Saying goodbye is never easy so what better way to do so than playing games with my gaming groups? This particular gaming group, there are 5 of us and we have been gaming for at least 4 years now ever since I met 2 of them at a meetup playing K2 (where 1 of them remembered me not so fondly for always being a nuisance up the mountain) and then again at a cafe playing Cuba. I started to game regularly with them and often we will play till the whee hours of Saturday morning after we start from Friday evening.
This group is my Cult of the New group as most of us regularly buy new games and bring them to share with the others. That is also how I got addicted to always trying out new things and got my fix as well. It is quite astounding the amount of new games I get to play on a regular basis and for that I have to thank this group. Nowadays though, we seldom play until very late because, well, we don't really have that much stamina anymore plus saturday mornings are pretty much burnt out because of our all nighters. This session though, one of them could not make it due to family matters and after a very good piggy dinner, the 4 of us got down to gaming.
First up is the latest game I have received, La Granja from Spielworxx. This is their latest release and seems to be quite hot, being sold out everywhere. I managed to help my friend get a copy and after a solo play of it, I was confident enough to table it. La Granja plays 1-4 players and essentially feels like a Feld game. There are many ways to score victory points and a mix of different mechanisms thus giving that Feld feel.
|Wait did we not see this in Luna... ?|
|My farm in the end...|
Overall, I have only played this solo and a 4 player game. I prefer the 4 player game to solo. The interaction definitely helps the game play and the various mechanisms all make sense. This is a medium weight euro and to me right now it is an average game. Nothing really new and exciting but no glaring issues either. TRY BEFORE BUY!
Next up is the card version of Aladdin's Dragon. Now I have played the board game version and I was quite taken to the bits (ooo all those nice plastic bits) as well as the game play. There is a lot of guessing your opponents and interaction. It seems that this card version is suppose to mimic the experience but in a much smaller package, no more bits or bling and play much faster.
|The card version of the board game. Plays much faster...|
So if you liked the board game version, do check out this card game version as it retains a lot of what I liked about Aladdin's Dragon and plays much faster. If you have never played it, then I suggest to at least give it a try because it is easy to each and learn and provides a lot of entertainment. TRY BEFORE BUY.
Next up is CONCEPT. I have heard and read about this game but did not have any desire to get it to try it. I guessed that this is more of an exercise than a real gamer's game. I felt that it will probably be more of like a team-building type of environment. Since someone had a copy, we decided to give it a go.
In concept, a player will draw a card that will have 3 sections (Easy, Medium and Hard) with 3 items each. The player will decide on one of the item and then the timing will start. The player has a set amount of time to use the bits provided to indicate on the icons board what the item will be. The other players will then have to guess the item and if someone guesses it, that player and the person who chose the item will gain points.
|Concept... more team building I reckon...|
One from our group has never played Pixel Lincoln before and was intrigued by the art so we decided to bring this out. I had to refresh my memory again because it has been a really long time since I played this Game Salute release. The game plays pretty much like a 8-bit side scroller. At its core, it is a deck builder but using your deck, you will move your Pixel Lincoln meeple through the levels and defeat enemies and mini bosses until you encounter the final bosses. The game ends when 2 bosses have been defeated, players then count up the points they have accumulated from their deck and whoever has the most points will win.
|We all just kept making 8-bit noises and humming the Mario tune..|
The game itself is rather simple really. Jump, move, attack enemies and buy items. What adds to the levels are the secret items and special characters. The mini bosses seems a little too easy to defeat and the final bosses, while not exactly an instant push over, should fall over easily by the time you reach them. To fully enjoy the game though, you will need, NEED the expansions which add a LOT of cards to make the variety and things you meet much more exciting. As it is, the base game is simple, sufficient and ultimately way too big a box for what it has. To me it is a light, average rating game and where it shines will be how the players interact with the game by producing all those sound effects. TRY BEFORE BUY.
Final game of the night is Las Vegas with the expansions. The base game is a very simple game where you are rolling dice and seeing how much money you can grab by placing your dice to the appropriate spaces. If there are other players' dice at that location, you have to have majority to get the best money card available. Otherwise you may have to get the 2nd best or, worse, get NOTHING at all! If there are ties, then you and the other player knock each other out. The remaining players can then resolve as per normal. The expansions we played added a bigger die which counts as a 2 and purple dice to be used to knock dice (ours or opponents') out so that they can reroll it again.
|Surprisingly cut throat for a simple dice game|
So that's it for the night and we ended around 3AM. One of our group had to take a 20 minute nap when we were playing Pixel Lincoln as he was dozing off. I was really glad to be able to try La Granja before handing the game over to my friend who bought it and determine whether or not if it is my cup of tea.
I will like to thank Jason, Quentin, Roy and Charles from this group for all the fun times we have had playing all the new hotness and all the cut throat-ness we have had. Sometimes, even the simplest of games we can make it so devious with all our moves to block each other as well as the bantering.
We are talking about attending a convention together next year so here's hoping that plan will happen!