17th November 2019
Sunday lunch time has rolled around and we're at 'The Sovereigns' in Woking. The 50 Fathoms hiatus continues.
Today we played 'Concordia'
Concordia is a resource gathering and economic expansion game set in the Roman era Mediterranean and surrounding areas.
Ah, where would 'euro style' games be without the Roman era Mediterranean? Probably set even more in Renaissance Europe!
What's in a game?
Concordia has quite a lot of components.
It's worth mentioning the games resource tokens, normally it would be typical for the components to be coloured wooden blocks. Not so in Concordia, the tokens are shaped like the resource they represent. Thus the brick tokens look like clay bricks, wine tokens look like wine jugs and so on. It's a nice touch.
Hows it play?
Concordia has a fairly detailed setup. So, here we go.
The very basics of Concordia are simple: The active player plays a card from their hand carries out the action(s) listed on it.
Personality cards can be acquired which perform other actions or are better versions of the starter cards.
The starter cards are:
There are more types of cards available in the personality deck. There are specialist cards for each type of resource that allows the player possibly gain extra resources. There are also improved versions of starter cards and cards that make certain actions easier to perform.
There are some more rules, but this is the gist of it
There are 2 ways to trigger the endgame. If all the personality cards are bought or if a player builds or their houses. Then the final round is completed.
Scoring is quite detailed and involved, in fact almost convoluted.
All cards are attributed to 1 of 6 Roman gods such as Saturn, Jupiter, Mars etc.
Each 'god' is scored differently: Mars for example, will score a player 2 victory points per meeple they have on the board per Mars card.
All victory points are tallied, highest score wins.
Here's the thing, I quite like Concordia, but I can't put my finger on exactly why?
Maybe it's because it's a game about expansion and empire building, but a mercantile empire and not a military one. There is no direct conflict and the worse you can do to another player is to buy a personality card they want, or maybe block a route they want to use. It's all feels very 'eurogame'.
Or maybe it's the deck building element. I feel there's something engrossing about having limited actions and needing to optimise strategies accordingly.
Thinking about it, if there was too much direct competition between players, the deck building and planning wouldn't work so well within the game.
Finally, I thought I would mention the scoring. Because there's 6 different ways to score, it's almost as if you don't need to think about the scoring and can just concentrate on building up your trade empire and let the points take care of themselves.
But anyway, all in all, Concordia is a game I enjoy playing.
6th April 2019
It's a Saturday evening, so it's an evening of gaming at Matakishi's.
And on this particular evening we played Trains: Rising Sun.
Trains: Rising Sun combines 3 key elements to make it what is is:
This game is a expansion/standard alone game (I guess that's where the imaginative name 'Rising Sun' comes from).
What's in a game?
Trains: Rising Sun uses a game board which depicts a map, a map that is overlaid with hexes (familiar territory for the players' of many, many train games) and you can build cities, connect rail links etc. Definitely familiar territory!
However the actions you take on the board are dictated by the cards you play from your hand of cards.
Each player begins the game with a deck of 10 cards, 7 of which generate currency and 3 of which 'do things'. Each player draws 5 cards from their deck into their hand. So far so 'Dominion'!
Currency cards generate money that allow you to buy cards from a selection of cards to add to your discard pile. These cards give you extra abilities, more revenue etc.
When your draw deck runs out, your discard pile is shuffled into a draw deck, allowing you to draw and use the newly acquired cards.
Other cards such as 'Lay Rails' allows the player to errr lay rails! However it costs to lay rails. So your currency cards are also required to build railways. This is great as it forces you to make choices. 'Do I want to make use of the lay rails in my hand right now and miss out on that card I want?' For example.
There's an additional mechanic in this game called 'Waste'. Certain actions and cards generate waste. Each time waste is generated by a player, they take a 'Waste' card from the relevant stack and add it to your discard pile. Sooner or later you'll start drawing waste cards into your hand. What do waste cards do for you? As you probably surmised, they do nothing for you and clog up space in your hand and just get in the way.
There are various cards and actions that allow you to take waste cards out of your deck and return them to their stack.
It's a clever little mechanic that adds an extra layer of consideration when choosing your actions.
The board is double sided and features different terrain. It has hexes, rail links at the edges, cities, rivers etc. It's all very familiar. You use the board to build and connect cities to score points according to the cards that you play.
That's the rules in a nutshell.
This hybridization of 2 different game styles works perfectly well. Without going into specifics about the rules, there's little more to write about the game.
Tuesday 8th January 2019; the first evening back at the 'Woking Board Game Club' at 'The Sovereigns' pub.
Several games were played during the evening, including much talked about Wingspan. However we played Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle.
This is a co-operative deck builder in the vein of Dominion.
You start with a deck of 10 cards and use your turns to buy more cards to make your deck stronger.
The objective is to defeat various villainous characters such as Draco Malfoy before certain conditions are met and the game is lost.
Mechanically the game is quite solid - if a little shallow. The game has 7 'chapters' of increasing difficulty (and also match the number number of books).
We played level 2. Twice we collectively got our arses kicked, but on the 3rd try we romped to victory. I think we got better at the game, but also that luck (or bad luck in our cases) plays a big part too. But to be fair, that's generally always the case with co-operative games.
I'm not a particular fan of Harry Potter, but of the game had a slight increase in complexity, I'd definitely be interested in it.