7 of us tonight, so we split into two groups. Dave D, Donald, Mike and Claire went off to play Power Grid (the Baden-Wurtemburg board I believe), followed by San Juan.
Dave F, Steve H and I setup Kingdom Builder, a game that seems to split the gaming community down the middle. But then again almost every game seems to split our game group down the middle, I say toh-may-toe, you say toh-mart-oh, but fortunately we don’t call the whole thing off, as club attendance is usually sufficient to allow for multiple groups to accommodate different tastes.
Steve H and had not played Kingdom Builder before, in contrast to me and Dave F who are fans of the game. However Steve destroyed us. The best thing about Kingdom Builder is the variety from game to game. The board changes, the special powers change and the victory point conditions change. With many Euro games that you become familiar with you can end up playing to a script, especially at the beginning. This is not possible with Kingdom Builder, where a new strategy is required each time you play, and this time I was way off. I had an idea, but I soon realised this wouldn’t pan out and ended up trapped in no-mans land, as Steve’s pieces spread like wildfire across the board.
We followed this with Rattus, another game that packs a lot of fun into a short space of time. This is a game you win by inflicting a painful death on the other players’ population whilst shepherding yours to safety. Steve’s population seemed to live a charmed existence, with the conditions causing deaths rarely being met in the areas Steve was heavily populating.
After this, more Rattus – this time with some of the role types from the Pied Piper expansion. The most interesting of which was the Pied Piper himself. This role allows you to move a population cube to an adjacent area, taking all the rats with you. This led to some hilarious kamikaze missions by Steve, as he spent a fair few turns leading loads of rats in heavily populated areas. This was quite effective, although it never occurred to Steve that the Pied Piper role could also be used for non-destructive purposes until Dave used it to take rats away from his population and win the game by 1 population cube.
Why this is only rated 6.93 on BGG is a shame, it’s a lot of fun in a short space of time, with enough depth to keep it interesting. My guess is the game can be really subject to group think, and if people keep moving the black plague pawn into areas where there is very little population - not much will happen.
We finished off with Ra: the Dice game. I like dice games, I like Ra, I like Ra the dice game. If I’m honest this isn’t a game I’d objectively classify as great game and it was initially a bit of a come down following the more raucous Rattus. However it is consistently enjoyable way of spending 30 minutes, with enough decision making to keep it interesting. I had a lot of luck building civilisations, but in the end Dave pipped me by 1 point - with the double disasters and 1 less turn taking their toll.