It's been a busy month for retailers in Australia, seems like a lot of changes are happening, some good and some bad. Let's take a quick run down of what's going on!
It's amazing to think that Advent Games have only been open since April 2013. It's so quickly made a splash by being one of the quickest retailers to get games in from Essen and GenCon.
But Advent Games is changing hands from Sean to Dean... As a part of the change of hands (and ABN) there having a stocktake sale. However even if you're an existing customer, you'll need to setup a new account (or just buy as a guest). They'll also be shipping with Australia Post for a few weeks.
Milsims seems to have shutdown
It appears that Milsims website has gone down and their doors appear to have closed. Milsims was one of Melbourne's tabletop stores, with an equal focus on wargaming/minituares gaming and board gaming. Their customer service has slipped dramatically in the last year or so, and it appears that the business may have changed hands, it's not super clear what has occurred.
Hopefully this is temporary, but if you have an outstanding order that you paid with Paypal, it's might be a good idea to dispute it at Paypal's Resolution Center.
Good Games tackles the US
Good Games have announced that they will be moving into the US market. The US division will be headed up by Robert Teirney, former Manager, Global Premier Play Operations for Wizards of the Coast.
Certainly seems like a bold move and we wish them every success!
A new board gaming restraunt has opened in Civic (ACT) just in time for CanCon. GUILD looks fantastic and from all accounts, the pizza is super tasty and they have a wide range of games that should tickle both gamers and families alike. So if you're in Canberra head on down and try a slice and a game.
[Via The Canberra Times]
|Sat 02||Cafe Games @ Celtic Club, Melbourne CBD from noon||[Meetup]|
|Sat 02||Urbangamer @ Urbanlife Community, Ringwood from 7pm||[Facebook]|
|Sun 03||EGF, Mt Waverley, from 10am||[Meetup]|
|Mon 04||Eurogames @ Hairy Little Sister, Melbourne CBD from 6pm||Meetup|
|Tue 05||Pub Werewolf @ The Local Taphouse, St Kilda from 6:30pm||[Meetup]|
|Tue 05||Godzilla Games @ Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant Melbourne CBD from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Tue 05||Billabong Boardgamers @ Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre, Chadstone from 7pm||[BGG]|
|Wed 06||Eurogames @ The Royal Standard, West Melbourne from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Thu 07||Dockers @ Good Games Melbourne from 6pm||[Website]|
|Sat 09||DB&C: @ Games Lab from 10am||[Facebook]|
|Sun 10||NSEG @ the Stolberg from midday||[Meetup]|
|Tue 12||Godzilla Games @ Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant Melbourne CBD from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Tue 12||Billabong Boardgamers @ Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre, Chadstone from 7pm||[BGG]|
|Wed 13||Stranger Gamers, Newport from 6pm|
|Thu 14||Dockers @ Good Games Melbourne from 6pm||[Website]|
|Sun 17||EGF, Mt Waverley, from 10am||[Meetup]|
|Mon 18||Eurogames @ Hairy Little Sister, Melbourne CBD from 6pm||Meetup|
|Tue 19||Godzilla Games @ Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant Melbourne CBD from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Tue 19||Billabong Boardgamers @ Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre, Chadstone from 7pm||[BGG]|
|Wed 20||Eurogames @ The Royal Standard, West Melbourne from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Thu 21||Dockers @ Good Games Melbourne from 6pm||[Website]|
|Sat 23||Gaming in the Meadows (Altona Meadows)||[Meetup]|
|Sat 23||Werbrary Games - Eurogaming in the Werribee Library from 10am||[Meetup]|
|Sun 24||NSEG @ the Stolberg from midday||[Meetup]|
|Tue 26||Godzilla Games @ Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant Melbourne CBD from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Tue 26||Billabong Boardgamers @ Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre, Chadstone from 7pm||[BGG]|
|Wed 27||Stranger Gamers, Newport from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Thu 28||Dockers @ Good Games Melbourne from 6pm||[Website]|
|Fri 29||Tabletop Nights @ Hoyts Frankston from 6:30pm||[Facebook]|
So last month for the unplayed challenge I was at -2... let's see how. we go for March.. oh dear....
