Because I've been concentrating on Gameblast, my general games blogging has suffered.
This goes all the way back to 6th February.
Matt came round and we played a couple of 2-player games.
7 Wonders Duel is a 2-player only variant of 7 Wonders. It shares a lot of similarity with that game, but where it differs from the original is in card-drafting. That is to say that 7 Wonders Duel has no card-drafting at all, it would be a bit silly in 2-player game.
Instead Duel uses cards laid out in one of several different 'array'.
Imagine the cards laid out in rows in a pyramid shape, each row having less cards as the pyramid rises, until at the top where only one card is laid.
Now imagine the alternating rows being face up and face down.
Now imagine the tops of the lower cards covering the bottom of the cards above.
That's how cards are laid out in 7 Wonders Duel: It requires a little prep, but not as much as it sounds above.
I guess that this is designed to replicate or replace the drafting mechanic.
When drawing a card, you can only draw a card that has no other cards on it. Thus might be forced to take cards you don't want (or are unknown) to get to the cards that you want.
The rest of the game is more or less the same as the full game. The cards you acquire can be used to generate resources to buy other cards to generate even more resources. There are also scientific, civic and military cards to collect, etc. You create wonders and play over 3 ages.
One area where something new is added is winning conditions. Normally you score when the final round us over: Now if you acquire a certain number of scientific advances, then you score a scientific victory. Additionally; the game has a military track, acquiring military cards moves a marker along the track, move the marker far enough and you score a military victory.
Both of these victories can be achieved before the games traditional ending and add a new dynamic to strategies you can adopt.
Overall, 7 Wonders Duel replicates enough of the original to be similar but is its own thing. However, if I had to choose between the two, I'd choose 7 Wonders every time. Just because it supports more players.
The second 2-player game of the night was Raptor.
Have you ever wanted to play a band of scientists armed with tranquiliser rifles and flamethrowers?
How about a raptor with a taste for human flesh?
If so, then read on.
Raptor takes place on a square-gridded game board with some added scenery. Each player also has their own little board and small deck of cards.
One player takes the role of a group of 10 scientists. This player's objective is to tranquilise either 5 baby raptors, or the mother raptor (which has to be shot with 5 darts).
Player 2 players the raptors. Their objective is to get all of the baby raptors off of the game board, or as is most likely more satisfying, eat all the scientists.
There are 2 types of action in Raptor, those determined by your cards and those determined by your board. Each player has different actions.
Play proceeds as follows:
That's pretty much all the rules.
The card playing mechanic is interesting but potentially frustrating. I seem to remember that some actions are same on both the cards and the board and that each also have a couple of unique actions. I also remember several actions appear twice in the deck, but with higher and lower numbers. If you really want to do something on the card, you play the card with the lower value.
There's also a card that allows you to shuffle your discard pile back into your deck - with a value of one.
There's also a card that does nothing but has a value of 9 - one to play when you hope your opponent is going to play a low value card and you want to do actions listed on your board.
And that's the thing: Your actions may be completely dictated by the actions of the other player. So for someone like me who's a planner it can be frustrating, unless you know all the cards well and have good read on your opponent.
2nd game of the night at 'The Sovereigns'.
Loot is a little card game by Reiner Knizia about chasing wealthy merchant ships with your pirate boats.
Perhaps this game should be combined with Century Spice Road which we had just finished playing!
Loot is a fairly simple looking game with some hidden depth.
Loot has different 4 types of card.
Everyone starts with a hand of 6 cards.
During your turn you check for winning battles, (more on this below). Then you draw a card or play a card.
What cards you can play depend on what's already been played.
Right at the start of your turn, you check for winning battles. This involves looking at all the merchant ships in play, if your pirate attack against a merchant is stronger than any other pirate's (or is uncontested), then you claim the merchant ship - all other cards are discarded. If the attack strength of 2 or more players is identical, then there's a stalemate and the merchant has not been captured by anyone.
Pirate captains and the Admiral act as a trump cards and win a battle, regardless of the attacks strength of other players.
Play continues until the deck is depleted. The player that captured merchant ships with the highest combined value of gold wins (any merchant ships in your hand at the end of the game are deducted from your final score).
And that's pretty much it. Good, clean, wholesome, pirating fun. A great little filler game, quick to play and easy to learn. With enough strategy to keep it interesting.
Another Tuesday night at 'The Sovereigns'.
The ladies bathroom was closed and most of the pub smelt of poo! But board gamers are a tough as it gets. So we endured and played on.
