Due to it being yet another public holiday today due to ANZAC day, we took some time to see the ceremonial laying of the wreaths at lunch time before moving on to enjoy some board games.

Board games day

As ANZAC day makes it effectively a public holiday, it’s board games all day, and there’s no better time than to check out some of the new ones that came in yesterday.

Power Grid

We started off with Power Grid, as it wasn’t a familiar game and was likely to require the most brain power. It’s a property and money management game that is much preferable to Monopoly. The instruction manual can be difficult to understand though, which is in part due to it being a German translation. I have since found a good summary of the Power Grid rules in chronological order, that makes it so much easier to learn and understand the game. I’ll be applying these next week on future playthroughs.

The game consists of auctioning power stations, buying fuel, and buying houses, after which you burn fuel to earn money, and the win goes to the person who can supply power to the most homes, which can sometimes not the person who triggers the end game condition.

This game has a lot of promise, and I think that I now have an easy way to teach the game to others that are interested in playing it.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Flash Point: Fire Rescue followed on from Power Grid, which was the next trickiest to teach how to play due to the “advance fire” stage of the game. The game is well structured for any number of players, for each player gets four action points to spend on their turn, which may consist of moving, opening doors, dealing with smoke or fire, rescue a person, etc.

After your actions you then advance the fire, where a roll of some dice determines where smoke will appear. The tricky part to teach about this is that smoke beside fire becomes fire, and fire on fire causes an explosion, which rockets out in the four compass directions resulting in more fire, damage to walls, or blown off doors.

This is a most enjoyable and stressful game because there’s always a desire to investigate another point of interest. The thing is though that doing so will then allow the fire to get completely out of hand, so you have to work away at the fire methodically dealing with it, and only when circumstances allow do you go and investigate a point of interest, which has a 1/3 chance of being nothing. Or instead of a person it could be the family cat or dog, which are just as important to rescue 🙂

Stone Age

The last new game that we tried out today is Stone Age, which is the best of the games. Thematically you are a tribal encampment and you compete with others to send people of your tribe out to do work each day. The proceeds of your work which are then collected, and at the end of the day your tribe must be fed.

The gameplay consists of hunting for food, and collecting wood, clay, stone, and gold, by a nice simple mechanism of rolling dice for each tribe member in the area and dividing by an increasing amount for the more difficult resources. These resources are then used to build buildings which grant you victory points. You can also collect civilization cards which provide benefits both immediately and at the end-of-game.

Other locations include the tool maker who gives you bonus upgrades that you can add on to your dice rolls, the hut (dubbed the love shack) where two tribal members give you an additional tribe member, and the field where you can increase your agricultural ability making it easier to feed your people.

This game is easy to teach, enjoyable to play, and is beautiful in design. It’s a sheer joy to play and enjoy with others.