The quiz picture this week is of a game recently released (at the time of spiel I know that is not much of a clue at all).
The last quiz picture was Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia which has remained on my list of favourites since I first received it back in 2013.
The first one on my table was Hit Z Road which is best described as a zombie bash game where the players attempt to travel along a road with the aim of getting their own group of survivors to the end through the numerous hazards which are portrayed on their chosen journey and hopefully accumulating as many victory points as possible. A game lasts 8 rounds and along with 5 survivor meeples each player gets 12 resources (4 each of ammunition adrenaline and gas (it is set in America)).
At the start of each round start 8 cards are dealt out from a stacked deck (3 parts of increasing difficulty) face-up in pairs so that there are 4 groups, players then start bidding for the pair of cards they wish to “travel” over. When bidding is done each player in turn chooses a pair of cards to travel over, unfortunately for the players the bidding is done with resources and these are very much needed to survive the game. Each card of the route will have up to four pieces of information on it, the first is resources found, the next is a special event, the third is victory points for completing the card and the last a number of zombies to encounter; the cards in the first part of the deck are rich in resources and only a few have zombies on, the middle deck consists of a few resources, several special effects and a middling number of zombies whilst the last part of the deck has plenty of zombies and very few resources.
On your turn you encounter your chosen cards in order completing the first card before dealing with the second, the first thing you do is collect the resources on the card, next you deal with any event, generally the event is to collect a disc or deal with the consequences of having earlier picked up a particular disc and this usually leads to losing or gaining a survivor. The next step is to encounter zombies, at any point from now-on the player can just drive away from the card for two gas resources however in such a case they will not get any victory points on it. The player gets one long range attack for which they roll 2 dice for each ammunition they throw in, any hits (50% chance on each die) kill a zombie, there is however only 1 round of long ranged combat after which the player (unless they flee) must undertake melee combat. Players now roll a die for each survivor they have, here there is a risk of losing a survivor each skull on a die loses a survivor unless you pay an adrenaline counter, adrenaline can also be used to enhance certain die results to get more hits against the zombies. Combat continues until one group is destroyed or you flee.
Some cards have stronger zombies where special red dice replace some of the normal black dice which can cause an instant loss of a survivor. After the eighth round players receive bonuses for having the most of any particular resource. The game states that it plays 1-4, I have played it solo and 2-player as well as 4 player at the club, I found the solo version a trifle dull, it picks up a bit with 2 players but the game really shines when played with 4 where it is hugely competitive bidding for the easiest or most lucrative route and is very nicely balanced on the knife edge of “just scraping success” or “suffering elimination”.
Origin was played, a nice territory grab game where you are trying to obtain various criteria to gain victory point cards, its play is interesting and uses totems of different heights and thicknesses.
World's Fair 1893 made another appearance at the club, I am going to have to play this soon so that I can do the write up on it.
On another table Gloom was played, this is a card game where players try to lose their characters to various miserable deaths it ends when a player loses all their characters. In brief the cards are transparent and have various motifs on them which overlay one another, you may play cards on yourself or other players and get points by manipulating the various symbols and texts on your cards to provide as high a negative number as possible when they die, however your opponents do their best to make you happy. The fun of the game is amplified when it is played as a story, reading through the flavour text.
Junk Art was our next game, opening the box you are faced with a large amount wooden building bricks cut into various shapes and in four different colours, you also get a deck of cards which show each block (one on each card) and crib cards of the various games that can be played with the blocks. The essence of all the games are to build towers using the bricks provided, sometimes individually and other times collectively, every player has a black base piece and the over-riding rules are that your latest piece must be placed no matter what falls off your tower, no piece may touch the table except the base piece, you may use two hands to place but you may only touch the current piece and the base with your hands/fingers, you may only move pieces on the tower with your current piece.
We played four of the games on our table, I will describe one of them, the idea was to have the tallest tower at the games end, the game ended when a star-card placed into the bottom third of the deck appeared, three cards were laid out depicting pieces to use, then on a turn you chose one of the three pieces and added it to your tower, if you placed it so that it touched a piece of the same colour or shape you took another turn, the game was a balance of building sufficient height to win but not getting that height too soon in the game as you may end up knocking over the tower before the game ended. This was fun, you cannot help comparing it to that other great tower building game Bausak, but they play quite differently and have a different feel, Junk Art is more family orientated and has a lightness to it whereas Bausak feels more competitive and strategic I recommend them both.
Two players played Eclipse, sitting at 17 in the full geek listing it is a game I should have played before now, however the impression I get from pictures and the description on geek is a space combat game (not something that appeals to me) and thus I have not felt a need to give it a go, this may not be the case at all but it is the impression I get.
Taluva was played, a nice area control game where the board grows, you are trying to build large settlements and at height to construct towers, the game can be quite strategic with the tile placement and how you develop your settlement(s), sadly I last played it about 8 years ago and can remember nothing more.
Cacao was also played at the club – this nice tile placement game has been described before.
The last game on our table was Carcassonne which for me is one of the best tile laying games out there, it scores positively for simplicity of play, easy teaching and enough strategy to keep me interested throughout and very little down time between turns. I have covered it before so in brief you play a tile next to any other tile in play so that it matches along all sides adjacent tiles then you may play a meeple on any feature on that tile so long as there is not already on the extended feature, when a feature is closed/finished you score points for it, generally this is 1 or 2 points per tile. The exception is fields which score 4 per adjacent completed town, a majority or joint majority of meeples is required to score any feature. A great gateway game if you are new to the hobby.