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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Name Of The Rose, Endeavor, Carson City, Divinare, Alea Iacta Est, Las Vegas, Noblemen, Robot Master, Edo, Navegador, Hermagor

Played a Print and Play game that has been receiving some good reviews and also a few games which I have been wanting to play. Quite a good session I have had this week with highlights being Edo and Endeavour. Lets take a look:

Who's suspicious....hmmm...
Game Session and Thoughts:

So I manage to bring this pretty old Stefan Feld game out as Jon has been wanting to try it. This was one of the first few boardgames I purchased at the beginning when I first started to dive into modern designer games and I was very enamoured by it then. Now a few years later, playing it again and comparing to many modern boardgames, it seems to have lost a bit of the lustre and glamour I had. Much of the game, you were pretty quiet as you are thinking and trying to be subtle but at the same time trying to push the rest ahead of your pawn. However, there is a potential to just play randomly and then see how it goes because the cards you are dealt with kinda dictates what you can do and if you are dealt very bad cards you are probably helping others more than yourself which can suck. This time i realised how even during the 3 times in the game where you are revealing who you are not, it can also turn out badly for you if for example all players chose to reveal they are not a certain color and you are the only one that did not. This is especially obvious when you are in a 5 player game as it increases the likelihood that you are the color. Finally, in the end game guessing, you can also be sabotaged not because you weren't subtle but through the process of elimination. I think perhaps the game took a little too long to play because more often than not you are just doing the same thing again and again every day (6 days in the game) and only change will be reacting to the event for that day. Of course if there are players who are not being serious and just fooling around, that can throw people off as well in the game. So in summary, after a few years and looking back at this game, I can only say Try before you buy. Its seems to be Stefan's first few forays into the boardgame industry and him stretching his legs and trying out what works and what doesn't. I am certainly glad of his recent releases and will still be looking forward to Brugge and Amerigo later in the year.
For more details of our discussion, do listen to Episode 9 of our podcast.


So many many bits!

Game Session and Thoughts:
Ah Endeavour. I have heard a lot about this game and have almost been tempted to buy it but the board reminded me of Lost Cities the boardgame so I did not know what to make of the game. Yea I should learn to read the rules to make a better judgement but somehow the rules doesn't grab me as much when I don't have the game in front of me to look through the components and better understand how it works. Someone had the game and well since we were wondering what other games to play with 5 we decided to give this a go.
Endeavour is a relatively easy game to teach and play but has surprisingly meaty strategies involved and moderate interaction amongst players. Players each have a player board which will mark various "tech" which essentially denotes how advanced they are in terms of various actions that you can perform during the game. There are a few phases in the game but the most important portion is the action phase where players in turn order, perform actions on the main board. Players are trying their best to advance their "techs" as well as obtain cards both of which will provide points at the end of the game. In addition, several locations on the board also provide points if you still occupy them at the end of the game. After 7 turns, the player with the most points will win. I will not go into too much details as you can read it from BGG.
The artwork is not bad and functional. Theme wise though there really isn't a lot of theme and this is a typical euro game. It is also an area control game as well because the number of your tokens in a particular area often denotes which level cards you can obtain and the higher the level, the better rewards you will get. This is my first time playing and I was planning to go an alternative path from what the rest are doing however our paths soon cross as they started to dabble into the exploration paths I was on. The buildings that are available for building are crucial as they often provide you with 2 actions which is quite powerful in the later game when snatching the governor cards or other cards from each other.
Pet Peeves: 
Setup is kinda tedious. First you have to randomly distribute the chits onto each available space on the board facedown. Then you had to flip the chits up for all of them. The cards also needs to be segregated for the various regions during setup. Finally buildings need to be setup in their various levels and types.  Quite a lot of things to do. There aren't any spare chits on the board though so if you lose one it can be quite painful. Otherwise, its a good use of symbols and everything else is quite clear.
one smaller pet peeve is that you can card count in this game or at least memorize the cards so you know which to aim for to get certain benefits. Its not that easy but it may just give you that edge to win.
I can see why this game is rated highly in BGG. For the length of game, the weight and gameplay it provides is just enough. I had some fun in this as it has just the right level of interaction. There is even a way to kick people's chips off the spaces on the board but will cost u 2 extra chips to do so. I don't have many complaints about this but perhaps with more plays I may have. Recommended!


Not many on the other side of the river
Game Session and Thoughts:
Carson City and its expansion is a medium weight action selection and worker placement type of game set in a wild west theme. Each turn, each players will obtain a number of cowboys (to add to those that weren't used in previous turns) and use these cowboys to place them on the board to either perform actions or block spaces on the main board to either build plots of land. Then actions are resolved based on the action track and players will take their actions. Now I giving a very high level view of the game because there are a lot of reviews already so I won't repeat them.
The expansions add more buildings as well as additional character tiles with different abilities and bandits. Bandits will appear from Round 2 onwards and may occupy a player's buildings thus halving the income. However these bandits will also provide players with the ability to defeat them and thus earning points as well. So playing with the expansion does afford more abilities and I feel does make it more fun.
I had played this once before and I did not really think much about it. Recently as part of an acquisition disorder phase (lol!) I decided to give it another go and got both the base game and the expansion to try again. I manage to play 2 more times after buying and have seen quite different plays of the game. It certainly requires more plays so that players know what to look out for and what to guard against. In a game that lasts only 4 rounds (which is pretty short for the amount of things to do and see in the game), players gotta be on their feet and play an active part in blocking others so that there's no runaway victories as have happened in the games.
The number of actions per turn is rather limited and I find it abit distracting to concentrate on the actions I require and also on the main board because I will need plots of land to build buildings on. What I am trying to say is that there seems to be a bit of a disjoint between the 2. Theme wise its not too bad in that there are connections with the characters you choose and the actions you are performing. I love the art as the fonts used and colors are quite thematic and fitting of the western theme.
Pet Peeves: 
Setup is a bit fiddly as you need to setup the action spaces and the main board itself before you can start. The dice while awesome to hold because they are big and chunky are actually a bit hard to roll as they are big and heavy and will push things away if rolled onto components on the board but this is a minor peeve. You will need to ensure no one gets away with anything else the scoring will be very lopsided. This means that experienced players are a must otherwise there isn't really much you can do to catch up with the leader once they get their key items early in the game. Game length seems to be a whee bit too short as well for a game that seems to be meaty and has a lot of potential. Finally, the buildings themselves only have specific requirements to build and different ways of counting income but they don't provide anymore interactions amongst themselves which is a pity. There seems to be a possibility of more development on these buildings and more intricate interactions between them and various elements of the game.
I am pretty ok with the game in that the bidding and fighting for action spaces creates a lot of interaction and tension in the game. Limited abilities to convert to points also will cause a lot of conflicts between the players. Counting income though can be a pain because changes to the board will change the income of each of the buildings you own. Still I am not quite getting the game in its entirety and so I don't believe I will be keeping this in my collection. Try before you buy!


hmmm what cards should I pass...

