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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekend Gaming: 28-29th July 2012

Continuation of my 3 days of epic boardgaming (with different groups), here goes!

1955: The War of Espionage
First play correctly! I won! Woot
2nd play but i lost...
So the last time when I last talked about this, I was complaining how bad the game was and all that. However I have realized that we got the rules wrong. The set that I was playing on has since been sold so I manage to get another copy and had to bring it out to see how it is. I must say that it is significantly more fun to play with. The rule that we had wrong initially was we would win when OUR home country is secured. That led to some first round wins. So to win the game,, either you brought your OPPONENT's home country to your side OR 3 other country tokens to your side (including your own home country). Needless to say, the gameplay has significantly improved and game time has as well. There is a lot more tactical decisions now especially when both sides have secured 2 countries and are gunning for the last 2. 
However if you are very aware of the cards and what has been played, I guess you can pretty much guess what your opponent is doing. I am hoping that perhaps in the future there maybe more gadgets for us to utilize or maybe add in a few more cards for variety. Still not a bad 2 player game that will take you at least 30 minutes to play. Now i would recommend it :)


I played this once quite some time ago and I did not really played it well then. Given a chance recently, I decided to get my own copy and manage to bring it out for a 4 player session. It is fun for me with all the dice rolling and trying to figure out the combinations. I must admit I am still not that quick to pick out the various combinations that can net me the most points or create an engine but I had fun. I do wish Castles of Burgendy components are of this quality then I will certainly buy it. Maybe there's a 2nd edition? :) Anyway, this play session helped me better understand the rules and I can play it on now. Not a bad game and I hear there's an expansion coming out soon. Reading about it though, I think its not adding that much things for me to warrant a buy. I would have preferred if they added another player or more character role cards. Lets see how the review goes for it then.

We played Feudality again and this time I got to see the big battle in action this time around but in general the main fun of the game is buying the extra tiles, placing them strategically on the board and hoping for a good dice roll. I know it sounds totally random because of the dice roll but that is kinda the fun in this game as we are yelling for HUAT AH (or good roll) when the Senior Player rolls it. Battle wise, this was mostly done by the player that was already winning just to see how a battle will work out. It ended up allowing him to draw in points with another player but he manage to win it due to the tie breaker. Now if the runner up had won, I would have called foul because of underlying relations (Ahem :P). Still I would like to play it again with competitive players that will attack each other just to see if warring will work well OR it will just prolong the game to for agonizing hours.


Village again I know. I just had to give this game a few more goes with my various groups just to see how it will sit with them. It sits real good I am happy to report. Fun to play, easy to teach with many different paths and very engaging throughout the game. There is no direct screwage though you can do so but it wouldn't feel very personal if done as many other more direct interaction games. I manage to win this with a combination of the Village annuals and monks (I am the blue player here). Great fun and a great buy! Go get it if you have not.

The map after about 3 hours of play and we STILL have not finished.

My cities after 3 hours of play.
OK so I FINALLY got this to the table. After getting it in a trade + top up a few months ago, I was dying to get this played so I know how it is and well, see what the hype is about. It was quite hard to get through the rules since its the first time both of us have played this but sometime through the 3rd round or so, we are quite comfortable with the phases in the game and were gunning for the victory conditions. Well at least my opponent could, I was pretty much stuck with my bad beginning choices. This game is all about the choices at the beginning because you place your starting city and then work from there. This game also requires a few plays to get used to what each building does and thus allow you to better plan and maximize their effects. 
Components wise its hell to try to bag everything and put everything into nice little boxes so to allow setup and tear down easier. Still its kinda fiddly with all the different chits and the lousy player board where you place all your house stock and city layout does not make things easier. And there are a LOT of bits to take care of. Every resource you setup on the map you have to underlay with a pollution chit so that you are reminded of the waste you are creating when you take away a resource from the land. Every turn you are reminded that you need to be able to feed your people OR you get tombstones popping out all over your city. Every turn you are reminded of pollution as your city may produce more waste than it can manage and damage the land surrounding it.
The victory conditions and how to attain it is still kinda a blur to me and I suspect a few more plays will correct that. However it is an interesting game and I can see what the attraction is because after you master the game, the sense of achievement you feel should be outstanding. Though i suspect a 4 player game with all new people will take quite a big chunk of time, after a few plays it will get better.... I hope.

