The Games We Play

The Games We Play

A repository of reports on the Wednesday night sessions of the club and anything else related to the club or boardgaming in general, which may be of interest to anyone who may be passing by.

Wednesday 21 November 2007

Session Summary - 31 October 2007

There were just 4 of us this week in the absence of Steve who I believe was out dining for Halloween. We played a couple of games, one new to all of us, one was just new to Mike.

Race for the Galaxy 80 mins
Player Posn. Points
Dave D 1 39
Mike 2 34
Ben 3 31
Dave C 4 26

I had just picked this up having been anticipating it ever since I learned about it some months ago. It is essentially an advanced version of San Juan, rethemed into outer space. The main difference is in the selection of actions. Unlike in San Juan, where the roles are chosen by each player in turn so in a 4 player game 4 actions will certainly take place, here players simultaneously select secret actions which are then revealed meaning it is possible that only 1 of the possible 5 actions will take place if all players choose the same. Like in San Juan, everybody gets to perform the action chosen, but those who selected it get an advantage, but in the case of the Explore and Consume actions, there are 2 different advantages which can be selected.

Some of the actions are very like those in San Juan. Explore is the equivalent of the Councillor, where you draw cards and decide which to keep. Develop is like builder and allows the constructing of developments, which are sort of equivalent to the violet buildings. Produce is something like Producer, but every world that is eligible produces, in this case the advantage of selecting this action is to draw a card. Settle is also somewhat like builder, but allows the colonisation of worlds rather than placing developments, there are 2 kinds of worlds, one of which is colonised peacefully by the placement of cards, while the other must be conquered by having a high enough military value, no cards being used in this case. The final action is Consume, which requires that all available goods on worlds are expended are used by developments and worlds that require them gaining cards and VPs, if the action is chosen using the Trade advantage, then one card must first be sold at a value depending on its type, meaning that in this case there is a similarity with the Trader of San Juan. There is no equivalent to San Juan's prospector.

The game is played until any player has 12 cards (worlds or developments) in front of him or a number of VP chips set by the number of players is handed out at which time the current round is completed and VPs are given out depending on the cards the player has in their tableau. As in San Juan there are 6 value developments which give special VP scores, but they are much more varied when compared with the 4 in the former game.

This game played longer as a first try, it taking a bit of getting used to the icon system used on the cards to indicate their powers, there is also text on some of the cards but this is difficult to read and seems to be superfluous, since the text only describes in words what the icons say. By the end of the game I felt confident with the iconography and the game was moving quicker. With experience I don't really see why the play time shouldn't come down near to San Juan length.

In this game I went for a mostly peaceful expansion, while Dave & Ben went the military route, Mike followed the middle way. Dave, Ben & I all enjoyed the game, while Mike was not so convinced, commenting about the game lacking the flavour of San Juan. I don't see that San Juan, although a great game, has that much of what I would call flavour anyway and this is to a certain extent the same, both when it comes down to it are about playing cards to get further cards and Victory points, its just that in one case the cards are meant to represent buildings in a historical colony, while the other has them representing futuristic technology and alien worlds, I find both equally valid or not as the case may be. May be Mike is more comfortable with a historical theme rather than SF.

Next was

Khronos 80 mins
Player Posn. Points
Dave D 1 41
Mike 2 37
Ben 3= 27
Dave C 3= 27

More Science Fiction, although this time it's Time Travel. I'd played this one the previous Saturday with Dave & Ben and liked it. I'm not going to attempt a description in detail, but there are 3 boards representing the Ages of Might (oldest), Faith and Reason(most recent) and buildings are built in the 2 older time periods, which if large enough "ripple" through time to more recent periods, nothing is built in the Age of Reason. Scoring is carried out on 3 times and occurs differently for each of the 3 boards.

On each turn a player gets 4 cards which can be used to build, upgrade and demolish buildings and this can only be done in a period where one of his 2 time travellers is present, each giving the ability to player 2 cards, thus it is necessary for these to flit between periods to build and also to score as a traveller is necessary in a period to score for a period on the scoring turns. The game is essentially a battle for control of collections of linked buildings, known as domains, which can be linked together by civil buildings leading potentially to conflicts because the highest ranking religious or military building in a domain must be unique. This gives the game a vaguely Tigris & Euphrates feel, but the deterministic conflict means that the result of any conflict can be determined before any cards are played to link domains.

The foregoing waffle may or may not give you an idea of the game, which is not really as complicated as it sounds, suffice to say I like it, Mike again is not so keen.

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