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Monday, November 19, 2012

Morels, Milestones, 20th Century, The Great Zimbabwe, Hai Alarm!, Tricks and Treats, Noah, Archipelago, Rattus Cartus

This week was rather short as I spent the weekend at Bintan! First time there and I am RED like a lobster. I still managed to get some gaming in though before I went and here we go!


Ah when I first played this game, I did not realise that the TRASH can only hold up to 4 cards. Once there's a 5th card, the existing 4 cards get discarded. This makes more sense now as you can only pick up cards if they do not exceed your hand limit and well, because of my booboo, in the previous game we did not pay too much attention to the trash after only a few rounds. I was only observing this time but my 2 friends who played really enjoyed the game even though it was simple to teach but had a lot for them to think about. I cannot wait to get this to the table again!


Ah I think this will definitely be my game of the year, provided none of the Essen releases (which I feverishly hope I will get before the year ends!) can budge it off its current rank. I like it so much that I even ordered 1 for my BGG Secret Santa target after taking a look at what his family and him like to play. I sure hope they like it! This was a refresher game for the other 3 and even though I ended the game, victory was snatched from me. The top 3 players were only 1 point in difference. The top 2 drew and won by tie breaker! Very awesome game and I highly recommend it to all! I may just bring it along with me to this weekend's Mensa get together and introduce this to more people.


My friend has been bringing this to our meetups but we have never really managed to play it. So I was glad to take it out and give it a spin. The rules wise are not really very complex but there are several smaller details that requires a few reads to get it. For example, the bridge which you can use to connect rails together did not really shine in its use to us until after a few more reads we got the usage. Technology tiles were slightly confusing as well. The art is VERY HIGH resolution and thus very nice. It reminds me of Alhambra but way more complex. It has an auction mechanism to bid for both city tiles and technology tiles. The auction mechanism is also used to bid for catastrophes (thus if you win, you get the least devastating catastrophes). Players are essentially trying to build up their cities to score a lot of points / money / science while keeping pollution down to a minimal. However it seems that majority of the game was spent fighting for city tiles with recycling centres so that we can man it and get to clear 1 cube of pollution. Granted this is only my 1st play and it may change with more games. Still it is a rather impressive looking game with good components and art. Worth a try in my opinion!


First play of my own set and I lost horribly. Resources are really quite a crunch and most players do not want to spend too much effort creating resources and thus allowing others to possibly use them and win. This session saw at least 4 new gods and not many of the players used the specialists at all. I do think that with more plays and familiarity, players will know just what they need to do with the god they have and the specialists to maximize their points. There is a lot of positioning involved and knowing when to commit your winning move (and thus reaching your victory goal) is VERY important in this game. Definitely going to bring this out more often!


We played quite a few fillers in this game session and this was the first. From the same publishers as Kakerlakenpoker, this game involves only 2 different types of cards. Dolphins and Sharks. During the game, you can do 3 things: Place a card face down, Flip a face down card in front of you OR Flip over a face down card in another player's area provided you have at least 1 face up shark in front of you. Objective of the game: Have 3 more sharks exposed in your area than all other players OR have 7 dolphins exposed in your area. That's it! That's the game. And surprisingly it is rather fun. Similar to Kakerlakenpoker, there is a lot of bluffing and player analysis which makes this a simple game but with some depth. Players do need to know how to guard each other so as not to let any 1 player win easily. We played this once while waiting for our 5th player to come and later on when we were winding up the gaming session.


Another light filler we tried. This involves placing a card from your hand into any of the columns available. Play continues until all the cards are played and then players reveal their secret identity (which means which pot is yours) and then score the treats belonging to the column. This game is enhanced by the inclusion of special pots which provide certain special powers and attributes, making this game more fun than it really seems to be! However, if you are not subtle enough, another player can guess which pot you own and thus forcing you out of the game. This can kill the game for some but since this is a light filler, the game doesn't last very long and you can quickly replay again. Its not bad and the piggy pot is very cute.


Noah, another surprising filler that is fun to play! I definitely recommend the advanced variants to make this game challenging enough and tactical enough for gamers to play and enjoy the game. Game lasts 3 rounds and each round, players are trying to empty their hand by, depending on which boat is currently available, placing a card from their hand. Placement of a card is dependent on the gender of the animal as well as the points limit of the boat. It is light hearted, great art and a lot of fun to play! I will definitely get this and bring it to the office to play. I feel it will make a great lunch time game!