Game Session and Thoughts:
3 Player game and its still quite a good game for me. As mentioned, I think it will work better as a 2 or 3 player rather than the full 4 because you can still manage what you have provided and it becomes less of a memory only game and more of a tactical movement game. By saying its less of a memory game, I mean its easier to remember what you have passed on and received and so you can focus more on what cards to pass and to play so as to position yourself to be in the best position when the game ends. If you haven't gotten a copy yet and have read my blogs so far, what are you waiting for? You won't regret it! :D


Many dice but not enough symbols to help players
Game Session and Thoughts:
I bought this game when I first heard about it because of the dice and placement mechanism which reminded me of Kingsburg which I liked. However after playing it a few times I realise its a very odd game for me and did not click for me. The theme is pasted on and how the dice are placed on the various areas is quite hard to explain. I once brought it to the office and I had a hard time explaining how the dice placements worked. Scoring of points and the various secret objectives was also not as intuitive and did not help me enjoy the game. I decided to give it a go recently after a year or so since I last played and the sentiments are still the same. Its just a game that I cannot play nor enjoy playing. If you can get pass the rules and have a better way of explaining the game, perhaps this may work for me. For now though. its a pass for me.


And many dice again. Small screwage available though

Game Session and Thoughts:
An easy simple dice game that has had mixed reviews. When I first heard about this and how it plays, it was mostly moderate to negative reviews. Since it is a light game I did not go about purchasing it but managed to have a play recently. We played with the advanced rules where the white dice are used (basic rules you only use the colors of dice that the players have chosen).
At the start of each round, money cards will be dealt to each casino tile up to at least $50mil. This means that some casinos may get lucky and get larger amounts (some got $110mil for e.g.). During your turn, you will roll all the dice that you have remaining and then decide which sets of dice to allocate to the various casinos, depending on the pips on this set of dice that you selected. Then its the next player's turn and players keep doing this until all their dice (including the white ones) have been allocated to the appropriate casinos.
Players then look at each casino and count the number of dice they have there. If your number matches any other players or the white dice, then you are out. The first non-matching majority player will take the highest value money card. Then the 2nd non-matching majority will take the next card (if any) and so on and so forth. In this way, each casino will be resolved and money collected. Players play a few rounds and then whichever player that has collected the most $ will be the winner.
So while it is an easy and simple dice game, the inclusion of white dice in every player's collection of dice does make this more interesting as you can decide how and when to use these white dice to sabotage others. Components and artwork are pretty good, no compliants there.
Pet Peeves: 
The main pet peeve will be the luck involved when rolling. Since this is a dice game primarily, you will be dealing with a lot of luck. As this is a filler as well and game plays pretty fast, this shouldn't be a very big issue but if you dislike luck-filled games, then you will do well to avoid this game.
Light filler dice rolling game. This will be right up some players' alley but its not for me. The best way to play this seems to be trying to hoard your dice so that you can slowly allocate them strategically to block others and steal the majority from them. Although you may get screwed if you have a "good" dice roll, that's just the way life is i guess in this game. Try before you buy. Btw as of this writing, there is an iOS implementation of the game. Not sure how it is like but might be a cheaper alternative to try first before buying the game.


Its all about the masquerade!

Game Session and Thoughts:
I think I reviewed this light-medium weight Euro game previously so I won't go into details here. In a nutshell, its an extremely well produced (and maybe even over produced game) with great components and art work and interesting tile placement cum building type of game. However, the various components while are intricately related, aren't flowing or functioning smoothly in my opinion. The biggest variable in the game is the queen because a round ends when a player ends his turn and he has the Queen with him. That can cause a lot of screw ups to plans and makes it sometimes very hard to plan ahead. Maybe you were waiting 1 more round for the Masquerade and needed to do something to secure the next position but someone got the queen and poof the round ended and we go straight into Masquerade. I don't think its a bad game but for me though it did not feel like it flowed smoothly and was clunky. Try before you buy!


Interesting thinky little 2 player game

Game Session and Thoughts:
Quick light game for 2 players or 2 teams from Reiner Knizia, Robot Master requires players to play cards from their hand into a 5 by 5 grid on the table. Once that is done, players will count points from their lowest column and whoever has more points will win the game.
Its that simple! The complexity and thinky part comes from deciding where to play your card AND how the robots are scored. For example, if you have multiples of the same robot in the same column, you will score multiples of the points instead of just the points themselves. In addition, since what you are placing may help your opponent form the multiples he/she needs it can be used both to sabotage your opponent or accidentally helping him/her.
That's largely the game! Art is ok for such a light filler and there is certainly a lot of interaction in the game because cards are used by both parties but there may not be a lot of talking because both players/teams will be concentrating on the board and trying to outthink their opponent.
Pet Peeves: 
Theme wise, there is zero in the game. You can probably replace the robots with other things and the game will still work fine. The scoring and points have absolutely nothing to do with the theme at all! While some can say that the draw of the cards may screw up your chances of winning the game, I think with careful placement, even a bad draw of cards can still win the game.
I had some plans when I started playing the game but they quickly degenerated into tactical reactions to what my opponent has done because the game is designed this way. There is only so much you can plan ahead before the opponent places a card into the space you wanted and forces you to change your plans. Still I did enjoy myself in this light filler and I suspect this is best with 2 and not as a team game. I am finding myself enjoying these little light fillers that can be quite thinky if you let it be and lets me enjoy light fillers. Try before you buy!


Ultra euro game with very little theme but fun!

Game Session and Thoughts:
A game I saw with much curiosity during GENCON 2012 and was much intrigued by it. My usual gaming group had a copy and played it (without me) but it never got to the table again so I wasn't too sure if it was good or not. Their comments were its very dry. So I kinda shuned away from it. Recently though, with a good dose of acquisition disorder, I decided to pull the trigger :p
Edo is a medium weight action selection and worker placement game with 2 ways of scoring. The game ends when a player has reached 12 points OR if all merchant tiles have been used. Then players have a final scoring and the player with the most points will win the game.
Most interesting feature of the game is the use of these square action tiles to determine which 3 actions you will be taking during a specific round. These square tiles are seperated into 4 triangles each with a different action. During the planning phase, players will secretly place 3 such tiles onto a rack, placing the triangle with the action they want to take at the bottom. Then they will place a number of meeples in front of that tile which will denote how many times they want to activate that action.
Once all players have placed and decided, the action phase will begin. Starting with the Start player, players will play the first action tile and the number of times during their turn. This will continue in player order and when it comes back to the start player again, the 2nd action tile will be played. In this way, all 3 action tiles will be played, actions taken in turn order and the phase will end.
Players then pay rice for each of their meeple they have on the game board and then receive income based on their buildings they have in each city on the game board as well as their position in each city. Players check for the end game condition and if the game has not ended, they will flip over a new merchant tile and start a new round.
Art wise its functional and quite apt. Icons are clear and easy to read and I like it.
Gameplay wise, its a pretty dry euro where you are just trying your best to react to the situation and score points to win the game. The initial starting moves maybe the same but it may change only depending on what the other players do and the list of new action tiles that are available for purchase. I will need more plays to determine if this may break the game but I am hoping not as I do like the game.
Pet Peeves: 
Thematically its very dry and doesn't really fit the theme. You could jolly well replace it with another setting and it will still function the same. The same starting moves sequence maybe a problem in the future but I will need more plays to see if this is a problem. Choice of components is abit odd. The rice tokens are way too big and the starting player token is quite similar to the other meeples but just of a different color which can be mistaken easily. Good weighty pieces I appreciate but slightly overproduced.
I really liked the game because its thinky and meaty enough for the length of game time it requires. While the lack of theme maybe MEH for some I did not really feel it was a pain for me. The board is nicely designed and the game play is tight enough to ensure that the game will definitely end after an appropriate length of game play. I am not too sure about the value of the merchant tiles versus constructing the buildings to get the points to win the game and I am sure with more plays it will become clearer. The promos provide just slightly more options but doesn't really add anything significant to the game play so can be ignored if you prefer. Recommended!