- Ha! Ha! Moustache: Dead People edition
- Adventure Time: Card Wars (Jake and Finn Edition)
- Alley Thieves
- Sheep & Theives
- Stuff & Nonsense
- Sheep & Theives
- Stuff & Nonsense
- Adventure Time: Card Wars (Finn vs Jake Edition)
So that's urgh... -4... anyway on to New To Me!
New to Me
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
It's Werewolf! But it only goes for 8 minutes. And there's no player elimination. Huzzah!
Good, but not something I always want to play. Certainly never want to play Werewolf.
Stuff and Nonsense
I had to drop out half way through... but, we played with the full compliment of players and it felt just to slow for what it is. Go here and do that... wait for every other player, go here and do that... wait for every other player. Bit of a drag. Apparently this is more streamlined than the old version...
Stuff & Nonsense is a set collection game where you're running around London trying to grab artefacts to pretend that you went to far flung lands while avoiding the professor who's going around trying to rat you out.
The artwork is lovely and there's certainly humour on the cards... but... it just felt that it overstayed it's welcome. Now this may have been because every player was new and maybe it's better with 3-4... might try to get it to the table again to double check.
Blood Bowl: Team Manager - The Card Game
I haven't played Blood Bowl, but hearing good things about Team Manager I bought it as a birthday present for someone who had played Blood Bowl.
And it is a quite a good game. There's less deckbuilding than I expected. It very much feels like what I thought Smash Up should be... quick fighting over a match (or location in Smash Up) with some special abilities. Problem with Smash Up is that it's hard to play quickly because there's just so much going on in the cards (that I often play them incorrectly).
There's a bit of luck with the cheating tokens, but it's not too brutal (especially if you go with a do-good race like the humans). I enjoy it quite a lot and probably would like to play it a lot more.
But I don't think I'd enjoy Blood Bowl itself...
Adventure Time Card Wars: Finn vs Jake
Similar but different to the digital edition, but not necessarily worse/better... In the RL version, you get two action points per turn which makes life easier as compared to the digital version (where each turn your actions increase), but does mean that the digital version doesn't have as much a sense of ramping out throughout the game.
Jake feels like he has a very strong advantage if Finn suffers from a bad shuffle (which happened in our game). Jake's pigs can eat up Finn's corn fields but if Finn doesn't have the particular card to flip lanes back over. Finn's deck relies primarily on having multiple corn fields, so Jake flipping them has a very quick and lasting effect on the game.
That said, Finn and Jake are much easier to play than LSP and Bubblegum.
Sheep & Thief
Sheep & Theif combines drafting with tile (well card) placement. And it even contains cute little fluffy sheep.
And it was pretty good even if we played it wrong. Will need to play it again to get it down properly and certainly want to give it a whirl with 3 or 4 players.
A pretty straight up euro with some wonderfully dark and inventive artwork and some slippery pearls. What Abyss does it does OK, but too many of it's mechanics feel disconnected from each other.
The market action (I'm not sure what it's actually called, I was told it was an auction but...) is slow going and a bit odd. If you take it you draw a card and the next player has an opportunity to buy it. The first card purchased costs one pearl, the second 2 and so on and that's paid to the current player. If the next player doesn't buy it the player after that has an opporunity to buy it (and so on. If no one wants it (or if someone that's not the current player wants it), then another card is drawn and the process starts again. And it's a little tiresome.
There's also a push your luck mechanic, but meh...
Anything unbought goes into it's respective colour under the market and you can take an action to take one of those piles.
So from the market action/unbought area you're converting pearls to coloured currency (of which there are four colours) so that you can purchase lords. Some of the lords have between 0-3 keys on them and a power (and VP). Once you get your third key, you get a location that sits on top of that lord's power so you have to be careful when you do it... I kind of wanted it to replace all three lords but, wasn't the case.
