of the cards in Jump

A few of the cards in Jump

The game is about second guessing your opponents as to when to jump and to not end up in the sea yourself, it is meant as light fun game playing in about 20 minutes and for me is a perfect ice-breaker.

Table 3 started the evening with 7 Wonders and enjoyed it so much that they played it a second time.

 One of the players positions in a 4 player game

One of the players positions in a 4 player game

Seven Wonders is one of those games that although the mechanics are easy to explain you do not quite see how the scoring works until the end which generally draws new players to want to play it a second time and with a game playing in about 30 minute this is readily achieved.

Table 3 moved on to Forbidden Island, this co-operative game requires the players to retrieve artifacts from an island as it slowly sinks beneath the waves. Each player has a different character which they move around the island using their special ability and their actions to prevent sinkage and collect pieces of the artifacts. I understand that a misunderstanding of the rules led to this groups rapid demise.

Our table had moved on to Concordia, similarly to 7 wonders the scoring and how it meshes together is a mystery until the game is over, however with a 90 minute playing time playing 2 games on the trot in a games evening is not an easy achievement. Concordia is basically a card driven resource gathering and area occupation game, played on a map where 12 provinces are marked out each with 2 or 3 cities therein.

 Some of the cards in Concordia

Some of the cards in Concordia

Each player starts off with some cash, some resources, 2 dobbers on the board and a small deck of cards. On a players turn they play one of their cards on to their own discard pile and do the action written on it. Actions include resource gathering from a province, exchanging resources with the bank, purchasing more cards to add to your hand from a card row and expanding your influence. Expansion is not easy as movement is limited by the number of dobbers you have on the board and each building you place on the board costs resources and cash, money is tight as you have to pay cash to the bank for every other player that has built in a city before you. So how do you score? Each card in your hand has a God named at the bottom and each God will score for you in different ways, mainly through occupying Cities across the board so the route to victory generally lies in collecting as many cards and spreading yourself across the board as much as possible before the game ends.

 A player board with some resources

A player board with some resources

Due to the cards and resources you initially end up with after your first few moves the game sometimes appears to be steering you as opposed to the other way round, the other hurdle to overcome is that it may take you three or four moves to build up the resources to expand or buy cards the wait to do this does feel like lost opportunities. Our game started well, I built a couple of big builds that left me no cash to do anything and my next expansion took place well after everybody else’s second expansion, the other players all new to the game were feeling their way round the game mechanisms and rules.

 Our game at quite an early stage

Our game at quite an early stage

One of them took an early lead in expanding and I thought that this strategy was going to win the game as he was down to his last 4 houses whilst the rest of us still had about 10 in hand each, I am sure if he had managed to build those last 4 he would have won the game but he had forgone placing more dobbers onto the board and this lack of mobility hampered him and allowed the rest of us to catch up.As scoring is hidden until the end it was anyone’s game but a couple of last minute builds and card purchases gave me the edge. In retrospect I think I should have explained the points scoring a little better in the beginning but after 20 minutes of rules explanation I think it may have been “information overload” if I had gone into too much depth, but questions about how the cards were scored during the scoring process showed that I may have had an unfair advantage, so apologies to my opponents.

Table 2 had moved on to Augustus, I am afraid I know nothing about this game other than it is by author Paolo Mori who is also the author of the next game.

Table 2 finished the evening with Libertalia again a game I have yet to play but I am intrigued with the mechanics. Essentially a card game everyone starts off with the same hand of cards, on a turn everyone chooses a card which are revealed simultaneously, then in order (low to high) the special action of the card is carried out, then in order (high to low) each players takes treasure (or booty) from the ship Libertalia. Of an initial 9 cards, 6 are played and then scoring takes place, then its reset and played through twice more.

Table 3 finished the evening with Hanabi a co-operative “information” game which I am totally useless at. I believe from the cries of despair as we were leaving and that the system won on this occasion.

The quiz in the last post was duck! duck! Go! Best described as Roborally light, it is a fun game. This week I have gone with one of my favourite games.

 In my opinion one of the best games of recent times

In my opinion one of the best games of recent times