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10 x 10 challenge: Month 1 recap and new challenge added

10 x 10 challenge: Month 1 recap and new challenge added

January has come and gone faster then I would have wanted. Gamingwise it was a reasonably good month for me with 48 games played and 12 games I’ve played for the first time. These are pretty good numbers for me, as I usually strive to play a game a day one avarage.

It was also the first month of my 10 x 10 challenge. Let’s take a little look at the graph:

10 x 10 january

Status at the end of January

To be completely honest, I don’t think I’ve done too well in the first month. I’m very happy with my multiple plays of broom service and codenames (even though that one feels a bit like a copout and might still change). It’s a shame I didn’t get to play Mombasa this month as well as Battlelore and Arcadia quest. Even though February is a relatively short month, I have some gaming plans that should help me stay on target.

When selecting the list of games for the 10 x 10 challenge, I intentionally left some heavier, longer games off the list. During the month I started thinking I could really use an incentive to play some heavier games more frequently as well, so that’s why I’ve decided to up the ante a bit and constructed a second list:

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This second challenge started on 1-2-2016, which means I will only have 11 months to play these 5 titles 5 times each. I’ve chosen the following games:

 

  1. The Dilluvia project: One of the spielworkxx releases from 2015. I’ve not had time to play this one yet, because I’ve been struggling with the rules. A playthrough video has helped solve this though, so I should be good to go.
  2. Scythe: It’s not even out yet and will only be released around august/september. I still think I’ll manage 5 plays pretty easily
  3. The Gallerist: My favorite designer did not have a space on the other list, so I’m doubling up here. The gallerist was my favorite game of 2015, so I hope I’ll be able to play some more this year.
  4. CO2: And the other Vital Lacerda title on the list. I really like the way this game feels and I think it will be well liked by most of my gaming group.
  5. Trickerion: This game is a huge table hog. I probably will only play with 4 people during the monthly game day due to space constraints. I love the theme and look of this game though, so I have high hopes.

On the 10 x 10 page, you’ll also be able to follow this challenge with a continuosly updated graph:

5x5 challenge start

Empty so far.

Take care guys and see you around.

 

Sjtollie

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Elysium: Build your own Olympian legend

Elysium: Build your own Olympian legend

Elysium

  • Designer: Matthew Dunstand, Brett J Gilbert
  • Artist: Various
  • Publisher: Space Cowboys
  • Player count: 2-4
  • Play time: 60 minutes
  • Mechanics: Set collection, drafting, Tableau building

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Mythic Greece. As an upstart demigod, you want to earn the favor of the Olympians and become a figure of legend yourself. Gather heroes and powerful artifacts, please the gods and bear their power to write your own epic tale.

Let your allies achieve their destiny and enter the Elysium, home of the glorious and the brave. Once the stories are written, only one demigod will be chosen to stand at the side of Zeus.

Overview:

Elysium is basically a card drafting game where players recruit cards and quests from a common pool each round, using a very innovative mechanism (more on that later).

The game is played over 5 rounds. During set-up of the games, 5 of the available 8 families are chosen and shuffled together to form the playdeck. The 8 families each have a deck of 21 cards, with every deck being very different from the others. The following families are available in the game:

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a sample of some Hades cards.

  • Zeus (lots of extra scoring possibilities)
  • Ares (introduces prestige points. Another way to score points)
  • Hades (Focuses on transferring cards to the elysium)
  • Poseidon (messes with other players)
  • Apollo (adds the oracle to the game. An additional set of 4 cards)
  • Hermes (uses powers from other player’s cards)
  • Athena (powerfull abilities, but gives opponent something as well)
  • Hephaestus (Focus lies on gold)
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A sample of some Zeus cards

Once a card is recruited, it is immediately placed in a player’s domain. This is the area above his personal player board. Quest tiles, once selected, are placed next to your player board and determine a couple of things:

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Quests

  1. player order (activates in the next phase)
  2. the amount of gold and possibly victory points a player gains
  3. the amount of cards a player is allowed to transfer to his Elysium (the area below his player board)

Each player has a set of 4 different colored columns. These are what determines which cards you can acquire during your turn. Each card has a combination of colors in the top right corner. You need to have the columns in those colors available to be able to take a card. After your selection you need to discard one of your columns. (not necessarily one of the ones you used this turn to bu a card.) This means that as the round progresses, you’ll have less choice. The same goes for quests, apart from the fact that you need to discard the exact color of the quest you took. pic2683021_md.jpg

In some circumstance you might not have the resources to aquire a card during your final actions. In that case, you take a citizen card. (represented by the back of all cards). These count as wild cards f

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A citizen card

or set collection purposes, but penalise you during end scoring. If you don’t have a column left to get a quest, you flip one of the remaining ones and flip it. These broken/failed quests give considerably less rewards.