I'd play it again, if it was suggested, but feel no need to pick it up.
The Castles of Burgandy
Ah Feld. It was OK... would play again.
|Wed 01||Stranger Gamers, Newport from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Thu 02||Dockers @ Good Games Melbourne from 6pm||[Website]|
|Fri 03||BunnyCon, Mt Waverley, from 10am||[Website]|
|Sat 04||BunnyCon, Mt Waverley, from 10am||[Website]|
|Sun 05||BunnyCon, Mt Waverley, from 10am||[Website]|
|Mon 06||BunnyCon, Mt Waverley, from 10am||[Website]|
|Mon 06||Eurogames @ Hairy Little Sister, Melbourne CBD from 6pm||Meetup|
|Tue 07||Pub Werewolf @ The Local Taphouse, St Kilda from 6:30pm||[Meetup]|
|Tue 07||Godzilla Games @ Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant Melbourne CBD from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Tue 07||Billabong Boardgamers @ Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre, Chadstone from 7pm||[Meetup]|
|Thu 09||Eurogames @ The Royal Standard, West Melbourne from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Thu 09||Dockers @ Good Games Melbourne CBD from 6pm||[Website]|
|Sat 11||Cafe Games @ Celtic Club, Melbourne CBD from noon||[Meetup]|
|Sat 11||International Tabletop day, various locations, various times||[Website]|
|Sun 12||NSEG @ Stolberg Beer Cafe, Melbourne CBD from noon||[Meetup]|
|Tue 14||Godzilla Games @ Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant Melbourne CBD from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Tue 14||Billabong Boardgamers @ Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre, Chadstone from 7pm||[Meetup]|
|Wed 15||Stranger Gamers, Newport from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Thu 16||Modern Parlour Games @ Bella Union from 7pm||[website]|
|Thu 16||Dockers @ Good Games Melbourne from 6pm||[Website]|
|Fri 17||Freeplay 2015: Boardgames Up late, from 8pm||[facebook]|
|Sat 18||Dice, Boards & Cards @ Games Lab, Melbourne CBD from 10am||[facebook]|
|Sun 19||EGF, Mt Waverley, from 10am||[Meetup]|
|Tue 21||Godzilla Games @ Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant Melbourne CBD from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Tue 21||Billabong Boardgamers @ Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre, Chadstone from 7pm||[Meetup]|
|Thu 22||Eurogames @ The Royal Standard, West Melbourne from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Thu 23||Dockers @ Good Games Melbourne from 6pm||[Website]|
|Sat 25||Saturday Gamers @ Games Lab, Melbourne CBD from 11am||[Facebook]|
|Sat 25||Werbrary Games - Eurogaming in the Werribee Library from 10am||[Facebook]|
|Tue 28||Godzilla Games @ Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant Melbourne CBD from 6pm||[Meetup]|
|Tue 28||Billabong Boardgamers @ Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre, Chadstone from 7pm||[Meetup]|
|Thu 30||Dockers @ Good Games Melbourne from 6pm||[Website]|
Here's the gaming sessions going on this month in Melbourne and surrounds...
03 Mar (Tue) Godzilla Games at Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant [meetup] from 6pm
03 Mar (Tue) Pub Werewolf and boardgames at The Local Taphouse, St Kilda [meetup] from 6:30pm
03 Feb (Tue) Billabong Regular meetup at Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre (Chadstone) [meetup] from 7pm
04 Mar (Wed) Stranger Gamers @ Junction Hotel, Newport [meetup] from 6pm
05 Mar (Thu) Dockers @ Good Games Melbourne [website] from 6pm
7 Mar (Sat) Cafe Games at The Celtic Club [on meetup here for Party Games (from midday) and here for the everything](from 5pm).
