Christmas time is a busy time for the Yellow Meeple. Aside from gaming, my other main hobby is playing in a brass band and over the festive season we’re in very high demand playing Christmas carols around the Hampshire area. This is my main excuse for not playing many games. However, over the last fortnight I’ve had the pleasure and sometimes misfortune of trying 4 new games.
· Space Crusade is one of the older Milton Bradley titles that I assume came out around the same time as Heroquest. In the game we played, one player was the aliens and the other three players each had a team of guys trying to infiltrate the alien base. Each turn you can move your characters and enter into ranged or melee combat. Dice rolls will determine if you win or lose and the relative strength of your character vs. the alien will determine if you get an alien trophy or indeed your character dies. I do not see the point in this game. It seems so arbitrary and there seems to be no way for the players to win, since the alien gets points for all the characters they kill and there’s way more aliens than infiltrator characters. I’m sure the teach of the game didn’t help my ability to enjoy it, but I have to conclude that a random romp around the board, hitting out at other players just isn’t the type of game I’m ever going to enjoy.
· Blueprints is the perfect game for you if, like me, you spend your down time in Quarriors, Dice Masters or other dice heavy games building different towers and constructions from the dice in your discard pile. In Blueprints, each player is secretly given a plan for a building made of 6 dice, it’s your choice whether you try to build this building or make something up, but you gain points for building the building on your card, using lots of recycled material (green), surrounding wooden dice (orange) with lots of other dice, putting concrete (black) high in the sky, or including glass (clear) with high value faces. All of these dice are rolled and drafted from the central pool without changing their face value. At the end of each round the player who gained the most points from building gets 3VP, 2nd gets 2VP and 3rd gets 1VP. However there are also bonus points to aim for; having matching faces, very tall towers, matching colours or run of 1,2,3,4,5,6 in your building, all count for almost as many points as building a high scoring building in the first place. I love this game! It probably appeals to the architect an engineer in me, but I also love the drafting and set collection elements, as well as the building.
· Cthulhu Realms is a deck building game based on the Cthulhu mythos. I love deck builders and had been told this was a rip-off of Star Realms, which I play a lot! Like most deck-builders you start with a hand of bad cards and try to buy better ones and remove the bad ones from your deck. On each turn you draw a hand of cards and use it to send your opponent’s insane or buy more cards, plus use any special abilities that trigger. In Cthulhu Realms, you win when all other players have no sanity remaining. We played with 4 players which I definitely enjoyed more than the 4 player variant we’ve played in Star Realms, but the game just wasn’t quite as polished with a little too many confusing icons. I’m sure if you’re into the Cthulhu theme this could easily replace Star Realms – it’s basically the same game.
· Robot Turtles is a kid’s game, but sometimes kids games are fun for adults, so I picked this one up since it was a charity shop bargain. Sadly this one is very much not for adults! I could barely describe it as a game – it’s more of a learning exercise for kids, which is supposed to teach ‘programming’ but really just teaches spatial awareness and forward planning. It’s well produced and cute and I’m sure it will keep very young kids amused, but when the rulebook has to encourage adults to make it fun by suggesting silly noises to make when different things occur, I do question why the ‘game’ couldn’t provide the fun rather than the parent.
Between now and Christmas I don’t envisage us playing many new titles, but once I finish work there’s two weeks of potential gaming. Hopefully Santa is bringing Pandemic Legacy, but we also have quite a back-log on the shelf already and intend on heading to a board game cafe to try before we buy on a few titles I’m desperate to play!