Recently played

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Urbanization, Noah, Geistes Blitz, Zooloretto Dice Game, Love Letter, Crows, Inception and Samurai the card game


So the wife is now in Singapore with me and we managed to have a few good game sessions between us and with friends. However since its the christmas and new year season, I did not get to game as much as people are on holidays, I went to Hong Kong as well with my wife and so this recently played post will be rather short.
The rules were kinda confusing on this one and this is one game that I did not really know what I was doing even halfway through the game. I did some of the basic strategies like carving out enough land for myself so I won't be crippled later on and expanding through tech initially and generally not doing what the others are doing. I think the concept or terms used in the games are quite different from other usual terms that it confused me. Essentially you are to score points and win the game. You are trying to grow your city gradually without overstretching yourself as there is the dreaded feed phase every turn. You can make money and thus points by means of citizens in your city or by factories producing goods or by tech. I went quite early on into the factory route but did not know how to capitalize on it. My other friends enjoyed the game and felt it was good though. Maybe its just me :)

Played Noah again with the wife and friend in Hong Kong. I brought this along because its a very small box and quite fun to play. Not much new for me to add to this game except its a pretty easy going game, easy to teach and the variants are a MUST if you are playing with experienced gamers so that they will still find interest in this game.
Geistes Blitz
This game was introduced to me at my regular gaming group when one of them bought this from Hong Kong. So I took this opportunity to buy a few copies as well and played it with my wife. My wife loves it. I brought it to office to play as well and so far everyone has been enjoying it. Its a good filler game great for warm up and for preparing players for longer games ahead. The game essentially requires players to grab the item that appears as is (both color + shape of item) on a card that is drawn each turn OR grab the item that does not appear at all (both color and shape) on the card. If you grab the wrong item, you are penalized and must return a card that you have previously won. The game ends when the deck runs out and the player with the most cards wins the game. For a more tricker game, you can play with the variants which require you to say the item out instead of grabbing and even saying the item in a foreign language. Initially most players will find it abit difficult to play even the basic game but after multiple plays you will definitely get a hang of it and will mostly likely improve. Highly recommended!
Zooloretto Dice Game
A box filler with my order from the germany site it is basically zooloretto with dice. A very interesting note of the game would be when you remove dice from a truck, that truck is suddenly free for any remaining player to place dice in. So surprisingly it will pay more often than not to be the last 1 or 2 players. The game ends when 1 enclosure is left in a player's sheet or ALL enclosures are filled. Players will then count up their scores and highest score wins. Easy to teach and play and good amount of fun for the time length.
Love Letter

So yes yes everyone has been raving about this game and I must admit I was very apprehensive about the game because it seemed to be way too light for me to enjoy it even a little. My friend got me the japanese copy (because I love the art from there) for christmas and I proceeded to get a few plays of this in. I have played 2p, 3p and 4p and 2p and 4p experiences can be quite different. for 2p, once you have the No. 3 card where you compare cards and you have a rather high card (>5), you will usually win that round. No. 1 card where you have to guess is not as effective in a 2p game. For 4p, the reverse seems to be true. The No. 1 card can be surprisingly effectively, due to the number of cards that are already discarded. No 8. card, the princess, is a pain to have very early in the game. Its been quite well received and everyone who played it liked it because its small, easy to teach and play and quite a fast little game. The japanese version of the game have some rule differences and did not provide a lot of tokens to indicate round wins. That is because it seems that japanese version only instructs you to play once or twice to determine the winner whereas the AEG version states a certain number of tokens before you win the game. If you want something light and won't really blow your wallet, this is recommended.

A light-medium weight tile/worker placement game where players draw a tile and place it OR place a tile which depicts trash. After which, players will place their gem token on any empty tile on the board. Once all players have done so, then the crow-eeples on the board will fly towards the nearest gem token based on certain rules. Players will then score for each crow-eeple that is on the same tile as their gem token. Players remove their gem tokens and the round starts again. Once the number of face down tiles is finished, then players see who has the highest score and that person will be the winner. In this game, turn order is very important because sometimes being first will be very beneficial but most of the time being last and having special tiles which can screw up others' plans is better. We played a rule wrong involving scattering of a murder of crows (more than 5 crows in 1 spot after scoring) and this may have impacted our game. I will try it again before having any concrete opinion. So far its average for me. It is fun just not sure if it will last in my collection.

I mentioned about this game in a previous post and since I had a chance to head to Hong Kong, I bought a copy. They did not have the 1st edition that I played but they have the 2nd edition which has additional new elements to the game. We played the basic elements first and already trying to translate the cards was a tedious for us (sad to say!). Still we manage to play the game more or less but the game ended very shortly as most of the other players are still relatively new so they did not guard against my (as the dream master)'s power and a traitor (to their clause) helped me win the game. I will definitely need to spend some time to write proper translation to the game and make it easier to play and bring it out more often to play. I do think it is fun and interesting and the new features add quite a bit to the game. There are now nightmares which occur at each level, more characters and more powers and more cards for example there's a card that forces a change in character to a person which can be quite damaging depending on the differences. Pity these chinese games are not getting a lot of limelight in BGG. Asian games in general are slowly getting some recognition with japanese and korean games in the forefront but still much can be done especially from the publishers to break into the European and american markets.
Samurai:The Card Game

Last game I want to talk about in my list is Samurai the card game. I played my good friend's copy some time back and was itching to get my own copy. This is an abstract light-medium game where you are placing cards and hoping to be the majority when a village card is surrounded to win the respecting wooden piece (circle, square or triangle). The game ends when any one wooden piece is depleted or when the village deck runs out or when a player runs out of cards completely. The final scoring is tricky. Players compare to see how many majorities they have. If a player has 2 or more majorities, they will win the game (max 3 majorities anywaY). Otherwise, those with majorities will disregard that piece that has majority and count al other pieces. The player with the most pieces wins. Thus in the game, you are trying to outmanuver other players, make sure you have at least 1 majority AND still have most of other types of pieces. Another quirk of the game is that it requries quite a large space to play. That is because, dependant on the village cards that appear, players may sometimes concentrate on 1 side and thus leading the growth of the cards to 1 side only, creating a lopsided landscape.I would recommend this game to players who like abstract games and can spend around 30-40 mins on the game. Quite good for a Reiner game but absolutely no theme.
So all in all, still quite a few good gaming sessions. I still have some games waiting to play (especially Letters of Whitechapel) and i cant wait to bring them to the table. My german shipment with some anticipated games (like Sator) is unfortunately shipped back to the sender after being sent China by mistake (people Singapore is NOT in CHINA!!!) and repeated emails still have no response from them :(. I will also plan on starting something so cross fingers there and in my next post I hope to be able to share some exciting news :D

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