8 Mar (Sat) Dice, Boards and Cards at Games Lab (CBD) [facebook]
09 Mar (Mon) Eurogames at Hairy Little Sista [meetup] from 6pm
10 Mar (Tue) Godzilla Games at Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant [meetup] from 6pm
10 Mar (Tue) Billabong Regular meetup at Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre (Chadstone) [meetup] from 7pm
11 Mar (Wed) Eurogames at the Royal Standard, West Melbourne [meetup] from 6pm
12 Mar (Thu) Dockers @ Good Games Melbourne [website] from 6pm
15 Mar (Sun) EGF at Wadham House, Mt Waverley [meetup] from 10am-6pm
15 Mar (Sun) Northern Suburbs Eurogamers at Stolberg [meetup] from midday
17 Mar (Tue) Godzilla Games at Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant [meetup] from 6pm
17 Mar (Tue) Billabong Regular meetup at Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre (Chadstone) [meetup] from 7pm
19 Mar (Thu) Modern Parlour Games at Bella Union [website]
19 Mar (Thu) Dockers @ Good Games Melbourne [website] from 6pm
23 Mar (Mon) Eurogames at Hairy Little Sista [meetup] from 6pm
24 Mar (Tue) Godzilla Games at Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant [meetup] from 6pm
24 Mar (Tue) Billabong Regular meetup at Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre (Chadstone) [meetup] from 7pm
25 Mar (Wed) Eurogames at the Royal Standard, West Melbourne [meetup] from 6pm
26 Mar (Thu) Dockers @ Good Games Melbourne [website] from 6pm
28 Mar (Sat) Werbrary Gaming at Werribee Library, Werribee [meetup] from 10am-3pm
28 Mar (Sat) Melbourne Saturday Gamers @ Games Lab [facebook] from 11am
31 Mar (Tue) Godzilla Games at Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant [meetup] from 6pm
Cons and other goings ons
On at EGF's usual location at Wadham House in Mt Waverley from April 3-April 6 (Easter weekend).
Why do I tell you about this in the March listing? Because you should go and buy a ticket now at TryBooking now.
As well as open gaming there will be a flea market, an Easter Egg Hunt and much more!
For more details check out the BunnyCon page at iloveboardgames.com
I may have forgotten to tell you about GateKeeper Games' opening (a new boardgaming store in Fitzroy). They appear to have many events coming up and you can check out the details of that on their facebook page.
Feb was a very slow boardgaming month for me...
- Spring Fever
- Adventure Time Card Wars
- Ticket To Ride Marklin
- Spring Fever
- Ticket To Ride Marklin
So with 4 received and 2 played, that's a -2... oh that's not good start to the year.
New To Me
But as I'd played Ticket To Ride: Marklin before... only one new game for me which was Spring Fever
And it's an interesting filler bluffing game (by Friedemann Friese) the rules are super simple and it plays very quickly. And it's a cheeky kind of bluffing... you see if you can get away with lying . The artwork and theme (flowers and snails) really help with this cheekiness
Only having played it once, I'm not sure how balanced it is. Is it better to lie every time or should you pick your moments? I suspect the latter... but more play will bear this out.
So it's January and the Unplayed/Aluminium Gamer challenge resets (see this post for details on how it works)
A few card games came in this month...
- One Zero One
So with 2 received and 2 played, that's a net zero!
New to me
It's been a month of lying, bluffing and backstabbing...
Red7 is super quick, super clever and you should super buy it.
Coup: Guatemala 1954
I've spoken about Coup before... I'm not very good at it.
I tend to end up playing Coup at the end of the night and it's usually the worst time for me to do so (because my brain is usually fried and I forget what I'm supposed to be lying about).
So thankfully I played this early in the afternoon and it was quite entertaining.
What 1954 does is it takes the Coup roles and has multiple variations on the same type of role. You can then mix and match the variants so that each game is different to the last... it kind of makes it like Dominion where you sit down, look at what roles are on the table and try and figure out how they can best be used to get you ahead.
It also helps that you can only block a role with the same role, so it takes out that confusing "what blocks what" logic that you have to get the hang of in the original Coup.
It's not terribly available at the moment, but I'd be surprised if Indie Games and Cards don't make a version of it, because it is so much fun.
