6 Player Gloria Mundi

October 20, 2006 / 10:59 AM

OK, I got to play my 2nd playing of Gloria Mundi tonight. The first game was played with 3 players. Tonights game however is with 6. Tonights game is with Doug, Jon, Adam, John, Mark, and Me. The first game these guys played had a rule discrepancy which totally ruined the game for them. I believe it was that they didn't have the 3 initial cards(farm, peace, city) played before the first round began.

The second game we played was with three, and everything went pretty smooth. After that game I believed that green maybe have been weighted to heavy. Also Mark mentioned in that 3 player game that it was wiser to pay the goth than not. I told him I didn't believe a game could be played to where everyone paid the goth all the way until the last city when the goth was activated. So we thought we'd try his theory.

I was the first player in the game. Of course the game goes through a round without any building purchases, and the goth was paid each time. The next round I got a lucky break with the "Venitvm" which gives you 1VP if you have a peace card, and 1VP is you have at least one city card. This proved quite powerful in early in the game. I was generating 2 VP's each time a farm was played. You have to rememeber in an 6 player game there is only 8 rounds. 4 green, 2 gold and 2 white. So I knew this was going to be a good building to have. It was, by the third round I had a demanding lead. However, I was a target of Adam at this point who was my third to the right player. By the third round he made his move by not paying the Goth. This "would" have worked, if the other two players played the cards right. However when payment got to me, I was able to destruct an unneeded card, and my generator continued.

By the third round John got a lucky break and took the "Bovarium" card, which allowed him on a farm round to swap a gold for 2 VP's. So he was quickly catching my lead with this card.

Every other player was still lingering behind quite a bit, and staying par with each other. On the 5th round Adam again made his move, and this time it was successful, and I lost my green generator. I did however by that time picked up the "Navis Onararia" card, which when peace was activated, if the goth was on a farm spot, I received 2 VP. Also very powerful. But at the same time Jon built the "Circus" which when green was activated he could trade one white resource for 2VP's. Another on of the green powercards. SO he quickly caught my lead.

My target at this point was John and his gold for vp's card. So I didn't pay the goth, and took out his only city card. This was a success for a while as the next round or two, he ran out of gold. This was short lived after he built a "Templam Mircus" which for every green card he had, he got one purple. One round of that, and he was set for the gold to VP's engine.

Adam never really got the resources he needed to build anything. He had at one time tons of white. Mark was on a similar boat with almost all the green resources, and nothing to build. So the game came down to mostly John, Jon, and Me with the powerhouse VP generators.

Since Adam took my big powerhouse card, I started slipping behind Jon, and John. By the games end, John took the win having the VP generator working almost the entire game, and gave him a demanding lead. John, over took me, and I was unable to really use my white VP generator, as all the white cards had already been played. So I ended up in third.

A six player game is tricky. There are only in my mind 3-4 really nice power cards that in an 8 round game will get you a demanding lead. Of course almost all those power cards are green. In a 6 player game however, only 2-3 players are going to get a chance at those cards, leaving the other players to flounder behind. This may make Gloria Mundi not play well with the maximum compliment of 6.

Also I still believe that green maybe a tad too powerful or unbalanced. Most of the really nice power cards are green, and are easy to purchase. If you can't get one because of card availability, you are really taken back in the game.

Overall I like Gloria Mundi, but it is a tad fragile in my mind.


1st: John
2nd: Jon
3rd: Mike
4th: Mark
5th: Doug(first playing)
6th: Adam

10:59 AM in Game Sessions | Permalink | Comments (60)

Key Decisions

October 13, 2006 / 09:51 AM

Got a chance to play Richard Breese’s Keytown for his uber-rare “Key” series recently. I’ve seen this collecting dust on the shelf at a friends house, and recently we’ve been trying out older forgotten titles and this one stood out. It’s considered a Tile Placement Area Control type game.

I’ll start off with the components. Since this was published by R&D games, a small independent publisher, the components of the game are not up to par with other larger German publishers standard. No linen finishes, and the cardboard was heavy cards stock. The game hadn’t been played in a long while and the board itself was highly warped. No problem though as I am the master of straightening warpage. Beside the board each player is given a number of people chits numbered “1” through “5” with a decreasing amount of eight “1”’s down to two “5”’s. The player is also given a screen to hide his contents. There is also 5 different colored cubes which corresponds to the five different resources on the board. Then for each resource there are two round chits labeled “0” and “2” in the corresponding color. There is also 3 player turn order cards, but they aren’t all that useful. Finally there is a start player chit.

The game play is not overly complex, however the rules are very obtuse in its explanation. We encountered a few rules questions that the rule book was not entirely clear on. But they were minor issues, and logical decisions were agreed upon to play the game.

