Trading and using my influence in ULM

Wednesday following Spiel16, and the group was gathered to do some board gaming. Of course we had new titles on the table.

One table was playing the hyped Terraforming Mars, and the other where I was responsible played the lighter game Ulm. A game where you use your influence to become the most powerful house.

img_2232
Build up your own Kingdom in a 5×5 grid in a domino like way. The game is Kingdomino.

The game has a very cool mechanism where you have to draw your action blind from a bag, and then push it into a 3×3 grid to get two more actions. It plays over ten rounds in around 1 hour.

After the game finished we tried Red7, a fun card game where you have to win each round or you’re dead. The cars have a number and a rule written on them, one example is most even cards”, and the game is total magnificent chaos in a very controlled way.
It has been a busy week. Brought home a backgammon like game – Tatsu – and the family really loves that game. We also played a lot of Magecraft, a small bag building game where you use crystals drawn from a bag to cast spells at your opponent.

Yesterday we went to see my brother to play board games, and we played the one that is my favorite so far from Spiel16; the game Kanagawa is a game where you are a Japanese artist that has to do the most beautiful drawing. I really like the theme, and I love the game.

img_2234
Drum Roll from Artipia games is a wonderful game about running a circus early 1900’s.

But trying not to get carried away we brought out Drum Roll, and “older” game where you run a circus. It is also one of my favourite games, and again I love the theme. You travel around early 1900 century to do shows, hire performers, workers etc. to assist you in making your show the best in Europe.

Also got to play Kingdomino, a fast little game where you build a small province (5×5) by picking pieces randomly drawn.

So the week has been full of games, and on Sunday we will go play games with Red Barnet (Save the Children foundation), to play board games with kids who are feeling lonely, having a hard time in school and similar challenges. It will be the culmination of a great week.

Advertisements

Are slaves OK in board games?

Another old timer, and this time a game that was for a long time considered the best board game ever by the board gaming community hit the table at our Wednesday group. The game is Puerto Rico where you have to build up your plantation and the town around it.

You invest in buildings and plantations. You use, what is described as colonists, as workers in the fields and in the buildings. In reality they are slaves (and I think they were defined as that back in 2002 when the game was released. They do not require pay, and come in on the colonist boat (read slave boat).

IMG_0375
Your plantation manned by slaves/colonists.

Actually I am in a bit of a dilemma here. I do not in any way support slavery, and I have two very strong beliefs. One is in equality for all and the other is in human rights; I also believe that the old Tintin in Africa should not be changed because it shows how people in Europe perceived coloured people. The same in a game that is all about running a plantation in the times of old. There were no colonists working the corn plantations, harvesting coffee or sugar, there were slaves.

Is it ok to depict this or is it comparable to producing a board game about running a KZ camp (which I would find greatly offensive)?

IMG_0374
The building board of Puerto Rico.

Sorry about that, back to the game. The game is very simple. You choose from different roles, e.g. the craftsman lets you produce the products of your plantation, and it allows for all to do this. If you choose the role for one turn you get an extra benefit. Then the next player chooses a role that all are allowed to use and so on.

It is no surprise it is ranked so high. The game is really really good, and the winner was decided in the last round, and won by only one single point.

This I will probably try and get my kids to play this weekend.

The game flowed fast, and with rules explanation we finished in under two hours. We had time for one more game, and the choice (described elsewhere on a previous session) is a game type that is one of my favorites; tile laying; and to make matters even better; in the Scottish Highlands.

IMG_0380
The scoring board of Isle of Skye

The game is Isle of Skye. A game simple and yet complex with a great variation from play to play. Have tried it with two players, and now four. The game changes and is still amazing. Where I won Puerto Rico with the single point I lost this game by a mile. Never got my strategy up and working.

A fun night that suddenly also posed an in-depth moral dilemma about terminology vs. board games.

 

Am I alone in growing older and thinking more about these things?

Were tanks part of the French Revolution?

To answer the question… No they were not, but it has been tank battle that has kept me from posting on the blog. We met Wednesday to play through the French Revolution with the board game Liberté by Martin Wallace.

And then the clan and I took on destroying the enemies in World of Tanks. A MMO computer game. Sorry about that 🙂

Jacques_Bertaux_-_Prise_du_palais_des_Tuileries_-_1793
Prise du palais des Tuileries, Jean Duplessis-Bertaux (1747-1819). In 1792 the castle was stormed, and was a turning point in the revolution.