Escape: Zombie City
Having played Escape: Curse of the Temple (and enjoyed it quite a bit) I was curious to see how Zombie City would play.
And it's good, but it adds complexity without really upping the tension or fun. Am not running out to buy it, think we'll stick with Escape and maybe pick up some more expansions if we ever get bored of it.
Or Spyfaux as we were playing the print and play copy of it.
This is a party traitor game where every player is at the same location but one player is a spy who doesn't know where they are. The game goes for 8 minutes (at most). The spy can guess where they are, but if they're wrong they lose and everyone else wins. If they're right, obviously they win.
If the game lasts eight minutes every player votes on who they think is the spy (or they can do this during the 8 minutes, but it soaks up those precious seconds). If everyone agrees that one person is the spy (except one) and they're right, then they win and the spy looses.
So how does it work? The first player asks any other player a question. That player answers. They person that answers wants to give enough information to indicate that they're not the spy, but not so much information that it tells the spy where they are. The player that answered can then ask any other player (other than the player that asked them a question) a question.
It's fun and quick and fairly relaxing if you're not the spy. If you're the spy, it's incredibly tense. Not reacting the right way to an answer (or worse still asking a question that exposes themselves) can be the end of you.
Which is subtitled "We're not here to make friends"...
This is a surprisingly good game and it's rather odd that it's never managed to be translated into English. It's basically a bidding/engine building game with some bluffing thrown in.
Now, I've only played it twice, once with 2 and once with 4 players... and it's OK with 2 but much better with 4. But here's some quick thoughts on it.
It's basically a game to see who can get to forty points first (or if Step 2 ends, whoever can grab the most points).
The game is divided into two steps, the first step ending when the deck runs out, at which point the discard deck is shuffled and forms the new deck. If this deck runs out before a player gets 40 points, then the game ends and the player with the most points wins.
Each round is split into 4 phases, restocking the market, the action phase (where action and influence cards can be played), the auction phase and the income phase (where players get income based on their factories).
The bidding is interesting and different and can get quite tense. Each round 3+(player count) cards are in the market and put up for auction one at a time starting from the closest to the deck to the furthest. Players can buy as many as they like (if they can afford to do so) and passing on a card only passes on that card. If a card is not bought in that round it gets tagged as such and if it's still not bought it goes into the discard in the first step or out of the game in the second.
Interestingly you can bid more than you have (I assume this is because some of the cards let you pay less than what you bid). If you win the bid but can't pay it, you pay all your money to the bank and the auction for that card restarts without you. Did I mention that money is secret? Which is brilliant if you only have one or two Euros left (or none!) as you can try and push up someone else's bid beyond what they really should be paying.
The cards combo well together (some more easily than others) and both times we played there was at least a contest for first place.
I'm quite eager to get this back to the table again. I can't quite put my finger on what's great about this game... I think it's the bluffing/bidding that really makes it amazing... but it will be interesting to see how many times it can be played with the base set before it gets a bit stale.
I'm getting the expansion
Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery
Having never seen the show, I wasn't super invested in the theme. I mean gladiators are cool and everything... er, yeah.
So blind bidding can be quite entertaining as are gladiatorial fights. Being able to setup a battle where the result will be obvious, but then turning it around with smart card play is hugely entertaining.
It's not really the sort of thing I'd want to do every week, but as an occasional Ameritrash, it's pretty good.
Oh and you get to make that Spartacus joke...
The Resistance: Hidden Agenda & Hostile Intent
I liked it, but I wouldn't play it every day.
In fact I'm pretty burnt out on The Resistance at the moment.
We with plot twists (I think that's what they're called). Basically the leader each turn draws 2 cards and gives them to the players the leader thinks they should go to. They mess with the game, allow players to look at other's roles (or show other's roles) or look at the Success/fail card that a player plays. Wasn't a fan.Just got bogged down in "that player knows something about this player, and that player knows something about this player, but they've said that they're a spy... maybe they're lying and they're a spy... or perhaps they're both spy's" and it all just got a bit to complicated.