The play begins with bidding on turn order. Turn order is a little odd. Any time during the game a player may up the turn order bid and decide who goes “next”, and I mean next. Like and interrupt. The bids go from “0” to “50”. These are points the players must pay at the end of the game off their scores. Once the starting player has made the final bid, play begins in five separate phase.

First phase is placement of player chits. At the beginning of 5 player game each player receives six “1” chits, which leave two remaining in the general stock. In turn order starting with the start player each player places on chit on the board. It can be in any resource area Farms, Mines, Port, Forest, or Brewery, or it may be placed in any “free” spot in the cottage area or one of the three town areas. There is one special case however, each player get a purple “hooker” chit to play in the game. The “hooker” chit allows to first take another players chit off a town space and place it with the “hooker” in one of the free cottage areas. That area must have two free spots open for this to work. Then that player get to place a chit of his own anywhere on the board, including the space he just displaced the other players chit.

In phase two, each of the resource areas are analyzed. Starting with the player with the most value he is allowed to take either “one” of the remaining discs which are hidden, and or as many resource cubes as his value shows in that area. The discs are a one shot deal, and are usually taken in the first round or so. There is a finite number of resource cubes, so order does matter later in the game when cubes run out. You may get none!

Phase three is placement of the cubes. The point of the game is to upgrade you citizens in each town area, and make babies in each cottage area. To do so, the “3” lowest citizens in the town get upgraded to the next level (1 to 2, 2 to 3, etc). In each cottage area, the top scoring player get two “1” chits, or in a tie both make a “1” chit baby. This value can increase by placing cubes on other players. So in turn each player places his cubes, trying to make his own the lowest in the towns, or highest in the cottages. But then come in the discs. The discs are marked “0” and “2”. The “0” makes all cubes in that town region of that color x0. The “2” makes all cubes of that color x2. So this can be used to help or hurt other players and yourself.

Once the cubes are placed or all players have passed, phase four begins. In each town the lowest three chits are valued, and each of those three get to upgrade to the next value, replacing the old value in the general stock with the new higher value, which the player keeps. Also each player get to keep the cube that were played on them for a later round.

On the fifth phase, each of the cottages are scored. If there is a chit with a single high value, that chit may bring in two “1” valued chits if he has any available. If it is a tie, both chits get one “1” to take into their supply.

At the end of the round each player picks up the remaining chits left on the board into their hidden supply and the next round begins.

The game is played in four rounds. At the end of the four round each player takes each chit and squares it (i.e. A “2” chit equals 4, and a “3” chit equals 9). Then they add those together and subtract the number that they bid for turn order, and that’s the score. For ties, the greater number of higher chits wins, then the greatest number of cubes they have, etc.

Gameplay. It took us a round to really find a groove on what was going on. We found that in a 5 player game, upgrading chits to even a “3” was SUPER hard. I don’t think anyone did it. To get the 5 level must be a real trick! Also the scores were so close at the end of the game, it really came down to the start order bid which lost it for a few people. I’m not sure the value of bidding at all for start player until a real strategy is formed. Since there is only four round in the game, really the first two of three rounds we just getting up the cubes and chits, before any real action happened. On the fourth round  everyone just unloaded their cubes in order to try and get the most upgrades. I didn’t like this aspect, because after the forth cube, you really didn’t know what values would end up high, so it was just a crap shoot.

Overall not a bad game. Not and overly exciting game, but I could see it hit the table on occasion

09:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Labor Day Return

September 5, 2006 / 03:36 PM

Ok, so its been a while since I've posted here. So I thought I would try and see if I can be more diligent with my neglected blog.

I went to Michigan for the Labor Day weekend to visit with family. Of course I always bring games. Usually they are small box card games. One that I can take with my carry on that won't be construed as a bomb or other questionable restricted item now on the home security hot list. (I doubt I'd get Lexio on board as not being some sort of explosive device).

This year I brought with me

Franks Zoo -- Always a favorite with the Bridge/Spades players.
Bohnanza -- Just the flat our favorite of my sisters and brother-in-law
Flea Circus
No Thanks!
Tichu -- Which I have yet to get to the table.

As always all my cousins, sisters and brothers, and an aunt or two love playing all of them. It was non stop "Another round of the bean game?" Always good to hear. ;)

One thing saddens me every year. I had distinct memories of my parents and my Aunts/Uncles playing cards almost on a daily basis. pinochle, Bridge, Hearts, Spades, etc. They would play into the wee hours in the night, and us kids would beg for them to let us play.

