New York 1901, Power Grid and Hey Thats my Fish

No clues for this quiz picture.

The last quiz picture was of Bouncing Bunnies designed by Reiner Knizia and one of a range of games from Pegasus Spiele for younger players which includes Viva Topo and The Ladybugs Dancing Party, all are great games for any gamelings (teeny tiny gamers).

The first game on Table 1 was New York 1901, BQ gives us his view :-

This is a light to medium (Ticket to Ride level) tile-laying game, about the skyscraper boom of the early 20th Century in New York. You each get a set of skyscraper tiles in a wide variety of shapes matching your player colour, and some nice little "worker" miniatures, of a flat-capped gent leaning on a girder. The board shows a stylised map of New York, with a number of city blocks divided into "districts" of five different colours, intersected by streets, and each district is further divided into two- and three-space "lots". There's also a deck of cards, each one showing a district colour, and a size (two or three spaces) - there's one card for every lot on the board. Four lot cards are turned face up from the deck, and replenished back to four as they are taken.

 Some of the player pieces

Some of the player pieces

On your turn, you do one of two things: Take a card and claim a lot with one of your workers, then possibly build a building on a lot or group of lots you already own, for which you score points; or demolish an old building and rebuild over the top of it with a skyscraper of a newer "generation" (there are three "generations" in the game, bronze, silver and gold, and you can only start building or rebuilding silver and gold when you reach a certain number of points on the victory point track). When you do the "take a card" option, the lot you claim must match the colour and size on the card. Aside from that, you can claim where you like. You have to obey some simple rules when you build (must build next to a street or park, for example), but it's pretty straightforward. There's a couple of little things around demolishing too (like having to put a worker back on if you free up a lot space entirely) but again they're fairly self-evident when you play.

 Part of the board mid-game

Part of the board mid-game

Aside from that, there's three special cards each player gets that let them do things like build twice in one turn; there's some end-of-game scoring cards for majority of buildings along a street, plus a special bonus that changes from game to game; and there's some famous skyscrapers that each player can only build one of, which get big points and also act as end-game tiebreakers. The game ends when someone's got only four buildings left, or when the cards run out. It's not going to set the world on fire with startling innovations, but NY:1901 is a solid, easy to learn game that looks pretty and whilst it has some good player interaction (blocking people from where they want to build being the main method) it's not mean and ruthless.

My table played Funkenschlag or in this case Power Grid deluxe: Europe/North America using the Europe side. The game is about buying Power stations, building sub-stations in various cities, purchasing resources to power them and then collecting cash to do it all again on the following turn, the winner of the game is the player who at the end can provide power to the most cities. Each player is limited to 3 Power Stations, the Power Station cards indicate which of the 5 fuel types it uses and how many together with the number of cities it may power, those power stations available for purchase are auctioned at the beginning of each round this is followed by fuel purchase and then building to other cities. The game is structured so that the leader is always disadvantaged in the various phases so one of the tactics is to hang back behind everyone else, this achieved by having access to the least towns but as this is usually level it is decided by having your best power station being the lowest ranked. Overlaying this jockeying for position to be best advantaged in the different phases is the need to spread so that you have access to the cheapest links and to avoid being blocked in your expansion, these contradictory needs make for a nice tight and interesting game.

 Part of the board

Part of the board

 Power Plants from the Deluxe version

Power Plants from the Deluxe version

 Factories from the 2004 edition (bottom row) and the New Power Plants expansion 2007 (top row)

Factories from the 2004 edition (bottom row) and the New Power Plants expansion 2007 (top row)

Table 3 was playing the lighter games and commenced with Valeria: Card Kingdoms  it was briefly described to me as being similar to Machi Koro with a fantasy theme however the game looked more in depth than that. I need to give it a try to find out for myself.

 Cards from Valeria Card Kingdoms

Cards from Valeria Card Kingdoms

This was followed by Hey, That's My Fish!, a lovely abstract game where players are Penguins collecting fish, on a turn you move your penguin from an ice floe in a straight line to another ice floe however you may not pass over a hole in the ice or through another penguin nor may you stop on a space with another penguin, all the floes have between 1 and 3 fish on and the ice floe you vacate you pick up and put into your score pile. The player with the most fish at the end wins. It is a game about territory control but with a huge piece of opportunism thrown in, this is an ideal 15 minute filler that can make you think, works brilliantly as a 2 player abstract strategy and should be part of everyones collection.

 Pingvinas (aka Hey that's my fish), spot the mistake which caused a quick restart.

Pingvinas (aka Hey that's my fish), spot the mistake which caused a quick restart.

Table 3 also played Exploding Kittens a fairly simple card game I have yet to try.

The final game on Table 3 was Madame Ching, I like this game a lot and was one of my better purchases in the latest batch from “The Works” where I picked it up for £12, players play cards one at a time which must be numerically of higher value than their previous card, when they can no longer play a card they get rewards based on the number of cards in the display and for symbols collected on the top of the cards, the winner of the game is the one who collects the greatest value of rewards.

My table tried to get a game of Automobiles going however I had not realised how little time we had to play, I do hope though that I generated enough interest to get it to the table again as it is one of my favourite games at the moment. In short it is a car racing game but travel round the track is governed by drawing cubes from a bag and is in all essence a deck building game but with cubes, a mechanism I first came across with Kings Pouch (a clever lightweight game from Korea). The colour cubes in the players display either match spaces on the track or give special powers governed by cards which are unique for each race and as with games like Dominion it is the player that spots the better combinations and who manage their collection the best that will win.

 Player board from Via Nebula

Player board from Via Nebula

Table 1 played Via Nebula I have yet to play this one so have no comment at this time. They followed this with Skull King: Das Würfelspiel where the players play pirates (guess whose game this is) who try to predict best the outcome of battles, however as this is another I have yet to play I cannot say how this is done.