Focused on only Shipping but got screwed...
Game Session and Thoughts:
Medium weight Euro game with a Rondel that requires players to choose from different options for obtaining money and then utilising the money again to improve these options to score points and win the game in the end. Unique part of this game will be the rondel, the market and your player board (which provides the different options for you to score points and win the game).
Like many rondel games, this will not be any different. The next 3 steps are free for you to choose from but further segments will require you to return a boat to your supply. Should you have the Navegador card (which awards you with a free Shipping action), there will be an additional boat on the rondel which will signify when you must use the Navegador card or else you will have to pass it to the next player.
The market is interesting because there are 2 ways to use the market. One by selling goods from your settlements and the second is by processing goods. Selling goods will bring down the price but will increase the profits for processing and vice versa. So these 2 are linked in the market.
Finally, the player board shows you the different ways in which to score points and win the game. Throughout the game, you will be storing wharves, churches and items you have purchased or obtained on your player board. There are also columns where you can obtain prestige tokens which will award you money based on which icon is covered and the number of related items you have on the board. Tokens will also award you points in the end for the number of related items on your board.
Artwork is pretty Puerto Rico style like and Ok I guess. I find I am moving more away from such art styles as they don't appeal to me anymore. They keep reminding me of the traditional euro games and has this trading in the Mediterranean type of feel which is boring and somewhat dated for me. Components are wooden bits and thick cardboard so that's always nice.
Pet Peeves: 
Artwork is somewhat dated for me but its a small pet peeve. Another pet peeve will be how random the settlements are arranged across the board. Sometime with luck the settlements you explore yield a lot of money for you  and then you can make good use of the money, Other times you may be left with the small bounties and thus not as favourable. Indeed, I manage to grab a lot of money after exploring the last settlement and that helped me to get quite a lot of points. Finally, the biggest complaint will be your sitting arrangement and what actions or directions the players before you are taking. Often if you are planning the same things as they are, then they will have often made situation on the board not favourable for you when it comes to your turn. This means that you are sometimes forced to choose a different path from what you have preferred or planned for initially.
Again, guarding someone is very important in a game like this. I was very focused on the shipping route but was quickly stopped by 2 players and I could not flip myself around fast enough to venture into other areas and score points to secure the win. Even exploring requires some good timing because players may steal ahead of you to explore and secure the settlement token when you have your armada of ships good and ready to go exploring. All in all, it was a pretty OK game for me but not great enough that I don't regret selling my copy of the game. Try it before you buy it!


OMG I was 3rd by 1 little point! GEEZE :(

Game Session and Thoughts:
Medium weight game which combines an interesting auction type mechanism and area control where most of your scoring will come from with a thinly wrapped theme to top it off. Players attempt to build trading posts around the board and earning money after building by "selling" the resource on the market. Players also try to keep in mind the final scoring conditions and when the game end, whoever has the most money will win the game.
3 parts that make this game interesting. The 1st is the auction area which starts each round. Imagine a grid where resource/special tiles are placed on the grid. Each tile is surrouned by 8 possible circles with different numbers printed on them. During each player's turn, player will place 1 of their 4 bidding pawns on any of the cirles on the board thereby stalking a claim in the tiles that are adjacent to the circle. Alternatively, player can place their pawn onto a tile directly. Player will then pay $ in terms of the number they have covered. If you place on the tile itself, you will pay $2. Once all players have placed all 4 pieces, this bidding area is resolved. A player will win a tile if he/she has a mojrity of his bidding pieces adjacent to the tile. If there is a tie compare where your pawns are. If your pawn is on the tile, you will win or if your pawn is orthogonally adjacent, you will win. So with careful bidding and placement, you can either win a lot of tiles or even win nothing at all! Players will also receive income based on the placement of their bidding pawns. If they are placed in a row, then they will receive income in arithmetic progression. Players will receive income for the row and column the pawns are in. So potentially you can receive income from $4 to $14.
2nd part which is interesting is the market area which determines the income one receives when building their trading posts. The market also has slots which provide more income when a player has enclosed certain areas on the main board with their own trading posts. Finally, the market comes into play at the end game for end game scoring depending if they have a chit for that particular good and as well as the final price of the good. Slots are limited (especially for a 5 player game) and quite a lot of scoring will come from these slots so competition is high.
Finally the main board itself is rather interesting. At the start of every round, a tile will be flipped over to reveal how many houses we can place onto the board for that turn. After the bidding phase, players, in turn order, will decide where to place their house on the board and move their meeple to that location. Players will pay costs depending on which roads they have covered and if there are other buildings in the destination. Finally players will get income based on the resource at the destination and its current market price. Players also check if they have surrounded a region. There are 2 types of regions which players can surround to get bonus points. One is denoted by "H" for Hermagor and will score in a single track at the bottom. Spaces are limited and there are more H's on board so competition will be fierce. The other type of region will include a resource type on the market and you will get points at the end of the game depending on how much the good costs.
So as you can tell, this is a game with many layers and quite a lot of interaction amongst the players.
Pet Peeves: 
Theme is quite limited in the game primarily because we did not read the fluff and jumped right into the game. The game tried to project a fantasy sort of theme I think but it did not come through at all. Also the bidding portion is an interesting mechanism but does not necessarily combine well with the other parts of the game. Artwork is rather dull and dark with earthy tones. Finally, I think the game comes with paper money and in this game where a lot of money is being exchanged, I think poker chips will be a must when playing the game.
It maybe difficult to visualize how you are going to bid initially but after a few rounds you will get the hang of it. This type of bidding reminds me of Goa though there are some significant differences. After a few rounds though, paying other players becomes a norm and can get tedious if you want to calculate everything. I enjoyed the game but felt it could have been slightly too long. I thought I was doing pretty ok because of the end game scoring but came in 3rd. The top 3 scorers weren't that far off with the points though. This is quite a fun game but maybe hard to come by because it is a few years old. Its a pity the artwork and theme doesn't come through for me and I believe if there was more cohesion and better artwork, this will be a recommended game for me. Try before you buy!

PHEW! So someone commented that I seem to play a lot of games and I did a last count and here are my stats:
I have logged 216 plays of games this year out of which I have played 125 unique games. Top 3 are love letter, coup and suburbia. CO2 is not that far behind!
So that's half a year gone and another half to go! I bet this number will explode due to me attending GENCON 2013 :D

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Master Merchant, Palastgeflaster, Die Speicherstadt, Rialto, Super Farmer Rancho, Sheepland, Viticulture and what I backed in Kickstarter!

