Lords of Scotland, Fearsome Floors and Celeste

 Are the Owls a clue?

Are the Owls a clue?

This quiz picture is a game I played years ago, the board shown is of a different edition to my version.

The last quiz picture was Forbidden Island which does contain some rather nice chunky minis and is a nice co-operative game.

This Blog is the last of the catch-ups, I will hopefully now be back on schedule, this contains the session on 11th May and I am looking to put the next report out on Tuesday and then we will be back to Mondays. Table 1 started with Lords of Waterdeep an adventure game which has a strong following. I have played it once before but it is not for me.

Table 2 started with Lords of Scotland which BQ explains.

BQ > Lords of Scotland - A card game in which you are trying to build up a set of "Followers" to fight the other Lords. You start with a hand of five cards showing "recruits" from various Scottish clans. Each card has a strength from 1 to 12. One card per player is also dealt face-up to the table at the start of each round: these are the "Supporters" which may be claimed at the end of the round, for points. On your turn, you take a card from a central pool of five, some of which are face-up, others of which may be face-down OR you play a card in front of you, either face-up or face-down - these are your Followers for this skirmish. If you choose to play the Follower face-up, and no one has a card of the same clan with the same or lower value (in a 4-5 player game - in 2-3 player, the trigger is that no other card of any clan with a lower value is face-up), then you can trigger a special power shown on the card (all the clans have their own unique power). Once five rounds of this have happened, any face down Followers are turned face-up, and everyone checks to see how strong their army is by comparing with the other players' armies total strength - armies of 2 or more cards, and from only one clan double their strength. Then, in order of highest to lowest strength, each player may have the opportunity to take one of the "Supporter" cards and add it to their score pile - here the strength on the card represents Victory Points. If no-one is at 40 or more VPs, you do it all again, otherwise the person with the most VPs wins. This is a game that will appeal to people who like player interaction, I think: there is a LOT of scope for "take that!" play - some of the powers (swap your Follower with another players, for example, or simply kill another player's Follower) can really ruin your day smile emoticon . It takes a little while to grasp some of the interactions of the card powers (and to remember the rule about how they're triggered) but once you've got that, it plays quite smoothly, I liked it quite a bit.

 Drunter & Druber towards game end

Drunter & Druber towards game end

My table went for light and fun, the first game was Drunter & Druber a fun game where you can win by scoring just 1 point, the board consists of a grid of squares some of which contain coloured buildings (secretly belonging to the players) and some contain toilets. At the start of the game you get dealt some tiles and on a turn you place a tile which is either length 1, 2 or 3 on to the board however you can only place where there is a builder and he moves on each turn, you can place over buildings with impunity however should you crush a toilet the inhabitants are outraged and the players vote to see if the build goes ahead. This is a fun short game that keeps you guessing especially with some of the curious voting that takes place.

The next for us was Fearsome Floors, a game where you just need to get your pieces from one corner of the board to the diagonally opposite corner however a rampaging monster does his best to prevent anyone doing this. There is a level of manipulation within the game and opportunities can arise to guide the monster on to your opponents pieces but it is equally easy to miss something and the monster suddenly turns in an unexpected direction with catastrophic results – for someone. The game is interesting in that you can calculate every move the monster makes and take evasive action only to see another player make a move that undoes all your careful planning, the extra fun in our game was provided by “G” who created a horrible creature for our game that would have given Frakenstein kittens.

 Two left feet would have been an improvement for this concoction from the depths of the darkest mind

Two left feet would have been an improvement for this concoction from the depths of the darkest mind

Table 2 in the meantime moved on to Archaeology: The New Expedition  which has been covered before. They followed this with Celesta which is a re-themed favourite of mine, Cloud 9 which BQ covers it below.

BQ > Celestia is a sweet little push-your-luck game with beautiful design and artwork (and a groovy cardboard steampunk/fantasy airship). A series of ovals depicting fantasy cities are laid out in a line with little decks of face-down treasure card next to them - these cards have victory point values which increase the further along the line of cities you get. Each player gets a hand of equipment cards: some are basic equipment in four kinds, some are special power cards. The airship starts at the first city and one player will be Captain. He/she rolls 2-4 dice (the number rolled depend on how far towards the last city the airship is), and the dice faces will either show a symbol corresponding to one of the four basic equipment types, or a blank face. Blank is good - that means no event to be dealt with for that die. A symbol, though, means a bad event is imminent, and the Captain must deal with it by discarding one equipment card of the relevant type, or the airship will crash! However, *before* the Captain reveals whether they can deal with all the events using the cards in their hand, each player in turn must say whether they are going to stay on the airship or leave. If they leave, they get a card from the treasure deck next to the current city. If at least one player stays (or if the Captain's alone and is able to continue), the Captain then reveals whether they can overcome the events. If they can, the airship moves on to the next city. If they can't, the airship crashes, moves back to the first city, everyone gets back on (including those who bailed out before), and all take one equipment card from the deck. In either case, the next player clockwise becomes Captain. This continues until at least one player gets 50 VPs, and the person with the most VPs at that time is the winner.

 The bits for Cloud 9 - the Celeste bits were out of focus (sorry)

The bits for Cloud 9 - the Celeste bits were out of focus (sorry)

BQ (cont) > There are some power cards in the equipment deck: one is a wild card for any basic equipment type, one lets you chuck someone off the airship after they've decided to stay (rude!), one lets you escape a crashing airship with a treasure card, one enables the captain to re-roll dice, one forces him to re-roll blanks (usually played by someone who's already left. There's a also a treasure card which, while worth points, can be discarded to let the captain deal with any and all events being faced - it's only found in the first four cities, though. There's scope for bluff and persuasion here ("Can you deal with these events?" "Maybe, what's it to you?"), but in both the games of this I've played we've not been terribly devious. It's as light and fluffy as a cloud, but fun while it lasts, which is not very long...

Me (KG) again, there are two main difference between this and cloud 9 the first is the addition of some (and there are not many) extra “power cards” (the wild card is in the original game) which to my mind does not really affect they play positively or negatively and in fact may spice it up a little but there are too few to affect serious game play. The second change is the points scoring - in cloud 9 they are set for the point that you jump out whereas in Celeste you take a points card which for some spaces are at great variance e.g. the 6 spot could be 6 points, 9 points or 12 points, this turns a game which for me had some interesting end game calculations to be made into a complete game of chance, the power cards I can live with but the points cards from my point of view ruin it.

Our third game was the Das Faultier which is a race game with a difference, the players are sloths and in true sloth fashion it is the last one to the end that is the winner.  On a turn the player rolls a die and then moves ANY players piece forward the number rolled, pieces stack and only the top piece of a stack can ever move, there are sleepy tokens where you can put yourself asleep and thereby not be moved and chance spots where a deck of cards influences a pieces movement. There is very little control and a lot of “take that” but it all works to make a fun little game playing in about 30 minutes.

Table 2 played Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension, I know nothing about this game at all but it seemed to go down well.

SR > I really enjoyed Gravwell, quick, easy to grasp the basics and then get stuck into guessing who would go where before/after me. It seemed to work very well with three, just the right balance of control and confusion.

Table 2 finished with Cockroach Poker – covered before. I am not sure how well balanced it was 3 player but I can imagine it being quite a tense and calculating game.

Table 1 had moved onto Traders of Osaka which has also been covered before.

Our last game was a 3 player game of Yspahan it was quite close and it was not until the last round when I played my bonus cards that I secured the win but not by a large margin.