Here's the gaming sessions going on this month in Melbourne and surrounds...
1 Feb (Sun) NSEG at Bar Nancy, Northcote [meetup] 3pm-11pm
1 Feb (Sun) EGF at Wadham House, Mt Waverley [meetup] from 10am-6pm
03 Feb (Tue) Godzilla Games at Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant [meetup] from 6pm
03 Feb (Tue) Pub Werewolf and boardgames at The Local Taphouse, St Kilda [meetup] from 6:30pm
03 Feb (Tue) Billabong Regular meetup at Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre (Chadstone) [meetup] from 7pm
04 Feb (Wed) Stranger Gamers @ Junction Hotel, Newport [meetup] from 6pm
09 Feb (Mon) Eurogames at Hairy Little Sista [meetup] from 6pm
10 Feb (Tue) Godzilla Games at Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant [meetup] from 6pm
10 Feb (Tue) Billabong Regular meetup at Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre (Chadstone) [meetup] from 7pm
11 Feb (Wed) Eurogames at the Royal Standard, West Melbourne [meetup] from 6pm
14 Feb (Sat) Cafe Games at Bull and Bear Tavern [on meetup here for Party Games (from midday) and here for the everything](from 5pm).
15 Feb (Sun) NSEG at Bar Nancy, Northcote [meetup] 3pm-11pm
15 Feb (Sun) EGF at Wadham House, Mt Waverley [meetup] from 10am-6pm
17 Feb (Tue) Godzilla Games at Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant [meetup] from 6pm
17 Feb (Tue) Billabong Regular meetup at Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre (Chadstone) [meetup] from 7pm
19 Feb (Thu) Modern Parlour Games at Bella Union [website]
23 Feb (Mon) Eurogames at Hairy Little Sista [meetup] from 6pm
24 Feb (Tue) Godzilla Games at Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant [meetup] from 6pm
25 Feb (Wed) Eurogames at the Royal Standard, West Melbourne [meetup] from 6pm
28 Feb (Sat) Werbrary Gaming at Werribee Library, Werribee [meetup] from 10am-3pm
28 Feb (Sat) Saturday Session @ Games Lab [facebook]
The City of Melbourne and Pop Up Playground are inviting people to take part in a new interactive game that will change the way they see the city – forever!
Using a smartphone, a bike and a helmet, the interactive game 1000 Cities turns the CBD into a mythical adventure where riders will fight monsters, collect treasure and explore the hidden parts of the city.
Feb 2-28, further details here
Global Game Jam was held over the weekend just gone. I've grabbed all of the tabletop ones that I could find from Melbourne's.
I'm tempted to try and print and play each of them and see what they're like. Have you played any of the below (assuming you didn't also create them)? What did you think of them?
Giant Snail Will not Prevail!
A Giant Space Snail is menacing the globe! Players join forces to build the ultimate snail-eating robot and defeat the snail before it destroys all of human civilization.
March of Time
A card game about politics, timelines and temporal sabotage
Quality control is a game about needing to know what to do next and following the instructions. It's also about some other things which I hope you can discover.
This one is a PC/tabletop combo...
Yo Ho Votes
A multiplayer seafaring boardgame with democracy... and PIRATES! As a team, players must try to explore as many islands in eight days as possible in order to acquire treasure, while at the same time pursuing their own secret agendas (on their Agenda cards). The winner is the player with the most Coin at the end of the game.
YouTube Cat Video Creator Simulator 2015
A card game about creating YouTube cat videos.
December brought forth MeepleCon, so I got to play some great games
Starting score: 32
Received games: -5
Trade Away: 0
End score: 31
So 32... that's a pretty good score! I still think the giving away games gives you too much points, but still... at least I didn't end up with a negative for the year.
- Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America
- Fresh Fish
- Castles of Mad King Ludwig
- Tiny Epic Kingdom
- Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America
- Castles of Mad King Ludwig
- Battle Merchants
Remember, these aren't reviews or session reports... just random thoughts about games that are new plays for me.
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
The zombie apocolypse has occurred and you've managed to survive until winter... but can you make it through cold of winter? It'd be a lot easier if you could trust everyone right? Well you can trust me... I'm not the traitor... I'm just taking this food because er...
Dead of Winter is a co-op game with possible traitor and personal additional goals for each player. It combines the best bits of Battlestar Galactica and Shadows over Camelot, with a play time of somewhere between the two (probably tending closer to Shadows). It also adds some nice semi-random events in the form of Crossroads cards that the player to the right of the current player draws and it has some trigger effect (eg if the player goes to a certain location) and then a choice for that player to make.
Each game there's can be a different scenario with a different main objective.. you could play through campaign style and the game nicely gives you an indication of the game length for that scenario. The scenario also determines the number of rounds and starting moral. Players generally loose if the moral or round tracks get to zero. To win (unless they are the traitor) they need to meet the objective of the scenario and also their personal goals. The traitor generally needs to have the objective loose and to meet the rest of their personal goals.
Anyway, gameplay is pretty simple. Each round there's a crisis which requires a certain amount of items or Bad Thing happens. On their turn a player can throw cards (face down) in. On their turn players can move from location to another, attack zombies (or other players), go scavenging, clean up the trash (having too much trash causes the moral track to go down), build barricades or provide food to the colony.
I enjoyed it. It has a feel closer to The Walking Dead, where it's less about the zombies and more about the people. It plays fairly quickly and the traitor can tend to hide a bit better as other players personal goals can often seem traitorous. Might be my favourite traitor game.
Kill Doctor Lucky
It's slightly better than I thought it would be. That said it still suffers from the Munchkin problem of "I'll try and stop you from winning... until I can't... and then you win". Pretty board and nice components, but pretty light stuff. The cards are nice and humourous and the theme is well done.
I'm just not sure if you'll hate the people your playing with more than you'll hate that doddering old Doctor Lucky...
It's nothing like Suburbia. It feels somewhat lighter... I'm not sure why. When I'm playing Suburbia I'm super focused and want to make sure that the tile I'm buying is going to be really good for me.
But when I'm playing Castle, I'm a bit more cavalier in my approach. I have a vague strategy, but I'll happily switch it out if something more interesting comes along. I'm going to glance at your castle when I'm deciding how to price things, but I'm not going to try and work out exactly how much you want things.
But that's not a bad thing. It's a nice change of pace from Suburbia, but at the end you can still look at your castle and tell a story about it and it' certainly prettier
Dungeon of Mandom
I only managed a brief play of this, just a few turns. It's got some nice push your luck and trying to get other players into a situation that screws them over. I'll admit in the couple of rounds I played I didn't get a great handle on the range of monsters that could be fought (or at least not that I remember a month and a half on), but I recall it was fun!
Five tribes is simple but complex. The mancala action... super simple. Just pick up some meeples of one colour from one spot and drop them off as you move away from it. Then take the action based on the colour of the meeples and how many there are on the spot you land on. Oh and take the action of the spot. And is the spot empty now... well you can claim it.
Then trying to figure out how to make the mancala action can cause some serious Analysis Paralysis. Add to that you need to choose how much to bid in turn order, using a great little system which makes the game just zip by (where it could have got dragged down in an auction mechanic).
The djinn add another layer of complexity, but all the parts work well together and it's a good game, but oh so heavy for a Days of Wonder game. I'm sure the game went quickly, but I'm also aware that I probably dragged it out by just staring at the board wondering what to do.
And it is a little bit of a problem, that. The last player can't really determine what move they're going to make because the board state might have changed very dramatically from the start of the round. So you try and go "if this happens, then I'll do this, but if this happens, I'll do that, but if..." and you can forget what your original plan for the turn was... but it was good fun, but not the sort of game I'd want to play on a super regular basis.