First play with my set. It took me quite a while to explain the game because the game is still quite new to me and there are quite a lot of rules to go through. I also feel that this game requires at least 1 play for players to get familiar with the rules and to understand why its bad to let the events go unmolested and thus making it easy for the game to beat us OR for the separatist to win. And in our game, the separatist won again. That's the 2nd game I played out of 2 that the separatist won. I really hope to get 1 good game in where we actually count the points to see who wins the game. I am also eager to see how the solo play expansion will be like. Definitely a game I want to bring out again to see how it goes. Recommended!


I have not played Rattus the board game before and I was eager to take a look at the card game version. The game is rather abstractly themed and involves committing a number of cards in a bidding style type of mechanism to see if you can win the better power of a particular card or the lesser benefit. In addition, the number of cards you bid will help you to advance your token up one of 6 ladders which contribute to your final scoring depending on whether you place first/second or third in that ladder. The only thing that reminds me of Rattus (after reading about it) is the need to clear rats in your area because at the end of the game, if the number of rats you have exceeds the total determined by a few cards set aside in the beginning of the game, you lose immediately. Not a bad game and I am willing to try again but I doubt I will get myself a copy.

So if you aren't aware, BGG's Secret Santa and Dicetower's Secret Santa targets have been assigned and I have sent my targets their gifts. Both have received them and I am so glad they love their gifts. Especially I am interested in finding out if the BGG target will love Milestones as I do! My gifts are on their way as well and I have especially vocal Secret Santas which I am grateful for :) So I cannot wait to see what they selected for me!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Week of gaming ending 11th Nov 2012!

I got to play a few new essen releases and I am excited to play the rest! Here we go with how I felt about them:


Ok this is what it looks like. You are torturing a balloon. Your aim is to torture this poor defensless balloon who has never done anything to you but you just want to poke it and prod it and torture it. Ok its not exactly true. This is essentially Jenga with a balloon. During your turn you will roll a dice. Then depending on the number, you have to push any number of sticks as long as the total notches you pushed in equaled the number. If you burst the balloon, you lose! Its quite nerve wrecking near the end when you see how "tortured" the balloon is. The game has 1 element that is random though and that is, surprise surprise, the quality of the balloon used. The ones that came with the game were quite high quality I think thus even though most of the sticks were more than halfway in, the balloon did not burst! So, a party game, not really for my group but I can see how this can evolve into a drinking game of sorts and bursting the balloon sure will get some people shrieking and all. Fun but not what I will get for sure. Boardgame cafes should look into this though because it will be a hit with their customers.


I have never played this expansion before. Interesting variant especially with the special tiles that are rewards when you complete a mountain range that has gold symbols in it. Rivers are now more interesting because of the fishes within. I do like the greenish colors as they seem to be more pleasing to the eye. Not a bad variant. I much prefer this to the other slightly more whimsical ones like the Fairy / Dragon.


That coffee game! We were eager to get a play in and I was too to see if I would like to get it. I have heard that this game is surprisingly not as easy as it looks and I wanted to try it for myself. Rules were pretty easy to get into but the cards and symbols needed further clarifications by referring to the rules because the brief text on them were not completely clear to us. In the first brewing I have gotten myself a rainbow brew and it stayed there for almost 3/4 of the game, scoring us quite a bit of points. There is a lot of opportunity for screwage as well due to the cards and the opportunity for you to go to the same place as the leader and then choose research rather than brew. However it will take a conscientious player to keep the leader in check. I wonder how it will play with 8 though. To me it feels light-medium weight game, kinda like a ameri-trash game trying to be seen as a euro game lol. Not bad but I don't feel there is anything refreshing. Probably will need several plays to get a better feel for the game.


Ah, the newest Splotter game. I already own Antiquity and while it is not getting much plays (only 1 so far), I am eager to see what improvements this latest incarnation has in store. The art is amusing to me. I mean they can use such nice art for the cards but the board and the components used on the board are kinda gaudy and weak to me. I do wish they used the same uniform art and looked more impressive playing the game. The currency used too keeps reminding people of a rhino rather than the cattle it is supposed to be. There also seems to a problem of running out of silver cattle to be used for auctioning. Other than that, there is nothing else really bad about the game. Everything else is good from here on. I love how you can choose how you want to win the game. What I meant is you can choose what benefits you want which will then configure your victory conditions. Gods/specialists/craftsmen that give you better benefits will extend your victory point which makes it harder for you to win the game. So a good choice of Gods/specialists/craftsmen is vital in the game. The auction at the beginning of each turn that will determine the turn order is also very interesting. It forces a redistribution of wealth unless you do not mind being last in the turn order which can make it very difficult for you to expand because resources would have already been used up. I love this game. It really rewards good timing and strategic placement of your monuments and craftsman and use of resources as both for your own benefit as well as blocking others. Of course it help that I won the game and helped me decide to pull the trigger to get my own copy :)