 

The French revolution started in 1789 and lasted for a full ten years. The game is the first self published game (2001) by Martin Wallace; one of the most well known and respected board game designers – and it shows. My version is the 1.0 version and it has some colour issues, but it did not affect game play…

 

… because this is a very cool game.

IMG_0329The story is that we are not revolutionaries, royalists or moderates. We are the people behind who wants power, and uses these three factions as our tools. We do not care who wins, as long as we have power over them. What a cool twist of theme eh’?

Over four turns you try to control that your faction wins so you control the present government, and as all other games the one who scores the most points win; You control areas supporting your faction using cards

but then the game becomes sneaky 🙂

Because there are some other ways to force a sudden death. If the radicals get too many provinces the game ends as they will chop of all the heads of those that do not agree (so you’d better be). And if the royalists suddenly control seven provinces that holds strategic importance the game ends, and then it does not matter if you lead on points or not. The one with most Royal support takes the game. Very nice twist.

We had great fun with an old game. We are perhaps also old people, but I think that my kids will enjoy it as well. Some take-that elements in the game.

Bought it used for almost nothing. Sometimes I am lucky.

.. or I perhaps just buy too many games?

How hard is it to make citrus trees grow?

I am rusty. It seems that I cannot even make Citrus trees grow; at least not as much as I would like to. It also seems that I plant the wrong type.

IMG_0318
Citrus before the fields are planted.

It has been a while since last I posted, and the board gaming waters have been shallow. Yesterday was a great day, and even though we were only two people it was fun 🙂 There are games that can be played well with two persons.

For a time I have wanted to try the board game Citrus. A game where you draw different citrus types from a bag, and then you have to buy them, plant them, harvest them, all the while trying to control the different farms in the area.

… but I am getting ahead of myself… Citrus was the last game of the evening.

We started with Dice Masters. Pitching super heroes against each other in a battle of super powers. I chose Beast and Iron Man to be my heroes, but for some reason Storm and Captain America was stronger, and Iron Man was left as a rusty pile of scrap.

IMG_0317.JPG
My province in Isle of Skye.

It was a fast game, so we went on to play Isle of Skye where you build a province in Scotland, but the really cool part of this game is that your opponents choses which areas (tiles) you can buy, and which one to burned; three available, one burned and two left with a price he has to pay if you decline. Look forward to play this game again. A very cool part of the game is you get extra income when you connect whiskey with the mail castle. We are after all in Scotland.

Great Wednesday gaming night. In one week we will be back at the table, and we will be building a power grid in the game … Power Grid…

On a side note I have been asked to participate in a new board gaming night with Save the Children (Red Barnet). This time in March, and I am so looking forward to it.

 

Caught between two cities going to the theatre

When you have been working since 1992 it is hard to go back to school, but this Wednesday was school day. Building on my expertise with a business education, but my head hurt like hell, so I was not really that into going when I got home…

… and where was I to go? Of course, as always, to play board games with the group.

We were four people, we did not really know what to play, but I brought along Shakespeare. A game designed by RV Rigal. It is one of the best buys I have made for a long time along with The Gallerist. The Gallerist is designed by Vital Lacerda.

Our host T had bought a new game as well that he would like to try out, and I was like ‘meh’. It is a term I use much and it covers negative indifference; not really expecting much. It was the game Between Two Cities.

During Shakespeare I forgot to keep an eye out for which craftsmen my fellow players had available, so I chose to recruit wrong; lost an entire turn and for some reason that p!$$€d me off. So I had to use a few rounds to get back, and of course lost the game (by one point). Normally I do not get angry, but yesterday was just not a good day. I do however grumble a lot when playing 🙂

Still enjoyed the game though, because I decided to be positive instead of sullen. It was a decision, and it was mine to make 🙂

IMG_0301
Main board of Shakespeare. Last round. I am the red scoring tile; yes I am last, yes I finished last one point behind second and third.

Now comes the ‘meh’ part. I said yes to play Between Two Cities because Shakespeare was over quickly. T pulls out the game, and it is a tile laying game with (simple) drafting; two of my favorite mechanisms.

