Colt Express, Luna and Ciub

 A section of the board in this classic game

A section of the board in this classic game

TWO POSERS this week but only one of them is the picture (above) the other is a game I have played in Taunton, Glasgow, Enfield, Southampton and East London but not recently.

Last weeks quiz picture was Sushi Go! It was a montage of strips from several of the cards.

A popular choice for a warm-up recently has been BANG! The Dice Game and this week was no different, it contains all the elements needed for a good warm up game as it is quick and fun. It has a good balance of luck and skill and with a huge dollop of back stabbing or should I say front-shooting it is highly recommended.

There were 2 tables playing this week, Table 1 started with The Doom That Came To Atlantic City, it was described to me as having quite a few similarities to Monopoly but instead of building houses you are destroying buildings and replacing the last one on a space with a gate, the first player to build 6 gates wins. That is not all though, Combat can take place between players on the same space or in the same zone the winner gains believers, run out of believers and you are banished.

 A corner of the gameboard

A corner of the gameboard

Another twist is that at the beginning a Doom card is dealt to each player which gives the player an alternative win condition. This is a “roll the dice and move the dobber” game, but has a fun factor and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

My table played Luna, I am a big fan of Stefan Feld games and this is one that I love but rarely get to play. The scene of play is a temple surrounded by islands and players have a set of Acolytes which they use to undertake tasks in order to gain victory points. All the tasks require pairs of Acolytes to complete and when used the Acolytes are placed next to the island and are not available until the following turn. Each island provides special tokens which can be used to either transport the Acolytes around the islands, provide a bag of gold, a visiting Acolyte, permission to build, or herbs.

 The "Visiting Acolyte" island, the presence of the builder has allowed several players to build shrines there.

The "Visiting Acolyte" island, the presence of the builder has allowed several players to build shrines there.

A players turn consists of using a pair of Acolytes at any one location, play then moves to the next player, your pair of Acolytes can go recruiting (get another Acolyte),  build a shrine (but only at the island where the builder is present) collect a token from the island they are on or travel to the Temple. Acolytes can also attend the council chamber this provides a tie-break and extra points at the end of the game, points are also gained at the games end from owning shrines. Entering the temple and having a presence at the island where the Priestess is visiting will garner further points each round.

 The Temple with some Acolytes inside and others on the path waiting to enter

The Temple with some Acolytes inside and others on the path waiting to enter

As with all Stefan Feld games it is all about earning a steady income throughtout the game whilst setting yourself up with game-end bonuses, the in-game play is a balance of recruiting Acolytes, sending them to the Temple for points (the earlier you send them the better the points) or using them to gather tokens and Priestess points. There is always a lot to think about and timing can be critical but because you only do one action at a time turns come round fairly quickly.

Table 1 moved on to Ciúb  a dice rolling game. The idea is to roll different combinations of dice in order to collect Victory Point cards, a failed attempt results in collecting more dice and there are different dice to choose from to give you different die rolling options.

 The scoring cards, yellow and red have a card reserved

The scoring cards, yellow and red have a card reserved

You may reserve a card specifically for your collection and should you be successful you reset to 5 dice again. On the whole it is a fairly basic die rolling game and sits somewhere between “Roll For It” and “Roll For the Galaxy” though for me the latter would be my game of choice from the three.

Our last game was Colt Express, however we were down to 3 players and although playable it is better played with 5 or 6 players. Colt Express is this years’ Spiel des Jahres winner and is well deserving of the award, players are bandits on a train trying to relieve the passengers of their gold, on a turn a player can move along the train or climb to the roof, shoot an opponent, strike an opponent, pick up some booty or move the Sheriff.

 The three of us having a party on the caboose.

The three of us having a party on the caboose.

To do these actions you use cards which are played to a single deck in a “programming” phase, some of the cards are played face up others face down after which the cards are then all revealed in order, the game has a huge fun element especially when shooting your opponents, no-one dies but bullet cards start to clog your draw deck the more hits you take, there is a special $1,000 bonus if you manage to empty your gun.

 My character sheet, I have 3 bullets left and my special ability is that my first card is placed face down

My character sheet, I have 3 bullets left and my special ability is that my first card is placed face down

I tend to lose this game – a lot I tend to concentrate on emptying my gun which means I lose out on all the bags of loot, but I have fun which is what it is all about and on my one success at emptying my gun I did win but that did not happen in this session.

 Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

It was a leisurely evening with some gentle callanetics for the gray matter. Above is one of the many different types of wildfowl that you get on the Serpentine – you don’t get these on other gaming websites.