So all in all, a great weekend of gaming. I manage to get a few new games in and I am contented :) Now to look forward to New York New York, the Wifey and the games I'll get to play in Gencon 2012! 


Friday, July 27, 2012

Weekend Boardgaming: 27th July 2012

My last major weekend boardgaming before I am off to NYC to see the wifey! YAY! :) I have scheduled 3 days of gaming so here we go with Day 1! :P

Shear Panic
So this time 3 of us played this (all guys btw :P ) and it must be said that for such a light little game, there can be a lot of analysis paralysis if the gamers are competitive enough. That's because of the situation of perfect knowledge where we all get to see all the other moves that the other players have left and thus work out the different combinations which they can use them. We can also see how much time they may spend and thus plan on how to best score at each field. So while the game mechanics are light and simple, depending on the players, this game can drag. Also, during our lunch time gaming group, at the last field, this is where the most damage can be done to players. If you have planned wrongly or get sabotaged, you may find your 2 sheeps being sheared and you are out of the game effectively. In summary, for what it is, it is an ok game with awesome components, certainly to attract people right at the get go. However if you over think it, then it may not be as rewarding as the time spent on it.

This is a very new game from White Goblin Games which I manage to get my friend who traveled to UK recently to transport back for me. In the game, you send your agents to participate in intrigue missions (either by sabotaging or helping) while trying to increase your standing in the income and military track. By sending the most agents (providing a positive score) and helping to win the intrigue missions, you get a certain benefit as stated on each intrigue mission. At the end of the game, the player with the most points win the game.
There are a few interesting mechanisms in the game that add more options to what you can do. For example, during your turn you can choose to collect income or place an agent (or two with payment of more money) or advance the military track (by paying money as well) or buy jewelry (which are worth 4 points at the end of the game). In addition, placement of your agent on the intrigue cards has its own little meta game.
A few bad points about the game though. Thematically its very light. There is a military track but there is no fighting per say in the game. Its just another track to earn points at the end of the game and to gain some bonuses. The board, as you can see above, is very cluttered with design and pictures. It would have been better if it was clearer. The coins come in denominations of 1 and 3 but the colors are so similar that its hard to differentiate. Furthermore, we often find ourselves with not enough coins so I am not too sure why they gave so many.
That being said, the component quality is very good with thick cardboard stock for the pieces. The board is nicely matted.
I think I may have to give it a few more plays to see if it will stay in my collection.

The game that we were all waiting for. We started off with a 3 player and when our 4th player game, we restarted again. It is not a very difficult game to teach but requires maybe 1 round to grasp and understand the mechanics to plan effectively. Village is a game where you are trying to maximize your family members to score you the most points at the end of the game. During your turn, there are 7 spots on the board where you can take action on if there is at least a resource/plague cube for you to take. A round ends when all cubes have taken. Then a Mass action is taken (monks and/or your family members) will appear in the church and allow you to advance their standings. The 7 areas are then repopulated again and the new start player (if someone has taken the next start player token) will begin the new round. The game ends when either the Village book OR the unknown graveyard is filled.
After playing this game, it is not hard to see why it has won the Kennerspiel des Jahres Game of 2012. 4 of us pursued quite different plans of attack as 1 tried to kill off his family members to populate the Village book and score points and end the game earlier. The other sent his 1st generation family member to travel the world (or disneyland as we call it) and he was one of the oldest 1st generation family members to still be around. There are many possible ways to score points in the game but they do not seem to be too disconnected from each other like how I felt when playing Trajan. I love how everything is visible on the board (except the point where player with the majority in the Chapel will score 2 points every round).
Once you get the gist of the game, the gameplay can proceed fairly quickly. Components are also of a good quality. I have heard some players do not like the fact you have to kill off your family members but we had fun joking about it, especially the player who tried to populate the village book and thus was happily sending them to their deaths. Plague cubes, which increases your time by 2 and thus increasing the rate at which your family members will die, is frowned upon at the first few rounds but will rapidly become a tactical choice nearer the end.
A good buy for me and definitely enjoyed by everyone around the table!

Dominant Species: The Card Game
Since I got my copy of this quite early, the group wanted to try this to see how it is. There are some inconsistencies with the naming convention as pointed out by my group which can lead to some confusion. Otherwise, its an interesting little card game that I will try to bring to my office the next time around and see how they will take it. The picture of the salamander which represents amphibians should use the picture of a frog instead for clarity. A final point to note is that the cards should be shuffled thoroughly as what you can do per round is quite dependent on your card draw. Not a bad buy so far. 

