each Tuesday, a group of folks gathers in Alameda to play board games. In an effort to log my thoughts on various games, and to give you an idea of some of the great games out there, I am going to do mini-session reviews for each of the games we play on Tuesdays. I'll also provide a link to each games page on boardgamegeek should you want more information on the game. So, here we go:
We started out with 4 players, a good number. Somebody had brought Strand Cup a team card game that simulated beach volleyball. It used the real volleyball rules (no hitting the ball twice, 3 hits it get it over the net, etc..) but to simulate the various hits, you played cards (there were dig, bump and spike cards as well as special cards) it even scored like real volleyball. You were dealt 7 cards, and then after each point you drew back up to 7. I enjoyed the game, and thought it was fun how it really did simulate volleyball pretty well. Alas, I had terrible luck in the game, and was dealt very little in the way of hitting cards, getting mostly special cards (which are really useful, but narrowly applicable) instead. Since I could rarely play any cards during a volley, I rarely got new cards creating something of a cycle of uselessness. I will say, it did model my actual volleyball playing pretty well (although there was no sprained ankle card..)
Next, we tried a new game that could play all 6 of the folks now around the table. Unspeakable Words answers the question would Cthulhu play Scrabble? The idea is simple enough, you are dealt 7 cards (each with a letter on it) and must make a word from your letters. Each letter is worth a number of points based on it's angles (a nice little Lovecraft nod.) You are also given 5 little plastic Cthulhu figures that represent your sanity. After you make a word, you score the points for that word, and then must make a sanity roll. You must roll higher than the score of your word, or you lose one of your little tentacled buddies. Lose all 5, and you are out of the game. The game ends when a player goes over 100pts. Each remaining player has one more play to try & beat their score, which is an interesting mechanic. You want to go out, but you want to make sure you have enough points to hold off everyone else on the last round. The game can also end if there is only one player left with sanity (although that seems like it would be unlikely..) The game was fun, but a little uninteresting. I could think of a few variants that would spice it up a little (most notably, a bonus at the end for having more sanity. Otherwise, there is really very little incentive to keep your sanity. That would lead to more tactical playing of smaller words. I should also note that the art of the cards in this game is great, with each letter having some terror from the Mythos on it (ie A is for Azathoth)
Gheos is a game where the players are all gods. They can add land, or replace land to split or merge continents. The scoring comes from the tribes. As gods, we all need followers, so you gets points based on the number of followers you have in any civilization. So, the game is spent trying to maximize your numbers in a certain civilization, and doing bad things to other people's civilizations. I like that you are not playing any one color, but that you can have your hand in several different civilizations (in fact, diversification is a key strategy.) I am a sucker for tile laying games, and this is one of my favorites. Definitely heavier than Carcassone, and possibly a little prone to analysis paralysis. Still, a really interesting game that I would play again. It plays 2-4, but plays best with 4. Probably my game of the night.
While 3 of us were playing Gheos, the other 3 played Owner's Choice a fast, fun little dice game that I love. I'll talk about it more in later sessions, as it is our game of the month for December (meaning we will play it each week for the entire month..)
The last game we played was Zombie Fluxx a card game where the rules change everytime you play a card. This is a new version of the old game Fluxx, with the added component of zombies (which whenever drawn are automatically played in front of you..) The idea of the game is to play cards that are goals. Each goal will require you to meet some condition (ie have the coffee and sandwiches cards in front of you) to win. The problem is that there can usually only be one goal at a time. There are other cards that add new rules to the game (so that you might be drawing 5 cards and playing them all, or just drawing one and playing one. It can change from turn to turn.) The problem with the game is that it is so chaotic that having any sort of plan is almost impossible. Especially with 5 players. For this sort of game (rules changing) I prefer an older game called Democrazy, which has a lot of the same elements, but also has a definite end.
Last 5 posts by Ezra
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