Hits of this blogpost ? Rialto of course! Along with Viticulture and to a lesser extent, Die Spiecherstadt and its expansion. I feel that Stefan Feld is really coming into stride here with 2 great hits this year and it seems as if his previous releases have been him exploring various mechanisms and designs to fine tune his prowess and come up with winning combinations for his releases this year. If Brugge and Amerigo are in the same vein, then I am pretty sure Stefan Feld will be winning designer of 2013 hands down! Lets get on with the review!


Quick light filler. Love letter seems better though...
Game Session and Thoughts:
A light game from Seiji Kanai (of Love Letter) fame. Its like a dominion light with cooler art (in my opinion) and play time can stretch from very fast to slightly too long due to the end game condition. Its no frills (very much like his Love Letter) with minimal text and multiple combinations.
Players start off with 2 standard cards and a money card to keep track of the money they have. During their turn, they can play 2 cards. The first 2 cards each player receives is a card that allows you to buy 1 card from the city market (much like dominion) and steals $1 from each player that has 4 or more. Players can also play a card face down to receive $1. At the start of your turn if you have no more cards remaining in your hand, then you can take back all the discarded cards you have played previous turns. The game ends when 1 player has reached $8 OR has 8 cards in their hands.
Artwork is right up my alley and that is why I also obtained his version of Love Letter. Something about this... urban looking art which is mostly just black and white with bold brush strokes appeal to me.
So as you can see, very much like Dominion but much lighter. There are only 10 cards to buy from and they costs from 1 to 4 and have different abilities. Most cards allow you to target other players so as to improve your own status and sabotage others. Thus in this to and fro, players will try their best to prevent others from winning and set themselves up for the inevitable victory.
Game went by pretty fast and since I had quite a lot of cards I was targeted quite often. I think we did quite a good job of guarding each other but in the end, another player managed to obtain 2 cards (1 from discard and 1 from market) and won the game. 
Pet Peeves: 
The main pet peeve will be the variable end game condition. Because there is no set timing of how long a game will last, this game can take as fast as 20 mins or even 1 hour if everyone has been guarding everyone very well. For such a light game to last 1 hour, that will be a killer. Otherwise, there aren't any other bad things about this game as its rather light and easy to get into and play. 
A light game that is very much a streamlined dominion clone with interesting powers that allow you to really mess with each other's cards. Because of the win condition, this game provides cards which will have a LOT of interaction as you will need to be aware and keep blocking others to prevent them from winning. There is english text on the cards so its not difficult to understand and we had no difficulty learning and playing the game. Not sure how easy is it to get it state side but you can certainly try the online Japan stores and see if they will ship to you. Try before you buy!


Play session seems wonky for some who are used to euro games..
Game Session and Thoughts:
Brought this out for the group that decided to play something light and they did not like it at all. I guess it could be because this group mostly plays Euro games thus having a game that is quite dependant on the card draw and subsequently you may get sabotaged without you being able to defend yourself seems at odds with their terms of enjoyment. One of them brought out a good point in that you are trying to do your best to sabotage others rather than trying to reach the goal of having 6 different characters yourself which is quite true. He also pointed out you should be playing cards that are not of your color so that you can catch another player off guard and thus forcing them to play something they may not have wanted. I guess in future when I introduce the game I will emphasis on this point and it may make for a more fun and enjoyable game. Its a pity the player aid doesn't have the icons of each character on it to make it easier for the players to quickly understand what is happening and each character's special abilities.


More cards, more ways to buy cards and AWESOME COINS

Game Session and Thoughts:
I had played this previously and did not really take to it enough to buy a copy. Now that I am a Stefan Fan, I decided to give it another go and also bought the expansion along with it. The expansion provided more cards, some new goods and a new way to play but the item that really clinched the deal are the METAL COINS. In the base game, it came with a metal coin to signify the first player. In the expansion, it came with MANY MANY coins to replace the cardboard coins from the first game.
I will briefly explain the game together with the expansion.
This is pretty much a game with a rather unique auction and then a sort of set collection/goal fulfilment game. At the start of every round, a number of cards (depending on the number of players) will be drawn and turn face up on the board. For the expansion, the same number of cards is now draw and placed above the board. Players then, in turn order, place one of their meeples (3 in base game, 4 with expansion) onto the first empty slot on the column corresponding to the card they want. Now you are bidding either for the card that you want OR to screw with other players. Players can also choose a card from above the board and bring them to the side of the board with your meeple on it to form another column. Once all players have placed all their meeples, the cards are resolved from left to the right. Starting with the player who's meeple is nearest the card, they will decide if they want to spend the coins to buy the card. How much does the card cost? That is where the screwing will come in. For all meeples that are in that column is the cost of the card. If you pass (cannot afford or don't want to buy), then you remove your meeple and the next player's meeple will be able to purchase the card. This goes on until the card is purchased. Now for the column that is on the side of the board, it is pretty much the same except the price is determined by the number of meeples in that column and if you choose not to buy, that card you have reserved will be discarded.
Players then resolve the cards they have taken (i.e. if it is a cargo ship, then the cargo needs to be distributed either to fulfil contracts or to exchange for coins or money). After that, player order changes and each player obtains 2 coins as income. If you have not managed to purchase any cards during the last round, you will also obtain another coin as compensation. New round begins and play continues until all the card has been played and we will resolve the last card which is a Fire.
Now in the stack of cards, there will be FIRE cards and a certain value. Players will add up all firemen cards they have and whomever has the lowest value will receive the Fire value in negative points. The player with the highest total sum value of firemen will receive that Fire value in positive points. The expansion also add cards which are a 1 time use and to be discarded and also cards with fixed points as rewards.
I had purchased the german version so I had to refer to the rulebook to figure out what the cards do but most of the game is pretty easy to grasp. Artwork is ok and the icons are clear and easy to understand. Again, the coins are AWESOME to have and to hold. They have a nice weight to them.
Perhaps its because we did not shuffle the initial stacks properly but in our initial few rounds we did not have any ships shipping goods to us so when they did finally came out, the competition was furious. There is a LOT of opportunity to screw with others and if you are a gamer that doesn't like all this disturbances and annoyances to your plans, you may want to avoid this game. I am pretty sure I pissed off one of my opponents during this game :p
Pet Peeves: 
Nothing much actually because its straight forward to teach and play. You may need a lot of room to play this game though because your tableau of cards may grow and you may want to have some space to see all your cards and contracts. 
I feel that with the expansion it adds abit more options such that you won't be as screwed as in the base game if you did not win anything at all. Here I think at the very least you should be able to win some items unless you were making quite bad decisions. Its better for me this time around with the expansions but I will need a few more plays to see if I like it enough. For now at least the metal coins are making me feel warm and fuzzing inside :p. Try before you buy!


