So many people that I follow on Twitter and Boardgamegeek have just come back from GenCon, so I felt like I should write up a little something about what this non-GenCon-er was playing while they were all living it up in Indy.
This game has been on my radar for a long while. When TMG announced it would be selling copies directly through their website, I almost pulled the trigger, except for the “no new games, until I play the ones I’ve got” mandate I put on myself. I was definitely happy to hear that one of the people coming to our new local board game club was bringing his copy.
We played with 4 people, all new players. The owner of the game never played before, but did an excellent job of explaining the rules. Pretty standard worker placement fare, so we all grasped the rules really quickly. The differences between this game and a lot of the other games in this space was what set this apart, however. Each space requires you to take a resource cube, which seems like a great idea. Except for the fact that there are black cubes spread out across the board. Black cubes require you to use, one of the most interesting elements of the game, time. Each player has a board that tracks the amount of time they’ve used (or more accurately, their workers have lived). When your marker has gone all the way around the board, using 10 time spaces (I like to think of it as 100 years), you must select a worker to be either written about or buried. If written about, you gain a certain amount of victory points depending on how many of your other family members have also been written about. So using time can be beneficial. That is if you’ve planned it well enough to not have to see a valued family member parish before his/her time.
The path I took was to try and keep as many family members alive as long as possible, in order to take advantage of their wealth of knowledge. I was barely able to keep my guy in the church until the end of the game and it paid off big time. Even though I didn’t receive any points from the book, I accumulated so many points from dominating the church, it more than made up for it.
Obviously I’m simplifying the game a bit, but every turn was interesting and I felt like it flowed very well. I’m sure I’ll pick up a copy one of these days…when I finish playing all the other games I haven’t played, that is.
This was my third play of Dungeon Lords (DL) and we had 2 brand new players with us. Rules explanation took a bit of time because of all the little details. It is a Vlaada game, after all. But they picked up on it pretty well and we were off.
I can say that I like this game a lot, but it does feel like he took a number of things in DL and refined them in Dungeon Petz. I’m anxious to see what will be added with the expansion that’s supposed to come out late this year (2012) or early next year (2013). Any crossover with Dungeon Petz would be awesome!
I don’t think I’ve documented my relationship with Cosmic Encounter (CE) on this site before. So I’ll give you some quick back story. My first play was extremely underwhelming. I had a single turn in the game and we used hardly any of the special cards. It was basically a pretty version of the old card game War. Fast forward to about a month ago (July, 2012) when one person from our game club brought his homemade copy of the original version of CE. We had a group of 5, so I was a little worried about whole one turn for the whole game thing. Fortunately we played with all kinds of special cards this time. Along with 2 aliens per player. It turned out to be a very, very fun game and totally changed my opinion of the game. Since then I’ve played one more game of it and it was equally as fun (although a bit longer than it should have been).
My most recent game also had 5 players and we used just about all the cards, except for a couple hazards that are generally not all that fun. Per the usual CE game, everyone’s powers seemed unbalanced so the meta-game was in full effect. The best part of the game (at least for me) was when I had 4 VP and I was attacking another player, who also had 4 VP, and we started talking about negotiating. I was very clear to state that we “can negotiate”, which he might have mistakenly took for we “will negotiate”. He played a Negotiate card, I played an Attack card and BAM, victory was mine! In any other game, backstabbing my friend would be a d**k move, but in CE it is the way it’s supposed to be played. Another great game.
Merchants and Marauders
Merchants and Marauders has been a game sitting on my shelf for a while now. I was committed to getting it to the table this week, though! More than 4 days before playing, I had it setup on my table going through the rules little by little to make sure I was prepared for anything that came up. Little did I know, the game would be over in about 1 1/2 hours…well below the expected time frame.
We had 3 players, one stated their intentions on being a Marauder from the get go. We all sailed around doing our thing, until the Marauder and the other Merchant met in the middle of the board. A battle ensued and the Marauder was able to take down the Merchant, plundering around $20 in cash, multiple cargo cards and pretty much ruining that captains day. Because he had one of the bigger ships, I was not about to get into a skirmish with him. Little did I realize, he was hoarding cash and all he had to do was sail back to his home port, stash $50 in gold and declare victory…just like that.
We were all like “what just happened?” Obviously I should have been more aggressive and not let him keep all that cash on board, but I almost felt like it would be a lost cause if I attacked him. I liked the game enough to give it a second chance. Especially since next time we’ll all know the rules. Beautiful game, which super high production quality. I hear an expansion is in the works, so that’s another reason to keep it around.
I didn’t find myself in Indy for GenCon, but I was still able to get a bunch of good games in with a bunch of good people. Maybe next year this space will be filled with all the cool new games I did get to play at GenCon, but if not, I know I can still have a good time without having to fly 2200 miles.
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