There are several types of abilities on each card. Some are activated instantaneous once you recruit them. Others are activated once, once per turn or at game end for instance. Below you can seen a nice picture with all different abilities.

Cards only have abilities once they are in a player’s domain. At some point however, players will try to transfer cards to their Elysium and build legends with them, as that’s what scores points at the end of the game. transfering a card to the elysium costs money, depending on the level of the card.  Legends can be built in 2 different ways. either by family or by level. A complete family legend consists of a level 1,2 and 3 card of the same family. For each family in the game there are 2 bonus tokens, rewarding players that complete a family legend first. The legends by level consists of up to 5 cards of different families, but of the same level. There are bonus tokens for these available as well, but these are held onto by the player currently in posession of the largest legend of that level.

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Level bonus tokens

During end scoring a couple of things are scored. Whoever has the most points after this scoring wins the game:

  • per legend points are scored based on the amout of cards in it.
  • bonus tokens
  • points gained during play
  • Chronos powers on cards in your elysium
  • Prestige points (If Ares is used)
  • deduct points for citizens in your elysium

 

The Review

For those of you that have read the entry of my top 10 games for 2015, it might not come as a surprise that I really enjoy this game. The overal presentation is very well done. Each family deck is illustrated by a different artist. Even though ther art styles are very different, it somehow still feels very cohesive. The box insert is very clever. The quality of the components is fine for the price point. I’ve sleeved my copy as I think the cards will suffer from multiple plays. Even though most mechanics used in the game are very familiar, I think the restrictions in selecting your cards was really well done. The game can be easily expanded upon as some of the greek gods were missing from this game                  (I personally would love to see decks for Aphrodite, Hera, Dyonisus and Artemis) Maybe stand alone expansions with other pantheons would be an option as well, but I don’t really see that happening.

In another review I’ve seen a variant where the Oracle, which normally only gets used if Apollo is present in the game, is allways used. I have yet to try this variant, but I think the bit of foreshadowing for the next round could be a welcome addition for some players.

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The oracle

What I like about the game:

  1. Replayability: With only 5 families in each game, there is tons of replayability. Each set-up has a very distinct feel
  2. Overal Presentation: I mentioned most of this already, but I love how this game looks
  3. Rulebook: Well layed out and very easy to understand
  4. Plays well with all player counts.
  5. Clear iconography: No need to check the book very often.
  6. play time: By no means a filler, but the 60 minutes on the box is very accurate. Ideal for it’s ‘weight’.

What I didn’t like as much:

  1. Very thin theme: Even though I like the theme, it’s really only pasted on very thinly. I somehow don’t get the feeling I’m a demigod trying to find my place in Olympus.
  2. Take that: It can be very nasty at times.
  3. Ares: I get the feeling that you can simply not neglect prestige points when they are present in the game. The difference between 1st and 3rd place (16 to 4) is very big in my opinion. In my plays with Ares (5 at this point) were never won by the player who scored 3rd or 4th place in Presitge points.

 

Final verdict: 8/10

 

Top 10: Most anticipated games for 2016

Top 10: Most anticipated games for 2016

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Lists! We gamers really seem to love them. We list our favourite games, our gaming goals for the next year, our collections and plays…… If we could, we could make a list for nearly anything. One thing that I always try to do is keep up with upcoming releases. I read forums, news snippets on BGG, you name it. With the compiled info I can normally easily make a decision if I’ll be interested in a game or not.

Mostly this comes down to some very simple criteria:

  • Do I know and like the designer?
  • Who is publishing the game?
  • Is the theme something that interests me?
  • What type of game is it, what are the core mechanics? (if possible I check if there are already some rules online
  • Is it something that would fit my group, kids or boardgameclub?
  • How is it presented?
  • What is the expected price going to be? (who am I kidding, really 😛 )

Based mostly on these criteria, I’ve compiled a list with the 10 releases, I’m looking forward to the most in 2016. We’ll start with number 10 and work our way down the list to my most anticipated game.