1st game was Meh for me, 2nd game was WAY BETTER

Game Session and Thoughts:
The second release from Stefan Feld this year after Bora Bora! Brugge is out that I know but its not available in english for us right now so I haven't gotten myself a copy yet.
Rialto is a medium weight game that involves card drafting and area control with the theme lightly dabbed on. Compared to Bora Bora, it is definitely lighter but runs as smooth and lasts much shorter and still provides the same amount of fun for the amount of thinking involved and time spent. In short, it still shows no degrading from the current quality we are expecting from Stefan Feld.
At the start of the round, there will be rows of 6 cards (1 more than number of players) for players, in turn order based on a Doge track on top, to choose from. This is where most of the analysis paralysis will happen in the game. The cards you are drafting for will dictate the 2nd phase (with many micro phases) of the game. After a player has selected a row of 6 cards, they will also draw 2 more cards from the face down. Now players can activate the green buildings by placing a coin on the building (thus each building can only be activated once per round and only if you have enough coins). Players then need to discard down to 7 cards unless they had green buildings activated which can increase their hand size.
Phase 2 is ready! This is where the meat of the game is and you can see if you have made the right decision choosing that row of cards. Phase 2 is a series of mini phases which will grant you rewards based on the number of cards of that mini phase you have played and if you play the most cards, you will get a bonus and is the new starting player of the next mini phase. This is quite important because it definitely makes the game harder to predict and quite interesting. Phase 2a is the doge track so players, based on existing doge track order, will play a number of cards with the doge track. In this phase, you can also use yellow buildings (also paying 1 coin) which allows more flexibility (i.e. play 1 card to become 2 of the same but other type of cards). There are also Jester cards which you can play in addition to a base card OR when played in 2s, can represent a base card. Phase 2a will determine how far you have advanced in the Doge track which is usually a tie breaker.
Phase 2b is to grab gold (for buildings), Phase 2c is building points (to be able to build buildings), Phase 2d is Bridge which awards points and penalize players who never played any card and allows you to place bridge tiles. Phase 2e is the gondola which allows you to have more councilmen tokens in your reserve and also to place a gondola tile on the board AND extra councilman into the board. Finally, Phase 2f which is to place a number of councilmen in your reserve onto the board's active region.
Phase 3 starts and players can activate blue buildings which usually award points or upgrade buildings. That is the end of a round! The game lasts 6 rounds and then, together with the final game scoring, players with the most points will win the game. The main way to earn points is to have a majority in a district so that you will get the sum of all the points indicated on bridges and gondolas touching that district. Only the top 3 players will be awarded points for each district. Note that there is a bonus scoring in that if you are the first player to place a councilman in each of the 3 orange OR blue (meaning 3 orange or 3 blue), then you will score bonus 5 points.
First play through, I wasn't really feeling it like how I felt for Bora Bora after my first play. Now its not a bad game its just not as deep as I had thought.
The 2nd play was way better as I kinda knew what plan to have and went with grabbing a few of the green buildings to increase my hand limit per round. I thought i had the 5 point bonuses in one round but it got sniped away from me when I wasn't paying close attention. ARGH that was a KHANNNNN moment for me and did indeed make me lose the game (I was 2nd by 1 point!).  We also played correctly the 2nd time such that the winner of the bonus each mini phase will be the starting player in the next mini phase. The first play did not have this and boy did it change a lot of things in the game for me.
Pet Peeves: 
Small pet peeve but the board with all the extra roads and alleyways makes the board looks a bit busy. Someone mentioned it looked like colored macaroni LOL. The bonus for each round could have been indicated on the board so we don't need to refer to the rule book every so often but once you played it a few times it should come as second nature.
Oh and shuffling. You will need to shuffle the cards.... A LOT. We played with 4 and almost every round after we setup the cards, we will need to shuffle the discard pile. This is especially true when you have more players and they are all aiming for the green building cards which allow them to draw 3 more cards from the deck. Sleeve your cards to prevent them from wearing out fast!
The biggest pet peeve so far is the score track. It looks nice but not very practical. Why? It represents a street with a row of street lights. You are moving your score tokens IN BETWEEN the lights though and NOT ON the lights. This makes it slightly counter intuitive and hard to score. Wish they done away with this and had something more practical.
So I had more fun in my 2nd play than my first most probably because I knew what is more powerful now than before. Still I think I haven't reach my full power with this (I should start to notice what others are taking and then be aware if I can win the phase and be the majority) and sometimes its a bit tricky to determine the player order sequence. I feel I am only beginning to discover the subtle nuances (i.e. blue buildings are mostly for points, yellow buildings are for flexibility during play, green buildings are just to provide more cards for you at the start. All in all, it is fun to play, easy to teach but probably not too easy to master it completely. Recommended!
NOTE: I just played a game of 2 players and the Doge track is not really hotly contest as vs 4 player game. Much less shuffling and buildings won't run out. The 5 points bonus play a much bigger role in a 2 player game. I can't wait to try a 5 player and see how it plays out....


Dogs smell funny. No really the plastic smells funny...

Game Session and Thoughts:
I saw the cover on the game and was very intrigued by this. The art and components (awesome dice and cute doggies!) appealed to me so I decided to give this game a go.
This is a light family game that plays in about 45 mins or so and plays up to 6 players. The objective of the game is to collect 1 of each animal: rabbit, sheep, cow and horse. First player to do so will win the game. In essence its a game about collecting enough resources, protecting your assets and making the right decision at the right time to get the animals and win the game (with a little dose of luck).
During your turn, players can choose to exchange animals using rabbits. Yes, rabbits are the currency in the game! Each player starts off with 1 rabbit and 1 sheep (which are worth 6 rabbits). Players can also expand their farm by paying in rabbits. Outer regions costs 4 rabbits. The middle region, 2 and the innermost region only 1 rabbit. Once you have decided to change and/or expand, players will roll 2 dice. Total up the animals that appear on your dice with what you have and for every pair of animals, you get 1 more of that type of animal. You have to be able to place these animals on the area that you control and only the rabbits can stack (6) in 1 hex. If you roll a fox or a wolf, then you must roll the D6 and animals in all hexes that belong to the number rolled will be removed. Fox will eat only rabbits and Wolf will eat all except rabbits. Players can discard dogs to prevent this from happening. Small dogs for Fox and Big dogs for Wolf. Then its the next player's turn and play continues this way until someone wins the game.
Its a pretty light game and great for the family. Artwork is very nice and cute and dice and dogs are well produced. Luck of the roll will often determine if you are still in the game or not. But you can get dogs to mitigate bad luck. My first game I did not have any dogs and lost quite a lot of sheep to the Wolf which knocked me out from contention for good. My 2nd game though I won as I made a lucky dice roll of 2 rabbits which provided me the last rabbit I need to win the game.
Pet Peeves: 
Luck of the roll is very high because whether you can get income in terms of more animals or if you are screwed when Fox or Wolf is rolled really boils down to the dice roll. The picture on the die for Wolf and Horse are very similar. They could have made it more distinct. The holes in the board makes it clear for marking which region belongs to you but if you made a mistake, then taking out the disc is quite difficult. Finally, after you have placed your animals on your farm area, you cannot tell if that animal belongs to you or not because your animal tile has covered your token. This is quite an odd design since if you have forgotten what belongs to you, you have to remove the animal tiles and look. Starting moves seems to be very similar, change the sheep to expand outwards 1 space and then roll dice to get more animals. There are some turns where all you do is just to roll dice and get animals because you don't really have much else to do and it doesn't make sense to use up too much rabbits and jeopardize your "income". 
So all in all, I did have some fun playing the game but in terms of replayability and longevity in my shelf, I doubt it will last. If I had kids probably this might last longer because it teaches them about choosing the right time to invest, risk prevention and mitigation and proper planning to win the game. The history of this game is pretty interesting but ultimately, its a Try before you buy.