Nowadays however, they almost refuse to play cards or games as they did back in the day. "Oh no, you kids have a good time" Heard so many times this weekend (Of course all of us "kids" are in our 30's)....They won't even play the games they knew. Is this the fate I have to look forward too, when I no longer want to play TGOO???

What happened to those rip roaring games of their past when they were in their 30's, but no longer?

No worries though. I had plenty of takers....

03:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Juegos de la tapa 10 de los Miguels de 2005

December 31, 2005 / 04:37 PM

While I analyze my games played of 2005, I thought I'd do my top 10 new games of this year. Yeah I know a bit of the bandwagon going on, but I have my favorites too!

1. Caylus -

I'm sure this will be on lots of folks top ten this year, and its well deserved. I got to play it a few times now, and each time it's a totally different game. That's what I like about it, always a different approach. I look forward to playing this again multiple times in 2006.

2. Elasund: The First City of Catan -

This may surprise some folks, but Elasund to me is a true sleeper of 2005. It's not Settlers, but a game that stands on it's own. Player interaction, and well thought out moves. It can get a bit evil, but I love the action. This is my recommendation of the year.

3. Ticket to Ride Europe -

Ok, yes, I love Ticket to Ride, and TtR:Europe just made it even better. They added elements to make this a more gamer game, and it works.

4. In the Shadow of the Emperor -

This was an interesting game. The mechanics felt fresh. I believe it has good replayability, and look forward to taking another stab at it.

5. Tower of Babel -

This is one that I will get the most disagreement about. It seems this Knizia falls into a love it or hate it category. I'm in the love. It does require a certain group and group think to work successfully. When you have that group, it's a fabulous game.

6. Ars Mysteriorum -

This one surprised me this year. I wasn't a fan of Tahunyatsu-ui-ui-to-to, or what ever it was, so I didn't think this would be a good one. I was wrong, a lot of known mechanics, blind bidding, bluffing, majority, all worked great together. It runs a bit long, but you wouldn't know it.

7. Conquest of the Empire -

Ok, I know. This one could have been Struggle of Empires just as easily, as those were the ruleset I loved. But hey, I've been on a Rome kick this year, and playing this one really sparked my imagination.

8. Lexio -

If you read below, this is one Trick/Climbing games that just happen to click with me. Tichu-Simchu, bring on the Lexio.

9. GemBlo -

What, BlokusX1.5, you bet I love it. Nothing beats being able to play this with 6 players at once. And the placements were different enough to make it fresh and new. Guess the Koreans have hit it big with my this year.

10. Havoc: the Hundred Years War -

My favorite card game of the year. And my name is in the rules, so whoo hoo. It's a poker variant, and I like the gameplay. Great work Sun River!

So that is my Top 10 of 2005. I thought a pretty good year overall. Can't wait to see what 2006 brings....

04:37 PM in Games | Permalink | Comments (5)

Black Bones of Trick

December 23, 2005 / 03:52 PM

Ok, for anyone who knows me, know one thing for sure, I usually despise trick taking games (Or climbing game for the pedantic). So when a new one comes around, I look it with an evil eye. Recently I had a chance to buy GemBlo from funagain, as they were the only vendor at the time to have it in stock. I also noticed at the same time, the company Dagoy had another title also available “Lexio” a tile-based trick taking game. My gaming bud mark digs trick taking games so I asked if he’d like to piggyback and order for it. When it came I must admit, such a pretty box. Slick black with fancy symbology. Of course being that it was Korean, I couldn’t read a lick of it.
    Inside the box the first thing you notice is one of the best-made box inserts I had ever seen, but inside that a set of the most gorgeous black tiles, thick and heavy. They were numbered in four colors blue/yellow/green/red from 1 through 15 in fancy symbols and runes. The number “2” tiles were adorned even further that had identified them as special. Also in the box was a tightly bound set of chips of green red and yellow. I truly enjoyed the feel of the tiles, and they were stackable and had a mix between Mah Jongg and Dominoes.
    Game play. Well let’s see. It is a straightforward Climbing Card Game where you had four suits numbered 1-15. The odd part was the 1 and 2 are the high cards, while the 3-15 followed. The suits were also ordered. Blue being lowest, then yellow, then green and the highest being red. For 5 players, each player got 12 tiles each. And the player with the “3” of blue, being the lowest would start the hand (Like Mah Jongg). The starting player would choose any set of tiles that follow the table below:

Single tile
Three of a kind

Then the special hands which ay be played in any order above the above hands. With the hand getting better down the list.