 

10: Tiny epic Western

tewTiny epic western is the newest game by Gamelyn games. They are mostly known for their “Tiny epic” series of games, of which I have played a few. Even though I haven’t liked everything that they’ve brought out. (I really didn’t care for Tiny epic Defenders for instance) This game combines worker placement with a simplified poker resolution mechanic, which really sounds interesting to me. Apart from that every player has a character with a unique power and  the presentation of it all is really neat.They are currently running a kickstarter for this game, so if you like what you’re reading head over to the page now using this link.

9: Histrio

pic2697488_mdTo be quite honest, there is not that much information out yet about this release, but it’s still high on my radar based on some of the criteria I mentioned above. Firstly, one of the designers is Bruno Cathala, who has designed many games I really enjoy (five tribes, Abyss, 7 wonders duel). The game is being published by Bombyx, so it will look amazing for sure! Apart frompic2745000_md that, there is a one-liner of information about the game on BGG:Histrio involves animal actors in renaissance times, with players performing dirty tricks and carrying out shenanigans in order to present the best troop possible to fit the mood of the King.   Somehow, that line has really peaked my interest.

8: small box Iello games

Ok, I know that this entry is basically cheating, as I’m talking about more then one game here, but as this is my own little space of interweb I think I should be able to get away with it. Iello has grown from a large french publisher, to become one of the world’s leading companies over the years. Games like King of Tokyo and King of new york are taking the world by storm and apart from their own releases, they do french releases of many well known and well loved titles.

I, However, like them best for their smaller box games. Biblios, Nyet and Welcome to the dungeon have all become some of my favorite fillers and see many plays at our game club events. Then there is the tales and games series, a special line of terrific kids games that they do. Both of these lines will be getting some new releases this year, of which I’m most looking forward to Kenjin, Candy Chaser and Tales and games: The pied piper.

7: A feast for odin

pic116113_tAgain, there is not too much known about this title yet. All I really know is that it’s the newest Uwe Rosenburg game and it will be published by Feuerland spiele. It promises to be a heavy euro as we’re accustomed to from Uwe’s previous designs (Ora et Labora, Fields of arle, Le havre, Agricola etc..) and as long as it doesn’t have a penalty system like Agricola, I’ll be on board. The title suggests that the theme will have something to do with norse mythology, which is allways a plus for me.

6: Splotter spellen reprints

 

Here I go again with the cheating, I promise it will be the last time for this list. I’ve always had an admiration for the dutch design duo of Jeroen Doumen and Joris Wiersinga. Partially, because they are my countrymen and I feel a bit of national pride doesn’t hurt. Also, I’ve allways wanted to play some of their games but have never had the chance. As most of their games are out of print, they are hard to come by and extremely expensive on the secondary markets. When I heard about the upcoming reprints, I was super excited as maybe I’ll finally get a chance to play classics like Indonesia and The great Zimbabwe

5: Pandemic Legacy, Season 2

k2-_47a7d64e-be41-4ba2-ba97-59eb9d6ab6ed.v1One of the best boardgaming experiences I have ever had was playing the first Season of Pandemic Legacy, so naturally I want to play the second season. There’s nothing really known yet about that game, apart from that it will come out this year. I do sincerely hope that we go in an entirely different direction this season, but somehow I don’t have to worry.

 

4: Arcadia quest: Inferno

I’ve had so much fun with the base ga650x650_2d72d65844c6b08ebbb09e0f12c63659c9b667e77931f3aea6997200me so far and have many things left to explore there. That doesn’t mean I’m not terribly excited to get my grubby little paws on the ‘expansion’ that was recently kickstarted. There is an awefull lot of stuff that will come with this game:aq An entirely new campaign, a pets expansion (also with a new campaign), Dragons! Demons! Angels! I hope to have my current AQ stuff painted before this will show up….

 3: Lisboa

pic2345949_mdI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love Vital Lacerda!!! (I’m talking about his games of course). During Spiel in Essen last year, I had a chance to talk to the man behind some of my favorite games and there he told me about his newest design that would be released in 2016, Lisboa. I’ve been following any news I can find about this game and so far it looks to be amazing. The game is about the reconstruction of the rebuilding of the Portugese Capitol after the 1755 earthquake. Not the most exciting theme to be honest, but if he’ll manage to incorporate the theme into the game mechanics it should prove to be very interesting. It will be a city building, economic game and probably on the heavier spectrum of euro games. If you would like to read more on Lisboa, I’d highly recommend checking out the BGG page.