Black sheep ran almost 3/4 of the board.

Game Session and Thoughts:
As mentioned previously this is as a relatively light game. But I kinda suck at it lol. Do remember the 2 rules that people will usually forget. That is to roll the die for the black sheep to move and also when purchasing tiles, you MUST be adjacent to it before you can guy. I always seem to be purchasing tiles where I don't score a lot of sheep. I am wondering if I should be subtle and just ignore my own secret tile right at the beginning and go elsewhere so that I can purchase other tiles and HOPE my own secret tile is ignored until near the end. I haven't seen a game where the start player


OMG OH SO TIGHT, close race to the end! ARGH...

Game Session and Thoughts:
A great 2nd game where we played the rules correctly. Having the vines still being there after you harvest definitely changed the way we played. We used more time to build up our engines before starting to score points left and right and going first certainly is felt more keenly in the game. I was definitely screwed a few times with nothing else much to do when I did not get to go first. Even though I had by the 3rd round managed to get all my workers out, I did not capitalize on that and with all the bad timings I lost but only lost because of a tie breaker. It was a very tense match and surprisingly, it ended up with the tie breaker (most money) in the end again to determine the winner. At the very last round I managed to pull ahead and was at about 23 points. Another player did the same and because she had more money she will certainly win. The 3rd player decided to play a Winter card which blocked me from further scoring else I will have won the game. ARGH!!!! The pain of it all! I am upgrading my recommendation from Try before you buy to RECOMMENDED. It has all the tense moments yet relatively simple to teach and play of a good game. Thumbs up!

So there have been quite a few new releases for Kickstarter recently which got me all excited :) Let me talk about some of the games I have backed or are interested in.....


When I was quite young, I managed to have copies of the original series from a friend and I spent many a afternoons reading through the books and fantasising the awesome characters that I will be and all the battles that I have. The images in the books were very cool too and I was SUPER DUPER EXCITED to see this coming out from Kickstarter! Although I am pretty sure I won't be running any RPG games (or this could be the one that do me in who knows?) I just want to have the books again to read through and well well it comes with MINIATURES! I had 1 Rick Hunter toy from so long ago and it will be very cool to have these miniatures again to look at. Painting though will probably be a problem for me but lets see what happens.
Go back this now here


Saw this pop up when I am doing my daily (yes now DAILY!) search on projects in Kickstarter for tabletop games. The very nice miniatures really drew me in and best of all, they come PREPAINTED! After trying to (and not yet finishing!) paint the miniatures from Super Dungeon Explore, I think in future I will only get miniature games where they come prepainted. Although Robotech above and Zombicide Season 2 which I had also backed flies against this statement I am making, I still will lean more towards pre painted miniatures than anything in the future. Though recently after playing online and listening to Tom's review, I am wondering if I should cancel my pledge because the game will definitely be way too light for me but the figures are really cute! Anyway, I have a few days to think about it so lets see....
Go back this now here!


I am not too sure what prompted me to back this game without reading up on the rules but once I saw that this was clubbed together with Virgin Queen, I automatically assumed that this will be a euro-ey type of game that will be brain melty. So far I STILL haven't read the rules yet but still I am thinking its worth the backing. It does seem to have a lot of cards though... Anyway, its already fully funded so I still have some time to see if I will continue with my pledge.
Go back this now here!


Now again like above, I did not read too much into the game but the awesome figures and that its a space 4x (yes yes we have had many of those I know) really intrigued me. I haven't backed this yet mostly because I want to see if it will actually reach its stretch goal but you should check out the very cool ships that can hold die in them to denote the health of the ship I believe. 

I think that's enough for now and if you have read all the way down here, THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE! :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Nieuw Amsterdam, Batman Gotham City, First Train to Nuremberg, Take it or Leave it, 1969, Viticulture

Many new games played and my batches of new games have arrived! Hitlist this time is Viticulture and hits previously again is Nieuw Amsterdam. Lets get on with the reviews!


You CAN score in both Land and Shipping! Interesting...

Game Session and Thoughts:

This time I started off with the Fur route but seeing how no one was going for the businesses, I switched plans halfway. Its interesting playing with an opponent that calculates a lot and makes it a point to force you to make the hard decisions during auctions. The winner started off with land to get the necessary engine running while storing up on fur and near the midpoint of the game switched to fulfilling the ships, thus scoring a butt load of points from the ships and the end game scoring. My businesses strategy did not put a big dent and he won with about 100+ points. First time I have seen someone scoring past 100. Very good game still and I am loving how the theme somewhat clicks together now for me. Still highly recommended by me and do give it a go if you have a chance!


Nanananananananana BATMAN!

Game Session and Thoughts:
I am a fan of comics and Batman has always been quite a good read for me especially if it has cross overs with Judge Dread :P I have also played the video games so I was pretty interested to get this game and give it a go. Now the reviews have been pretty mixed and certainly it is a more ameritrash type of game and may not appeal to my now euro-gaming senses but well, its BATMAN! How bad can it be? At the very least I will get to go "NahnahnahnahNahnahnahnah BATMAN"
Each player will have 5 cards in their hand and during their turn, they will first check if they have levelled up based on the requirements for that level. Then they will play 1 card. The top part of the card usually provides income for the owner of that location (friendly ties). Unless its a Batman card  which then triggers a drawing of a batman card and resolving that card. Next, the player decides if he/she wants to play the 2nd part of the card he/she played OR discard it to draw 2 resources. If there is any combat (triggered when the player's Villan appears in the same location as another Villan OR Batman, resolve that combat (villans and batman don't really die in this game). Draw a card and your turn is done. Play goes to the next player and this continues until 1 player has reached Level 10 with his villan and wins the game.
NAhnahanahanahanahan BATMAN..... We keep uttering that everytime its our turn lol. That does help to make the game more fun for us. Initially we were really into the game, playing our moves, roleplaying a little, singing that silly tune but then the flaws started appearing for us. Soon it got a bit too draggy and we decided to stop for dinner. Killer Croc was quite powerful, causing most of us to hide our Villans in their lairs until we grew powerful enough to come out and face him. Batman wasn't really a hindrance to us and we mostly swatted him away. I got ganged up upon because my first move was to disturb others so most of the time i was a docile Penguin. Components are quite good though the threat tokens are cardboard discs which for me, somehow feels a bit cheap. Dice are really nice as they have the batman logo engraved on it. They could have provided something better to represent like wooden discs or something but that could make the prices go up. Art is very cartoony and I like. There are HUGE player shields to hide your items behind and it has all the rules printed on them as well for players to reference. 
Pet Peeves: 
Boy, where do I begin?
Card draw luck is quite a big factor in the game. If you draw very sucky cards and you are not there at the location to benefit from it, you can end up providing a lot of income to the other player(s). At the same time, dice rolling luck is a slightly smaller factor in the game because while it determines outcomes of your battles, you can negate it with enough henchmen in that area. The spaces can be quite small and the areas could be quickly filled up with chits and villans but this is a smaller pet peeve. Player shields are REALLY BIG such that very often as we move our pieces or reach over the board, we will knock them over and expose our hidden pieces. I think the reason for such big shields is to include the rules but it could have been smaller or sturdier. Killer Croc might be overpowered because his power cards really do encourage him to seek the other Villans out to kick their asses.
But the BIGGEST pet peeve I have with the game is that it is very hard to win  and it will take quite a long time to reach there. This is similar to how I feel for Spartacus and its like a Munchkin problem. Players will be able to tell who is in the lead and may work together to stop that leader. In that way, the game could drag on for very long as the game ends only when a player reaches level 10. Moreover, it is really hard to level up once past Level 6 as the conditions are quite difficult. We played for almost 2+ hours and I was only at level 3 and Killer Croc was at 7. This also kinda shows that if you are way way behind it is very difficult for you to catch up.
Well, the game requires some tweaking and house ruling in order to make it playable. As it is right now, it CAN be fun but it requires the right group to play it to be fun. Otherwise, it is draggy and not much variety. Batman seems a bit impotent right now as he is easily beaten back to the batcave. He doesn't really make a big dent in our plans because his threat clearing numbers are pretty low. You really need to spread your threat around so that you can at least benefit whenever other players are playing cards. That is very important so that you are at least on par with the rest and won't lose out in terms of getting resources. I will want to play it again with my regular Friday group and see if we can get more fun out of it. As of now, its a Try before you Buy! 
Nahnanananananana BATMAN!


