Miss B has decided that we should play through the pile of Lego games that we have accumulated over the last couple of years and then write a post comparing them, and I think that is a most excellent idea. We have played some of them, but a couple of them have remained in shrinkwrap, so I’m well up for trying them out. I guess what we’ll do is give a load of them a go and write regular reports as seems appropriate, then at some point we’ll have an overview post. A few days ago we had a go at Frog Rush, which we covered ages ago, but now we have tried the new-to-us Ramses Pyramid.
So this is a game designed by the ultra-prolific Reiner Knizia, known for some of the most subtle and elegant games out there, as well as for banging out simple little games for the toy market. I was under no illusions that this would be the next Tigris & Euphrates or Modern Art, but who cares: this is Lego. With these games you get to build the board, and if the game is a real stinker, you still have a pile of Lego for the collection. As a result, Miss B and I had a nice pre-bedtime activity together of constructing a really cool pyramid with layers that could easily be removed and replaced with different orientation. Neat.
The next evening we got to actually play the game. The idea is that your adventurer runs around the base of the pyramid collecting gems and getting information about the location of additional gems in secret “temples” (effectively little cases that you can’t see into), then climbs the steps of the pyramid, dodging mummies that cascade down causing chaos, and then confront Ramses, the king of the mummies, to claim his crown. Each step on each side of the pyramid has a coloured gem on it, and you can only climb to that step if you are holding, or can remember the location of a matching gem.
This is all pretty cute, but turns out to be pretty trivial. Even the memory aspect of the game doesn’t really amount to much. But we had fun playing it, and it wasn’t as fiddly as some of the other Lego games we’ve come across. And it looks totally awesome, with great design from the Lego construction side of things. I mean, the way the layers of the pyramid move is stunning.
I think that, when playing through the rest of the Lego games, what I’m looking forward to the most is the building. We have one more of the big box games, and that should be fun to construct, and I’m sure there’ll be some amusement from the others too.
The verdict from Miss B (aged 8¼): “I like the way that there’s secret temples and that you don’t have green and purples apart from in the temples. I also like the way the pyramid turns, and the little brown bits mark where the gems should go. I also kind of like the scorpion in the entrance. I give it a 99.9%”
The game: Ramses Pyramid (Lego), 2 to 4 players aged 8+.
Moving all the games down to the new “games cupboard” (as it has become known) has unearthed some old boxes containing games that haven’t been played for a very long time, if at all. One of these is Cathedral, which I showed to Miss B and she instantly wanted to give it a go. It was probably due to the pieces being reasonably nice models of buildings in assorted shapes.
The game is one of those ones where you place different shaped pieces on to a grid with the intent of preventing your opponent from being able to place all of their pieces. In Cathedral, any empty areas your pieces completely surround (or are bounded by your buildings and the city walls) come under your sole control and your opponent cannot place there, and if you surround an area containing one (and only one) of the opponent’s pieces, you give that piece back to the opponent and then take control. It’s quite neat and is basically about trying to gain control of a decent sized area so you can place your remaining pieces, while preventing your opponent from doing the same.
Of course, one of the first thoughts that came to mind was wondering if the cars from Rush Hour would fit on the grid. We didn’t check this out, but probably should.
Miss B got her head around the rules very quickly and, after we finished one game, she insisted we played another. Then a couple more. She was soon spotting some good moves on her own and was giving me a run for my money. Out of our four games I was definitely the winner, but she beat me on one round and came close on a couple of the others.
To be honest, I was expecting this to be a game that we would be getting rid of as it had been gathering dust for so long, but given the way this play session went, I’m sure we’ll be keeping it for the foreseeable future.
The verdict from Miss B (aged 8¼): “It was a very good game but not quite good enough to be favourite. I give it a 9.9 out of 10. 🙂 I like the way the Cathedral works because it is clever about the way it can never be exactly in the middle and the way the buildings fit together so well.”
The game: Cathedral (Mattel), 2 players aged 10+.
Oh dear, this is all getting a bit late isn’t it? More than a week into April and still no monthly report. Well, things have been a bit chaotic lately; the extension to our house that I mentioned a few months back has now been completed and so we have been spending a lot of time assembling new furniture, moving stuff around, and so on. There is still a fair bit to do, but we are getting there. And on the plus side, the board games collection now has a new home.
Compared with the last couple of months, March was fairly light on the gaming, but we still managed to have 19 plays of 15 distinct titles, which is the same number of plays as March last year (and one fewer title).
In March we didn’t play anything more than twice, and the doubles were Backgammon, “Coin Football” (an old game I learnt at primary school using three coins on a table that I taught to Miss B), Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck, and Hey That’s My Fish! (the digital version).
So the leaderboard for the year has Yardmaster Express ahead with a solid 10 plays, followed by Rhino Hero and Dobble on 6, and Apples to Apples on 5.
We made some progress on the 10-by-10 challenge, but we have some games falling a little behind schedule. That said, we have 9 months left, so if everything gets one more play per month we will have aced it. The current number of plays for each of our 11 games (10 plus an alternate, remember) are as follows…
|Game||Plays so far|
|Apples to Apples||5|
|Piece o’ Cake||1|
|Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck||3|