This is a print and play variant of the recent release Hanabi. Interesting co-op game because other players get to see what you have and try to advise you on what cards to play during your turn. You will also be able to choose to discard a card (to benefit others) or play a card or tell another player some information to help the entire team. Quite a lot of laughter because it was quite late into the night and we made some bad calls in providing information. Co-ops are really not my thing though and we did not win in the end. I can see why this is interesting for a team that enjoys co-ops and team building but its not for me.


Brought this to the office to play during lunch time. I do so love the art on this game and if you have it, you MUST play with the stocks option because it will add a more strategic element to the game play. A good light filler and a mechanism similar to Tsuro.


Got this (by way of my wife in usa) as I have started to play more 2 player games (to play with my wife!) and have heard good things about this. 1 player will play the dragon and will win if the dragon kills all 3 dwarfs or makes the other player run out of cards. The other player will play the dwarfs and must kill the dragon before running out of cards to win. Gameplay is quite simple. During each turn, a player has 2 actions and can either draw 2 cards or play a card. Cards can be either attack or move or both. When a player is attacked, if that player has a block card in hand, that card can be played to negate the damage. Each player will have spaces on their player mat denoting the amount of damage they can receive and these are also segregated by sections which can cripple the dragon or kill off a dwarf. Light game and the dragon was killed. I will want to play as the dragon to see how it is. Seems a bit too light though. Will have to try a few more plays to see how it goes.


OMG the gaudy art. It has the same art as the original Glory To Rome and plays similar except the placement mechanism which requires clever placement to be able to maximise the number of cards you receive during taxation. Cards you receive can then be used as resources, played as land or played as buildings/actions. To win, you have to first build a church and finally a Cathedral. Its not a complicated game to get into and it does have player interaction by means of knights which can be used to steal or destroy other players' cards. It is a light-medium card game and is kinda fun. Gaudy art.... the art has to change! lol.


Ah, the highlight of the night. I have heard many good things about this and since I have gotten my copy, I am eager to give it a play (and have this taught to me without actually reading the rules :P). I love the fact that all factions play differently (similar to Chaos in the old world which I also love and still have!) and we all have such different victory conditions. More importantly, the victory conditions requires you to screw with another faction that it forces a very high level of player interaction between the players. It did take us about 3 hours to play finish with the Government player winning in the end. I played the AUC and I had 1 chance sometime in the middle of the game to win it but I blew it with a bad move. I still love this game though and the game components are awesome and high quality. The card events plays very similar to Twilight Struggle but the most innovative part I feel is the actions that can be played. The cards will determine the order of play but during a player's turn, he/she can choose to pass (perhaps the next event will be more beneficial). Depending on what you choose to play during your turn though, it can determine what the following player can do because player actions are paired in a very unique way. Great game and definitely lives up to the hype!


Oldie but a goodie. I have never managed to play with all the expansions because I am usually playing this with people whom I think are new to boardgaming. Its still a good introductory game with a lot of dice rolling. The only analysis paralysis part will be when you are trying to decide where to place your dice. It can take quite a bit of time if the player does not know what to do or there are just too many combinations/options to choose from.

The game that takes up too much space and my table can barely contain the main map. We played the Eastern USA map and everyone had a lot of fun! Even though one player had negative points in the end and I managed to build a track from New York to Chicago. Lots of fun but it does tend to take quite a bit of time to play especially if players wait for their turn to then decide on what to do. It can be overwhelming in the beginning especially if players are just trying to take in the entire map and neglect other parts of the game (i.e. the operation cards). Very fun game but I think the base game will suffice for now.


