Junk Art and Tammany Hall

Not sure if I have done this before but the quiz picture is of the first game I ever bought at Essen.

The last quiz picture was of a Reed Bunting, not the most tuneful of birds but you should see it flitting about if you take a walk along reeded coastal shores.

Only one week since the last report, however we have also had a Saturday session which is also listed below.

 Darjeeling which is a set collecting game but has a nice couple of twists to it.

Darjeeling which is a set collecting game but has a nice couple of twists to it.

 New England early in the game

New England early in the game

 Flamme Rouge cyclist in rouge

Flamme Rouge cyclist in rouge

 Kanagawa an interesting set collecting game

Kanagawa an interesting set collecting game

A mini spotlight on Junk Art, in this game there are 4 sets of wooden bits each set of a different colour, there is also a card for each piece in the game. There are several rounds in the game and each round is different but generally consists of choosing cards from a small hand, selecting the piece shown on it and building it on a tower, either your own or a central communal tower. This is a fun game and a steady hand and a firm table is required, as you can see from these pictures there are a wide variety of structures that can be built.

 Just some of the many towers we built on Junk Art

Just some of the many towers we built on Junk Art

With so many games played on Saturday it was hard to pick a spotlight game but I think it has to be Tammany Hall which we played on Saturday near the end of the session. The game was originally released in 2007 under the Stratamax label which was the last time I played it, there have been several versions released since then the latest in 2014 but little has changed from its earliest edition other than the artwork and a couple of additions to the board to make 5 of the areas more attractive.

 1st edition box (not the one we played)

1st edition box (not the one we played)

The gameboard consists of 15 wards and the players are seeking victory points through control of these wards and their citizens through four terms of government, the game lasts 16 rounds and there is a scoring and election every fourth round. The set up consists of placing a random citizen in each of the wards on the board, these are represented by cubes of four different colours each representing a different immigrant nationality.

 Red controls wards 15, 17, 8 and 10 thus gaining 4 points

Red controls wards 15, 17, 8 and 10 thus gaining 4 points

On a turn a player has two choices, they can either send out 2 campaign workers of their colour by placing them on one or two different wards or they may place a single campaign worker and then place a citizen of any nationality and take a political favour chip of that citizens colour. After four rounds of placement an election takes place, each ward is taken in turn and assessed, if it is contested (that is more than one player has a campaign worker there) players tally the strength of their campaign they secretly hold in their hand any number of political favour chips they wish (provided that nationality is represented in the ward), these are revealed and added to the number of campaign workers in that ward, the highest total wins and all campign workers bar one of the winning players are removed, all used political favour chips are lost. This is continued through all wards, at the end everyone gets victory points equal to the number of wards they control. Players next tally the number of citizens of each nationality in the wards they control, the players with the most of each gain three political favour chits of that nation.

 Tammany Hall first edition lacking the bonuses from wards 1,2, 4, 7 and 14

Tammany Hall first edition lacking the bonuses from wards 1,2, 4, 7 and 14

The player with the most wards becomes Mayor collects 3 bonus points and dishes out a job to each of the other players, each job has special abilities which can be used throughout the next term and consist of removing or moving citizens, collecting political favours or removing campaign workers. After the first scoring players may smear other candidates, this has the effect of removing campaign workers from the ward however each player may only do this three times in the game and if not used and the correct time can be countered by the affected player.

 Tammany Hall, The nearest ward is being contested by Yellow brown and Black, political favour chits will probably decide the result, 

Tammany Hall, The nearest ward is being contested by Yellow brown and Black, political favour chits will probably decide the result, 

This is an excellent game and well deserving of its 7.3 geek rating, our experience bore out how good a game it is with no one player dominating and cool steady play rewarding those looking for small gradual gains, play itself is very simple and the rules very clear. I do count myself extremely fortunate with the group of players at my table as this is not my type of game at all, play sometimes needs to be aggressive and it is quite possible for several players to gang up and completely nullify one player (not something I appreciate in a game), fortunately this did not occur and I was left with happy memories. The game was won by the best player who did some excellent moves in the last round to secure dominance of 2 nationalities and more areas than any other player.

Even if like me this is not your type of game I strongly recommend you give it a try, if you get the right crowd it will be an excellent experience.