Well, week 37, the week before summer ends for the kiddos, so I have one more week to torture them at home and make them wish they were in school. Was a good week for gaming, hosted a couple guys from the game group on Saturday and we got a few games in.
But first the week started with a three player game of GemPacked Cards with Kerensa and Gabby. We’ve got a review coming hopefully in the next week or so, but we still need to get a few more plays in to give it the full once over. Kerensa was all over us this game, she was using the ability to mix and match squares to get the right colors she needed, especially compared to me. Gabby had a nice last couple turns but just couldn’t get a big enough turn to catch Kerensa. We’re still having fun with this one and last update I received is that it’s set to hit Kickstarter on the 1st of September, so be on the look out for our review and for the Kickstarter campaign.
We didn’t get anything else played during the week, too many things going on but on Friday evening I had a playtest scheduled online. We were going to be playing Vital Lacerda’s newest game, Lisboa. I had read the rules a couple weeks back when I was originally scheduled to test it the first time, but circumstances prevented me from being able to join that evening. The rules are still in that early stage where they can be a bit confusing, but a couple read throughs got me the basics enough that I was comfortable enough to sit down and play with minimal instruction. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t need help, because I did. There are a couple small actions that you can use that can be big resource managing moves that I kind of misunderstood from the rules, but once I saw them it was completely understandable. I’m not sure how much I should say, Vital did say that it doesn’t bother him to have information about his prototypes out and about, but I’d still be a bit nervous as this one was good, really good. In Lisboa the players are trying to rebuild the city after the earthquake of 1775, so it’s an Economic, City Building game. On your turn you can do one of three different things, but what you can do within those actions is where the game is and can get your brain hurting. It was tough, and I think I may have made it harder on myself than I should have, resources were tough for me to come by, but the cool thing about the game is that there was usually something I could do to gather or make those resources, it just took me a bit too long to realize that. I’m looking forward to giving this one another go now that I understand those couple things that I missed before. Paulo, one of the other players had a couple of really nice turns where he was comboing moves left and right and his score showed that he had a good game as he ran away from all of us, including Vital himself. If I get to play it some more I will definitely talk about it a bit more, but I think Paulo said that he would probably be posting about it on his blog on Board Game Geek as well, so if you are interested in learning more soon, you might check that out, I’ll post a link to it in the Geeklist when I notice his blog post online. Oh, and if you are interested in volunteering to try to playtest it as well be sure to check out the Board Game Geek thread link that I’ll post on the blog.
Saturday saw a couple of our game group friend’s show up to play some games at our house. Bern was the first to show up and he was kind enough to let AnnaBeth teach him some JurassAttack! while we were waiting for Ray to join us. We’ve had a lot of fun with JurassAttack! and the fun keeps on going, AnnaBeth lost a lot of points early on in her game with Bern, but made a little bit of a comeback, but ultimately came up short, so I played it real quick with Bern right after that and came up short as well. JurassAttack! continues to be a fun two player tactical game that we can play with anyone as evidenced by AnnaBeth enjoying playing it so much.
So Ray showed up as I was setting up Five Tribes to play with Bern and possible Gabby, but Gabby didn’t want to leave her bedroom just yet so Ray joined us and we had a three player game of it. For those who don’t know, Five Tribes is a fun 2-4 player game from Days of Wonder, it was one of the big hits of GenCon last year, but it hasn’t been without its detractors either for the seriously tactile nature of the game which can lead to some serious AP problems for some or for the use of Slave cards in the market that can be used as “currency”. I won’t get into that battle too much, just know that my copy has the original cards and I think it’s kind of a ripoff that Days of Wonder have replaced the slave cards with Fakirs, but you still have to purchase those if you want to change the cards, but you can still do that if you wish, they are in the Board Game Geek store for $5 and you’ll get the Dhenim djinn along with them. I wonder if they come in the expansion new expansion, I haven’t checked that yet. Anyway, Five Tribes uses a modular tile board of 30 tiles to create a different game every time you play it. After you set up the board, three meeples are pulled randomly from the bag and placed on each tile. There are five different colors of meeples, creating the five tribes of the game. Reds are the assassins, Whites are the elders, blues are the builders, Yellows are the viziers and Greens are the merchants. Each of the different tribes have different powers that can be activated through game play. Before each round there is an auction to decide turn order, once the order is decided the round can begin. The main mechanic of the game is the moving of the tribes around the board using a mancala like method. On your turn you pick up a pile of meeples from a tile and then you drop one meeple on each tile you pass over that is adjacent as you move to another tile. The last meeple dropped must match another meeple on that final tile. When you stop you pick up all of the meeples of that color from that tile and take them to your area. If, when you removed the like colored meeples from the final tile, you have cleared it of any meeples, you gain control of that tile by placing a camel of your color on it. At the end of the game you will the number victory points notated on tile. Next you take the action associated with the tribe color that you removed from the tile, if it is yellow, those Viziers are place in front of you. At the end of the game they are worth one victory point a piece and 10 points if you have the majority of them. The Elders are placed in front of you and can be used to buy djinns