We started late last friday and because so many of my games are sold, I don't have much heavy games to bring to the table. So this session, we had many light race-style games and 1 medium weight abstract.
First up is Madam Ching:
|Hong Kong sure is attractive but may not be lucrative...|
We had 1 player get so fixated with trying to reach Hong Kong that he kinda threw his own game and as a result, got last. Everyone agreed that the artwork is gorgeous and there are pictures on BGG showing the entire artwork when you lay the exploration cards side by side. In summary, this is a light weight game with some interesting choices to be made. So far i think it plays well with 3 and 4. Not sure how it will work with 2. I won't own a copy but I won't say no to playing. Same emotions when compared to Augustus. Its heavier than Augustus by the way.
|My engine was up and running but I could not get the final points...|
In our game, same player that was trying to reach Hong Kong started grabbing as many tools as he can while the rest of us went by the more normal route. Grab 1 or 2 tools, get the right workers and started building. My engine was mostly running and I would have won by the next round with only 4 workers but another friend was faster and won the game. Player with all the tools did not get his tools up in time to make a difference.
While Splendor and Builders have similar concepts, the executions are quite different. They may feel the same but they are definitely different games. I feel there is room enough for both. I will need to play more of The Builders to see if one can replace the other but for now I will definitely want to play more of both. The Builders seems more thematic for me though so I am more inclined to it for now.
|Racing camels again!|
I will try this again this friday with my cousins and with 8 to see how it plays. Jonathan has mentioned he did and it still plays fine. I am not too hot about this though because its quite light and very party like for me. So while I won't say no to playing it, I won't go and buy myself a copy.
|All those dice and you cannot roll ANY of them!|
At the start, we weren't all too sure what was happening and placed our dice to form 4 groups of 4 dice each. This setup however is very important as we found out later because it will determine the results of your first few battles. There are spaces in the maze where you can freely reorganize the dice in a group but those can only be reached after your armies have travelled and most likely battled for a few turns. As the game progressed, we realized just how much interaction we will have with 2 of our opponents. You will only ever interact with the same 2 opponents the entire game so how well you succeed in preserving your units and win will determine by how well each of us guard our designated enemies. There is a lot of interaction because of how the maze is designed as those with stronger armies can park them at strategic intersections and await your opponents to come to you. As we near the center where the portal is, it gets even tighter and a lot more thinking is involved. Potentially you can plan quite a fair bit from the start but your plans will usually change depending on what the other players do.
Even losing all your pips on a die does not mean the die is ineffective. Instead, it now acts like a guard as it can protect the die behind it from defeat in battle. So some very interesting decisions to be made. Do you want to move forward now or concentrate on 1 group and leave the other for later? Or do you want your army to progress slowly but steadily together ?
There are a few quirks to the game though that we felt we should house rule in the future. The cards are not very useful in our opinion as you can only choose 1 and some of them are 1 time use. The terrain special abilities felt odd as well. Though I can understand the purpose as they add another level of thinking when moving your army groups but the powers they provide is weak and does not help with the game play. The board is also very busy with all that fancy art but the dice are all so plain and chunky.
In summary, it was an interesting game and definitely a lot of interaction. It just feels a little unpolished in some aspects. I will definitely want to try this again (perhaps I will try a rush the next time) but I am not sure about its longevity.
|Push your luck! :D|
Final game of the night/morning was Elevenses, a kickstarter that delivered. A small sized game (all cards, some white "sugar" cubes and a bell), Elevenses is based on the theme of High Tea. Players have a tableau of 8 cards faced down in front of them with 3 cards in their hand. During their turn, they are allowed to play a card from their hand or perform 2 arrangements. The tableau is special because if you play a card, you are only allowed to play a card into that slot provided the card has the correct number (2-5 on the top row, 6-9 on the bottom) and that card is currently not faced up. Each card has specific actions that are executed when the card is played. The round ends when a player plays the Card number 11 but must have at least 4 cards faced up in his tableau. Players then count the number of spoons in their tableau and whoever has the most spoons will get a number of sugar cubes (depending on the number of players). First to reach 5 (or 7 or 9) points will win the game.
The art is great and very fitting with the theme. Gameplay wise there is a lot of interaction in this and I often find myself wondering if I should play the 11th card now to end the round or push my luck and try to play more cards so I can win more cubes. I feel that this will play better with 2 or 3 players instead of 4 because a lot more actions can occur with 4 (as there are actions which force you to pass a card to the left or to the right). Something that I will want to try again and possibly get because my wife and I do enjoy high teas together. There is a solo variant on BGG as well that is Print and Play which I already did. I will post again on how it plays afterwards. RECOMMENDED!