2: Vinhos: Deluxe edition

How would you react when your favorite game, from your favorite designer gets a deluxe edition?  Well, my reaction was kinda like this:meme2

I’ve been trying to find a copy for myself for a long time (and still am by the way) but when Vital told me a kickstarer for a deluxe edition produced by Eagle gryphon games would be launched in January I couldn’t contain myself. Apart from a massive component upgrade, the game will be strepic2649446_mdamlined quite a bit. I personally love the new art style of the game, but this is off course a matter of taste. I’d say check the BGG page out and decide for yourself. As soon as the Kickstarter launches, I’ll be sure to write about it on the blog.

One last thing, if you follow Vital on twitter, you’ll find lots of info an pictures about his new releases. Highly recommended! @vitallacerda.

 

 

 

1: Scythe

pic2323719_md.jpgAnd finally, number one on the list could only go to Scythe. The newest game from king of kickstarter, Jamey stegmaier. The Kickstarter for Scythe was run late 2015 and was by far the best kicksater project I have ever followed. Frequent, meaningful updates, backer interaction and awesome commitment from the designer and artist. Wow, just Wow!

Scythe is a 4 (3.5 really) X game set in an alternate history 1920’s europe. The game is pic2789227_md.jpgbased upon a series of artwork from artist Jakub Rozalski. In the game you play as one of the 5 factions of Eastern Europa, farming for food and staking your claim in the lands around a mysterious factory.  Scythe is pretty much a sandbox game, where apart from a hidden objective card you are free to roam the lands and find your own way. Decisions come in the form of encounter cards, which will let you choose your destiny. A special note about the components of the game, these are absolutely stunning. From individual mechs and leader figures, to beautiful metal coins, it all looks top notch. If this game will turn out half as good as I expect it to be, it will be one of the best games in it’s genre ever.

 

 

So, that’s it for this list. Be sure to follow boardgameblues to see all updates. What game are you excited about? Leave a comment with your own choices.

Sjtollie

 

Champions of Midgard: Definitely not a LOW clone

Champions of Midgard: Definitely not a LOW clone

Champions of Midgard

  • Designer: Ole Steiness
  • Artist: Victor Pérez Corbella
  • Publisher: Grey Fox Games
  • Player count: 2-4
  • Playtime: 60-90 minutes
  • Mechanics: Worker placement, dice combat

Champions-of-Midgard-Box-Front_g5a4ac

Champions of Midgard is a middleweight, Viking-themed, worker placement game with dice rolling in which players are leaders of Viking clans who have traveled to an embattled Viking harbor town to help defend it against the threat of trolls, draugr, and other mythological Norse beasts. By defeating these epic creatures, players gain glory and the favor of the gods. When the game ends, the player who has earned the most glory earns the title of Jarl and is recognized as a champion of Midgard!

Placing workers allows for the collection of resources and warriors, which players may then send on journeys to neighboring villages or across the sea to defeat monsters and gain the glory they need for victory. Resources are used to to carve runes, build ships, and feed your followers. Viking warriors (custom dice) do battle with the myriad enemies the town faces.

Overview:

The game is played over 8 rounds, which each follow the exact same structure. A round is divided in the 5 following Phases:

20151108_132453_8e31: Round setup: This phase has several small steps that need to be taken to proceed.

  • Monsters will be drawn from the top of their respective decks and will, in the case of trolls and draugr, replace any current ones. In the case of the journey monsters, only refill the empty spots.
  • Place a face down journey card on each empty journey space
  • Reveal the top card from the merchant ship deck
  • Add the appropriate die to the swordsmith, hafter and blacksmith locations
  • add a food cube to the smokehouse location

 

2: Worker placement:

In this phase, starting with the player holding the first player marker, players place their workers on the locations on the board. Doing this they gather resources: Wood, Food, Favor, money and warriors (dice) in three different varieties. There are also some spaces on the board where other things can be obtained. Rune cards give the player some additonal abilities during the placement or battle phase. Destiny cards can provide end-game scoring opportunities and ships can be either bought or hired to take your warriors on perilous journeys.20151108_133016_5b4(1)

3: Assigning viking warriors:

Any player that placed their workers on a troll, Draugr or longship location will now assign the warriors (and in the case of a journey food cubes) they wish to send into battle. If a monster has a no spears/axes/swords symbol on it, dice of that color can not be sent into battle with the particular monster.

4: Combat resolution:

The basics of combat are very simple. Each enemy has a wounds stat and an attack stat. If you roll enough sword/spear/axe symbols to equal their wound total it is killed. For each wound the enemy inflicts on you, you lose a die. Wounds can be negated by shield results. You can spend favor tokens to reroll any dice. This step can be repeated by spending additional tokens. Combat ends either when the monster has taken lethal damage or if there are no viking warriors left to combat the monster.

