Archive for November, 2012

I like casino games. I wish I had a real one.

November 30, 2012 Comments off

So, the box we have here is a game called Reibach & Co., but this is an early version of a game which has been rethemed (with added chickens) as Gloria Picktoria.  It was co-designed by Alan Moon and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if in its original, pre-published form it was themed with trains (that is pure speculation).  Anyway, the game is all about collecting sets of cards and at three points in the game the players with the most cards collected of each type score points.

The x2 card looks like just the thing to go with these whatever-they-ares

The x2 card looks like just the thing to go with these whatever-they-ares

Typically the scoring would involve writing things down, but as the theme of this version of the game is business and making money, I’ve shoved some Monopoly money into the box so you can keep score that way.  Miss B quite liked that.

On your turn you can take three actions, each of which is either to draw a card into your hand (from a communal face-up selection) or play a card into a meld on the table (or face down to start a meld).  Miss B had a bit of difficulty at first with the fact that taking a card and playing it had to be two actions.  Once she’d accepted that, play went pretty smoothly, though we ended up cutting the game a little short as we were getting very close to bed time.

I think set collection games are generally pretty child friendly, and this one works well despite a couple of elements not being entirely obvious.  My allusion to train games earlier was because I dimly remember playing an Alan Moon (who has released several train themed games) game years ago that worked in a similar way, if I remember correctly, with one side of the card being a type of carriage and the back depicting an engine, so you played a card face down to start a train, then played carriages behind the engine.  Thematically this made more obvious sense than having an “entrepreneur” collecting things to build a business.

I think we’ll probably get to play this again, though whether it gets into the regular rotation I don’t know.

The verdict from Miss B (aged 5¾ and some): “In Reibach & Co there was Monopoly money because that was even better to add up. What I didn’t like about the game was I kept having to swap my money.  What I did like about the game was the money was easier to add up and also I was the only one with the x2.”

The game: Reibach & Co. (FX Schmid), 2 to 5 players aged 12+.

Dear Santa

November 26, 2012 Comments off

If my recent visits to shops around town are anything to go by, it’s Christmas already. Now, this isn’t really meant to be a Christmas list, but I figured this would be a good time to note a few games that I’d like to acquire in the near future to play with Miss B. So here goes…I claim absolutely no credit for this, I'm just jumping on one of them memes.  No idea what DC think about it all.  Makes me chuckle, though.

  • Stone Age…  This looks like it should work reasonably well for us. Miss B has done worker placement games in Lords of Waterdeep and Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small, so this shouldn’t take too much explaining.  Plus it has dice.  There are remarkably few games we play often that have dice in them.
  • Ticket to Ride… A game that I have been meaning to get for a very long time.  I have played some Alan Moon games in the dim and distant past, and this looks like it should work very well for family play.
  • Pandemic…  This is a slightly more advanced relative of the great Forbidden Island, and cooperative games work well for us.  Plus I’m sure Miss B would be well up for being a scientist and saving the world.
  • Zooloretto…  We’ve played a lot of Coloretto, which is one of the house favourites, and this is a slightly more advanced and much more themed version.  Looks like lots of fun.  (Alternatively there’s Aquaretto: pretty much the same thing but with sea life.)
  • Red November…  This is a daft one which just appeals to me (gnomes on a submarine, what’s not to like?!), but it’s another cooperative game and I think Miss B may find it amusing.
  • Possibly an expansion for Dominion…  We’re still far from exhausting the possibilities of the base set, but I know Miss B would love to have more cards to choose from (we have a couple of promo cards that go down well) and who am I to resist?  I’m not sure what to go for, but I think a set that doesn’t introduce much in the way of new mechanics would be a good idea.

So, if finances are looking good then I expect we’ll be trying out at least some of these next year.  Watch this space.

We still have quite a few games around the house that I haven’t played with Miss B (or at all in some cases) that should be suitable, so there is plenty more material for us to cover.  Just to give you an idea, these include (in no particular order): Castle Keep, Reibach & Co., Ice Flow, The Sorcerer’s Cave, Take It Easy, Vanished, Talisman (not a fan myself, but she may like), Der Ausreisser, and Civilization (just kidding on that one).  Come to think of it, given that lot and the ones we have already played, do I really need to get any more games?!

I did also have a  Christmas wish: that our “proper” copy of Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule arrives. We love playing the print and play version and we’re really looking forward to the oversized cards and all the final artwork.  A few weeks ago we got hold of a bunch of files previewing the art and it looks fantastic.  Unfortunately the other day I received a very apologetic update from the game team saying that their production schedule had slipped and they are now expecting to ship in March rather than the originally planned December.  Oh well, we still have the print and play, and can remain on tenterhooks for a little longer.

Categories: Musings Tags: ,

Sleeping Queens scores

November 21, 2012 Comments off

Miss B has asked me to write the following…

When we were playing Sleeping Queens we had two games so at the end we could see who had the most.  I had a piece of paper to write the scores down on.  I got 90 in total.  Daddy got 80.  So I won.  We won a game each though.

