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Friday, June 22, 2012

Weekend Boardgaming: 17 June 2012

A bit late to post on this I do apologise (blame my studying, Diablo 3 and the latest craze, Pocket Planes!) so here we go with the games we played last sunday!

I saw this game being played by my Friday group previously and I have been itching to find a copy to see how it will work in office. In my latest german shipment, I finally manage to snag a copy. I have played it in office before and I decided to use it as a warm up game.
The game is a very light game and its unique selling point is the magnetic board and pieces. 1 player will be the mummy, trying to move around the board to catch the other players who are trying to loot treasures from the pyramid. The other players will be on the other side of the board trying to move around the mummy and each other and grab their 5 pieces of treasure from the maze. Movement is determined by dice rolling and treasure hunters can reroll as many times as they want before choosing 1 die. However beware! If you roll the mummy, then that die is locked and cannot be rolled. Sooner or later, the dice that have been locked will have to be released which will give the mummy player a free move, depending on the number of dice that have been unlocked. The mummy player also gets a turn to move after all the players have moved once. Its pretty fun and unique and a good light game. However so far in all my plays it seems that the mummy always wins. In 2 games, 1 player had only 2 pieces left to find but if the other players are not skillful enough, the mummy will win in more often than not. Its hard to get in Singapore but if you chance upon it, do pick it up!
In the office

Steel Driver

Another purchase from my german lot was Steel Driver. The gameplay reminds me very much of Imperial and even a lighter version of the many train games like 18xx and the like. During the game, each company will be auctioned off. After the auction, players who have managed to win the bids will control that company and make a move for that company by lying tracks and connecting between stations. After all companies have passed, then the controlling player during that turn will obtain profits based on the tracks that were laid during his/her turn. So this game is where you try to diversify and invest in companies that holds the most promise. At the end of the game, cubes will be placed at each station and the majority shareholder of each company will take turns "delivering" goods over their own tracks. Collecting sets of different cubes will mark the final profit value of the company and each share holder will receive payout. The player with the most money at the end of the game wins. I found myself without a company to perform the cube delivery at the end game but however since I manage to invest in 2 companies which had the most profit at the end, I won the game. The players found the board rather dry to look at and not particularly entertaining. The gameplay itself was pretty ok but the board could have been more exciting to look at. All in all, it is a light game that will make a great introduction to heavier train games.

Glen More
Before dinner, we played a game of Glen More for 5. This is a light to medium game where each of us is trying to grow our village as efficient as we can. During each player's turn, you will move your piece onto a tile that you want, place the tile into your village, activate that tile and all 8 tiles that are surrounding the tile you just placed. All the time you have to be mindful of the scoring elements of each of the 3 scoring rounds because players score based on the difference (between how many pieces they have compared to the player with the least amount of that piece) so that you do not accidentally provide other players with big scoring opportunities. The turn is based on which player's meeple is the furthest behind so its not a clockwise kind of player turn. Finally, you have to be as efficient as you can so that you will not be penalised as each village tile above the size of the smallest village will subtract 3 points from your total. The player with the most points will win the game. I find it hard to feel out which player is winning during the game but otherwise this is a good game. The players all felt it was very fun so recommended from me.

Twilight Struggle
After dinner we had a game of Twilight Struggle (after 3 of the players left) and this was my 3rd play and my opponents first. We played till about Turn 6 before we felt it was rather late and we had better call it a night. Very good game and epic but I found that if there is no scoring card that is coming out (we only had 2 scoring rounds), then the game play is all about positioning in preparation of the scoring card. Throughout the game I was in the lead with points but I could not captialise on it enough to win the game. My opponent also had quite bad dice rolls thus her coups and realignment rolls were not very effective. That being said, she felt that it was a very epic game and will look forward to playing it again. So yay!

Computer games
So a big part of my time is also taken up by computer games and I decided to talk about them a little given how there have been much fun to be had!