The game is very simple. You draft some city tiles that allows you to build a 4×4 city. The catch is that you do it with your two neighboring players, and the each tile does some kind of point scoring. So you build two cities. The trick is only the lowest scoring city counts in the end game scoring…

… and because I had chosen to be positive I got to be positively surprised by this game. It really works, and it works well. It is a fast game, it is easy to learn, and it is highly replayable.

I will have to get my own copy because it will suit just perfect for when I play with Save the Children, and the Danish Heart Foundation (an NGO helping adults and children who suffers from a heart condition).

Oh! By the way. Between Two Cities is designed by Matthew O’Malley, Morten Monrad Pedersen and Ben Rosset.

Whether or not you are hardcore board gamers or just want to try out a fun game – Pick it up 🙂

My headache did not disappear, and I went home after that game, took a pill and went to sleep. I slept in, and was late for a meeting; god damn I hate headaches.

 

 

 

 

Never ever charge a laser machine gun and hope it will work out

Don’t worry, it will probably turn out alright…

Famous last words…

Session two of our Star Wars tour in the wonderful game Imperial Assault, where the death star exploded and the rebels are trying to get the Empire kicked off the planet(s) of the galaxy. And I had a flashback back to when I first saw Star Wars. “The Empire Strikes Back” – and they did so in force today…

… we got our behinds handed to us by an Empire that just never missed a dice roll, where we did – a lot. One example is that if my character (The commander) rolls a surge symbol he can stun one enemy. There is a 66% chance of me rolling that symbol, and it did not happen over the entire gaming session that lasted 6 hours and two missions.

IMG_0274
Reckless wookie in Imperial Assault

Our wookie decided that it would probably be a good idea to charge an imperial gun nest single handed. It was not a very good idea, and he got massacred. Three turns later the rebels were crawling for cover, mending their wounded and preparing for the next mission. The empirial liner got away.

As I have written before: Imperial Assault is a very cool game. It really captures the feel of the universe. The game is very similar to other Dungeon Crawlers (games where you dive into a dungeon/on a quest and have to pull through).

IMG_0276
Being decoys for the Rebel cause in Imperial Assault

Where a game like Super Fantasy Ugly Snouts Assault has a lot of humor, and Temple of Elemental Evil is a regular fantasy (knights, rogues, orcs, dragons etc.) kind of game this game is pure sci-fi with Vibro weapons, Jedi knights, The Force and all the other elements that makes us love this story.

Today the Empire won, but as we all know the rebels and the forces of good prevail; we will be back even stronger next time; and I am so looking forward to it.

May the force be with you.

My farm in Espories, Mallorca is prospering

All those bloody choices!

Either we had to control the factions in the French Revolution (Liberté), or we would have to build up a farm in Espories, Mallorca, Spain (La Granja). It is cold and winter in the North at the moment so our host had already made the choice…

… we were traveling to the sunny Mallorca to build a farm.

And I am glad he did, because this board game is very cool.

IMG_0271
Liberté

I am still looking forward to trying Liberté, and we will get around to that as well. What could be more fun than to pull the strings of the French Revolution?

La Granja is a game with a lot of different mechanisms, but they work very well together. You start by playing a card that can be either a villager that assists you, a field with crops, a contract you have to fulfill or a card that ensures better transportation (which of course is done by donkeys), a further development of your pig pen or other bonuses.

Then you get income and by improvements to your farm house… But the real beauty of the game is phase two – the dice rolling. There is a total of four phases, that would take too much text to describe but this video by Rahdo explains it wonderfully.

IMG_0257
Main board of La Granja

9 dice determines the actions you can do, and you then choose one action based on the rolled dice. You do this twice, and then the final dice is done by all. I really liked this part of the game, so my villagers were people who assisted with just that. Blocking or benefitting even more from the rolls.

As you can see from the picture above the blog post the art is very good. The small blue (my colour) cube(s) represent every single good or commodity. They also help you keep track of your contracts scored, and my initial thought was ‘meh; why not different cubes for each resource’, but my doubt was shamed.

The game was easy to learn, and within the first round we all had it. we all had different strategies, and they were all viable. That is a great aspect of a game.

We agreed that next Wednesday will bring another game of La Granja. It really is amazing. My only regret is that the game is not mine.

As always a great gaming night with the regulars. So looking forward to next Wednesday.

If you tried the game I would love to hear your thoughts.