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  • If a player placed warriors in the hunting grounds, he rolls his dice and gains the appropriate amount of food.
  • If a player battles a troll, combat is resolved against the troll. If the troll is not killed, all players take a blame token. If the Troll is killed however, the player may discard a blame token and force another player to take one. If nobody decided to battle the troll menacing their village, all players take a blame token as well. These blame tokens detract points at the end scoring, nicely detailed on a graph on the board.
  • In the Draugr spaces, combat is resolved from left to right.
  • For the journey spaces, follow the following steps, starting with the leftmost location:  Reveal and resolve Journey cards, feed your viking warriors (unfed warriors die and return to the reserve. Food is returned to supply even if there’s any left), combat the monster.

5: Clean up:

Some minor things need to be done in this step. Retrieve your workers from the board. Discard any undefeated Draugr and troll cards. Add 1 money to each undefeated monsters on the bottom and progress the round marker. If you’re in round eight, proceed to final scoring.

Final scoring:

Apart from the points scored during the game, you will score the following things during end scoring.

  1. Destiny cards: If you have statisfied the condition of a card, score the larger amount of Glory points depicted. If you’re tied, score the smaller amount.
  2. Sets of enemies (red/Blue/Gold). Score 5 points for each set collected
  3. Rune cards: Score the amount of glory depicted on the card. (both for used and unused cards)
  4. Private longships: If you’ve built one, score the points indicated.
  5. Favor tokens: Each unspent token is worth 2 glory points.
  6. Gold: Score 1 glory point for each 3 gold you have left.
  7. Blame: Lose points according to the track, depending on your amount of blame tokens.

 

Whoever ends up with the most points, wins the game.

 

The Review:

Before we address the elephant in the room, let me talk a little bit about what I think about Champions of Midgard itself. I have to say I succumbed a little bit to the Dice tower hype about this game, as they gave it a seal of excellence. I really couldn’t wait to get my grubby little hands on this title.

What I like about the game:

  1. The artwork and style throughout is absolutely gorgeous. The board especially is really pleasing to look at.
  2. Ease of rules. The rules were extremely simple to learn and teach to others. It’s a very beginner friendly game.
  3. Playtime: The gamebox says it plays in between 60 to 90 minutes. For me, the plays are closer to the 60 minute mark, which seems just right.
  4. Use of dice. Off course, dice add a luck element to the game. In this case however, I don’t mind at all. It makes the completion of ‘quests’ or battles feel very climatic.
  5. Small mechanics. As an example I really like that getting an additional worker, costs less when you’re not the first person to do so.
  6. Variable player powers. There are 5 different clan leaders that each have a unique ability. Allthough these are not mind blowingly different, they add just a little touch of variety I like.
  7. The designers are very reactive to questions on the BGG boards. A lot of people initially had some questions, but the team behind the game seems really committed to adress these.20151108_132350_0b7

What I didn’t like as much:

  1. Replayability. With only a small amount of marker tiles, setup will often look similar. Also, the monsters could have been more diverse for my tastes.
  2. The rulebook. I know this sounds a bit double, as I put ease of rules as a plus. For me the thing I didn’t like about the rulebook came down to the layout and they way it was written. The rules themselves are pretty straight forward and easy.
  3. Very limited player interaction. Really, apart from taking a spot someone else wants, there is no interaction. I strongly feel that the game would benefit from an expansion that would tackle this issue.

The comparison to Lords of waterdeep (Because all the cool kids are doing it)

Off course, there are some similarities between both games. In both games you collect resourses and complete quests. Also, both games use a resource that detracts points at game end (technically, the expansion to LOW adds this, not the base game)

Is that a crime? Not as far as I’m concerned. The game also have a lot of mechanics that feel very different. Lords of waterdeep is much more interactive. Resources switch hands and you can screw around with your fellow players. It doesn’t have the thrill of combat that Champions of Midgard has. Also something I really feel where the games take a different route is the way the end scoring works. In LOW, you know up front which type of quests will give you game end bonuses. In COM, the addition of set collection and the destiny cards make for a very different approach. In my eyes one game is not necessarily alot better then the other. I don’t see why you couldn’t have both in your collection.

In the end I liked this game well enough, but I would love to see some interaction and replayability added with a future expansion.