For the Win

Abstract game to close off the night. This just came in from the Kickstarter and since it had the 2 extra token set, we decided to give it a go. Abstract games I don't really fancy that much as I require a bit of theme with my games. Still I am avid enough gamer to give it a go. Essentially you are trying to get 5 different tile types to connect together (touching by the corners count too) and they must all be active (i.e. not on the side with a big X) to win the game. During your turn, you can take 1 or 2 actions and they consist of actions like moving your tile 1 space, placing a tile, activating a power etc. The main mechanism of the game is the special powers each tile has which will allow you to maneuver your tiles to win the game. With more players, there is a need for guarding each other, otherwise someone may slip in a win very easily (like what I did).
The components are nice handy tiles and feels good. For the price and the quality of the pieces, its very affordable and worth it.

So all in all, a very good gaming night. 2 more days to go! :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My first Giveaway!

Woot I have with me a promo code for a free copy of Le Havre for the iOS.
All you have to do, is to write a suggestion (or suggestions) on how to improve this blog in the comments below. Contest ends on 10th August (Friday) and I will pick the winner then.

Good luck and have fun!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Weekend Gaming: 21st July 2012

A small group today with only 3 of us but that's ok as well since I can bring out the 4 players easily. I recently got a few new games and I manage to try some of them today. Good game session today. Lets see what we played...

Shear Panic
I always saw this on the shelves and in stock but never felt the need to pull the trigger. Recently I took a closer look and realise that the components are really awesome and the designers are the Fragor brothers! If the game play was crap, how could the components go wrong? So I gave it a try.
The components are really awesome and you can also see it as well in their other production Poseidon's Kingdom.
Gameplay wise its not too heavy but because everything is open knowledge, it is not recommended to have analysis paralysis prone people playing this game. Still, the game should get faster as the available actions you can perform later in the game will be limited.
So the gameplay is all about manipulating the placement of your colored sheep in the flock with respect to the field which you are all currently playing in. There are 4 different fields with different scoring mechanisms and through clever choice of actions that are identical to every player, players try to score the most points and win the game.
The last field is particularly drastic as the shearer will remove the row that is closest to it thus it can totally cripple your final scoring turns. A very good game. I can't wait to bring it to office and see how it goes.

Dominant Species: The Card Game
I played Dominant Species twice and I did enjoy it but I am not sure if I should have it because the gaming groups around me at that time weren't as varied as they are now. We even had a very rushed 1+ hour game of it while we were standing around the table and waiting to go into the meetup room at Toa Payoh CC. Now with the 3rd edition printing ... hmmm... I might be tempted.
The card game only arrived yesterday via supporting the P500 at the GMT games website and while I have read and watched some reviews that weren't so hot about it, I was eager to try it and see it for myself. I played Evolution previously and it wasn't too good for me I felt. There are other evolution/creature type card games like Creatures but they did not click for me or were too light.
Dominant Species the Card game is not too bad. It is only remotely related to its bigger brother because of the species and the various terms but it plays quite differently. The game plays over 10 rounds and varies from about 2-5 turns per player per round. Players need to decide how many cards they want to play each round to score some points or not because they only get to draw 2 cards per round. During your turn, you get to place a creature or play an action or pass. Playing a creature or action may sometimes suppress other player's creatures which will "injure" them and cause them to have lesser points or elements. At the end of the turn after all players have passed, you will count the dominance score as well as the number of elements you have that correspond to what is being played for that round and the majority player(s) will score points. There is also a survival track which you can progress whenever you dominate a round which will provide you quite a few cards at the last round and also give you 5 bonus points at the end of the game. If you are last though you will deduct 5 points. The player with the most points wins. I quite like this game as compared to the other creature/evolution card games I have played. I would like to see it being played with 6 as the interaction between players will tremendous and may cause this game to feel meh. Lets see....

Walnut Grove
This one had the best reviews of the day from my friends I think. I always felt very bad when I could not manage the resources properly and feed properly and I have to resort to loans. Still, it was a pretty tight game as I only won by 1 point with a -2 loan at the end. I bet with many more plays you can probably get the tactics down pat as there are only 8 year cards for the entire game which you can memorize. But where is the fun in that? :) I would love to get it in a few more plays and perhaps a solo game or two. So far its slightly above average for me.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday 13th July 2012 Boardgaming report

Finally after my exams, I could join the Friday group again and their late night gaming sessions. Usually we start around 8-9pm and last all the way to 3-5am the next day. :D In this way we can usually get a few heavy games in comfortably within the timings. This session I had a lot of fun because I got to bring out 2 new games of mine that have not yet touched the table and play a new game from someone else.