5-tile straight
5-tile flush
Full house
4 of a kind + 1 high tiles
5-tile straight flush

In the single/pair/three of a kind only a higher hand of the same kind may be played. The colors always matter. A pair of “3”’s blue/red beats a pair of “3”’s yellow/green, and so one.
    The scoring goes as follows. When one player goes out, then each player with remaining tiles pays “every” player with less tiles the amount he deltas. So if I had 4 remaining tiles, I would pay the winning player 4 chips, and a player with 2 tiles two chips and so on. Here’s the trick. If you get stuck with a “2” tile in your hand, that number doubles. The pain in which I felt many times! The first player to go out ends the game, and then the remaining players count the chips they have left, highest wins.

I must admit, I enjoyed this game much more than I thought I would. We did find with the existing rules that it takes quite a long time to end the game because getting one player out takes a long time. We agreed in later games to make a time limit or a set number of rounds. So if you’re a fan of trick, and like games such as “Gang of Four” Then Lexio I believe you will enjoy to no end. It’s loud, painful, and loads of fun!


03:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Yet another Tower Game?

December 2, 2005 / 02:02 PM

Got a chance to play this new title from daVinci Games this afternoon and thought I'd write a review on it. The game "Lucca Citta" at first seems to yet another reniesance tower building game such as Campanile or Clock Tower, and well it is. But hey, you never know maybe they've added some flare to the game to make it different? We'll see

The components are staright forward. It comes in a small boxx with two decks of cards. The cards consist of a Player shield card and a player building card. The shield card is used to show turn order and the building card is used to show what phase a building is in. Then there are four "tower" cards. The remaining cards are the building cards. These cards com in six different colors, and have three distinguishing features; shields,  windows, and address numbers. The number of shiels plus the number of windows always add up to three. Yet there maybe three windows and zero shields, or two windows and one sheild and so on. The numbers on the address go up to I believe 100. That's it for components. Simple, clean.

The players "field" is made up of three sections. The first or the bottom is the "building" field. Her a player may build one tower of each color by placing one card section on top of another card section. These must be placed in order, they may not be shuffled around once they are placed. The second field is the "completed" tower field. These are where the towers are placed once it reaches three levels. The last field is the "show" tower field.

The game is played in rounds. In a five player game we had five rounds. Before the first round, each player is given four cards. The player will choose two out of the four, then the other two are shuffled back in the deck. These two card are all showed simultaniously. This will show the starting build field for each player and then player order is determined. whoever has the most shields showing from card in their build area goes first and so on. ties are broken by the player that has the largest address number showing. Then at the beginning of each rounds a set of three cards are laid out up to the number of players plus one. So in a five player game there would be six sets of three cards dealt to the middle of the table.

So on the first players turn he does these set of action. First he "may" show a completed tower to the show field. By doing this he scores his completed tower equal to the number of the same color cards as all other players have in both their build and completed pile. Then the player chooses one set of three cards showing and plays them. He may place cards in his build area by placing it on top of an existing tower or start a new one( a player may only build one of each color up to six). Or he may lay a card out for the city wall. Or he may discard the card. Once he plays his cards, any tower that was completed goes into the completed field and is scored. He gets one point for every window in the completed tower. If he gets a "city tower" card he may place that off in his city walls area.

After the first player plays, then every other player in the turn order does the same actions. The last set of three cards is discarded.

After the fifth round the game is completed. Then in turn order each player may "show" a completed tower, and score them accordingly. The final scoring deals with the city walls. For each card a player set aside for the city wall(placing them face down) he first must determine if he can support them. To support them he must have in his building area 2 shields for each wall segment. And he must be able to support ALL the wall segments or he looses the bonus. Then if he has wall segments and any "tower cards" he add them together and multiplys that number by the number of completed towers he has. So is he has 2 wall segments( and four shields to support), 1 tower card, and 4 completed towers then 1+2x4=12 bonus points.

Thats it. The person with the most points wins.

My feeling of the game. I liked it, it seems to have a nice balance of tradoffs in turn order collecting shields and scoring windows. Timing is everything. You don't want to "show" towers too soon, as you won't get as many points as waiting for other players to play the same color cards. However on the flip side, there is only five rounds of play, an you need to squeeze as many completed towers in to score. The luck comes in of course with the card draw, as it is random what each pile will contain. Which may work for you or not. But it didn't seem to screw anyone in the game I've played. I did notice that by the end it was quite close the number of towers and number of wall segments that each of us had played. So the scores for the bonus was quite close. I think the real scoring happens in looking what other players have been playing, and determining when to complete and show a tower to recive the maximum points against others unfinished towers. Remember, you don't score the same color cards in other players "showed" towers. So turn order is important, timing is important, and paying attention to what other players is playing is important. Very interesting play. It also plays fairly quickly, you can get a full game in in about 20-30 minutes tops. I'm not sure how it will scale with less players, but with 5 it seems quite balanced and solid.