Final Verdict: 7,5/10

 

 

 

 

Sjtollie’s 10 x 10 challenge

Sjtollie’s 10 x 10 challenge

With an ever expanding collection, it’s sometimes hard for me to get some games to the table more than a handfull of times. Over on Boardgamegeek a lot of people are having this same issue apparently, as for several years people are doing a so called “10 x 10 challenge”. This basically means they challenge themselves to play ten different games, ten times each.

I think this is a good initiative, so this year I would like to join in on the fun! I started thinking about games I really wanted to play ten times this year and started making a list. At first, the list contained a lot of really long and heavy games, but somehow this didn’t really felt achievable to me. That’s why I started on adding some diversity to the games for my list. This year, I’ve chosen the following games:

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  1. Isle of skye: A quick game with a lot of replayability and some interesting choices. I don’t own it myself though, so I’ll probably purchase it.
  2. Arcadia Quest: I really want to complete the beyond the grave campaign at least once before Inferno arrives. I also plan on painting my set, but that’s a different story all together…..
  3. Codenames: A secret santa gift from this year. I’ve heard great things so I think this one will be an easy one to achieve. (might up the number along the way).
  4. Viticulture: I love this game so much! One of the most elegant designs out there. I’m sure I’ll find people to help me with completing this one, as it’s pretty popular at our games club.
  5. Broom service: This one is a bit more approachable. I hope to play this game with non-gamers. Somehow I always have a good time while playing this pretty light (but mean) game.
  6. Stronghold (2e): I did a lot of demo’s for this game at Essen last year. I love to explore it a bit more and get some plays in with some of my go-to 2 player buddies.
  7. Russian railroads: I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a snob, but we use this often as a warm-up on heavy euro nights. A lot of replayability, especially with the german railroads expansion.
  8. Mombasa: One of the surprises from last year. Not sure about the replayability though, but I have good faith.
  9. The voyages of Marco polo: Nice middle weight, but quick to play euro game. The random set-up and the different player powers make this game (almost) infinitely replayable. Especially if you add the mini expansion.
  10. Battlelore (2e): My favorite command and colors game. A lot of people in my gaming group own this and I really want to play it more. We’re scheduling a tournament soon, so I hope to get a lot of plays in then.

 

I plan on evaluating my progress after every month, so expect an update on this post next month. I keep track of this challenge in a simple graph, just so I have something visual next to the plays I log on BGG.10 x 10

 

Tell me what you think about my list, will I make it? Maybe you want to join in and comment with your own lists.

See you around next time,

Sjtollie

7 Wonders Duel: Cathala VS Bauza

7 Wonders Duel: Cathala VS Bauza

7 Wonders Duel

  • Designer: Antoine Bauza, Bruno Cathala
  • Artist: Miguel Coimbra
  • Punblisher: Repos productions, Rebel.PL, Asterion press
  • Player count: 2
  • play time: 30 minutes
  • Mechanics: Set collection, Card drafting.

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Overview:

7 wonders duel is the new 2 player game set in the massively succesfull 7 wonders series. Where the original game caters up to 7 people, this one is especially designed as a two player game. I’ll give you a brief overview of how the game is played, before I’ll give you guys my opinion of it.

It’s probably not necessary, but I’ll treat this overview as if you’re unfamiliar with regular 7 wonders. Please bare with me on this one, as some things could be familiar.

7 wonders is played over three ages, represented by three decks of cards. Each age, a tableau of cards is set up and players will take turns acquiring these cards for the expansions of their empire. Different card types are divided by color. There are 8 types of cards in the game:7 wonders duel card types

  • Brown Cards: Basic resources. Aqcuiring these helps with the costs to pay for other cards
  • grey cards: Refined resources. Same as above
  • yellow cards: These have various effects, but generally give money/points or influence the price you pay for resources
  • Green cards: Technology cards. 7 different symbols. They give points and if you acuire a pair of the same type will give you a benefit the rest of the game. If you manage to collect 6 different symbols, you immediately win the game by a scientific victory.
  • Red cards: Military cards. By acquiring these cards, move the military dominance marker along the track towards your opponent for every symbol on the card. This give points and can cause the opponent to lose money. If you manage to reach the end of the track you automatically win by Military victory.
  • Blue cards: Civilian cards. These cards generate points.
  • Purple cards: Guild cards. Score points/money. If you acquire a guild card (only 3 available in third age) you score points at the end according to certain conditions.

wondersAt the start of the game, players will draft wonder cards, till both have 4. From 10 available science tokens, 5 are placed on the board. When selecting a card form the display you have 3 options: Build the card in your tableau, looking at the cost of the building. Any resource you don’t have can be bought from the bank. The cost for these is calculated as follows: You pay 2 money, plus 1 additional for each of that type of resource your opponent does have. You pay these costs to the bank, not your opponent. Your second option is building a wonder. You select a card and place it beneath the wonder, paying costs as normal. You then immediately gain the bonuses on the right side of the wonder card. A third option is to sell the card. For this you gain 2 money, plus an additional 1 for each yellow card in your tableau.