First on the table is Feudality. It plays from 2-6 and reminds me of Glen More. In the game, we are all Barons and trying to grow our fiefdom such that it scores us enough points to win the game. Each player will get a turn to be the Senior Player (i.e. Current Player) and perform a few actions.
First is to roll 2 8-sided dice. These will determine where your pawn will be and also which tiles are available for all players to activate. By activating a tile in your fiefdom, you will either get goods or points or both.
After which, tiles are drawn from a bag and players are allowed to buy 1 tile from those drawn to add to their fiefdom.
Thirdly, the Senior Player can then choose 2 actions to take. Either by activating tiles in their fiefdom OR taking one of 3 additional actions. These actions range from having a secret rendezvous with the King/Queen to score a point or conduct wars against other players or against the "game".
Lastly, depending on the number of tiles you have in your fiefdom and the player count, you will need to pay food to the bank. Then your turn is done.
So all in all, it is a pretty straight forward game without much surprises. The art is cartoony but not in a very bad way. The components are good and very similar to the likes of Agricola and Ora Et Labora. The fiefdom piece is rather thin cardstock and would be better if it was thick cardboard.
Gameplay wise, I think the most fun part for us is thinking of what pieces to buy and then placing them on our fiefdom. There are quite a variety of items to choose from and you want to place them in various spots so that when the dice are rolled, you will get a chance that you will obtain some resources at least.
Interesting thing I found was that food, while initially not very important, became very very important in the later phases of the game. Another point to note is that even though the game is simple to pick up and play, it does take a fair bit of time to play (ours was about 1hr ++) as it takes some time to create enough points to meet the game end criteria.
As you can tell, with the dice present, there is quite a bit of randomness to the game. Even when choosing other actions to take (i.e. attack or rendezvous) it all involves dice thus for those that are not fans of randomness do be aware. One other gripe is the soldiers and the attack options you can select. There seems to be very little use of the attack options. True you can use it as a catch-the-leader mechanism but after every battle you will need to roll to see if your army survives or not. This is a 50-50 chance but it will mean that all those turns where you spent purchasing your army units are wasted if they all die in a single battle due to bad dice roll. Like in Manhattan project, the attack portion seems a bit weak for me.
Still we had quite a good time playing the game for what it is, is a light hearted game. I think I will try it again tomorrow and see how it goes with 5/6.

Inca Empire
Inca Empire is a purchase I made a few months ago but I have never managed to bring it out. Mostly because after reading the rules I am still pretty confused on a few items. Tonight it hit the table and is our highlight for the night.
In the game, you are trying to score the most points by managing your only resource (labor) in a limited number of turns to build items on the map and score points in each of the scoring phases. This is a remake of an older game and is a very good new edition. The components are nice and thick and with rich colors. The map is rather busy though as there are many lines drawn for the roads and each region is color coded to differentiate them. However there are no obvious border lines so this can be somewhat tricky to tell during setup. The road wooden pieces are like toothpicks. They are really really small and thin. Otherwise, good production value.
Gameplay wise, there is a calendar of sorts in the top right corner of the board that details when each phase will occur and what the players will do. So you can plan ahead and decide. There are 4 basic phases in the game. The first phase is where you collect your labor which is the only resource and currency in the game. There is a default number of Labor you will receive at each Era (4 Eras of the game but there are a few rounds per Era) and you get additional Labor tokens for each region you have "conquered" as well as each Terrace you have built. Labor is vital as they allow you to perform the actions like building temples and cities and roads during the Construction phase of a player's turn.
The second phase usually will be the Sun phase. This is a very unique characteristic of the game. During the Sun phase, each player will place a sun card on a separate board. The sun card will either have beneficial traits or harmful traits which will remain till the end of the current turn. The unique portion is because where you place your card, it will impact 2 other players. Also each quadrant can only have 1 new card placed on it thus player order is quite important throughout the game. Thus a lot of interaction here.
The third phase will be Construction phase where you can build cities or temples and here is where you will score the most points. In addition, items you build now will also score you points later on during the scoring phase.
The final phase will be the scoring phase where your roads that are connected to buildings will score you points.
That will be the end of the current turn (usually) and a new turn will begin. Another interesting mechanism is that the first player will have to give 1 to 2 labor tokens to the last player. During the later eras, the 1st runner up will have to give 1 labor tokens and the first player will have to give 2 labor tokens. While initially this seems like a big disadvantage but actually given these tokens is a small setback. Indeed, our winner was the first player for almost half of the game and he was not too worried only until the final round.
A very good game and enjoyed by the group. There are interesting strategies and ways which you can try to block the leader and to score your own points. A big surprise and now I can see why it is rated quite highly in Boardgamegeek though I have never seen it in play at any of the meetups so far. Highly recommended!