Choo choo! Come on get on the train people!

Game Session and Thoughts:
So I have had a few train games in my collection last time but nothing like 18xx that sort. When I read about this and seeing the good reviews its been getting, I decided to give it a go. Players are trying to score as many points as they can, shipping goods and passengers all over the map and scoring points. All the while trying to keep a positive income flow so that they can also score more points at the end of the game. As an extra bonus, if you connect Nuremberg to the red stations, you will score a point for every link that are used for connecting. The game lasts 5 rounds and whowever has the most points at the end of the game will win it.
Each round is played over several phases. In the very first phase, players will be using investment cubes (every round you will get at least 12 + those that remained in previous terms) to bid onto a few auction spaces. These auction spaces will grant the winner of the bid influence points in the various categories which will determine what you can do in the next few phases. Bidding is such that each player can only win a maximum of 2 spaces and you can only shift your investment cubes to another spot if you are outbid on your current bids. once the auction is resolved, each player's disc on the various areas will increase based on the influences they have gained. There are a few tracks on the board and, briefly, they are: Train/Engine which will determine how much money you may spend to use trains for delivery; White colored influence which determine player order in terms of laying tracks and also used to pay off white meeples on the board when your tracks meet them; Green colored influence which are required when you start your track from a green station and also to sell tracks to the Green company at a later phase in the round; Red colored influence which are similar to Green colored influence;
The next phase after the auction is laying of tracks and each player will get a chance to lay tracks, paying for tracks using remaining investment cubes as well as the right colored influence where necessary.
After which, players are allowed to hire trains by paying influence. This is rather unique in that the trains are all located on one central board and are seperated into 3 different categories and are in different configurations. In this phase, players can also delivery goods and passengers by tracing the route on the track and placing the good/meeple onto the train board as indicative that the good/meeple has been delivered.
Finally, players will score points (1 for each good/meeple that was delivered) and also count income. This income is then reduced by the number of remaining tracks and that will account for the final profit/loss. The player's piece on the income wheel is then increased or reduced accordingly.
It took me some time to get into the groove of it all and after that it was quite an interesting game. There was a lot of fighting for space and position as we lay tracks to try and block each other and to maximise so that we can deliver as many different types of goods as we can because another end game scoring is each set of 4 different goods will provide 2 points. This is also a relatively low scoring game though I will need more plays to be able to determine that.

Pet Peeves: 
The rules seems a bit hard to read. When I first got the game and tried to read it, with so many words and text it was pretty daunting. I did not expect a game that seems medium weight to have such complicated rules. Luckily I had someone else teach us when we played it the first time.
Setup is also abit tedious because you will first need to randomly populate the various areas which will produce goods. Then remove those cubes that don't correspond to the factory it was placed on. Then you need to seed the passengers on the board. Finally you place the influence discs into the bag and randomly draw them out to populate the auction spaces. Given there are a lot of spaces on the board to seed the goods and passengers, this can be pretty tedious!
The bits seems a bit too big for the gauges on the common board but its not a big issue.

Conclusion:I had fun enough playing this game which seems to be like a 18xx game but way lighter. You are trying to be the first laying out the tracks to reach the various honeypots on the map so that you can be the first to deliver and score points. Why honeypots? because of the randomness right at the beginning during setup will probably cause some spots on the board to be more lucrative than the others. It is not that easy to understand right at the beginning but halfway through the game we picked it up and we were still able to give the game a good go. One thing to note the game comes with 2 maps and they provide quite different ways of playing which should be interesting. This coupled with the randomness of setup should provid e for a LOT of replayability. Overall, I enjoyed myself in the game and would like to give it a few more goes! This is however not a game for everyone especially those that do not like train-like games where you are picking up goods and delivering them. Try before you buy!


Blue or Orange.. hmm...

Game Session and Thoughts:
A relatively light filler, each round, 1 player will roll al the dice into the bowl. Then starting with the player that rolled, they will choose 1 die from the bowl and place it in front of them. If they choose the RED die, then they will need to take a -1 Penalty disc as well. Players are trying to match the dice they choose with the cards they have in hand to score points. Each die can only be used for 1 card only. The RED die will count as any color. Players also have an option to play an action card before they select a die. These action cards sometimes allow you to reroll certain number of dice or other benefits to negate the luck of the roll. Finally, players can pass as well. Once all players have passed, then each player reveal the cards they want to complete with the dice they have collected. Any spare die that could not fit any cards will cause the player to collect a -1 Penalty token. Once all players have resolved, they draw back up to 5 cards (combination of action or objective cards) and a new round begins. Game ends after a preset number of rounds and the player tally up the points of the objective cards they have completed minus the penalties and whoever has the most points will win the game.
So as you can tell, this is a light push your luck type of game and is best played with more players because you will need to figure out which card to complete and also determine if you want to go for as many cards as you can and at the same time be mindful of how many dice there are left. The action cards can be quite powerful if you have the right ones but some of them you have to collect a penalty disc for using. Quite fun and a good filler. Dice are really nice as well!
Pet Peeves: 
Nothing really bad about this game except perhaps players need to pay attention to what they are trying to achieve as some players could make mistakes with the GREATER THAN and LESSER THAN signs on the cards. 

Quite a fun filler, easy to learn, teach and play. Recommended!