I've played Firenze on Yucata a couple of times and have been very eager to pick up a physical copy. But it's slightly hard to get and slightly on the pricey side.
So I jumped at the chance to play it at MeepleCon when it was suggested. I can't remember who won or how close it was (but it felt close)... I don't think I won though.
Firenze is a game where you build towers using wooden roof peices. You do this by selecting a card from those available in the market. Each card has a certain number of tiles on it and an effect (some are good, others are bad, some are so-so). If you want to skip a card, you have to put one of your tower pieces from your supply on it (so bad cards get better). Then you can build your towers or extend the ones you already have. Each turn you must add to the tower or the authorities come and tear it down. At the end of your turn you can cash in your tower for points, but the people only want towers of certain sizes in certain colours so you have to beat out other players to fufil the contracts first.
Lovely components, not to fiddly, easy to explain, probably a lot of replayability... lots of choices but nothing that's going to cause your brain to implode... a really great game... but urgh... that price tag.
I picked this one up on the basis that I really liked the idea of Funny Friends, but the 'call a friend' stuff was very painful to understand without really much benefit. The theme and artwork was also a bit off putting for some people.
CV remedies both by being quite family friendly in terms of theme and artwork and by having a much simpler mechanic. You roll dice Yahtzee style, then use the symbols that appear to by cards which then contain symbols which mean that you can by better cards and ultimately score Victory points.
The cards are thematic, you get a great job, you get lots of money... you have twins, you get happiness, but have to give up money every turn or the authorities take your kids away (you loose the card). And it's kind of cutesy in the way that you can tell stories about your person.
But you can really get hosed by the dice, especially early on. Each dice has a side which is bad luck which can't be rerolled. Get three and you loose a card (and you really can't buy anything). I get that with a push your luck mechanic you need a method of having something blow up in the players face, but this is somewhat excessive.
In our first play I got the three bad lucks on the first two rounds which really slowed my engine building.
But... it's a little too light. It sort of feels like you're rolling dice and there's very few options as to what to do. And there's not strong enough stories to tell about the person that you're creating the CV for to make it super worthwhile.
I'm not really sure who the game is for... I suspect with two it might play better though.
In Battle Merchants you're crafting and selling items to various fantasy races that are going to war against each other. You don't really care which race wins, just so long as you make enough money... heck, you can (and should) sell weapons to everyone.
Each player starts the game with the ability to 2 craft to weapons (there are 4 in the game) and on your turn you can buy an upgrade to your weapons (or learn how to craft new weapons), take a kingdom card (which are permenant effects, immediate effects or end of game bonuses), craft a weapon or sell a weapon.
When selling a weapon you get a bonuses depending on how many times you've sold to that race in the past and if both sides of the battle that you've placed in have weapons, then the fighting icon goes up to the season track and the next spot is available to sell to in that war. Once the season track has three fighting icons the army's go to war... the players determine which weapons will win (based on the levels of craft that the players have for the weapons). Players collect weapons that they've defeated and receive money for any still on the board (maintenance contracts... weapons need to be kept sharp) and a new season begins.
After four seasons the players with the most cash (after working out end of game bonuses and selling remaining weapons off) wins. I've skimmed the rules a bit, but it's not too much more complicated than that.
The pacing feels right... It's a very quick start and each round takes slightly longer and because you only have one action per turn, there's not much downtime. There's not too many ways that players can race ahead to quickly either.
The artwork is nice and cartoony (though there's a blackmail card that might have to be removed for family games) and the theme will likely attract some players who are not often attracted to economic games.
It's always nice to have another good economic game and this is certainly one of them. There's no bidding and so it might be one that I might be able to get my wife to play...
A word of note however, Battle Merchants is a very different game for 2 as it is for 4 (and I presume 3). With 2 players you're looking to see what the dummy player (Steve) is going to do and take advantage of that by selling to the place that will then be fighting Steve's weapons. It's interesting, but it almost feels like you're ignoring the other player in doing so.