Top Race
Final game of the night is Top Race. This is a game that is very similar to Long Shot which I previously owned but involves cars. In the game, each player is given cards drawn from a common deck. These cards, when played, will allow us to move cards along a race track to the finish line. The aim of the game is to have the most money at the end of the game. At the start, players get to auction and own cars which will give a lot of money if they are placed the top 3 at the end of the race. Once all cars are owned and each player has at least 1 car, then the game can begin. During the game, each player will play a card which has pictures of cars and numbers on it and move each car the number of spaces indicated in sequence (top to bottom) unless otherwise blocked by other cars in front of them. The game ends when most of the cars have crossed the finish line and then players will calculate the money earned and the player with the most money will win the game. Its a simple straight forward game with a few variants in the base game. There is a stocks variant as well as a betting variant which we played. Please do not mistake this with other similarly themed games like Formula D and Rallyman. I do like this game as I loved Long Shot when I had it but I will use it as more of a party game rather than for serious gamers. It is a good end to a very good night of gaming.

Pity we did not get to continue our Risk Legacy session (i think we are at round 5/6 now) and I do hope we can finish Risk Legacy's 15th game before the year ends. All in all, a very good night and I hope tomorrow I will get to play Eclipse and other games with another group.

Mage Knight: 1st solo game!

so I decided to spend an afternoon to play Mage Knight. It was still in shrink and I was wondering if anyone wanted it but alas no biters so I decided to break it out and play to see if I am really going to keep this. And boy I am glad I decided to try it once on solo.

The last time I played it was in a 3 player game where we did not get to finish (as it took a really long time) and I only had a rough idea of the game. At that time my impression was still average and could not see what the hype is about.

So I decided to setup the Solo conquest game and after spending about 10 minutes or so setting up I was ready to begin. Gameplay wise it is rather straight forward and I did benefit from my previous play but I had to refresh myself again with the rules. I often have to flip between the scenario booklet and the main rule book to see what I have to do for the dummy player, what I have to do in the scenario and my general game play. I did get some setup wrongly because I took some rather handicapping rules from the first patrol and placed them into my Solo conquest scenario. That is the main reason why I think I could not win (and that's my story and I'm sticking with it! :D)

In anycase I got started off in a steady pace and manage to hire my first minion. Along the way I started to clear the mobs around the area so I could gain experience points and get more minions and better skills. I was getting quite good cards and good plays but once the Cities appeared, I was floored. The minions were so powerful that I doubt I could dent them without getting a lot of wounds. At the end of 6 rounds (3 days and 3 nights) I could not make a dent at the cities. Here are the images at the end of the game.

A few takeaways from the game:
1) It is a fun game but be forewarned it does take a LONG time. All in all i spent almost 4 hours setting up, checking the rules and actually playing. So I can imagine if we played the other scenarios and with more players it will take a very long time. That is kind of a downer for me as it will mean I need to find dedicated gamers to spend the time to play this.

2) The artifacts and spells are very very powerful. I did not see that in the previous game and they gave me a lot of benefits during this game.

3) Cities are really powerful to defeat. I will need to figure out a way. Also after checking up on the better mobs that I could hire if I used the packs correctly, I realized that it is possible. But i will need to be more daring to get more artifacts and spells to prepare myself for the city battles.

4) Ranged attacks are very useful because they allow you to defeat the enemy before they can even attack you. Best is if you can obtain siege attacks so that enemies with fortifications can be brought down easily.

5) Table space. This game requires a rather big table space so that you can lay out everything nicely and have a good view of what's happening. I doubt my current table can take more than 2 if we were to play comfortably.

