Archive for February, 2011

On The Radar: Principato

Posted by James (admin) on 24th February 2011

Principato is a forthcoming game that is another game that looks to offer interesting game play but focused on a central core mechanic so isn’t too complex.  During the game, players generate resources (food and money) for their city and use them to increase their military strength (recruiting militia and condotierre forces as well as building catapults).  Players score victory points based on their comparative military strengths during the game (after each of the 3 game years plus 2 at random) plus bonus VPs for secret objectives and building cultural items.  However, militia and condotierre forces only add to your total strength if they are allocated resources too (food and gold respectively) – and count against your strength without these resources.  So, you need to balance how you use your resources.

The main game mechanic is the action card system which looks nice and simple but with some tough choices.  When activated, the action cards let you gather resources, convert resources into items like more banks, catapults, militia, etc. Players get 2 actions each turn which can be used to activate a card in their hand, swap a card in their hand with one of the cards on display, or take a favour cube (which counts as gold or food).  When played, some action cards let the player swap the card with one on display too.  Also, the oldest card on display is discarded each turn and a new one added.  So, there’s an interesting element of drafting.

Principato looks like it will be simple, fast and force players to make tough choices.  Players can not attack or trade with each other so the player interaction seems to come from denying them cards.  I’m looking forwards to trying this one.

View Eggertspiele’s Principato page and rules.

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Posted in Board Games, On the Radar, Principato | 2 Comments »

On The Radar: Neuroshima Hex Puzzle (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 22nd February 2011

Neuroshima Hex on iPhone is a quick-playing well-executed game on iPhone  So, it’s great to see that the same developer (Big Daddy’s Creations) is releasing a puzzle version of the game in March 2011.

Neuroshima Hex Puzzle will contain 100 different puzzles to solve.  I think it sounds like a great idea as it’ll add a new way to play and I do like a good puzzle game especially if it uses a board game.  The iPhone Carcassonne solitaire mode was like a puzzle-mode and worked really well.  So, I’m looking forwards to this.  See the official site for more details.

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Review: Vinhos

Posted by James (admin) on 22nd February 2011

Vinhos is one of the several games with a wine-making theme that were released last year.  The game lasts 6 game years and the winner is the player with the most victory points (VPs) at the end of the game.  Each year, players take 2 actions and turn order is re-assessed after each round of actions.  In one action, a player can:

  • Buy one or more vineyard (which produce wine)
  • Buy 1 or 2 wineries (which increase wine value)
  • Hire 1 or 2 enologists (which increase wine value but cost money each year)
  • Buy a cellar (increases the time you can keep wine which makes it more valuable)
  • Sell wine for cash
  • Export wine for VPs (some immediately and some later if you dominate that area)
  • Bank (cash in/out and make/sell investments)
  • Hire 1 or 2 wine experts (giving various extra powers and increasing chances at wine fair)
  • Press release (announce your wine fair entry and maybe influence a manager) or Pass

As you can see there’s a lot choice, especially as a player will only take 12 actions in the whole game.   I won’t explain all the rules as that’s too much to cover but will mention a few core gameplay areas. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Vinhos | 1 Comment »

On The Radar: Pergamon

Posted by James (admin) on 21st February 2011

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you may have noticed that I like interesting game mechanics, especially those that are simple, make you agonise over your decisions and allow you to annoy other players too.  From reading the rules, Pergamon sounds like it has such a game mechanic at its heart.

In the game’s excavation of artefacts for displaying at the museum, one of the core mechanics is to select how much funding you will request.  Each player must ask for different amounts and all players only know the rough total of funding that will be available.  When all players have made their request, the actual funds available are revealed and the players that asked for the least funding will get their cash first.  Players that asked for the larger amounts could end up receiving nothing at all if all the funds have been given out by the time it’s their turn to be paid.  However, asking for larger amounts of funding means you get to dig up the more valuable artefacts.  This reminds of my favourite part of Fresco where you choose what time your artists will get out of bed as each player must pick a unique time and the time sets turn order, your purchase costs and more.

Pergamon has some other clever mechanics too like placing tiles (that show two halves of different artefacts) together to make a whole artefact, and making existing museum displays less valuable by adding even better displays.  As a result, Pergamon is definitely a game I’m looking forwards to.

View Eggertspiele’s Pergamon page and rules.

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Review: Days of Steam

Posted by James (admin) on 18th February 2011

Days of Steam is a light, train-themed, tile-laying game.  The tiles show different track routes (or towns) which build up to create a rail network between towns.