or to score two points a piece at the end of the game. The Merchants allow you to take as many resources as meeples, starting from in front of the resource line of 10 cards. Resources are collected in groups. The more different resources in a grouping, the more points you will score. The Builders allow you to take money, you count the number of blue valued tiles surrounding your final tile(including that tile if blue) and you multiply that by the number of builders plus any slave cards that the player may want to use to increase income. You then take that amount of money. Money at the end of the game is worth one victory point per gold coin you have. Lastly you could use the Assassins, the assassins allow you to kill one meeple as many tiles away as the number of assassins plus any slaves that may be used, or you could kill one Vizier or Elder from one of your opponents. After the Tribes actions have been done, you do the action that is represented on your final tile, that could be placing an oasis or a village on that tile, those are worth more victory points at the end of the game for whomever controls that tile. It could be a market action, either paying three gold to take one of the three resources from the start of the line or the big market which allows you to pay six gold to take two of the six resources from the start of the line. Lastly the tile could be a Sacred Place which allows you to spend two Elders or one Elder and one Slave card to buy one of the djinns. These djinns along with having a point value at the end of the game, allow the owning player special powers throughout the game as soon as they are purchased. Lastly, after all that is done, if the player needs gold, they can sell some of their merchandise for gold and play proceeds to the next player on the turn order track. Once everyone taken their turn, you replenish the resource line and the djinns if some have been purchased and you start the next round by holding another auction to see what the player order of the next round will be. Keep playing until the end of the turn during which a player drops his last Camel on a tile or there are no more legal moves possible on the tiles. Score the game and the highest score wins! I enjoy Five Tribes, I’ve only encountered the horrible analysis paralysis issue once. To remedy that I’ll never break it out in their presence again, easy as that. This game we were all a little money poor, none of the blue tiles worked out in an area with blue meeples, I think I only remember one or two actions taken with the blue meeples to gain some gold. But we were also bidding fairly actively to get the first play of the round, although I stuck to the back end of the turn order and just tried to follow along best I could and make the most out of each turn. The game ended in a tie with Ray and I both scoring 135 points to Bern’s 100. Ray and I just kind of ran away with the tile control, I managed to do so through use of the djinn that allowed you to spend an Elder and a Slave to take control of a tile that only has meeples on it. Make no mistake, Five Tribes is not a heavy strategy game, your best move can change three times before it’s actually your turn just due to people dropping meeples on tiles that you planned to use or even using your same move, but I enjoy that, I enjoy the tactical nature of this one. You just really have to make sure that folks don’t take too long on their turn, as Five Tribes isn’t a game where people should be waiting forever between turns, you have to keep it moving. It’s seen eight plays over the first 10 months in our collection as I believe this was a birthday gift last year. Maybe this birthday we’ll add the expansion to it and then wrongly still call it Five Tribes even though there are now six of them.
After Five Tribes, Ray brought out a game that I’ve heard tons of great things about but I’d never gotten a chance to play yet, Elysium. Elysium is at its heart, a set collection game, where you are trying to get sets of like numbers or sets of families. It uses a Mythological theme to pull you in and the well known card drafting and set collection to keep you hooked and it worked pretty well for me. You start the game with 5 mythological families, we played with Athena, Hades, Hephaestus, Poseidon and Zeus. That’s the group the manual tells you to start out with. Each player has a totem of each of four colors, this acts as their “currency” of sorts. When you go to buy a card from the offering, each card will have different colors on the top right of the card, you must have that color totem in your possession in order to purchase the card and put it in your domain. You can pay with any color you wish to, but you have to have that color to purchase.
There are also four quests associated with each color totem, and you have to be able to purchase a quest during each round as well, these quests give money, victory points and transfer points that allow you to move your cards from your offering to your Elysium, which is where you are going to be setting up your sets of cards. Either in sets of the same number or in sets of 1,2 and 3 of the same family. Essentially that’s all there is to the game, but there are a lot of actions that the cards can do, both instant and timed where you decide when to take the action or that help you score at the end of the game if they are in a set in your Elysium, which is how I won this game, by having three of those cards to score. I like Elysium, I like the openness of the drafting, where everyone can see what exactly everyone else is doing. I nearly lost this game, as I was dead set on getting another family of cards out but failed to get the quest to allow me to transfer three cards to my Elysium, but that turned out to be a good thing as I forgot that I had a single card in my Elysium that would go away and not score since it was not in a family, so I managed to get a partial family down there, it literally was an 11 point play, which allowed me to win 47-45-36. I liked it, and I’m tempted to add it to our collection based on Space Cowboys production alone as I’m not sure how well it would be received by Gabby or Kerensa. I think once they gave it a chance and saw how it worked, they would like it well enough to play, but not very often, but still, I think that Space Cowboys are a solid three out of three so far, with Black Fleet, Splendor and now Elysium joining the ranks. With all the wonderful things we’ve heard about T.I.M.E Stories there is no reason to believe they won’t be a solid four out of four in the coming months as well.