Each round the display is arranged in a different way, with rows of face up and face down cards. As soon as a card is uncovered, it becomes available for selection. If none of the alternative victory conditions (military or scientific) are met before the third age ends, points are scored and whoever has the most points is declared the winner.

The Review:

Let me start off by saying that I’ve played regular 7 wonders qui20151104_124156te a bit, including all expansions. I’ve liked some better then others, but in general I really like the game. Before playing this game I had a question nagging in the back of my mind: Is a 2 player game really going to add something for me? The short answer: Hell Yeah!

What I like about the game:

  1. Playtime is quick. You can bang out a game in less then 30 minutes.
  2. Interesting design decisions. I really like the alternative way military and Science works in this game. Additional ways of winning open up some new strategic avenues to explore. The Mah-jong style card display  has some hidden information which I really like.
  3. The science tokens. I love bonuses that are only for me.
  4. Artwork. This is really top notch, from the box art to the cards and especially the wonder cards.
  5. Still gives that 7 wonders feel. Makes the game playable with 2 which in my opinion it wasn’t before.

What I didn’t like

  1. The rulebook and I’m talking specificcaly about the Dutch rules included. Being Dutch myself, I always like it when rules in my own language are added to a game. Here however, the rules are translated so badly that I highly suspect a bad google translate job. From a publisher as well known as Repos, I think this is unacceptable.
  2. More luck. Since some of the cards in the tableau are face down, you miss out on some information. Some of this can be covered by carefull planning, but it could be that the card you really needed gets revealed right after you choose. This is a small nitpick for me though.
  3. Card size. Even though the cards are very clear and well laid out, I feel the size could have been a bit bigger.

Final Verdict: 8/10

Signorie: Another gem from what’s your game

Signorie:  Another gem from what’s your game

Signorie

  • Designer: Andrea Chiarvesio, Pierluca Zizzi
  • Artist: mariano Iannelli
  • Publisher: What’s your game
  • Player count: 2-4
  • Play time: 90-120 minutes
  • mechanics: Dice selection, influence, set collection, rewards

Italy during the 15th century was a country full of intrigue and magnificence. The tumultuous political conditions created the perfect breeding ground for the birth of a new form of government (called Signoria) and the rise of the most ambitious noble families. After having acted in the dark for a long time, the time has finally come for them to take control of the cities and shape Italy’s future. Their stories will go down in history.

Overview:20151027_222203

In Signorie the players take on the role of a lord of one of the most prestigious families during the Reneissance. The game is played over 7 rounds, regardless of player counts. At the start of each round, the pool of dice gets rolled (1 die per player per color) and get placed in the appropriate space. 10 assignment tiles will be placed randomly on the available slots on the board. Each player starts with 3 male and 4 female meeples, representing their children. They will also start out with 5 Florins. Each round in turn order players can take an action by taking one of the dice from the pool and placing it on their board. You have up to 4 of these actions available to you each round, but you can only ever have one of each color of dice on your player board. pic2680074_mdThe value of the die you select matters, as you have to pay an amount of florins if you place a dice with a lower value then the slot it is place on, equal to the difference. Does that mean you should always try to go for a high a dice as possible? Not necessarily, but I’ll get into that a little later.

When you place a die, you can perform any of three actions:

pic26800951: Hire a helper: When you chose this action you take a white helper disc and place them on one of the 3 available slots of the color indicated on your action space, paying the amount of Florins depicted in the spot. This doesn’t do anything for you at this point, but it can help you in the future during other actions. You can have multiple helpers active at any given time and you can chose whether to activate them or wait for a better opportunity. Once you take the helper action, the disc is removed from your board.

2: Signoria action: The Signoria action is different depending on the color of dice you choose. A brief description:

  1. Yellow: Take 3 florins from the bank
  2. Red: Arrange a marriage for one of your female family members.
  3. Purple: Offspring. Your married children produce offspring. Roll a white die for each White worker on your board and take new meeples from the supply depending on the result
  4. Grey: Send one of your male family members on a dimplomatic mission.
  5. Turqoise: 4 movement points on the initiative and career tracks.

During these actions you are allowed to take any helper actions available in the column of the same color you placed your die in, don’t forget.