Game Session and Thoughts:
I have heard some mixed reviews about this game but most of them have not been very favourable. Managed to give this game a go and heres what I think. In the game, players represent different countries embarking on a space race and try to score points by achieving certain successes in the various technologies that are required for a successful rocket launch. After several rounds, players in the final round, will be engaged in the final scoring which is launching of the rocket to the moon and back. Players then score final points based on scientists they have (either increase points for prestigious scientists or decrease points for dubious scientists) and the player with the most points will win the game.
Each round, players will first receive income as indicated by that round. Then in turn order (turn order is rotated clockwise), players will then decide how they want to spend the money either by purchasing scientists or buying cards. Scientists are placed onto their player board which will determine how much advancement in a particular technology they provide. Some technologies provide reroll benefits or even money when there has been failed rolls later in the round. After all players have purchased, players again in turn order decide whether to embark on one of the 10 tracks available.
Each player can engage on 6 tracks (excludig the final going to the moon track) and must choose carefully which to engage in. The player after choosing will then roll 5 special die which will either show GREEN (success) or BLUE (neutral) or RED (cancels a success). Players will advance that many spaces as they have overall successes as well as advancements provided by the scientists. Then other players (in player ordeR) may choose to play any number of cards from their hands which will sabotage the current player. Finally the current player will also decide on a number of cards to play. All other players will reveal their cards and they will decrement the current player's token (which is a cardboard rocket ship btw) down that many steps as depicted on the cards played. Finally the current player will increment that many steps as depicted by the cards he played.
Current player will score as many points as the final position and if he was at the top of that track, will be able to advance his token 1 step on the final to-the-moon-and-back track. Play continues until all players have had a chance to tackle a technology track or pass and that round has ended.
At the final round, players will get a chance to do the same but with the final to-the-moon-and-back track. Players then count the final tally of points (from their scientist) and whoever has the most points will be the winner.
It was an average game for me and while not too difficult to learn could be a little confusing. There is quite a lot of negotiation going on because players are trying to shift attention from themselves or convince the rest to play cards to sabotage others. This can be quite costly because each card is not cheap AND can do quite a lot of damage to the current player. There seems to be an interesting loophole where by players can invest in that technology which will provide you with multiples of 3mil whenever you roll a red die. Sometimes bad dice roll can result in you making a LOT of money!
Overall, we all started with vastly different plans mostly to test the mechanisms of the game. I started off with no scientists and try to just go with cards. I was ahead initially but I quickly realised its harder and harder to buy cards and I might as well buy more Green scientists to help myself and provide end game scoring. There was also a moment where we decided to throw our cards in to sabotage 1 player because, well we all felt like it and it did screw up his plans such that when the game ended, he lost the game.

Pet Peeves:
There should have been better icons for the scientists on the board. For example, the red cubes means the scientists counts as 2 instead of the normal 1 for each cube. The Green scientists provide 3 points at the end of the game. The Blue scientists minus 2 points at the end of the game. These could have been shown on the game board.
The art is very gaudy, especially the pictures used for the scientists. Heck, one of them looked as if they were a bunch of wrestlers rather than scientists!
Component wise they used paper money and rather thin player boards which is kinda meh for me.
The luck of the card draw can play quite a significant part in determining how many points a player can gain from track advancement and can screw around with other players. This can be good or bad depending on how the other players take it. Given that each card costs 2mil to purchase, it can be a costly venture if you end up only getting all the lowest point cards.
Luck of the dice roll can also be quite significant because if you want to succeed often you will need quite a high roll of GREEN successes. If you are having a bad dice luck, then it can suck very badly for you.
As mentioned, it is an average game which I feel is not for me largely because of the sheer amount of luck involved coupled with a fair dose of negotiation. You could very much be locked out of the game if the other players just want to sabotage you all the way and make it very not fun for you. Not many new concepts and it all boils down to how well you can roll initially to how well you can negate cards in the latter phases of the game. Try before you buy!


Love the Rooster Meeple....

Game Session and Thoughts:
A kickstarter that is to do with wine (hmm recently there have been quite a few wine game huh?) and lighter than Vinhos? Well sign me up! Although I did not backed it when it was Kickstarting, one of my gang managed to and it has arrived!
It is a worker placement game with a player board for you to manage. There are 4 seasons to the game each round and the game ends when 1 player has reached 20 victory points. Player with the most points will win the game. During Spring, players will, in previous player order, choose to move their Rooster to a particular spot ala Fresco. This will determine what bonuses they get AND this current round's player order. Next is summer where players can choose from some of the summer spots to place their worker. Each area which can be chosen as a prime spot that gives extra bonuses (i.e. instead of planting 1 vine, you can plant 2).  Players need to manage their workers carefully because they are using the same set of workers for both summer AND winter spots. Once all players have passed, then Autumn comes and players can obtain 1 summer or winter visitor card. These cards often give certain powers/benefits like obtain more $, plant an extra vine. Last season of the year Winter begins and, similar to summer, players will place their remaining workers on the board. 
Essentially, Summer is for you to plant vines, get money, construct buildings and play Summer visitor cards. Winter is for you to harvest, crush grapes into wine, fulfil orders and play winter visitor cards. Once all these seasons are done, players age their wine and grapes, discard cards to keep to the hand limit and earn residual income (when you fulfil orders you will get to increment this residual income). So this repeats until a player has reached 20 points and that will trigger the end game.
We played a rule wrongly in that whenever we harvested, we will remove the vineyard cards. But otherwise, we were pretty much spot on.  Gameplay was fast and easy to manage and it feels like a medium weight game for me. The worker placement part can be quite competitive and often at least 1 player will be screwed and will have not much to do except to collect $1. Luck of the draw for the vineyard cards etc can be tricky to manage because near the middle of the game the cards I have been drawing does not benefit me at all. Worse, the demand card kinda dictates what you should do with your grapes but then again if you had prepared for it and have a wide variety of wines, that may not be a big issue. Money interestingly was quite important at the beginning of the game but became a moot point nearer the end after you have built most of the buildings. 
Components are EXCELLENT! Very nicely produced and many different types of wooden bits. I especially loved the Rooster :P There might be some FAQs required for the text on the cards but the art and design all seemed pretty good. The glass beads are particularly cool because they also help to magnify the number that they are placed on!Pet Peeves: 
Biggest pet peeve will be the Luck of the draw could make or break this game for some because a few lucky draws can help you immensely and position for you to win the game. There aren't really that many other pet peeves of the game except perhaps the glass beads could have been a whee bit smaller so that if you had them lined up side by side on the player board they will sit nicely. The size differences between the medium and large cellar are quite small and can be mistaken but as long as you place them on the player board it won't matter.
The final round was rather tense because it was triggered when I wasn't really prepared for it but I managed, through luck of the draw, to collect a card or two that allowed me to pull ahead and tie with the leader. More importantly, from my play of cards, I screwed up the next player's chances to pull ahead and win the game. In the end, I won by the tie breaker (I had more money) so it was a really close game.  I will want to play this again to see how I really feel about it so for now its a Try before you buy.

PHEW! A lot of games covered and my next post will have a lot more as well! Including my first play of Stefan Feld's LATEST release, RIALTO! So watch for it :)