I have decided that for games which I have talked about before in previous posts, I will not elaborate too much on them unless there is something new to talk about them. With that, I played several "new" games, both in terms of to me and to the gaming industry. Lets get on with this!
Ah its been a long time since i brought out my copy of Get Bit and I decided to bring my lighter fare to office to play with my colleagues given the relaxed mood we want plus the short time we can play during lunch. Get Bit involves players playing cards so that they can get to move forward in the "queue". Whoever is the player closest to the shark will get bitten and loses a component / limb of their body. At the end when there are only 2 people left, the player who is furthest in front will win the game. The only and most important strategy is trying to out guess your opponents so as to ensure you won't be caught at the back with the shark. Its a light and quick game with cool bits (lego-like figures where you can pull limbs off and mix and mash and the shark) and an interesting theme. Good for a party!
Stephen Feld's first of FOUR releases in 2013! I am glad our group managed to grab a hold of this copy and play it before I decide to pull the trigger on this. Final verdict? Yes I pulled the trigger and I cannot wait to try this with my other groups and see how it goes. First impressions upon opening the box is the amount of setup required. That and also the super busy player board. I mean its really jam packed with symbols galore and it was overwhelming at the beginning. Luckily though, after the first round or so, we got into the grove and the player board is actually helpful and good. But there are really quite a lot of bits and cards to setup for the game. Interestingly though, as you play through the game and pieces are put back into the box, you can start to keep these pieces and thus tear down is relatively less time consuming.
Lets talk about the gameplay itself. During the start of each round (6 rounds in total), players will roll their 3 dice concurrently. Then beginning with the start player, they will choose 1 die and place it on one of 7 areas available to perform an action. The only condition is the die placed must be smaller than any previously placed die on the same area. There are god cards that you can play to overcome this criteria. Then you will perform that action. Actions include building a new hut in an adjacent land, buying a Male or Female tile which gives you certain benefits when activated or tattooed/sea shelled, choose to tattoo a Male tile or sea shell a female tile (basically these tiles provide a 1 time benefit when tattooed/sea shelled) and many others. Once all players have placed all 3 die, then you move to phase 2 where you can activate one Male and one Female tile to gain the benefits they provide. Then you go to phase 3 where you will resolve the other areas of the board one by one. This will score you more points, award the first player, award a god tile, allow you to purchase jewellery (which gives points at the end of the game) as well as complete 1 objective and pick a new objective. All tiles not purchased are removed and a new round begins. The game will end after 6 rounds and there is 1 more final scoring and whoever has the most points will win the game.
It is certainly a very deep game with many paths to victory. In a way, you can think of this as Kingsburg advanced (due to the die placing mechanism). There are really a lot of end game scoring available and thus, like many games of this nature, you should start off with 2 or 3 objectives and then focus on them throughout the game. You will probably not fare well if you change objectives in the middle of the game. There is plenty to do and score points with and you cannot neglect any areas especially those that will provide end game scoring as there will be a lot of points to be scored at the end. The game also provides you plenty of opportunity to sabotage each other as you can place die to block opponents as well as purchase the jewellery pieces that he needed to complete an objective or take the objective he wanted away from him.
All in all, its quite a good game but I will definitely want to play more to see if there are any areas of the games that are skewed to win and thus making it mandatory to expand on that to win. Good components for an Alea game and quite well thought out game from Stephen. Recommended!
Felix the cat in the sack
Light Auction game next where each player gets a set of same cards (all cats including 2 negative point cats and 2 dogs). In a round, all players will simultaneously select a card and then, in player order, place them from left to right. Then starting with the start player, he will place a bid. This bid is to win all the cards for that turn. The first player to pass will receive 2 coins. 2nd player will receive coints and 3rd will receive 6. The winner will take all the cards (be it good or bad). The dogs help to chase away negative cats or highest positive one but will cancel each other out if both are played. The winner is the one with the most points from the cards as well as most remaining money left. Light and pretty good with oversized cards. I am not really good with auction games though as I have a problem gauging the value of a card and may often overbid. Still the group had fun as we commented on the funny artwork of the cats. Try before you buy!
