The intention for today was to spend some enjoyable time playing games with friends, and ended up a big success.
Board games day
Throughout the course of today it was board games at Nickys’ place in Linwood, where we went through some games from simplest to most complex:
- Coin Age
- Love Letter
- Ticket to Ride
- Tiny Epic Kingdoms
- Carcassonne with two expansions
- Firefly: The Game
Coin Age is a good quick strategic game and is currently in preview. The kickstarter campaign was a huge success with all stretch goals being met, and proper boxed sets will be sent out to people over the next few months.
Love Letter is a simple game where you are attempting to gain favor with the princess, who has become despondent since the queen was deposed. It’s smaller than the other games in its series, but is the most highly rated. Though it is easy to play it is nicely themed, and there is good strategic value that you can get from the game.
Ticket to Ride is easy to play but difficult to master, like all good games. Trying to complete tickets between widely different destinations is always challenging, and it’s a good thing that you can discard a few of the initial tickets that you begin with, so that you can attempt to optimise your routes.
Tiny Epic Kingdoms is not even brand new yet – it’s earlier than that in pre-release from a highly successful kickstarter campaign as well. The game is going to be distributed in about 5 months, and in the lead-up to this a print&play version has been sent out to all backers. Needless to day, I printed out a lovely color version of it and we’ve been using that to give it a good and enjoyable play through.
Carcassonne doesn’t fail to lose interest, and the expansions for it help to keep things interesting and alive. Today due to a limited tabletop area we played with just two expansions, being Builders and Traders, and the Princess and the Dragon, and due to the limited table size an interesting rule was made use of near the end where tiles that cannot be placed when up being put out of play into the game box, which made for an interesting and stressful time.
Lastly today we finished off with Firefly where we were attempting what seemed to be one of the easier story cards, but as Desperadoes starting with a warrant, and needing to gain $15,000 where illegal jobs only bring in $1,000 at a time, it can be challenging to work your way out of things. Fortunately I had Helen on my crew who allows me to leave virtually everyone unpaid and disgruntled, and Helen can remove the disgruntled nature for people on each turn. This way most of my profits didn’t go to paying my crew, allowing us all to profit nicely and retire in safety and comfort by the end of the game.
Board games night
Then this evening it was over to Sam’s place in Ilam for an evening with dedicated game players too.
Police Precinct is a well-themed and challenging co-operative game where we are all policemen attempting to find clues to solve a murder, while other bad things occur in our district that we have to fix up too. Each turn you can move your vehicle a certain distance towards a new location, take certain actions, gain a police card which contains bonuses and things to help you out, and finally turn over an event card which has bad things that happen.
In the midst of all of this one of the players is secretly a bad cop, who is trying to disrupt things without being found out. If he reveals himself though before being found out he can take more drastic actions to disrupt things, such as stealing our donuts.
It seems that donuts are a form of currency in this game. You get one for successfully resolving most of the bad events, and use them as bonus points to help you deal with different situations.
I found myself stuck at the donut shop for most of the game. I went there initially to use a police card to distribute donuts to some other players, and then event card had an accident occur at the donut intersection, blocking me in, after which an urgent escort mission was needed from one side of the board to the donut shop, so I had to stay there to help him get the last of the way there.
Eventually though I managed to escape the lure of donuts, and helped the team to finish investigating the main crime and we successfully finished the game.
Tiny Epic Kingdoms
This was the first time that I’ve introduced Tiny Epic Kingdoms (TEK) to serious game players, and things were a great success. It was well received, with comments about how for such a tiny game it has a vast amount of good gameplay.
TEK is a good example of a 4x game, which are normally huge clunky games that take hours to play. 4x stands for eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate, and include games such as Civilization, Age of Empires, Eclipse, and Twilight Imperium.
With TEK things are boiled down to a good 30-minute game where you are having to manage your food, ore, and mana, while attempting to use mana to research better abilities for yourself, use ore to build a tower for bonus victory points, and use food to expand your population. Through all of this your mana and ore is also used for battle with other players.
The mechanism of the game is simple and easy for players to grasp, and the gameplay ends up resulting in complex decision-making as you try to maximise your own benefit and possibly that of your allies, while not letting your opponents benefits all too much at all.
The Resistance: Avalon
Lastly we finished up with The Resistance: Avalon, which is a knights themed version of the original game where some players are spies that are trying to spoil missions that we’re trying to complete.
This game has addition of Merlin who knows the minions, and an assassin that’s trying to figure our who Merlin is. Even if the good guys succeed and don’t let the spies spoil too many missions, the minions can still win if the assassin correctly picks out Merlin at the end of the game.
The first couple of play-throughs we had with this game were fairly straight forward, for one of the spies ended up becoming a bit confused and the rest didn’t have a chance to do anything, and in the second game none of the spies were chosen to participate but still won by having the assassin correctly pick out Merlin.
The third game though became a lot more interesting due to some failed missions and lots of discussion between players about where peoples loyalties lay, and the spies eventually managed to succeed at spoiling enough missions to win.