Thursday, 16 March 2017
by Mike Head at 21:19
Time for another evening of genteel activities down at the Club - Plague and Pirates! While the others were busy with "Castles of Burgundy" and the Club's hottest recent game "Terraforming Mars", which Steve H confidently predicted he would come last at (hey, that's usually my line!), I tried a couple of new (to me) games with Mark W, James and Steve W, firstly "Plague, Inc.", a sort of 'anti-Pandemic' where you non-cooperatively try to spread diseases as widely as possible across the Planet. Basically an area (country cards) control game, where after all spaces available in the country are filled, the player with the majority (or joint majority) of infection counters in there tries to kill it and thus clear space for new countries (and imoportantly get infection counters back) with a die roll. As a disease, you start with limited transmission methods, speed and lethality but can buy better characteristics. Soon after all the countries are on the board or dead the game ends and various ways of counting VPs decide the winner. Our first game was a hoot, some of the card flavour text is hilarious and there's plenty of bad-taste comment opportunities, but as the humour dies off with repeated plays does it cut it for replayability? Well, at two hours-ish it's definitely too long for the degree of engagement and luck elements, and particualrly in a four-player game on the plus side there's little AP but an awful lot of (bad) things can happen between your turns as the game progresses and diseases get more powers and use Event card they can accumulate and play all in a single turn. Mark and I particularly fell foul of this and with the right Event combos almost any plan you have can be undone by others, but despite this I would be happy to play it again, perhaps with 3 players. Finally a filler with a pirate theme - Loot (I'm sure I've played another game called this?) where you're all playing cards to capture merchant ships others launch or save the ones you launch, with each ship having 3-8 gold on them (most gold is the winner) and pirate cards of varying power being played against the ships to try to capture them. There are 5 'trump' pirate cards, which are very powerful - I was the only player to draw two of them and perhaps not coincidentally won easily. It was fun, simple, just the right length, with scope for some tactics : nothing special but I'd happily play again.