Super awesome week of gaming as my packages from German has finally arrived (after like 2+ weeks of waiting) Also mom-in-law managed to bring back some other games from wifey (who is coming back soon! Yippeeee). Thus it was a very good week of gaming for me. Here we go:
TRAINS is a game from Japan which is essentially a deck building game very similar to Dominion. The enhancement would be a game board which you can also score points on and adds an extra element of area control to the game. Theme wise it is pretty pasted on as deck building game + trains don't really gel well. That being said, since the mechanism is based on Dominion's tried and tested success, it is easy to pick up and play and quite smooth flowing as well with a lot of variety and replayability. The board allows more point scoring as well as may dictate what types of cards you will be buying and utilizing for the game. During your turn, you can play as many cards and buy as many cards as you can and then that is your turn. Once the end game condition is reached, the game ends and you see who has scored the most points. The game's 2 main mechanisms which are track laying and station building will generate 1 Waste card which will be added to your deck and thus create clutter. You can pass during your turn to discard all Waste cards from your hand.
It is a fun game to play but i am no longer that interested in dominion clones. Furthermore, this game is currently not available (only was available in Essen 2012) so will be hard to hunt down. Art wise it mixes real life (in the cards) and the somewhat cartoon like feel of the board.
Another essen release that I got to try but rubbed me off the wrong way. The rules weren't written very well and it was confusing for me to play the game. Even halfway through the game the light bulbs weren't lighting up yet. This game is largely a stock buying game where you are trying to diversify investments between mining and train companies so that you will get the most points at the end of the game. At the start of your turn, you will get to choose a role. Then you get to do a variety of things during your turn. I won't go into too much details because I cannot remember most of them and I had to refer to the slightly confusing player aid. Art wise, its pretty dry and bland. The stocks have quite nice artwork though but because the many colors are similar between the Train and mining companies, this can get slightly confusing. All in all it left a very bad taste in my mouth and even though I may not have understood the game entirely, I will not try it again.
After having played this once, it certainly was beneficial to me and I won this game. The swords were very powerful and helped me to snap up a lot of cards even after using a whole bunch of it myself to advance on the track. It was also quite lucky that the number of rats we can have at the end of the game was rather high so we could daringly push our positions on the tracks. Definitely the theme is quite removed for the card game. Maybe if I get to try the boardgame version I can make a better comparison.
A better 2nd game and I could feel myself optimizing and playing the best I can for my race which is the Chaos Magicians. I had thought I was doing quite well on the Cult track until this attracted the attention of another opponent which then proceeded to steal my positions and thus my points. The blue player was so so far in the lead that the rest of us could only hope to fight for 2nd place. It is very impressive just how far a lead he got. I would definitely want to bring this out again just so I can experience the other races and improve. Certainly a good contender for top 10 games of 2012 for me!
DAS MAGISCHE LABYRINTH KARTENSPIEL
I saw this on the site and I thought that Magic Labyrinth was quite fun so why not try the card game. This is a really light game with similar mechanisms as the board game itself minus the fun magnets. Definitely a game good with kids and beginners but not my cup of tea. I am glad I manage to pass it along to someone else that will probably enjoy it more! I was hoping it will be light but fun like Tiki Topple which can still be fun for me but alas, it was not meant to be.
One of the games from my german package was Ginkgopolis. It is a city building game which reminds me of Sunrise city but much better in my opinion. At the start of the game, you will get 3 character cards which can give you extra benefits when you perform one type of action during your turn. This can also be drafted. I think the beginner version without the drafting may make for a more balanced game. During your turn, you can play a card with or without a tile. Depending on your card, you can get a building tile or a resource (your hexagonal piece) or activate a building and get items from orthogonal connected tiles. Blue buildings give you more tiles, Red buildings give you more resources and Yellow buildings give you points. The number of items provided will be dependent on how tall the building is. If you played with a tile, you can either add a new floor to a building OR extend the outskirts of Ginkgopolis. There are many other subtle rules and details but I won't go into them now. At first play, it felt like I have finally found the city building like game which I have been looking for. At the 2nd play though (after most of us have played it once), the game ended abit too fast and abruptly for me. There is not really a lot of strategic plans you can make and most of the team you are planning tactically. It is not necessarily a bad thing but I would prefer more control and more planning to be available. Its a nice looking game with quite good components and is quite fun but I will need a few more plays to determine if its a keeper for me.
This is a first Key- game for me and I had a lot of fun playing the game. The game lasts 4 seasons and during each season you can either bid or activate a building. Once this phase is over, winners of auctions will get to place these buildings to connect to their starting house. Then you get to choose all contents of a boat and the next season is setup. Its actually quite easy to explain and play. However the tricky part is looking at the whole board to understand what each building does so that you can create your engine going which will give you the most points to win the game. The auction mechanism is quite unique and there is a lot of planning and strategy involved. You also need to pay quite a bit of attention to your opponents so that you can utilize their available resources and can even block them from using their own village. I will definitely want tot try this game again to get a better sense of it but right now its looking quite good for me.
THE GREAT ZIMBABWE
OMG this was quite a tedious 5 player game we played. The most difficult part of the game is the craftsman, where to place them and what resources are exclusive and if they are usable because the board may get cluttered and a little hard to decipher. Herd is really very powerful and maybe a little too overpowered for my taste. It could also be because we were tired after a day of playing so we weren't really thinking of much strategies anymore. Still I do think its quite fun for me as it fits the euro medium-heavy weight games that I enjoy.
A very fast 1+ hour game for 4 players. This time I wasn't too focused on getting the trajans and accomplishing them and did start to pay attention to what my opponents maybe getting and seeing if I can block them. Still a very good game and one I would love to bring out to the table regularly so as to see where else I can improve and win the game. I was quite far away from the first player but still managed a good second place finish. Its a very good game and if you are still hesitating to get it, please don't hesitate anymore!
Even after quite a few plays online, I am still making silly mistakes and not being efficient enough. My first mistake came when in the 2nd round I committed my nurse to an objective. That limited me a lot in subsequent rounds. 2nd mistake was expecting to be able to achieve 2 objectives during 1 round which is not possible. Still its quite a fun game for me and I am glad this game is in my collection.
Another city building game which I had gotten. This is a card based type game which reminds me a little of Race for the Galaxy but with a city building theme. During your turn you can do 2 things, play a worker card OR build a building into Oddville. You have 4 worker cards from which you can choose to gain coins, gain a resource or gain a building card. When you build, you must make sure the building can fit into the city and have the resources to pay for the building. You then gain benefits from that building and all buildings that can be reached that are adjacent to your card. There are also guild characters which will award you certain powerful actions and even points if they are with you at the end of the game. The game ends when a player has placed 6 of his workers into the city. We felt initially that there was a runaway leader problem but when the game ended, we were surprised that our points were quite close and I did not win (even though most of them felt it was a sure win for me). It feels kinda odd (well.. duh i guess) to me and the rest of the players and I will definitely need a few more plays to cement how I feel about the game. Oh it came in a surprisingly small box and is essentially a card game :)
SHADOWS OVER CAMELOT THE CARD GAME
A game I just got today and manage to bring it out for a quick play to see how it is like. It is really a memory game and well we were mostly tired so I would say I did not fully experience it as it was expected to be to make a judgement call now. What I want to complain about is the card sizes. I don't know if I can find the right sleeves for the cards as the rumour cards are not even Power grid sizes and the Traitor / Knight cards are not the normal sleeve sizes! I mean, how hard can it be to make them the right sizes so I can sleeve my games easily? Sheesh. I will bring this game to office to try and lets see how my impression of it will change. So far its an ok game for me.