I can see why this game has such appeal and rated so highly. However I will need quite a few more plays to appreciate all that is Mage Knight. There are several aspects which I have not tried yet (like PVP) and there are still a lot of scenarios to try. I will probably try a few more round of solo play before I am comfortable enough to play this with others. With the Friday group though there are a few experienced players already so perhaps we can get one of the epic scenarios going in another session. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Weekend Boardgaming: 7th July 2012

Its my 5th Anniversary today! And as a treat, I brought our Huskie, Comet, to the beach to play and romp around. Its been too long since we last brought him and I am very glad he still loves the waters and swimming. ;)

After that I had a small group of 3 others over and we played boardgames. 2 heavy hitters and a few light ones to round off the night. Here we go!

Empires of the Void
One from the group is eager to try Eclipse and since I am still on the fence about buying it (I already have Twilight Imperium 3 and now Empires of the Void), we decided to break this out to play and have a go at it. This time round, the game play was quite smooth and I felt more at ease at the game and knew what I was doing. I had the humans this time but as luck would have it, most of the planets where I can score diplomatic victories against were in someone else's quadrant. Worse, the culture cards I drew were like a rainbow (i.e. not many of the same kind) thus I had to venture far into my opponent's areas, which triggered a retaliatory action that ended up with me very dispersed and missing my New Earth. In the end though, the scoring between 3 of the 4 players were only 1 point apart! I think it will get better with subsequent plays. I am puzzled though because some of the neutral pieces shows different colors of the base ships each player has (i.e. Centipede and Diplomat). I am curious as to when these will come into play. Quite a fun game but I think unless I play Eclipse once, I won't know for sure which is a stayer in my cabinet amongst the 3.

I am so glad I can bring this out again to play as I think just 1 play is not enough to get a good grasp of the game. Explaining the game is again a very tedious affair as new players have to absorb so many different areas of a very busy board which equates to many different mechanisms. When we finally play it, all the players found that there are so many things they want to do but are severely limited by the amount of money they have and by the turns. I think explaining the game will get easier IF I manage to get this into play more often. In this game, our export area and the wine masters area seems very underutilized. Its not from a lack of trying but we found we had other important things to do as well to try to get enough money to do what we want in the game. Very tight game and the top 2 were only 1 point apart. I was far behind 3rd. Definitely a must try again to see where this will be in my cabinet's future!

After our Pizza dinner (this is becoming a common boardgaming grub), we decided to go with lighter games since we already had 2 rather long games (almost 3 hours each). I just had my latest shipment of boardgames (Pastiche for my colleague, Feudality and Nuts! for me) and decided to break out Nuts since it looks rather funny and easy to play. This is a game I CANNOT wait to bring to office to try with my gaming group. I think they will have a lot of fun because it is a rather tongue-in-cheek and VERY cheeky and "naughty" game. The general word play is with the word "Nuts" and so we have cards like "Protect your nuts", or "Poke someone's nuts". All in all, I cannot wait for it to be played next week in office :) Its fun and very light hearted and meant to play that way and not to be taken too seriously. Definitely party game material!

Samurai - The Card Game
Final game of the night is Samurai the card game. This is an abstract game where players are trying to vie for majority of tokens of any 2 (Circles, Squares and Triangles). Failing that, there is another method of scoring (but this seems a bit messy to me). During your turn, you play a card from your hand of 5 (all players have the exact set of cards) and try to obtain a majority in numbers of shapes as depicted in the village/town card that they are adjacent to. The graphics is light and quite nicely done. The cards are squarish and the game unfortunately can take up a lot of table space so beware of that. It is easily explained and quite fast to play and I did have fun even though I think I was dead last. Not bad not bad.

So all in all, a good day of gaming. Even though we did not get to try Mage Knight I will like to try a solo play of it first before tabling it. Now to go read up on Feudality :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Weekend Gaming: 1st July 2012

Finally, my exam is completed and I feel much free-er now :) Countdown to seeing the wifey and gencon has started! YAY!!!
Lets see what I played today....