Diablo 3
The biggest thing to hit us the last few weeks. Very soon quite a few of my colleagues including my lunch group were playing. There were certainly a lot of fun AND funny moments as one of my lunch group had never played any major games in his life (his last major game was Warcraft the RTS game on PC). Still I have not reached 60 yet and the latest patch really put a bummer on things I feel. All the gold I spend leveling up my artisans felt very wasted as they are way way way cheaper now. Still its the group that makes the game fun I feel and I will look forward to questing at 60 together :)

Le Harve
I have really taken a liking to this game and when the iOS version came out, I immediately jumped on it. So far I have played a 2 player game online with a random person (he/she beat me) and played a solo game.
I was pretty lucky and manage to score 218 in my solo game. Very nice game and good implementation in the iOS. Some wishlist items will be clearer graphics (making use of the retina display on the new iPad) and maybe some enhancements since well this is a computer version of the boardgame. Still a very good purchase and a must have for any Le Harve player! Comment here if you want a match! :D

Pocket Planes
The latest craze to be released from the makers of Tiny Towers. Now I did not play a lot of Tiny Towers because I found it a tad silly trying to shuttle the people up and down the floors, however I know a lot of players are still playing it till this day, my brother in law included. When this came out, I was instantly hooked. I am not sure why but I reason that perhaps it scratched a particular itch for me. Sort of like Airlines Europe or a train-like boardgame, you get to shuttle people and cargo to various airports you setup around the world using planes that you choose. You can improve upon the planes and personalize them in various color schemes. Best of all, you can participate in world events to win rare airplanes and bucks (in game currency). All in all, I am thoroughly addicted to this game and along with my lunch group, our lunches now devolve into lunching and then managing our flights and the occasional grunts and talks :D Check out my stats right now:

I am about 1 airport away from linking Osaka and Sydney to Casanova (latest global event location) and North america. I think once I hit the first Class 3 airplane the excitement may wane for me. But as a lunch mate will say to me..... LIES :P

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekend Gaming: 10 June 2012

Yay ! My weekly fix of boardgaming with a small group. I gotten a few 4 player games and I have been hoping to try them out. Today's the day I got to try a few of them out. Still have a few more to go (Antiquity anyone? :P)
Here we go!

Walnut Grove
We played a 3 player first while waiting for our 4th player. Afterwards we played a 4 player one. It is quite an interesting game, not too hard to teach but hard to master. As always, the first game we had some rules wrong and we played correctly this time after clarifying some of the rules the second round. Finding enough food to feed and keep our farmers is quite a pain. Its an exercise in efficiency and tile placement. Basically you will get a certain number of tiles to choose from to add to your farm in Spring. In Summer, you choose where to place your farmers. In Autumn, you go to the town (board in the upper half of the picture) and choose a location to perform the action on. In Winter, you have to feed your farmers and keep them warm. That's it and after 8 rounds, you do a final scoring and the player with the most points is the winner. Points wise its quite a tight game as long as your tile placements are efficient. Otherwise I think you will have a hard time with the game. I will try the solo plays and see how it goes. 35 points seems a whee bit hard to get to :)

Played this once on another friend's copy and I decided to get my own. There's something about marrying off your workers and making babies that make this game and its mechanics interesting for me. Its not too difficult to teach as well and there will be a lot of replayability. However the theme is wrong though. I mean what we really are, are Evil Dictators and we can order our workers to perform actions at our whim. Sort of like Sims as another friend put it. We are even Genetists as we can control what gender our workers produce :p Maybe there should be a retheme of this into a sort of Evil Genius type of theme. Ought to be more thematic and exciting :D

Master Merchant
Another game from the same publisher as Maistar (and same artist), this is a fast filler like game which involves elements of deck building but with a LOT of interaction and screwage. The winner is the player who can first obtain 8 gold OR 8 different cards (which is usually how the game will be won). It comes in a very small package and plays up to 4. Easy to teach but seems hard to master as if all 4 players are experienced players, I believe there will be a lot of interaction to be had. Granted its only our first play and I suspect replayability maybe a problem after 10 plays or so, still I think it is intriguing and I wouldn't mind more plays of this. The art I love as I have never seen this before and it is quite good to look at.

Dungeon Petz
Brought this out as the box art looks very cute and buddy of mine wanted to play it. I had quite a hard time teaching as there are a lot of little details that is easy to miss and its been so long since i played it once. Play wise though all players agreed that its fun but can be a little brain draining. Thematically I think it does have and thus keep us interested even though the thinking part maybe a little brain draining as you are trying your best to choose what you want as well as keep your pets happy. But I think I will not keep it though because of the long time required to explain as well as how often I will bring it out to play. Of course the same can be said for some of my recent purchases (i.e. Antiquity) but at least I want to play it once and see how it goes :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Weekend Boardgaming - 3rd June 2012

After a long week at work and falling sick, I finally managed to get a weekend boardgaming in. When I fall sick, I really fall sick. Interestingly, I checked my sick leave record and since Jan 2011 up to now, I have only had 1.5 days of MC. Man that's gotta be worth something to someone.. hmm
As we are preparing for the Singles event the coming Friday at the Library, we played mostly space-themed games (all except for 1 :P) to familiarize ourselves with the games we may be introducing to those that are coming.
So space games, I played Martian Dice, Eminent Domain, The Resistance twice, Rocket Jockey, Cosmic Encounter (with both expansions), Mag.Blast and Sunrise City.