Ashes hit the table after Elysium but we tried to play a three player game with two of us knowing nothing of what we were doing and Ray ended up having to cut the game short to head to pick up his kiddos so I won’t say too much about it right now. But I will say that it has promise, and judging from my deck that I played, it will definitely reward those players who learn the best synergies of cards. The dice don’t make for too much luck as there are a lot of ways to change the faces to what you need, but still they are dice. The art is phenomenal just as everyone has commented so far. I do hope that I get to play this one again soon and dive in a little bit, but with A Game of Thrones TCG, 2nd edition on the horizon, I can’t really see myself picking it up, but things may change with more plays, we’ll certainly see I hope.
That was it for Game Day Saturday, the girls and Kerensa got home late so we didn’t play anything together Saturday night, although Gabby did ask if I had any games that could be played solo, so I brought out Castles of Mad King Ludwig for her and she tried her hand at her first solo play of a board game. She scored 50 points, which is pretty low according to the score notes in the rule book, but I can really see how some games will be easier than others, just based on the tiles that come out, but man, money is tight in the solo mode so you almost have to take a turn or two to take $5k.
So on Sunday afternoon I suggested that the three of us sit down and play Castles of Mad King Ludwig since it was fresh in Gabby’s head, I tried to get AnnaBeth to help me with it, but she was too busy watching My Little Pony to come help and I could have probably used her help. If you have listened to the show, you know that we like tile placement games around here, especially tile placement where we are individually building our own building. Suburbia didn’t go over too big for me, mainly due to the scorekeeping/bookkeeping involved with the game. Castles doesn’t have that problem. Kerensa won this one, but it was really close, well close for us, with 10 points separating first and last place. Kerensa ended up with 97 points, scoring huge points based on her bonus card granting her three points for corridor rooms, I tried to catch her by picking up extra bonus cards, but only one of them scored really big and that got me to 92 points in spite of me winning two of the King’s favors, well tying for one and winning the other. Gabby came in third with 82, but her bonus cards worked in her favor and brought her from a good distance back to within 10. I like Castles, and I think that if you listen to the podcast you’ll hear that Kerensa really likes it as well. Maybe castle designing would be her second calling, behind being a shipping magnate (see January episodes about Panamax). That’s all for the week, I thought I might try to squeeze in a game of Rococo, but the opportunity did not present itself so we’ll have to try to remedy that next week if possible. This is the last full week of summer vacation for the kiddos so we’ll have to make the most of it for them, that may limit our gaming time or it may not, just depends on what they want to do.
Star Realms really didn’t get many plays this week as I was pretty busy at work and I ended up not sending any rematch challenges when I lost games, but I hope to remedy that this week if things are a bit slower around work and home. As it is, I am still sitting at level 9, but now currently 7/10 so I need my luck to change if I am going to get back to 10 and stay there. Thank you all for the challenges, I hope to get back with you all this week!!
Kickstarter Nothing new once again on Kickstarter that caught my eye, so we’re still sitting with only one currently funding, and that’s just fine with me. New Bedford is sitting at $73k funding with five days left in the campaign and currently only one more stretch goal to unlock. Since GenCon started we’ve added the 5th player to the game, added solo play which includes all the pieces needed in the game box and the board has been upgraded for 5 players as well. We’re just waiting to hit $80k to get the upgraded first player marker and round counter. Instead of cardboard they will be nice wooden pieces to fit with the game. New Bedford is a great example of what to do with a second chance.
We also got our backer survey for Carson City. Quined claims to be still well on schedule with this one so my fingers are crossed that we’ll see it on time or at least within a month of on time, it’d be a nice surprise to have this big box in my hands before Christmas time!
Acquisitions Nothing new acquired this week, I’m trying to take it easy, but I am part of the current Math Trade over on Board Game Geek that was ran last week, really fast one and I think our wants lists have to be finalized by 9:00 pm Monday night. I’ve got a handful of games in there, but I’m being a bit specific in what I am willing to trade for, so I could make out well or just not trade anything at all, either way I’ll be okay as I think I am going to go ahead and put together some games for an auction soon anyway, so if they don’t trade, they’ll go directly onto that pile. I hope to have that up and running by the first week of September, but we’ll see. Churchill is looking awfully tempting once it hits retail so I am keeping my eyes open for that, and I am of course anxiously awaiting A Game of Thrones Card Game 2nd Edition, which is on pre-order as well. But only one box, I’m not that crazy.
Geeklist and Thread Great week again in the Geeklist and Thread over on Board Game Geek. Welcome to the thread Toombs, glad to have you posting and listening. I think I kept up with everyone’s posts this week even with being busy all week, was kind of amazed to see that I had thumbed all the entries, which means that I read them. Lots of great games and great gaming sessions and we even had a handful of GenCon wrap ups which was nice to see. Once again, if you are listening or reading this, and not participating on the Geek List or forum thread, that is a huge reason for why this podcast exists, always nice to see gamers on the ‘Geek chatting about their gaming week. Always is something to look forward to reading all week long.
That’s a wrap on Week 37, some great games with some good friends. I got a couple new games in and we even broke out a couple family favorites that seem to be standing the test of time.