One of the kickstarter games that gotten a lot of hype for its components but also some people have complained quite a bit about the game for its duration and dragginess. In essence its a worker placement game where you will get more and more workers nearer to the end of the game and thus have more and more actions to take and choose from and thus surprisingly, the game can get longer. During the game we are all contractors or real estate development companies and we are trying to build our tower as high as we can so as to score a lot of points and win the game. The main currencies of the game are Information and Money but there are only about 2 or 3 options to obtain either during the game. once all players have placed their "job scheduling chips", the game will go into resolution for each job. That is the end of the round and the game will end when a player has built at least 5 stories in his tower. The game does take quite a bit of time to get thru and can get really tedious at times. The publicity track did not appeall to me to invest in as it will, at most, allow you to employ new workers first as well as decide first where to place your workers. To me, it is an OK game I guess but I don't think I will want to play it again. It just did not click with me. Components are really nice, thick boards and thick chits with a nice modern-like artwork to boot.Pity though as I really wanted to like this game. I have yet to try Skyline, the kickstarter bonus that came with the game. Try before you buy!
Railways of the World Card Game
I have been wanting to try this game for some time now as I really liked the base game however never managed to justify the cost. There was a recent warehouse sale and it was going for really cheap but I did not go down on the first day and it was snapped up quick. Managed to play that snapped up copy though so its cool. Its a relatively straight forward pick up and deliver game where you have cards that you use to lay tracks to stations and then you can choose to deliver goods. Everything that you do will score you points and the player with the most points at the end will win the game. There is an end game scoring as well based on the combination of goods you have collected as well as if your tracks are of a bigger value to a station and thus you will score points for that station as well. I tried going by the goods method while my opponent went by the laying tracks and station method and she trashed me horribly. It was not a bad game and I had fun but I will probably not play this again. A few more gripes about the game. It can get really messy. Because the cards you are laying are rather free form and there is no board, you can end up needing a lot of space to play the game and having to shift cards slightly to the left or right to accomodate for new tracks and stations. The cards aren't really of a normal size so sleeving maybe a problem.Since most scores are usually around the 150 points region, the scoring track is woefully inadequate and not large enough. The scoring bits should have been made smaller to facilitate multiple players' scoring bits on the score track. Try before you buy!
Another game that has peaked my interest and I have wanted to try. This is a dominion-clone with 1 different mechanism and a cuter and anime-like theme. Components wise, the game is very pretty. Pink cards, nice art, anime-looking maids (some in compromising positions, be warned!) and they even provided very nice card seperators and it all fits nicely (even sleeved) into one of those boxes that you can use to store Magic the Gathering cards. During the game, players are trying to hire maids which will provide them with benefits when "serving" as well as victory points at the end of the game. Similar to Dominion, you will have 1 "serving" where you can play a Maid card to get benefits, you will have 1 hire where you can use "Love" which is the currency, to get new Maids from the town. The main difference is that you can "chamber" your maid (play the maid card into your private chambers) so as to declutter your deck. In addition, there are private maids which you can hire and they go straight to your chamber and provide you with a benefit every turn. Another smaller difference from Dominion is you can purchase bad effects to be placed into another player's private chambers. This may cause a maid to fall ill (thus preventing that maid from providing victory points or benefits) or give you negative points if not removed. The game will end when 2 maid stacks are empty in town.
This game requires a good sense of humor and the right crowd to be able to pull it off. If you role play and make suggestive tones or just simply read off the phases or your actions during the game and if the group does not get offended, then this game can be quite fun. We were amused by all the suggestive tones being made by the phases and our actions but found the game could drag on as its not that simple to just clear 2 stacks to end the game. Near the end, I got bored of repeating myself and the fun factor nosedived until we just wanted the game to end. It could be because we weren't playing properly as we just thought like we were playing dominion when we can do a lot of sabotaging on each other but we did not. I will definitely want to play this a few more times and see how it goes. I wonder if my office crowd will be amused as I am at the game :) Try before you buy!
