In the words of Robert Burns, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. I was determined to play Trains and Stations and Formula D last weekend, but sadly other games on the shelf enticed our visitors more! However, we did beat Ghost Stories for the first time, so all is not lost! We did manage to try a selection of new two-player games this week though. Here are the Yellow Meeple’s first impressions.
· Marvel Dice Masters – Age of Ultron is our first foray into the Dice Masters game from Eric Lang and Mike Elliot. We recently tried Quarriors! And admittedly did not like the randomness, but because of the theme and the reasonable price point Amy wanted to give Dice Masters a go. We also love deck-building and have recently started playing Magic so it seemed like a good fit. The introductory game as a bit prosaic, but we’ve played a full game now and I really enjoyed it. Because we only have one pool of cards between the two of us we use drafting to determine which characters we will each select, which does feel a bit contrived, but the game play is really fun. You start with a bag of low value dice and slowly try to buy better dice or field you characters so you can hit your opponent or your opponent’s characters (their choice) in the face. Your ultimate goal is to be the first to reduce your opponent’s health to 0. I’m a little worried that we might start buying too much for this game due to its CCG nature, but we can probably still get a lot of play out of the base game and a few boosters.
· Patchwork has been out of stock in the UK for a long while, so I was super excited to be able to buy it after hearing really good things about this 2-player game. It’s a really simple concept but with some good moments of decision making and tactical play. Theme may not be its strong point – you’re trying to make a quilt. If your quilt has lots of buttons on it, that’s awesome. If your quilt doesn’t have holes in it, that’s also awesome! If you’re a button hoarder then at the end of the game, that’s awesome too! Different tetris-style tiles are laid out in a circle around a central ‘timer’ board. To buy a tile you must pay its cost in buttons and move your time marker forward as printed on the tile. You then place this tile in any empty area of your 9x9 grid to start your patchwork quilt. Only 3 tiles are available to buy on any turn, as a marker moves round the circle when tiles are bought. Do you buy a tile specifically, just so the marker jumps over the tile your opponent really needs? Do you wait and make some money this turn by jumping your opponent on the time track? Do you buy a tile with a low time penalty so you get another go before your opponent’s turn? Lots of small decisions make this game fun and (like in most 2-player games for me) mildly infuriating in equal measure.
· 7 Wonder Duel was one of my most hotly anticipated games of Essen 2015. We really enjoy 7 Wonders and even like the two-player variant (although the game is still much better with a higher player count. The game proceeds in 3 ages where you try and purchase buildings which add to your city. Buildings can be worth victory points, produce goods or represent scientific or military prowess. You can also build one of the 4 wonders you drafted at the start of the game. In Duel, there are 3 potential victory conditions available – one for being the first to build 6 unique science symbols, one for winning the military tug of war and if neither of these happen before the end of Age III then victory points decide the winner. After our first play through, I think 7 Wonders Duel is different enough from the original game that we will be keeping both games in our collection. There is a lot of competition in our 2-player only category now, but I’m sure this one will hit the table.
We have some more gaming opportunities coming up over the next week, so I’ll still be trying to get the same new games to the table as last week!