02:02 PM in Game News and Reviews | Permalink | Comments (5)

Women are from Venus, Faidutti is from Mars

November 14, 2005 / 10:08 AM

Had a chance to play the French version of Bruno Faidutti’s newest game Mission: Red Planet. Now as most of us know Faidutti can be somewhat chaotic, so we shall see.

The components were not bad. The art was cool. I like the whole steam punk genre’ and is one that hasn’t gotten a whole lot of use in the board gaming world. What really stood out was the circular game board of mars. Now that’s different. The game comes with the board of Mars, which has 10 areas; a board of the launch pad that has one to five launches areas (loading and launching). This board also has the turn track 1-10 showing the scoring turns of 5/8/10. There are 34 rockets 3 for each area 3/4/5 and 4 blank rockets. And finally each player has a set of 9 character cards, and 22 astronaut meeples.

The game is played in 10 turns. In each turn the launch pad is filled with a number of rockets equal to the number of players. Each player chooses simultaneously one character card from the 9 available. Then like Citadels each number is called off 1 through 9 and each character is played. If more than one player chooses a same character it is played in clockwise order from the starting player. The rockets are immediately launched as soon as it has the number of equal astronauts as stated on it. The player actions are as follows:

  1. Headhunter: He      places one astronaut onto one rocket on the launch pad. His special power      is to get back all played character cards played back into your hand.
  2. Explorer: He      places one astronaut onto one rocket on the launch pad. His special power      is to make up to three moves from areas on mars to other adjacent areas.      He has up to three movement points to move “his” meeples.
  3. Scientist: He      places 2 astronauts on 2 “different” rockets on the pad. His special power      is to look at one of the discovery cards that are on the map, OR draw an      event card.
  4. Spy: He      places 2 astronauts on 2 different rockets on the pad. His special power      is he can choose to launch and rocket that has not been completely filled.
  5. Saboteur: He      places on astronauts on a rocket of his choice. His special power is he      may choose any not launched rocket, and blow it up. BOOM!
  6. Vamp:      She places one astronaut onto a rocket of her choice. Her power is she may      swap out another player’s astronaut from mars or a shuttle where that      player already has presence with one of his own.
  7. Tour Guide: He      may place 3 astronauts on “one” rocket. If there are no rockets with      enough space, that player instead loses a turn.
  8. Military: He      may place 2 astronauts onto one rocket, but only if there is space. His      special power is he may kill an astronaut of any player that is on the      outer zones of mars.
  9. Pilot: He      may place 2 astronauts onto one or two shuttles of his choice. His power      is he can change the destination of a lunched or unlaunced rocket to a      destination of his choice.

The trick I’ve noticed for the latter characters is the getting in “before” the rockets already launch. But they are more powerful. A nice balance. So after each player takes his actions the rockets that have launched are dumped into the areas that are stated in the destination. Then the player that played the highest character gets the first player token. If it’s not a scoring action then the next turn continues, and the empty pads are filled (up to the numbers of players).

On turns 5/8/10 scoring happens. When an astronaut is placed on mars for the first time, a “?” tile is revealed. It can be an iceium (1) or a Pinkite (2) or Brownonium (3). This will be what that area produces for the remainder of the game. The 5th round one scoring marker is place. In the 8th, 2, and the last 3. The player that has majority of astronauts in a region gets “all” of the markers. If there is a tie for first they split the markers, leaving any remainders behind. If there is not enough to make an equal split, they get nada. In the last scoring round any exploration cards placed on the outer areas are revealed first, which can effect what happens in the final scoring round. i.e. “This region is not scored” or “Switch the resource marker with a new hidden one” and so on. Players who have event cards may also score extra for having the requirements stated on them. i.e. “+1 point for a presence in each area on mars” or “+8 for majority in Pinkite” or “+6 points for having a presence in this group of regions” and so on. The last scoring is the person that has the most iceium get a bonus of 9 points. Each of the chits is worth what is stated on them. The winner is the one with the highest points.

Initial play impressions. I was of course stomped in the first playing of this game. I’m under the impression that the more players the better. This makes for more competitions in the different areas. Being a majority game, if some players are not being attacked as much, then they tend to sweep large amount of points.

Looking back I think it might be good play to spend most of the early rounds getting as many astronauts on the board first before doing any of the other special actions. I think playing the 2-3 astronauts at least till after the first scoring round. Something I will have to try next time. The game plays fairly fast. With open scoring, some may tend to over analyze things, but not too badly. The game play is “very” tight. You have to make very precise decisions to be successful. And that is a good thing. Definitely a game that will reward experience. Playing the higher level characters are powerful but risky, as rockets are launched quickly. It is most definitely not as chaotic as most of Bruno’s titles, and it’s a lot of fun. The play is very reminiscent of Citadels, but adds new flavor and ideas to the mix. I enjoyed it, a solid area majority game.