Tried another 5 player game (yes I am asking to be punished lol) and this time the ending was quite surprising to me. Near the end of 3rd Decade we realised to our horror that the earth wasn't going to make it. The last 2 turns we negotiated with each other on how to safe the earth so that we can continue playing but a bad draw of 40-points for the last dirty power plant brought us to 500 and we lost. It was surprising to me because this is the first time the game won and we all lost. I love how my pimped out CEPs looked on the game. I also realised I played 1 rule wrongly (dang it, this rule book needs to be improved!) in that when we build a power plant, we must have at least the tech level on that particular tech tree as that many tech cubes on the power plant. This will probably cause a lot of the previous games to be tainted as well. I wonder, given the multitude of rules clarifications, if the designer realises there's something wrong with how the rules were arranged/designed and if there will be improvements in the future. Still I do enjoy the game and hope to finally play it all the way through correctly for once. Recommended!
Another game of village as we helped to punch out a new sealed set and taught the owner how to play. This time however it dragged on really long as no one really wanted to finish the game. However, due to this, I found myself being able to complete the touring portion even though I started at the middle of the game and also move myself up a lot on other tracks. As usual, I forgo the market track and I won by 3 points in the end over the player that focused a lot on the market track. Its pretty interesting how, by dragging the game on, I had so much opportunity to start my travelling and went to 5 places to get quite good scoring. If you haven't gotten this game, go grab it. Expansion is coming out too and can play up to 5. Recommended!
Finally played Jon's hidden gem as mentioned in our podcast. Art wise, as mentioned by jon, it looks horrible. The choice of components as well is quite surprisingly. There are 2 main boards and the boards used to represent the map of Japan is made of paper. PAPER! OMG. Still gameplay wise its like Zooloretto / Coloretto on steriods. The subtle way in which you are placing your cards as well as the order in which the cards have been placed in a row and when you choose to claim a row is intriguing. Then there is another way of scoring depending on how many cubes you have placed on the map board. i think it is quite interwoven the various mechanics but during the game I wasn't really into it so much. I guess it could be because I have had several games before Kaigan and the gaudy art was not helping my involvement of the game. Still I can see the appeal of the game and I would say try before you buy!
A game I have never played before and this looks really old. To my surprise, its rated within the top 500 on BGG and designed by Richard Breese and published in 2000. This game is all about bluffing and reading your opponents to win artefacts. The game will end when all artefacts have been taken and the player who has the most artefacts at the end of the game wins. During each player's turn, they will place a chit from behind their screen into one of several areas available on the board. They will place the chit face down. Each player has identical set of chits numbering from 1 to 9. After all players have placed the chits, the areas will resolve 1 by 1. The player with the highest sum total from the chits he has placed there will usually win the rewards/action of that area. Later on in the game, players have access to artefacts that can add +3 to their total OR double the value of a chit which can make the game interesting. There are spells as well which can turn a 9-point chit to a 1-point chit. There is a guard at the palace as well which you have to beat to be able to have the option to purchase artefacts. However the game can be quite prone to analysis paralysis as players can spend quite a good deal of time mulling over what to play and where to play it. For a game that is almost 13 years old, it is quite nicely designed and fun. If it ended a little earlier though might have been much better. Try before you buy!
Zombicide Season 2 kickstarter
If you aren't aware, there was a little game called Zombicide (ok not so little) that was released from Kickstarter with much fanfare and a LOT Of miniatures. It is a co-op game where players control characters and try to survive or win in a number of scenarios as provided in the game. Recently, Cool Mini or Not (creators of Zombicide) have released Season 2 on kickstarter! It is a standalone game by itself and in the kickstarter they are also releasing Toxic City which is an expansion that is compatible with either Season 1 or Season 2. News is that within the first 2 minutes the project has been funded (their target was usd25k) and now, with 25 days to go, they are almost reaching usd600k! I have decided to back this (my first kickstarter backing!) and I can understand now why it is so addicting. To keep refreshing the page and seeing the number jump and seeing all those stretch goals being unlocked makes me all excitable but also makes the waiting that much more tedious. Still if you are interested in the game, do check it out and go back it! With the amount of goodies they throw into the game it is definitely worth while :)
Check it out here!