This week we had the opportunity to try out Board in the City – the first board game cafe in Southampton. Interestingly they are a community interest company which means that it’s free to play games before 4pm. Their collection is currently quite modest but there are around 10 new titles we want to try, so I think we’ll be trying to visit at least a few times in the coming months. They have plenty of space and grand ambitions including an event space. We’ve also heard good things about the food and the ways in which they are trying to engage with different members of the community are a real credit. I’m encouraged by the support they’re getting from the local board gaming groups too and they’re also getting a lot of interest from non-gamers too with their bright signage and offering something new.
· Zooloretto is the only game we had time to try at Board in the City, but it’s been on the list for a long time. It’s a family weight game about building a zoo. The mechanics are very simple and you have only a few choices to make on your turn. Your goal is to obtain different animals to inhabit the enclosures of your zoo. You can’t mix animals in an enclosure and if you manage to create a breeding pair they have offspring which help you to fill up your enclosures quicker. In spite of the simple mechanics the points scoring is actually quite complex and it’s hard to stay on top of the different ways to get points and also ensure you don’t lose them. I think it was perhaps too lightweight, especially with two players, but it was fun to try and would definitely work with a younger audience.
· Pocket Imperium is not the kind of game we’d normally seek out, but it came to us in a joblot and was worth a try. We’ve never played a true 4X game and it’s not high on my list of things to do but this game makes a big deal of being the same experience but quicker. It’s an area control game where you are using your ships to explore, expanding your fleet, exterminating your enemies and exploit the planets to score points. There is not a lot of game here and certainly with two players the points scoring was inevitably close on every round – not a satisfying kind of close, just a disappointing result of your action being in the same order and having the same scoring opportunities. I don’t think Pocket Imperium will stay on the shelf.
· Prophesy of Dragons is the third scenario for T.I.M.E. Stories. In this scenario the theme is a little less strong – you are just trying to close a crack in space, however I think I enjoyed this one more than The Marcy Case. There were a couple more puzzle elements in this game, but a fair amount of combat too. The characters also felt a lot more unique, with very varied stats and the ability to give each player a chance to be quite different. I think we got very lucky in a lot of our choices to look at specific cards and we chose the right items at the right time. It’s the first scenario we’ve completed in just one run due to some very fortunate items we found which extended our time units. I think the asylum was still the best so far, thematically and with the over arching puzzle, but this one is definitely second.
It looks like I will be heading to Draughts next week, but I might try some old favourites rather than new games since last time, trying Roll for the Galaxy was just a time sink. Over Easter weekend we’ll be seeing my parents, which normally means a game of Ticket to Ride, but maybe we’ll try them with something new like New York 1901 too. I’m also looking forward to checking out the board game stores in Manchester.