I am not a fan or area control games but this weeks quiz is one such game that I do enjoy playing and rate quite highly.
Last weeks quiz was one of my most favourite games Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization and holds the rank of 4th best Board game and Strategy game on the geek although I would rate it higher than Caverna.
Table 1 started the evening with Elysium, one of this years Kennerspiel nominees. I was on table 2 so did not get to play it and although not my sort of game I want to give this one a go sometime as it is being favourably reviewed everywhere and I feel it is important to step outside your comfort zone every now and again, you can be pleasantly surprised.
Table 2 started with a 7 player game of Camel Up, with some players being new to the game it was a slow start and with seven of us there was an element of luck. It was a good game but my usual incisive deductive abilities were very much absent on this occasion and I was one of the tail-enders with only 7 cash to my name at the end of the game, I would have been more successful if I had just taken the roll-a-dice option each turn.
We then split into two groups with Table 2 playing Takenoko. I like this game and although it is not the most exciting game in the world it has a good feel to it and plods along at a nice sedate pace with plenty of choices and options and not too much down-time.
If I thought my position in Camel Up was poor Takenoko put me to shame, going into the last round of the game I only had one scoring card on display scoring me 3 points – I had done appallingly badly.
Table 3 played Waggle Dance, this is a dice driven game where you use the dice as worker bees to do tasks around your own hives with the ultimate aim of changing flower pollen to honey, overall a nicely balanced game although the power cards (one of the options for your workers) does add a huge chunk of luck which is partially mitigated by both the shortness of the game and the variances in the usefulness of the cards.
The rules suggests a short, medium or long game, my advice is that the game plays at its best as the short version.
Table 1 had moved on to Nations: The Dice Game, this game has taken time to come to the UK, I have played it once when it was fresh from Essen and hit on a strategy that saw me win most resoundingly, I have since been waiting for my own copy to test my strategy further.
The game consists of rolling dice to purchase tiles from a display which provide further dice, Colonies, Wonders or Advisors. The dice are also used to feed your population and conduct wars, all with a view to collecting Victory Points.
Table 2 then played Bohn Hansa aka Bean Trader, this game was one of the games available in The Works earlier this year but has quite a low geek rating. The idea of the game is to travel around a province from City to City to trade beans for cash, the winner is the player who accumulates the most amount of cash. Players have a hand of cards which they play in a set order to undertake movement around the board, also in the hand are City cards which are required for the sale of beans but only whilst in the named city.
There is an element of card management but most of your decisions are driven by the city cards you draw and the only skill appears to be pushing for a trade with another player to get a small advantage. Our game worked quite well and it was interesting that the game end scores were quite close with first place and last place both tied (205 & 189).
Table 3 decided to play Takenoko after table 2 had finished with it, their game was a bit more evenly matched than our game.
Table 3 moved to Pandemic: Contagion unlike Pandemic and its expansions this is not a co-operative game and sees the players playing different infections moving from city to city trying to accumulate more victory points than their opponents. It has a nice mix of card play and power – ups which makes this an ideal evening finisher with enough tactics and strategy to keep you thinking whilst playing time is short at about 30 minutes.
The last game played was Hanabi – sadly for me it was an early night and I know not how it ended though from our facebook page a gather the game won.