It seems like a long time since the two of us have sat in a board game cafe and dedicated a few hours to trying new board games, but last weekend we had a few hours at Draughts in London and did just that. It’s not my favourite place to play games due to the really bad acoustics of sitting under a railway arch, but the library is pretty good and they’re kept up with enough new releases to keep me satisfied.
Here are Yellow Meeple’s first impressions;
· Potion Explosion is quite simply Candy Crush the board game. It’s quite surprising that no-one has done this before, but actually it makes quite a good game in the cardboard world. You are aiming to brew spells which use different numbers of 4 colours of marbles. To obtain the marbles you need to take one marble from the 3D board and then you will get the marbles in any matching vertical lines that are created as the marbles fall. Potions are worth more money if they’re harder to make and they each have single use powers once complete. You can also gain points from two different types of set collection with your completed potions. The game is pretty simple, but it definitely tested my brain and spatial awareness to get the marbles I needed, Amy definitely was better at this part. It’s a great gateway level game and I can see it as a great introduction because of the obvious similarities to phone apps.
· Imhotep is a game I regretted not picking up when I got the opportunity at the UK Games Expo. When I saw it I had no idea it was a Spiel des Jahres nominee and by the time I knew it had sold out. In the game you are stacking your cubes onto boats and each turn sailing each boat to a different port. Most ports require you to drop of cubes and depending on the order that cubes are placed will score you different amounts of end of round or end of game points. You can also visit the market where you can purchase special actions or different end of game scoring cards. The mechanics are very simple, with placing a cube, taking more cubes or sailing a boat being your only basic choices, but there is a lot of back and forth deciding what your opponents want, what order you want to be placed on the boat and when you should cut your losses. With two players a lot of these decisions seemed very clear cut and therefore the game played out and was a bit boring, but with 3 I can imagine these decisions are a bit less clear and the game a bit more fun. For me Imhotep isn’t a game with the calibre to be a Spiel winner, it’s just fine.
· Roll for It is a small filler, and was picked off the shelf as a break between learning other games. I knew it was just a luck-based dice roller, but will pretty much try any game once. In Roll for It there are 3 cards in the centre of the table depicting a combination of dice faces. On your turn you roll 6 dice and can assign any matching faces to one of the 3 cards. You are essentially racing your opponents to see who can match all the faces first and win the game. Win the cards, add up points and first to a given total wins. That’s it – a tiny bit of push your luck and not a lot else. We need at least some more meat, even in a filler, so Roll for It is a pass.
· Dominion Dark Ages is one of the Dominion expansions that we’ve not yet tried. We put a lot of research into our choice of Seaside and Prosperity, so to be honest, I was a little nervous of trying an expansion that I hadn’t noticed when looking for the ‘best’ in the past. Dark Ages makes a few interesting twists, mainly changing your starting victory cards and making a big deal out of trashing cards. After one play, Dark Ages sits in a weird place. I felt like there were some great combos to be had, but we didn’t get our heads round them in our first game, so it’s a bit difficult to be excited about it. Right now I think we have plenty of Dominion, but Dark Ages probably deserves to be up there as one of the ‘best’ expansions.
So another good session of new games overall, but fortunately (in some ways) nothing new for our shelves. Now we need to start playing a bit more at home to rationalise the collection – it’s already overflowing our newest shelving solution!