Steam time

I got an English copy of Steam Time today by Rudiger Dorn and Kosmos. I tried it this evening with Jan and it was a very good medium weight game – slightly on the heavier side than Jan prefers but she coped with the rules fine. It’s a worker placement game played over five rounds where you are moving through time collecting and using resources (crystals and steam) to power your airships to conduct expeditions and missions that will give you esteem (VPs) during and at the end of the game. Lots of paths to victory and some forward planning required to optimise your turns – which we didn’t really try to do on this learning game.

Scores were close with me winning 63-58 but that  may have been due to Jan misreading a 9 point mission card that she thought she could use more than once – she had the resources to score it a second time so would then have won. Very good and took us marginally over an hour as a two player game. Four player likely to be around 90-120 minutes.


January 2016 roundup

During January, gaming was very light and I only managed to play 16 games of 15 different titles, 5 of which were new to me. The new games were:

504 – The hot Essen release about combining modules to create a different game every time is very clever on paper but seemed very dry in the execution. Only played module 123 but looking at the other modules didn’t inspire me to want to explore more. Shame.
Between Two Cities – Nice city building drafting game where you work with your neighbours to create the best shared city and you score the lower-valued of your two cities. Solo game was good.
Scharfe Schoten – Clever trick-taking game. At the start of each round you predict which colours of card you are going to collect both the most and least in. You score points if either of your predictions is correct and a bonus if both are correct. The card backs show the suit colours so you have some knowledge in working out your card play but it is often tricky trying to win enough cards in your off-suits to ensure your predictions pay off.
Qwinto – This is a spin-off from Qwixx where you roll dice and write the total in one of three rows with numbers having to be in ascending order from left to right. Sounds like Qwixx but scoring is different and there is a bit more to think about in where in the grid to mark your total. Really good.
The Big Book of Madness – Co-op deck building game where you are combining elements and casting spells to overcome curses and monsters. Seemed pretty tough on a first play but looks to be a fair bit of variability and left me thinking about strategy well after I’d finished playing.

I added 4 new games to the collection: Push It, The Grizzled, Octodice and TIME Stories: A Prophecy of Dragons.

My unplayed list is down from 20 to 19, and my Game of the Month was the really tough but interesting co-op game, The Big Book of Madness although Qwinto also pushed it quite hard.

Can I play with Madness?

Jan and I tried a learning game of The Big Book of Madness this evening. I was solidifying the rules in my mind as we were playing so Jan found it hard going and didn’t enjoy it as much as she might have but I thought it was really good.

This is a co-op game where everyone is building their own deck and using their cards to tackle the challenges thrown at the players. It seemed pretty tough even on the easy level and we lost due to running down the Madness card deck in the fifth round of six. However, that may have been exacerbated by the fact that I had ignored that one of the actions was to cure a madness card in your hand and return it to the deck so neither of us ever picked that option.

It plays up to five players and seems fairly easy to try solo so I think this should get played again pretty soon.

Tiny Epic Galaxies

Tried solo Tiny Epic Galaxies for the second time this evening. This time, I was pitted against the Hades Rogue Galaxy (hard level). I say “hard” but I felt reasonably in control. There were a couple of moments when the luck of the dice roll could have pushed Hades over the top, but I eventually triumphed 23-19.

I do like the game solo and have still to play multiplayer but I just feel the opponents so far aren’t quite challenging enough – assuming I’ve not got a rule wrong somewhere along the way.

Sunday gaming

First games played for a fortnight for me this evening -two player with Jan. Started with a game of Jam Sumo, playing Jam. I was rubbish, flicking a die off the board each round. Two rounds was enough with Jan winning 4-14 (lower score is better).

We then had a quick game of Cribbage, which I’ve not played for ages. The scores were reasonably close but Jan was playing catch-up for the second half of the game. I ended up winning 121-115.

Push It!

No gaming for me this week, partly due to a stinking cold I got as soon as I was back from holiday but also because of me missing the Shrewsbury Boardgames Club session due to me having to pick up the in-laws from Manchester Airport on Friday.

However, I noticed one of my Geekbuddies, Martin Griffiths (qwertymartin), had played a game this week I didn’t recognise and so had to investigate further. Push It is a really simple dexterity game of flicking wooden pieces to get closest to the jack (target). It utilises the petanque rule of the player or team furthest from the jack continuing to play until that is no longer the case (I played quite a bit of petanque on holiday btw). It’s one of those play anywhere games, as long as you’ve got a smooth surface so, in theory, it ought to get a fair bit of play.

It was a Kickstarter project last year and successfully funded, although I never saw it. However, it’s easy to order through the game’s website and, at a cost of £15.30 incl. shipping, I’ve purchased a copy so it should arrive this week.

Kickstarter Monday

I haven’t backed much on Kickstarter recently but the launch of Tiny Epic Western this morning was too tough to resist. I wasn’t sure how much the deluxe version added, other than some digital stuff and a few extra cards, so I’ve just pledged for the basic version so far though I might change this if there are some deluxe only stretch goals that look to be worth having.

And while I was browsing, two other projects caught my eye. I’ve not bit the bullet with either yet but that could change. The first was the second edition of Nemo’s War and the other was the unlimited release of The Pursuit of Happiness that was getting some good reports from Essen last year.

Holiday 1 v Gaming 0

Just back from a week in Tenerife and, although I took several games with me to play, not a single title saw the light of day. That’s pretty unusual but we were having fun with other things and Jan managed to catch my cough and sore throat so wasn’t in the right frame of mind. So Mottainai, 3 Sind eine zu viele and Qwinto will have to wait a while longer for us to try them out. Patchwork, Tiny Epic Galaxies, Groo: The Game and Red7 also missed out.

Between Two Cities

After a couple of quick rounds of Dobble with Jan and Becky (Jan winning both), I tried out the solo version of Between Two Cities, the latest Stonemaier Games release. This is a drafting game and I suspect it will be very good with multiple players but the solo game is also pretty interesting.

You’re building up a city in a 4×4 grid and each building type that you place in the grid has a different way of scoring. However, you’re not just building one city, you’re building two with each of your neighbours and, at the end of the game, your lower scoring city is your game score. This makes for some agonising decisions as you want both of your cities to score well but not so that your neighbour gets the better lower score.

In a solo game you play against Automassa and Automarta and a deck of cards dictates how they draft buildings into the two cities they are interested in. I really enjoyed the puzzle aspect of this and it played pretty quickly. That said, Automassa did a better job than me and ended up the winner with 56 points. Automarta and I lagged behind on 48.