Eminent Domain
I had this game before but have since sold my copy. It feels very basic to me (even though there are rumors of expansions) and I would love to see how they make use of the different components that are available but as it is right now, it does not grab my attention enough for me to want to play it again and again and again. I have heard from The Secret Cabal Podcast how the crew raved and played it several times in a row but it just does not work that way for me. It feels blend, very solitaire like and not much interaction. I would like to try it again with the expansion when it releases but its a Meh for me for now.

The Resistance
A Werewolf like game but with a Space theme. This time I was the saboteur twice in a row along with another in the gaming group and I guess we were lucky in a way to have won quite easily. This game will be interesting to observe this friday when the Singles play it. For me as the saboteur, if I get chosen to go for the first mission, I will make sure it succeeds so as to throw off the scent. Subsequently, if they select me, I will play sabotage for the mission if it gets selected. My buddy though argues that if it were him, he will definitely play sabotage right at the beginning because then you will just need 2 more to succeed. I will report more on this when Friday comes.

Rocket Jockey
This is a maths like game where you are trying to earn as many points as you can by transporting goods in as long-winded a manner (i.e. as many planet hops) as you can. The game has a rather simple mechanism but it does make you think a lot during your turn. A little too much for a game of this weight. We did not finish playing and stopped halfway through. For the amount of effort, we would have preferred something more medium or heavy weight. Meh for me too.

Cosmic Encounter
This game was rather interesting to me in that I think the essence of the game was lost to some. Remember that the Destiny card choose whom you have to attack but I had a feeling it got a bit personal. Nevertheless, I was the Cyborg and I definitely played this wrongly. Instead of trying to cycle through the draw deck as fast as I can to keep the better cards, I was just holding onto the 3 and waiting for a good time to use them. Unfortunately for me that was a bad move and did not help my cause. Btw, have you SEEN the ships that Tom Vasel had painted for him?
They look so AWESOME! I wonder how much he paid. SO NICEEEEEEEEEEEE *drool*


I had not seen this Fantasy Flight game before and was interested to try it out. The art is cartoony and light hearted but still the ships are all unique (with subtle differences and different names and attributes). Essentially, you are trying to surround your capital ship with other ships and prevent your opponents from destroy you while using those same ships to attack others. I mistakenly attracted too much attention by exclaiming my 2 Star Destroyer-like ships and merrily playing the Imperial March song via my iPad. I was quickly decimated (from my sides) and boom I was out of the game. Subsequently its a long weight before dinner happened and we stopped the game but did not continue afterwards. It feels like Bang in space and well player elimination will cause the players to lose focus on the game while waiting for it to end. So while it could be a light filler, its a Meh for me.

Sunrise City
When I heard someone else from the gaming group bring this, I wanted to play it.  I have heard a lot of hype and given my recent purchases of city building games (see my previous blog posts), I wanted to give it a try. So right at the beginning you will draft 3 roles to play for the 3 rounds (its quite a short game). At the beginning of each round, you will select a role and then starting with the player with the lowest role number, place district tiles onto the board (following certain rules). Right at this point you can start to score on the score track. Once all the tiles are placed, you now begin to place your round tokens to lay claim to a district. Other players may place their tokens above yours to overrule your claim. This continues until all tokens have been placed. Now the round really begins.
Players will place building tiles given to them at the start of the round and score accordingly. The score board is an interesting concept in that if you manage to score or reach the 10th point score and stop, you will get 2 yellow stars. If you exceed, you will just get 1. At the end of the game, the player with the most yellow stars win.
Gameplay wise is ok I guess, reminding me of City Tycoon but not particularly fantastic for me. Component wise its very good but I feel WAY WAY overproduced. I mean the tiles are so thick and so big. The discs are big and everything just feels way too overproduced and even borders on unwieldy at times. I just feel that the game could have saved up on a lot by providing adequate but still high quality components. Art wise the colors are a little too blend for me and some of the building tiles have marks on them as if the other building tiles had pressed on them too hard. So in summary, its a Meh for me and I will not get a copy unfortunately. I had wanted to like it and it does look nice all built up but nahh....

Other Loot
My other loot finally came though and I cannot wait to break out Helvetia, Maharaja, Welcome to Walnut Grove, Steel Driver, Empires of the Void and Curse of the Mummy which I will play in office tomorrow!
Wait for my blog posts! :)