I heard a rumor that the next game board will be square, which is a shame, as I really like the circular board. Overall and excellent game. So this along with Diamant is now my new favorite Faidutti’s.

10:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Conquest of the Empire (HBO Style)

October 17, 2005 / 12:00 PM

To continue my Rome kick lately, I convinced the local provinces that Conquest of the Empire was in order. This of course is the new edition from Eagle Games that includes a new ruleset base on the Struggle of Empires rules. So I thought I would write of a session report HBO style.
49 BC. Prelude

Rome is on the brink of civil war. Cassus is dead and Rome is ripe for the picking. Here are the major players in this new fight for the title of Caesar. Pompey (Played by Kevin), Scipio (Played by Susan), Cato (Played by Mark), Julius Caesar (Played by John), and Marc Antony (Played by myself).

48 BC. Season One

After defeating the Gauls, Caesar and Antony established themselves over the Alps and into the Italian peninsula. The effect of chasing away the Senate under Pompeys control, left Rome and southern Italy to the whims of Caesar and Antony forces. Being allies they shared Gaul. Caesar kept his influence in tact in Hispania. Scipio fled south and established control on Sicily and with his naval control unopposed in Carthage and into Egypt. Pompey, still quite a powerful figure fled to Asia and Greece and with his allies and established his influence over the eastern part of the empire, and over the rich kingdom of Egypt.
Cato, with ardent hatred of Antony that stemmed from an earlier campaign that Antony left Cato's Legions to the whims of the Gauls, swore vengeance against the alliance of Antony and Caesar. Cato Still had the strong 6th legion in the region of Gaul, however was surrounded by the Legions of Antony and Caesar. He knew he had to recruit more and spent many Talents to insure the garrison in Gaul. Cato also knew the exploits of Caesar and spent most of his time training his troops for a later campaigning in Rome. Scipio, with his control of Sicily increased his influence further and recruited more troops to keep out Antony’s Legions strong in southern Italy. Scipio with his allies Cato and Pompey continued to maneuver their influence in the eastern provinces into Greece and Asia. Antony with a large influence in Rome and Southern Italy began recruiting into his XIII Legion. He controlled the majority of Gaul, and set his sights on dealing with Cato and his newly trained Legion in the area.
47 BC. Season Two
Again the Alliance of Cato, Pompey, and Scipio continued into the new season. Many Talents were spent to persuade the changes in allegiances. Antony, noting the powder keg growing in Gaul under the control of Cato, attempted to bring Cato into his own Alliance against even Caesar. Pompey however who hadn’t spent as many of his reserves to recruit new troops, instead used it to sway Cato away from Antony and back into the old Alliance.
Caesar this season took advantage of a new barbarian threat in the Germanic territories to increase the size of his dreaded 7th legion in Greece, to the dismay of Cato and Pompey. Scipio again entrenched in Sicily, not being able to push his troops into Italy continued to increase his influence and establish a city in the region. This would bring much needed revenue and solidify control of Sicily to Scipio. Antony with his single garrison in Sicily knew he wouldn’t be able to protect his interest there and fled into southern Italy. Scipio without a direct path to Rome decided the only way to establish any control would be to go to Egypt and raise a fleet of ships to gain naval superiority on the Italian peninsula. Using this new found fleet Scipio began battling Antony’s small fleet off the coast of Hispania. However the battle came down to a draw after three months, and Antony was able to successfully ward off the attack. Cato continued to maneuver in the eastern provinces of Greece and Galatia and gain influence. Cato still had his eyes on Rome, and planned to move his 6th legion out of Gaul and over the Alps, but waited for the snows to finally melt. Caesar moved out of Southern Italy and finally gained control of Rome itself. Antony in turn moved into Southern Italy and took over controlling influence of the region. Pompey now entrenched in Egypt with his navy moved into the coast of Hispania, and began battle with Antony. Antony this time was not so lucky, and his navy was completely decimated.
46 BC. Season Three
