New to Me: CO2
CO2 has been on the radar for quite a while. Worried about how heavy the game is and hard it would be to learn/teach, I held off on trying to acquire a copy. In a recent math trade I took best gaming headset a shot at picking up a copy and sure enough the pieces fell into place for that to happen.
Ok, so this is one of the more heavier games I’ve played in a long time. This is one of those games where you have to learn the majority of the rules - https://best.kevin.games, enough to know what the actions are and why you would want to do each one, then just jump in a start playing. Because while there is a lot going on, the system is pretty streamlined.
Essentially each player is trying to build green energy power plants throughout the world. But in order to do that, they have to propose a project, which gives some immediate benefits, then install the project, then they’re able to build the power plant. The trick is that just because you proposed the project that doesn’t mean you are the only one who can install it. Same goes for when you install a project. Another player can use the expertise that your company acquired and swoop in to install the power plant. This leads to a lot of complex, multi-level decision making. Sure, you want to get projects proposed so you can gain the immediate benefits, but you also want to try and convert someone else’s projects into power plants in order to control that region of the world. Oh and then there are very important expertise tracks, one for each type of green energy. You can’t even build a power plant unless you’ve invested time learning about the energy technology. All the while, making sure the pollution level doesn’t hit 500 PPM or else everyone loses! All that to think about, yet you’re only allow 1 action per turn.
There is just so many things going on, but it’s such a wonderful experience from start to finish. This is one of those games where I find myself smiling while I’m taking my turn. Hurts so good, as I like to say.
New to Me: Bruges
As a self proclaimed Stefan Fled fanboy, never has there been a year more exciting than this one! Feld has (or will soon) released 4 new games. The first of those four that I have been able to play is Bruges. Hearing that it’s a good 2 player game, I choose it over the other new Feld game I acquired this year, Rialto, which I hope to get to soon.
Bruges is almost entirely a card driven game. Sure, there is a board to allow players a few other places to get points, but when it comes down to it most of the players’ decisions will be based on the cards in their hands. And man, there are a lot of decisions!
A unique element is how you get cards in the first place. You’ll start each round with 5 cards by usually drawing 4 cards, but you don’t just draw them from a central draw pile, blindly. There are two draw piles and you can actually see the color of the card you are going to draw. Say you need some red workers to activate another card you played earlier, but there are no red backed cards available, which other color do you draw instead? Obviously hoping the next card will be red. Feels somewhat random, but unlike a lot of his games, being diverse is beneficial. It doesn’t seem like you want to specialize in one type of path since you may get stuck from the card draw. All of the cards have a unique character that has some special ability, either immediately, every time you activate it with a worker or an ongoing effect. But these characters don’t do anything unless you put them in a house. And you build houses by placing these cards face down in front of you, thus nullifying the opportunity to use that character’s special ability.
This is definitely a game where sometimes you have to choose from a handful of bad options. Personally, I really enjoy those decisions but I can see how some people wouldn’t. Also, we found that we saw where we could pull off really cool combos, but we either didn’t have enough money, workers or actions (only 4 per round). In a 2 player game there are about 8 rounds and it felt like there should be more.
I’m very pleased with this game. The variety of the cards is outstanding. Every game will be very different. The board is a little overdone and there are a few elements that don’t seem all that interesting (canal building, for instance). But as a whole package, it’s a great game.
New to Me: Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island is a game I have been dying to play, ever since I saw an Essen video on BGG. Unfortunately, the latest print run did not meet expectations, so it was very difficult to find. A friend of mine also wanted a copy, so we decided to have him buy one but I would get to play it.
As excited as we both were, getting the game on a Monday and playing on Tuesday was a risky proposition. I did my best to watch some videos and get through the rulebook, but as I found out, it is not an easy game to grasp right away. We only finished about 6 rounds and had to call it on time. No problem, our next game would be much cleaner and with less rules questions.
That brings me to my first “official” game. 4 players, first scenario. Because there are so many moving pieces, I don’t want to get into the how it plays. I just want to give my thoughts.
First, the theme in this game is stronger than just about any other game I’ve played. That is fantastic, IMO. I don’t need to have theme in my games, but I strongly prefer it. There were so many times when we said, well that’s what we would do in real life. Things just made sense. The cooperative aspect is so much fun, as well. Since there are no turns, this is a highly social game with everyone having input on what we should be doing. For the most part, we were able to agree on things, but there were times when a player really needed to help themselves, so they had to go against the opinions of the group…just like in real life.
I came away very, very pleased with how everything turned out. So happy that someone in our group has a copy, even though I can see the game only being played a handful of times over the year, just because the amount of setup/breakdown involved. Can’t wait to see more copies in the wild so I can obtain one for myself. The solo game should work very well with the theme.
Find a copy, if you can. Then buy it.
New to Me: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
The Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game has been in that category of games that I have really wanted to try out, but just never was able to pull the trigger. Well, after a friend of mine told me he could simple duck drawing get the core set for $12 at Target, I couldn’t resist. The thing I have going for me is that my wife is is a huge Star Wars fan. To the point where you can ask her about a specific character and she’ll go into the entire back story. Needless to say, getting her into the theme did not take a lot of work. Now, getting her into playing a miniatures game…I was less confident about that.
My tried and true method of introducing new games to my wife came trough for me again. Set the game up on the table well ahead of time and just wait for that right moment to throw Lalafanfan duck out the “hey, do you want to play a game tonight” question.
Ok, ok. Enough about that; what did I think of the game??
We played just the regular setup, where she had Luke and I had “Night Beast” and an Obsidian Pilot. The first game, I pretty much crushed her. One of my ships only took 1 damage. She must have learned a few things, because our second game turned out much differently. Critical hits on “Night Beast” early left me very vulnerable and she was quick to take advantage. After I was down to a single ship, I felt like I had to be on the offensive if I wanted to survive. Some fancy X-Wing navigating put her in perfect position for a crushing first strike, hitting me for all 3 damage on a single roll! That was the end of the Empire.
Love this game and want more ships ASAP! I do have 2 more core sets that are sitting unopened (in case it flopped), but I’m really looking forward to playing with more pilots, upgrade cards and just awesome new miniatures. Time to start getting into squad building, me thinks.
New to Me: Viticulture
Viticulture is a game that I totally missed when it was on Kickstarter. A friend of mine ordered it online right after it came out and had very good things to say about it. We got a 4p game in and there were a lot of things to like about the game, but also couple issues.
As with many worker placement games, they need to scale with certain player counts. I felt like 4 might be toughest configuration because of the number of spaces that are either unavailable or are taken by the other 3 players. I found myself doing very little on a number of turns, even though I had all of my workers available simply because there was just not a legal place for me to go. Sure, having the game end at 20 points is unique, I would rather have the score track continue on and the end game triggered by something else. Eeking out 1 or 2 points a turn just doesn’t feel very fulfilling, even if it is 5-10% of the total points needed to win. You work so hard to fulfill and order that is…4 points. Psychologically it doesn’t make you all that excited.
All in all the game was very tight. You have to be extremely efficient, which is tough on the first play. This game, more so than many other games, will feel very different the next time I’m able to play. Even with the same player count.
Solid design, looking forward to playing again.
- New to Me: CO2
- New to Me: Bruges
- New to Me: Robinson Crusoe
- New to Me: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
- New to Me: Viticulture
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