Empires of the Void
One of the newest game I have and I think this was a kickstarter. It has been touted as Nexus Ops in space and that is a pretty good description of it. Its like Twilight Imperium light and I have heard it is an Eclipse killer but having never played Eclipse, I cannot comment too much on that.
This is a 2-4 player game where players are different races (with different characteristics) and try to score as much points as they can within 11 rounds. At the start of each round, there will be a pre-round phase where players can research 1 tech and buy as many ships as they can afford. The tech tree, while there are quite a lot of pieces, is not too complicated to navigate and look through so it feels just nice. Buying ships is all about being able to afford (and of course having the tech for it) and then placing the cardboard ships onto the board. I have heard that people enhanced the game using Twilight Imperium 3 pieces and perhaps in my next game at my place I will try that. But overall the pieces are of a good production quality so no complaints there. After this, an event is shown. Then players take turns taking 3 actions from a variety of options to choose from. At the 5th, 9th and 12th round, there is a scoring round and you will get points for the planets that you occupy as well as having the most influence in the Galactic council. The player with the most points wins the game at the end. 
Overall this was a pretty good game and for our first play we did not get too many rules wrong. There is definitely a lot of interaction if you want to win and battles are fast to resolve. There are a few issues though. The Galactic council seems slapped on. There is nothing much to do here except to score points. If there were some politics here (similar to Twilight Imperium) then perhaps there is a reason to chase this scoring. One of the ships require you to pay 1 credit to fight which, thematically does not make much sense. We joked that the ship was being outsourced thus you had to pay the vendor to fire the ship's weapons for you :P 
Still its not a bad game and I would like to try it again to have a better feel of it.


Grimoire was a game that a buddy of mine gave me as a present of which I am very grateful. This is my second play and I think it went along a little too long for its content. Gameplay is rather simple in that during each round, players get to choose a spell from a spellbook (all players have identical books) and then depending on player order, get to cast the spell (if it has not been blocked) and then choose a quest card from the board. The rule book is rather sparse and there are some confusing rules which are not clearly defined in the rule book.Artwork wise and component wise is ok and gameplay is light. There is nothing horrible to complain about the game except it can get a little draggy but otherwise as a filler it is an ok game.


Maharaja is the surprise of the night for me. I had gotten this game from Germany and had to read the rules online to understand how to play. The rules had no diagrams thus I had a little difficulty understanding the game initially and did not have a very good initial impression. But after tonight's exciting game, this is an instant hit with me and my group.
Gameplay wise, right at the setup the game has started. You choose a role and place the houses in available spots along trails on the maps. Then the game will start in earnest. there will be a Maharaja that will travel to various cities on the map depending on which of the Governors are at the bottom of a track. This is important because at the end of the round after all players have had their turns, scoring will be on the city where the Maharaja is at. Scoring is also important because that will provide players with gold with which they can then buy palaces (the crystal tokens) which will then determine if they win or not. The game will end when a player has built all 7 of their palaces OR when any Governor has reached spot 10 on the track (the game will end in 10 turns at most).
During a round, players will get to choose 2 actions from a list of available options. Then, depending on the player character chosen, players will play in sequence and perform the 2 actions. Some of the actions are building of palaces or villages or even changing their roles. While the actions seems very straight forward, the implications and strategies you can formulate are rather deep and intense.
For our group, we started to think really in depth after the 2nd round or so and we had a lot of fun. We cannot wait to try this again and I think with 5 it will be even more cut throat and crowded. Now I know why this game is rated quite highly in BGG.

So I am weaning off Pocket Planes. After reaching level 21 and with my first Class 3 plane, it has gotten a little stale for me. Which is a good thing because it is sooooooooo ADDICTING! and I have been spending an immense amount of time managing my planes. 
Le Havre has been a very good buy for me. In between playing the solo games (still can't get past 260! :( ) and playing online, I have had a lot of fun! Playing online though can be a little slow because it is on an ad hoc basis so its not a committed 30-60 mins of play but has been sporadic at best. Still its good that I have several games online concurrently.
Summoner Wars. This has been something else I am EAGERLY awaiting. It has been submitted to Apple already last weekend and I think maybe tomorrow I will be able to get it and play. Since I don't have the boardgame copy, the digital version will have to do for now.

A little booboo
I read recently a review on 1955 which I played previously and reported that it is sucky and all. Today after checking with my buddy again, I realised that we have played it wrongly! No wonder we felt it was rather broken. I hope to at least try it again in USA (or maybe get another copy again) and give it another go! Since its a good 2 player game as reviewed, perhaps when I am with my wifey we can get to play it. I intend to play Morels, Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small and any number of 2 player games I can get with wifey when I am there. Its kinda sad that I cannot share all my boardgame experiences and fun with my wifey but when I am in NYC, I intend to give it a go. HEE HEE HEE.....