Categories: Miss B's Posts

Why’s it called that? Is it because you both go?

November 16, 2012 Comments off

In our recent game of Eight-Minute Empires, we used plastic go stones for currency, which worked fine apart from the fact that Miss B didn’t think they made very good money, not looking like coins and all.  However, she was asking about what the stones are really for, which turned into a discussion about the game of go.

If you know anything about go, you’ll spot that this game is all kinds of wrong. Please forgive us.

Go is a game I started learning to play many years ago (hence having some basic kit) but didn’t get around to taking very far.  The rules are very simple indeed (probably closer to draughts than chess in complexity) but the depth of strategy in the game is immense.  It is probably the ultimate in abstract strategy games (chess is far less abstract).

Anyway, it occurred to me that it might be easier to show than tell, so I got out a board and the stones.  I’m sure I have a little 9-by-9 board stowed somewhere, but it was not readily accessible so we ended up with a full-sized board.  Miss B wanted to play white, so we didn’t worry about tradition and just stuck nine white handicap stones on and went from there.

I did have the intention to just play for a few minutes until a stone got captured, but Miss B quickly got the general idea and wanted to keep going.  We ended up playing for half an hour (until bedtime was looming) and then just stopped and scored up.  Sort of.

This was surprisingly good fun given that I barely know the game and Miss B had never heard of it before.  Maybe this is a game where she can really help me to learn something new.  I think we need a smaller board, though.  I’ll have to go and buy or make a 9-by-9 board for us to work with, I reckon (though at a pinch we can use a chess board as a substitute).

Categories: Games, Musings Tags: ,

Carrots and rubies and trees, oh my!

November 12, 2012 Comments off

I feel a little bit sheepish about this one, as Eight-Minute Empire is a recent Kickstarter project that we only got to try out (via a print and play version) in the dying hours of the project, so by the time this post gets out there you’ll have missed the opportunity to back it. Still, in a few months it should be available through some other path.

Seriously, how many games allow you to move armies and collect carrots at the same time?

Being a print and play game we had some work to do before we could play, so while I assembled and laminated the board and scavenged counters and wooden cubes from other games, Miss B stuffed the cards (and some other cards to give them some bulk) into sleeves. As this wasn’t too much preparation and didn’t take too long, it all went well and added something of a sense of real ownership to the game.

This is a simple area control game with a bit of card set collection thrown in for good measure and it is, I must say, a cracking little game. According to the designer it’s playable in about eight minutes (hence the title). That’s possible, I guess: even given that it was our first game and playing with Miss B always takes longer than the box predicts, we still managed to play in about half an hour. That alone makes this solid gold in my books. Miss B took to it very quickly (correctly predicting a couple of rules before I had explained them) and we both had a great time playing.

Of course, this being a print and play prototype, not everything was perfect. Probably our biggest issue was that the cards were slightly too large for the board so they didn’t properly line up with the cost markers on the board. I assume the final version should be tidying up this sort of thing.

The verdict from Miss B (aged 5¾): “It was hard moving the cards so we could have just put it in a line across the table and then shuffled it up each time. I thought that collecting carrots was really fun because I could have said that I was hungry and I wanted a carrot as a joke. I liked the rubies because one ruby was one point, two rubies were two points, three rubies were three points and four rubies were five points. And I got up to three points for the rubies.  It was a very close game.  Daddy got 18 and I got 17.” (Hmm, these dictations are rambling sometimes, but Miss B is starting to get into having opinions, which is really cool.)

The game: Eight-Minute Empire (Red Raven Games), 2 to 4 players aged 8+ (I think).

A French-speaking table for four, please

November 8, 2012 Comments off

Café International is quite an interesting tile placement game where you score points by arranging people at restaurant tables according to a few simple placement and scoring rules. The tiles depict cheesily stereotyped (some would say offensively so) men and women from various nations (plus a continent, in the case of Africa), but ignore all that and you have a pretty neat abstract game which I’ve really enjoyed playing in the past.

Black is one, red is five, blue is ten…

Miss B spotted the box on the shelf and asked to play it. I couldn’t think of a good reason not to, so a short while later we were setting up on the dining table.

The game is fairly intuitive to play, though some of the subtleties of scoring can be a bit tricky (like what happens when you place a person at two tables).  Miss B also obsessed a bit about the bar and the negative scores to be had for late arrivals.

In the early stages of the game it can be quite tricky as you have a lot of space and arranging people so that they have a dining companion can sometimes be awkward.  Towards the end, there are only a few seats left at tables and you will inevitably end up with some unplacable tiles, which can get frustrating too.

All in all, I think that the mechanic works well, but the game is a little too big and long to work well for Miss B.  A cut down version with easier scoring might work very well indeed.

The verdict from Miss B (aged 5¾): “Cafe International wasn’t so good because it could have had all the countries scoring four points instead of eight if the tables were full up in the right country. And if you’re at the bar in the minuses it could have been just in ones not twos.”

The game: Café International (Mattel), 2 to 4 players aged 10+.