As promised, this week I did visit Draughts – the board game cafe in London. Unfortunately I didn’t quite get the opportunity to play the games I wanted, but nevertheless I did try a couple of new games. This weekend we’ve also tried to give some of our newly acquired games a chance to get to the table – we simply don’t have shelf space for them all so we need to decide which, if any, are keepers!
· Roll for the Galaxy is a re-implementation of Race for the Galaxy which is, in my opinion, a very strong tableau building game, but one which I understand some people have trouble getting new players into because of all of the iconography. Roll for the Galaxy introduces dice and removes some of that iconography, however the game mechanics are very similar with each player secretly choosing a phase to activate in each turn. All phases selected happen and all players get to benefit if they have assigned dice to the action type. It did take the rand new players quite a long time to get to grips with assigning dice effectively and remembering to activate powers in their tableau. In fact I cannot believe how long this game took us – 2 ½ hours in total! Personally I prefer the control I have in Race for the Galaxy and the iconography was never really an issue for us, even when we first started playing. I think Roll will always take longer simply because you sometimes have to make actions you’d prefer not to just because your dice rolls didn’t go well, which I think will always draw out the game.
· Unusual Suspects sounded to me like a game we used to play with Guess Who where you describe what the person is like, rather than what they look like – we called it “Character Flaw Guess Who”. As fun as the concept sounds, I didn’t really see the need for a packaged game. In the game you lay out a grid of 12 faces and one person is told who the criminal is. There is then a deck of cards from which the other players draw questions to ask eg. “Does this person own a motorcycle?”. Based on the answer they must eliminate people to try and find the criminal. The object of the game is to find the criminal as quickly as possible. There is a scoring mechanism to determine how well you did, but I imagine like we did, that most people just treat this as a fun activity. It’s definitely a good laugh for a party-type environment, but not the greatest game.
· Province is a 2-player, worker placement, micro-game. In principal this sounds really cool as I don't believe I've encountered any other 2-player only worker placement games. It's easy to learn, as you simply have a common 3 spots on the board which either generate a point of work or a point of money per worker you move to that spot. You can choose to spend work and money to build buildings eg. a camp, a harbour etc. some of which add additional workers to the board, some of which ear end of game victory points. You also gain victory points by completing common objectives first and by being the first to build different building types. Unfortunately this game was just too quick for us - being over in just 10 minutes with very little depth and such low points scores that only the final move mattered to who won and lost. I think perhaps we approached the game wit the wrong mind-set or the order in which the objectives were drawn didn't make for a good game, so we will give it another go, but so far it's not a hit!
· Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game is a co-operative card game based in the Warhammer license. I’d find it hard to say it was themed on Warhammer Quest, but it is a Warhammer game in which you are on a quest! In this card game you are a group of adventurers exploring a lair/cave/dungeon/dark fantasy setting and are being attacked by different creatures in said place. You each have 4 types of action, Explore, Fight, Aid and Rest which are all slightly different in their power depending on your character. Actions are exhausted when used and can only be reactivated by either performing your weakest action or if another player uses Aid to give it you back. Some players can fight only monsters engaged with them but others can fight multiple creatures, which also adds to the co-operative nature. The game was slow to start, perhaps because we rolled poorly or because, as new players, we hadn't quite grasped the purpose of our actions, but by the end of the game it was flowing well and was fun to play. It also seemed slightly odd that the way to win was not to defeat all of the creatures including the 'boss' but was just to explore the whole area and leave. I'd like to play this one again, but I'm not sure it's one for the collection.
I don’t think there will be as many opportunities for new games this coming week, but I am hoping to introduce a friend to a few smaller fillers one evening. This could even be the week where we finish Pandemic Legacy! Perhaps we’ll have some more luck playing new stuff with our Sunday group too.