Played Fleet again. I understand now that diversity is key to this game. Aim to have at least 1 of every license so you can benefit from every phase of the game. At the same time, the Shrimp license is certainly very powerful with the discount it gives. I scored 88 this time with a combination of licenses. The other 2 players who were first time players scored a respectable 50+ points and were only 4 points apart from each other. I do feel however that the replayability of this game can be limited as, pointed out by another player, it is a very straight forward game. Launch boats, fish, get cards. Repeat and rinse. I may have to bring in the kickstarter variants to see if they add some kind of variety to the game. Otherwise, after a few more plays this game may get stale for me.

I have gotten my copy of Spartacus and I cannot wait to try it. After hearing how cut throat it can be I do want to try it with my group as we can get rather cut throat even with simple card games. Though I hope also that it will not disappoint me like how Merchants and Marauders did.
I am also eager to try out the solo player for Archipelago and another play of this with all 5 players to cement what I think I feel about the game.
Andean Abyss is also another one I want to try the solo variant to see how it plays.
Finally, I (maybe foolishly! we will see :p) gotten a copy of Virgin queen. OMG the rules are quite meaty to go into but I will definitely want to have a go at this before the year ends! Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What I last played - 4th Nov 2012

Great week of playing games and I got to play quite a few new games as well as managed to get Mage Knight in. Lets see what I played....


I have seen this game listed several times but from the pictures it doesn't seem to grab me. Lo and behold am I surprised at this game when I played it. Essentially, the game is about psychology and guarding each other. If one of the player falters, then another could potentially get away with a lot of goodies. Every round, there are several tiles in the middle where each player can take any number of. Alternatively, players can take tiles already collected by other players (with a small penalty of returning at least 1 of the "stolen" tiles back into the middle). A turn continues until ALL players have at least 1 tile in front of them. Then the tiles are revealed (there are some tiles that are shown only as question marks) and each scoring category is executed and players' scores are updated. The game continues for a few rounds and tally up the scores and the player with the most points is the winner. The interesting mechanisms of the game are the stealing from each other bit as well as maximizing your scores for each category. As discussed during the game, this looks like a kids game but is definitely a bit too "rough" for kids as you will have direct confrontation when you steal tiles off another player. Not a bad game but can cause players to be overly targeted and requires cooperative moves to bring down the leader should he/she run away. Its kinda expensive as well so try before you buy!


One of the new releases in Essen 2012 and one I did not quite get at first till I played it. It is not an easy game to get into in the beginning because you won't know what your opponents' secret objectives and end game conditions are as well as you are trying to manage your own and the general game end condition (where if the natives outnumber the colonists, they rebel and nobody wins unless one of the player had the Separatist role). Moreover, there are so many actions you can take during your turn and all these needed to be explained before we can start the game. I did not really get the gist of the game till its almost ending then I got a better feel of the game. For some reason, this reminds me a lot of Mage Knight (probably because of the expanding tiles option during exploring) and I can definitely see myself enjoying the solo aspect of the game. Components are really good too with thick tiles and awesome art. There could be more negotiation between the players but as we are all playing this for the first time we were largely quiet and trying to build our own engine by ourselves. The game ended due to rebellion and one of the players had the Separatist card so he won. So while the ending leaves a lot to be desired, we were playing the shorter version of the game and I suspect the longer game might be richer and more involved for us. I cannot wait to try this again as there are so many role cards to purchase and utilize as well as manipulating the market. So far a very good feeling for this game!


So this is termed as the dice version of Biblios and well, it does resemble it somewhat. But it is a pale comparison and not a very good game for me and my group. The art work is very meh and components are meh as well. Gameplay wise, during your turn, you roll dice and decide what dice you want from the group. Then each player afterwards get to do the same as long as there are some dice left to choose from.Most of the chosen dice will advance your cube up a particular track.There are gold marked on some rungs of the ladder and if you are the 1st/2nd to reach that rung, you will get that number of gold in cards. Gold is tracked by means of cards (which are very odd sized btw) and at the end of the game, whoever has the most gold win. It fell rather flat for us. It was ok to play this at the end of a rather heavy night but otherwise I don't think this is the game for me and my group. Its rather light and you don't have much control because of the random dice roll. Meh for me.


This is a relatively unknown game on BGG and with the gaming groups. I remembered I bought this after seeing the components and it was to make up a shopping cart so I got my free shipping (:p). I am nevertheless very surprised at the game and how fun it is, especially with 6. I did a review on this previously and in summary, its a very good game for 6 with a LOT of screw your neighbour element. I have never really won in this game because I am trying to keep my houses till the very end but often will get screwed because people realise what I have been doing. If you have not tried this, I heartily recommend you to give it a go and you will be surprised at how tactical this game can be even though it looks very light.