The first game of the night was 'Century: Eastern Wonders'.
This is the 3rd 'Century' game I've seen the other two are:
Century: Spice Road.
Century: Golem Edition.
I've played Century: Spice Road previously and it was alright. It was sort of a deck building Resource trading/management card game. But a specifc random element in the game 'Really pisses me off to no end!' But enough talk of a game that I'm not actually blogging about.
So Century: Eastern Wonders is a sequel of sorts to Spice Road game and contains rules for combining both games into a single game. Curious - but something for another time.
In Eastern Wonders, you control a merchant ship that travels around, trading spices for profit.
The first thing I'm going to say for this game is that even though it's more or less just a bunch of boat shaped meeples sitting on tiles - it is quite a pretty looking game. Unfortunately I didn't get a good photo of it.
On to the gameplay.
First; let me explain the different spices.
There are 4 types of spices, ranked from least to most valuable they are:
Yellow - red - green - brown.
In your turn you can move your ship 1 or more spaces, then you can perform 1 of 3 actions after moving.
There are some other mechanics, such as 'outposts'. Each player has their own board. On their board are 20 outpost markers arranged in 4 rows of five. In order to use the market action on a tile, the player must place a outpost marker on the tile.
However, there are specific rules on how out post markers are removed from a player's board and placed on a market tile. Each market tile has a spice symbol (yellow, red, green, brown) and each of the 4 rows of outposts has a corresponding symbol.
Thus: If playing an outpost marker on to a market tile with a yellow symbol, it must be the left-most outpost marker from the yellow row that is placed on to the market tile.
This is important, as how markers are removed from your board makes difference.
And that's good. There's more than one strategy you can pursue to earning victory points. And there always seems to be a meaningful decision to make. Sometimes you just need to recognise and adapt your tactics when circumstances change.
And that's it. I enjoyed Century: Eastern Wonders enough that it goes on to the 'would like to own' list and I may revisit Century Spice Road in the future with a different mindset.
Dang! Just realised; I blogged a game tabout spices and I didn't make a single reference to 'Dune'. Well The spice mu - ah too late, screw it!
Saturday 2nd February - evening.
Time for the 2nd RPG session of the day.
In the evening we started play-testing a new campaign in a setting called Oubliette.
Oubliette uses The Black Hack rules and was run by Matakishi.
At the start of the campaign we start in some sort of underground complex with no memories of our previous existence. This means that we begin the campaign with no stats, and 'discover' our abilities during play. - In other words when we need to use a stat, then we generate it.
Also; as play progresses, we accumulate 'class points'. Thus by behaving like a thief, you accumulate thief points. The, when we exit the initial dungeon, the highest points we acquire will determine our class.
I've heard of other games which do similar things and have players start a '0' level and then generate a character during play. It's even an idea I've mulled over a couple of times.
I'm not sure how I feel about it. Matakishi explained a little of how our actions would influence our classes. This meant that we could 'game the system' to get a spread of different classes.
If we hadn't of known this then we might have ended up with a skewed set of character classes.
Matakishi has written an in-depth report about it here.
Personally, I'm not sold on the idea, nor am I entirely dismissive.
I look forward to the rest of the campaign though.
Saturday 2nd February.
The snowy weather delayed 2 players, but did not deter us on this Saturday lunchtime at 'The Sovereigns'.
Our 50 Fathoms session kicked off a little late, but play was resumed in Brigandy Bay.
We did some investigating and discovered that the person to talk to about the abnormal amount of rain flooding the already flooded Caribdus as 'Tressa The Red'.
We also encountered a young woman called 'Annie Mason' trapped in a life of unsavoury work in a house of disrepute.
Annie had spotted us and offered us 300 pieces o' eight to help her escape her life. We, being fine upstanding individuals decided it was a good deal.
After some distraction, misdirection and fighting we fled Brigandy Bay with Annie aboard Delilah.
We made good time to 'Shark Bay', another lawless settlement. The Shark Bay harbour is a strip of docks and warehouses close to the sea, whilst the main settlement sits on a high precipice well above the docks below.
We entered town with an eye to make some money.
Using the money we earned from Annie I haggled a bargain price on some goods that were loaded on to the Delilah and would fetch a healthy profit elsewhere
'Backstab' Baxter went gambling and incredibly; struck it lucky and came back with his pockets filled with coins.
After this we struck out of Shark Bay looking for new opportunities.