Again Antony failed to bring Cato into alliance with him against Caesar, as Pompey, still with what seemed to be endless coffers of gold swayed Cato away. Ceaser began eyeing the Eastern Provinces thinking now would be the time to gain a foothold into Galatia. Caesar moved his 9th legion into place ready to strike Pompey and Cato. Pompey however noticed the movement and had Caesars top general Curio assassinated before Caesar has a chance to attack. This left the whole 9th legion stranded and essentially useless for the rest of the campaign. This angered Caesar, which prompted him to bring the senate in Rome to a vote to raise a massive army inside the borders of Rome itself. This would prove to be detrimental to Caesar as Cato had used all his influence in the Senate and now had gained control of a huge Legion of men right at the gates of Rome. Cato now seeing his chance to take control of the Rome region also pressed Egypt into building him a Naval power, and moving it off the coast of Italy. He then quickly moved his 9th Legion out of Gaul, crossing the Rubicon into Rome to support his newly raised army. Pompey also used this time to move his 4th Legion out of Asia and crossing the Alps into Rome to support Cato’s forces. All this had left Antony weakened with his XIII Legion undermanned in Rome. He did however still held onto influence in the region. Cato threatened to attack Antony in southern Italy, but after discussing it with his advisors found that his coffers lows on funds and a battle at this time would not be enough to gain controlling influence in the region.. Cato knew that with his control of the cities of Greece he would be able to raise enough Talents to attack and push Caesars ally, Antony out of Rome, and buy out his influence the next season.
Scipio knew that with Antony reinforcing his Rome Legions it left Hispania with a minimal garrison, moved his 11th Legion into the territory to claim influence in the next season. He was under the assumption that Antony would be too busy fighting Cato and his forces in Rome.
45 BC. Season Four
Pompey, severely weakened in the east after several small skirmishes, was denied by his own allies Cato and Scipio, and forced into an unlikely alliance with Antony and Caesar. Antony knowing that Cato was now positioned in Rome for an all out attack spent all his remaining Talents to buy as much influence in the region, and with his XIII Legion fled to Hispania. This was a surprise to Scipio, who in turn fled back into Northern Africa. Scipio pushed his forces into Egypt, which was still a pivotal region for control. Since now that Caesar had also abandoned Hispania for Rome, Antony took controlling influence in that territory. The abandonment of Rome changed Cato’s plans for attacking Antony now that his forces matched but not exceeded Caesar’s. All Cato could do now was to buy as much influence in the region to gain favor again in the senate.
Caesar had other plans however. He himself ran off to Eastern Territories, and met up with his 9th Legion and moved in to attack any remaining Scipio and Cato forces. The battle that everyone was waiting for in Rome however, never came about. It would all be determined with the influence in the penisula. Pompey, now seeing his weakness in Rome fled with his army back to Egypt, and with his naval fleet decimated Cato’s and Scipio’s Legions out of the land of Pharoahs. Scipio, which had an alliance with Cleopatra however still held onto some influence. Pompey who believed he had his allies for the next attack on Rome was caught off guard as Egypt up rose against him.They took out most of Pompey’s army in a slave revolt. This would be Pompey’s final battle, and final resting place.
Antony in turn made one last small drive into Northern Africa, in an attempt to pick up some influence away from Scipio. This would keep Scipio at bay from moving into Hispania.
44 BC. In conclusion
Scipio never able to set foot into Rome, but had the favor of all of Rome’s eastern and southern territories. This gave him the most prestige in the Senate and gave Scipio control of Rome in the end, Ave Caesar!. Cato had gained partial control of Rome itself, but never exceeded Caesars. But Cato also had kept much control in the eastern territories and Gaul. This however didn’t give him enough influence in the Senate, and lost to Scipio. Marc Antony’s push out of Rome hurt him deeply, but he still retained some influence in Rome, control in Southern Italy, Gaul and Hispania. This still put him below Cato’s influence and left him without victory. Caesar held on to control of Rome throughout the war, yet lost too much influence in Rome’s other territories. This left him weakened in the senate, below even Antony himself. Pompey met his end in Egypt, and that was the end of his revolt.
The Game Itself.
What a cool game this was. Lots of player interaction. They did an excellent job in toning down the Struggle of Empire rule, but not losing any of its essence. The game ran rather long (5 ½ hours) but we couldn’t tell as it flowed flawlessly. The Map is gynormous, and the peices are pretty. The rules were straightforward and easy to grasp. I think Eagle finally made a winner.       


Early in the game

12:00 PM in Game Sessions | Permalink | Comments (176)

Island Fever

September 21, 2005 / 10:30 AM

I thought I would give my first impression of the new Stephen Dorra’s new game Kreta. In Kreta you are playing to control the islands of Crete. It’s a straightforward area control game, with a few twists.

The board is the island of Crete that is broken up into several different regions. Each region includes one type of farmable resource, which I believe there are 5 types (Cheese, Wheat, Grapes, Olives, and Thyme). Sounds like a Simon and Garfunkel song eh? Each region has different VP values ranging from 2-5. Also the regions are broken up in borders that each vertices is numbered 1-26. However there are only 11 rounds, so only 11 of these areas will be scored in a game. Also on the board evenly disturbed to every third or forth region are seaports.