Ahhhhh Trajan. When I first played this game, I wasn't too hot about it because I felt there were so many things to do and I felt they were disconnected and the theme is just pasted on. After a few more plays, my thoughts are still the same BUT I have grown to love the Trajan aspect of the game. The thinky and the main mechanism of the game is the big mandala like diagram on your player mat where you are trying to arrange your cubes in such a way where you can get to execute the action you want AND score the Trajan tiles at the same time. It can be very brain melting but at the same time very rewarding when you manage to chain a few moves ahead and score several Trajans in the process. I am beginning to appreciate the game a bit more and better look at the board and see what I need to do after a few plays. I am still not really paying attention to other players and thus interaction is quite limited for now but I am enjoying the brain melting part of the game a lot. Hope to play this next time! Recommended!


My group had played this previously and I wanted to try since I heard several good things about the game. This is from the same designer as Sienna which we tried previously and boy was it tough to get into that game. Thematically and strategically this game did not kick off for me right at the beginning and I was not very clear what I was doing other than moving around and activating the various rewards of each region to get the benefits. Only halfway through the game did I realise what I should be doing. Definitely requires a few plays to get the gist of the game. Thematically it does not really make much sense to me other than many areas around the board where you can activate to get cubes, to get money, to get points. For now its still meh for me but I would prefer a few more plays to have a confirmation on my initial impressions of the game.


Played 2 games of this and both games I lost horribly! It seems that property is the way to score a lot of points in the game rather than animals. In almost all my games I have always concentrated on animals and have not scored a lot of points. Talking to Joel I realise I have been scoring horribly low in all my games! I need to rethink my strategy for this game next time I play it. I am also looking forward to the expansion which adds more special buildings to choose from thus allowing for better replayability. Looking forward to a rematch!


Played 2 games of this and I lost. Played once each as the Corporation and the Runner. I even flatlined as the runner which was a first for me. Not sure if its the card draw or how I play the game. I am still feeling my way around the different corporations and runners and I will need a few more plays to get a better feel on what I need to do I guess. Looking forward to some deckbuilding and the expansion which is coming soon! Oh btw, FFG is also selling their gamenight Netrunner set where if you are a FLGS and you want to host tourneys in your store, you can purchase such a set which will give you play mats as well as several other goodies. That should enhance the whole playing experience! Still a very good game in my opinion and one I need to master soon :)


Ahhhh mage knight. One of the few big bad boys in my collection. We decided to try 2 player Mage Knight and the introductory mission to get a feel of the game for my friend as well as a refresher for me. I have been wanting to try the solo game but have been lazy in bringing out the game and setting it up. So this gave me an excuse to play the game again. I took about 20-30 minutes to explain the gist of the game and it took us about 2+ hours to finish the game. Victory was tainted though because of some rules that i fudged up but still it was a good game. A rematch has been planned and perhaps this time we will try the full game and see how that goes. I am very excited for the expansion and I want to see what differences it will make to the game. Nevertheless, I do hope to bring it for a full 4 player complete game in the future but I have to ensure there are 4 of us that can play the game well first to speed things along. Great game but will be more recommended for the experienced gamer and not for beginners.

GMT games recently announced a sale for their supporters. All games are 20% off on their site and if you were a P500 supporter, you get to purchase a number of games (number of P500 that you have supported that are released + 1) at 50% discounts! That's really awesome deal and I got myself Andean Abyss (I have heard so much good things about this and it has a nice solo game) and Virgin Queen. Virgin queen is a scary buy mostly because it takes so long to play and only works best with 6. I do hope I can manage to con I mean convince several of my gaming groups to give it a go and see how but at 50% discount its a steal. I am probably also getting 1989 as I am a big fan of Twilight Struggle.

There are several new games that my gaming group has gotten recently and I cannot wait to try that. Also Essen releases, I am very excited for those as well and I cannot wait for my regular German site to have them in stock to ship over. Though it will take at least a month to get to me but at the prices and shipping cost it will be worth the wait.

Secret santa sign ups are here! I have signed up both for BGG secret santa as well as Dicetower secret santa! If you happen to get me as your target do let me know once you have sent them over :) It would be so awesome if you happen to read my blog and I am your target. I will also disclose my targets when they receive my gifts. Lets see just how small this world really is!

Have a great week ahead everyone!