3: Assignment action: At the beginning of the round the 10 assignment tiles are randomly placed on the available slots. When you decide to use this action, you can spend meeples depicted on the spaces to perform actions. For each color there are 2 actions available and you can chose to take either one or both actions. To do this, pay the amount and type of m

pic2680076_mdmeeples as depicted on the tile and board and perform the action. Some have set numbers you need to pay, others give you an option to pay up to three. In that case perform the action an amount of times eaqual to the meeples you have spent.

Next, I’d like to get into some of the actions in more detail, as this is where the real meat of the game comes from in my opinion. The board has five cities printed on them, each with room for 10 meeples and 2 spaces for alliance tiles. Alliance tiles are drawn from a face down pile and show 6 different family crests and a point value ranging from 2 to 5.

Diplomatic missions: With one of the dice actions as well as with one of the assignment tiles, it’s possible to send your pic2686591_md(grand)sons on diplomatic missions to one of the five cities. This is a multistep process. First off, your sons are place on one of the career tracks (Poltical, Clerical and Military.) There are several actions available to move your sons along on these tracks. When you send a son on a diplomatic mission, remove a meeple of your choice from any of the tracks and place him on one opic2686592f the spaces of the city, immediately gaining points equal to the value he was on said track. These values can go up to thirteen points! You always place the meeple on the lowest available spot, but you need to take into account the rank it was on on the career track. It needs to be at least as high as the value depicted in the spot you want to place it. Then, take one of the available alliance tiles and place them on the corresponding spot to the right of your player board.

Arranging marriage: When you arrange a marriage, take one of your available female workers and place them on the lowest available spot on one of the cities. Then, you pay at least the amount of Florins depicted on the spot you took and take 2 points for each Florin spent. You can chose to pay more, up to a maximum of 4. If there’s an alliance tile available, take it and place it on the corresponding spot next to your board.

At the end of the game, you can score these alliance tiles. You score each row where you have placed at least three tiles of pic2686593_mdthe symbols matching your player board. It’s unlikely you’ll score all 4 of these, so it might be a good idea to focus on some of them.20151027_222332

At the end of a round there is a reward phase. 7 reward tiles are laid out at the beginning of the game, showing an end round bonus for each of the rounds of play. Remember I said it didn’t have to be a good idea to take high numbered dice? I’ll explain why: Each player who has a total value of 13 or less on their dice gets to take either the bonus action or 3 florins. Apart from that, you can also place a white token on your board, marking the amount of your sons which are married. This amount influences the amount of dice you get to roll during the offspring action. In later rounds in the game, you also get an additional 2 florins. The tiles for round 6 and 7 are taken from a seperate pile and instead of a bonus give scoring opportunities. In these rounds, players qualifying for the round bonus also have the option of trading in 5 Florins for 5 points. After 7 rounds, payers score their alliance tiles and score half the points for any meeples they have still on the career tracks (rounded down). The player with the most glory points wins the game.

The Review:

To be very short: I love this game!!!

Now that would be too simple, wouldn’t it? I’ll try to elaborate on the points that really make this game shine for me. Components are of good quality and enough are supplied with the game. I personally like the artwork, but I’ve heard some people call the board a bit bland, which I can relate too. I personally love the dice that come with the game, especially the color choices.

I have a thing for multi purpose options in a game. Be it cards or in this case dice. I think the mechanic they use with the dice in this game is pure brilliance. It gives a player a lot to think about. Should I save my money and take a high dice or should I spend a bit to make sure that I reach the end round bonus, lovely. The number on the dice also effect some of the helper actions, so that gives it yet another layer of thought.

Money is really tight in this game. It’s a real balancing act to make sure you have enough to do everything you want. There are several ways to earn money during the game and to me it give a great sense of fulfillment when I can minimise the amount of actions I need to take just to get more cash.

There is no real direct player interaction in Signorie, but it doesn’t feel like I’m doing a solo thing. Interaction comes in the form of players taking the dice you might have wanted, beating you out on the initiative track or t20151027_205000aking the alliance tile you needed to complete your set. This is exactly the kind of interaction I like in a euro-game.

I have played several what’s your game games over the years and so far they have yet to disappoint me. Out of their 2 essen releases this year I’m not sure which one I’d rate higher, but both are remarkable games that any eurogamer should at least look into.

Final Verdict: 8,5/10

Disclaimer: I’ve used a couple of images from board game geek user and creator of great overview videos: Paul Grogan. The photographs are my own.

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