Each player has 1 train and scores victory points (VPs) by delivering goods and completing circuits.  The winner is the first player to score 13 VPs, or the one with the most VPs when the tiles run out.  Each turn a player can either move their train (costing 1 point of steam per tile), play a track tile from their hand (earning 1 – 2 steam), play a town tile, or use a water tower (earning 4 steam).

Tiles played either extend the railway lines or add a town to the network.  Each town starts with 2 random colour goods on it which can be picked up by players (carrying 1 at a time). Players score 2 VP for delivering a good to a matching coloured town and there are bonus VPs for having delivered different colours of goods.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Die Speicherstadt

Posted by James (admin) on 17th February 2011

Die Speicherstadt (whose English language version is called The Speicherstadt) is the name of Hamburg’s warehouse district and is a simple but clever game.  The goal is to earn as many victory points (VPs) as possible and the game ends when the deck of cards has been used.  Each round 4 to 6 cards (number of players plus 1), are available for puchase.

Players take turns placing one of their 3 meeple next to a card (on the adjacent warehouse) to show that they want a chance to buy it.  If a card already has meeple next to it, the player places their meeple next in the queue for that card.  When all meeple have been placed, each card is resolved. The player whose meeple is first in the queue can purchase the card at a cost equal to the number of meeple in the queue.  If they don’t buy it, that meeple is removed and the player who owns the meeple that is now at the front of the queue gets the chance to buy it (at a lower cost than the previous player because there are now fewer meeple in the queue).  When a player buys a card, any meeple in the queue are simply returned to their owners.

Some cards give you goods, some give you VPs if you place the stated goods on them, some allow you to convert goods to cash, etc.  The cards are quite varied but the icons on them ensure they are easy to understand. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Die Speicherstadt | 2 Comments »

Review: Mâamut

Posted by James (admin) on 10th February 2011

I noticed Mâamut in late 2009 but, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to buy a copy from the publisher until Spiel 2010.  The game appealed to me because of the mammoth hunting theme and its simplicity.

During the game, players use their 1 hunter (meeple) to lay traps and try to catch the one roaming Mammoth.  A hexagonal board is assembled of randomly placed hex tiles each showing grass, snow or rocks.  Players take turns taking one action which can be to either:

  • Move – Play a card from their hand of 3 (valued 1 – 3) and move their hunter (a) the full number of spaces, (b) in a straight line, and (c) never on to/through rocks (as these are always out of bounds to hunters and mammoths).
  • Lay trap – Place on their hunter’s current tile but only if it’s a grass tile (and no other hunters or traps are there)
  • Remove opponent’s trap – If no other hunters are there.
  • Pass – Discard a card and draw a new one.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Through The Desert (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 9th February 2011

Through The Ages is Reiner Knizia’s 1998 classic game of camel placement and area control.  I haven’t actually played the original boardgame but have wanted to for some time, so the iPhone game was a great opportunity to do so.

During the game, players place coloured camels (which come in 5 different colours) onto the board in order to score victory points (VPs).  First, players place camels with their leaders on them (one of each camel colour), so long as they’re not too close to other leaders, water holes or oasis.  Once all leaders have been placed, players take turns adding two camels (of any colours) at a time.  Only one camel can be placed on each space and camels must be placed next to camels of the same colour so that coloured herds start to grow (herds of the same colour must not merge).

If a camel is placed on a water hole or next to an oasis, then the leader of that herd gets VPs.  Players also get VPs for any areas that a herd cordons off.  The game ends as soon as there are no more camels of any one colour.  The biggest herd of each colour scores extra VPs for the herd’s owner. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Battle Line (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 8th February 2011

Battle Line is one of my favourite portable 2-player games.  Consisting of a deck of cards and a few wooden pawns (and even the pawns aren’t totally necessary), it packs lots of punch by posing constant difficult choices and the potential for clever tactical game play.

The basic game consists of 60 troop cards (values 1 to 10 in 6 different colours) and there are 9 flags laid out in a row between the players.  On their turn, a player places one card next to any of the flags from their hand of 7 cards, then draws a new card.  Each player can only place a total of 3 cards next to any one flag.  When there are 3 cards on both sides of a flag, the player with the strongest set of 3 cards wins the flag and moves it to their side.  The cards are compared similar to poker hands: a straight in a single colour is the best, then 3 cards of the same value, then 3 cards of the same colour, then a straight in any mix of colours and finally the total value of the 3 cards.  A player wins the game as soon as they win 3 adjacent flags, or a total of 5 flags. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Battle Line, Board Games, iPhone, iPhone Review | 2 Comments »