Players all start with a few different objects. Villages, Villagers, Ships, Forts, and one Abbot. These are the things that sway influence on each region you put them. The player also gets a deck of character cards that will be used during each of his turns.

Game play is pretty straightforward. On players turn he chooses one of his character cards and plays it’s action as long as the action is valid. The seven actions are as follows:

Admiral: Place a ship or move up to two ships on the board. A max of two ships my be in any one harbor on the board.

Commander: Add a villager to the board, or move any number of villagers up to 4 total spaces. This can be broken up into several villagers.

Abbot: Place an abbot on the board, or move the abbot 3 spaces.

Farmer: If a player controls a villager and a ship in one region, he may “farm” a resource chip on that region. Harvesting give you one VP for each of the same type. i.e harvesting one cheese give you one vp, harvesting the second cheese give you two more, and so on.

Architect: Build a fort or build a village (Up to the number of farmed resources a player has)

King: Mirror the action of a card that that player has already played.

Castellan: Initiate a scoring round. Choose the next rounds card.

There are 11 rounds in the game. The players can see the next round of scoring and possibly the round after. The goal is to create the majority of influence in a region that will be scored next. The scoring cards match the numbers of the vertices on the board. So each region that touches the vertices are scored, which is between 2-3 regions. The player that has the most influence, get the points that are marked in that region (ties share the full amount) and second place gets half rounded down. Therefore you spend the game moving around or placing these items on the board so that you can have influence as high as possible in each scoring region.

There are a few caveats. One is the abbot. When a player places an abbot in a region, it only allows himself to place Villages or Villagers in that region. Other players that wish to build there will now have to spend a turn to place their own abbot in that region. Second it the castellan. Each player may only play each character once until the castellan is played, at which point a scoring happens, and each player takes back all the character cards. A second thing the player who played the castellan card gets is a chance to select the next round card. He chooses the face up card and either keeps it for the next round OR he may discard it and take the next card in the draw pile. So this makes for some interesting player screwage.

Game play. I liked the game; it’s very straightforward play. I did however notice that there are some regions that I would consider POWER regions. One that scores the max of 5 points has 6 vertices, one of the players established a clear majority early in the game, and it scored 5/6 times for a whopping 25 points. So I think for plays after this initial play we are going to see more contention for those “power” areas. But besides that it’s a solid playing game. The flow is smooth. You spend the game trying to find ways to edge in the majority before someone pulls the castellan trigger. Lots of give and take. I liked my first playing. I give this Dorra a thumbs up.


10:30 AM in Game News and Reviews | Permalink | Comments (66)

It's a hard knock life.

September 9, 2005 / 12:32 PM

Bunny2Fiese Freunde Fette Feten, Or FFFF as it will be called form now on. Is a satirical game of life, where it’s not about what good things you do in life, but what vices you do in life that matters. The game is a basic set collection game, where the goal is to complete 5 life goal cards to win the game. Each player has a different set of goals, and there are 5 super-goals that anyone can complete throughout the game.

Each player starts with a player board. The board is broken up into different section. The attributes, which show you level of Drugs, Religion, Wisdom, Fatness, Bad Health, Smoking, Drinking, and one or two more. The bottom section is where you lovers and friends are broken up. It has your “just friends” section, your lovers/significant others sections, and you divorce/married but hating sections. The last section is for you anonymous sex markers. Players start the game in the puberty stage. Where a selection of ten cards are laid out. One by one players decide to play a card or to “move on”. If they play a card, they get the bonuses that are stated at the bottom of the card. If they move on they receive time chits. In the game time chits are money, why, cause time is money. However the first to move on gets a higher amount of money than the next player to move on, and so one till the last player to move gets no money. Also on your turn you may decide to complete a life goal (As it takes five to win). The next sessions of turns are the “real life” turns. It works a little differently. Here the active player may put a card up for auction, but only if he is capable of meeting the needed requirements on the top left of the card. If the card contains relationships, other players may tag along in the card and reap its benefits by the use of the complaint chit. As you can see, it is not an easy game to grasp right away, and I haven’t covered many rules.

This was all of ours first playing, so it took a couple of rounds to really get a groove on. As I stated it’s a set collection game mostly, with hilarious cards. Half the fun is just reading what the cards state on them. Definitely a game that must be played with the “right” crowd. But it was fun, and it did have room for player screwage. Of course we had very little, as it looks like it will take some more plays to really understand how to truelly interact and mess up the other players. I do look forward to playing this again soon. I got the original german edition, as I hear the RGG may santize it a bit, and I really wanted the original. FFFF, it's the good life. 

12:32 PM in Game Sessions | Permalink | Comments (3)