Week two revisits one game and a welcome introduction to four new games, across two gaming sessions.
January 12th – Venue – Bruton’s Emporium – Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts and A Study in Emerald
Despite my reservations of last week, I was looking forward to playing Race for the Galaxy with the Alien Artifacts Expansion. Would the involvement of the game once again leave me feeling “cold”, would playing with my regular friends make a difference and would the new expansion add to the experience?
Race for the Galaxy Expansion Pack
Well the good news was I finished second, scoring more points than Matt and Simon, who are both more experienced players than myself. How? I think I know! but I could not really easily explain it to you. Jon won by about 10 points. I still felt cold about the game. It is not that I dislike the game, but I did not really enjoy it either. I am fast coming to conclusion that Race for the Galaxy will be a game that I will quite happily play, but not one that I would instantly reach for as a favourite.
Did Alien Artifacts affect the game? Well not for me, however, the more experienced RFTG players said it was nice to get back to basics with the different perspective of the game. Still a 6.5 for me, that does not mean it’s a bad game, just not quite for me.
A Study in Emerald – I was kind of looking forward to this boardgame, Jon had been raving about it for a while as it was on limited release. Martin Wallace rarely disappoints and in my opinion has excelled with this superb game. The premise, based on the Cthulhu Short Story by Neil Gaiman… Royal Families across the world are in the Thrall of the Old Ones, it is only matter of time before the gates are opened and world doomed to slavery. Only Restorationists can save the day, however agents of Loyalist will seek to thwart you.
Each player is secretly dealt a faction card. The winner is the player with the most points, however there is a glorious twist. The player with the lowest score is eliminated…. ALONG WITH THE REST OF THEIR TEAM…. So you might be winning, but that does not mean you are going to win. How superb is that! The player with the highest score of the remaining team is the winner.
However that only adds to what is an excellent all round game. Full review to come soon! I was so impressed I speedily managed to import 12 copies, so now they are available on the site!
A massive GQ rating of 9/10 and an early runner for game of the year!
A Study in Emerald Boardgame
January 15th – Venue – Bruton’s Emporium – Something Different, King Under the Mountain, Founder of the Empire
The wonderful thing about playing at Jon’s is his amazing knowledge of games. That now and then, he buys a game that is wacky and yet so much fun that it becomes a must have in your collection. When I first looked at Something Different, my immediate thought was “a wacky variation of Uno” and yeh, “play it and forget it”. Well in truth it is a wacky variation of Uno and I did play it, but I will never forget it and I quickly snapped up his spare copy.
Like Uno, the idea is to put down all the cards in your starting hand of seven first. Like Uno, if you fail to put down a card in your turn, you pick up a card. That is where the similarity ends. Something Different is very different. The three cards on the table dedicate the rule as to what cards you can place. Then come the Rules Cards, we are talking silly rules, like “talk like a pirate” or “talk in an accent” or “talk with your tongue out,” so imagine if all three rules were in play. Fail on any of the rules in play and you pick up two cards… Then comes the Duel Cards…. Thumb War or Rock, Paper, Scissors etc. The loser again picking up two cards, unless there is a double forfeit card in play… After a prolonged battle of utter hilarity and mayhem I won with the duel card ‘Thumb Wars’, picking on Simon who I knew did not have children, ah the hours of standing in theme park queues, forced to play to Thumb Wars with my daughter finally paid off!! This is a thoroughly superb fun family card game, which I can see having a huge replay-ability factor.
A cool GQ rating to 8/10
Something Different Card Game
For xmas Jon was kind enough to buy me a game, but what to buy a games-seller? So he sourced a game from Russia, Kings under Mountains. Finally we got to play it. A four player card game with four unique races and a variation of mines to capture and develop. It’s a simple game with strategic layers in terms of the options to force players to take mines (minus points for undeveloped mines) or capturing and developing them yourself. My game and I finished last, but still enjoyed.
A very respectable GQ Rating of 7.5
Kings Under the Mountain Board Game
From the same company Rightgames, Jon had also bought Founders of the Empire. It was good little game of tile laying and picking up a variety of bonus chits like carts, warriors, craftsmen etc. To me it was like a cross between Alhambra and Glory for Rome. Yet not really achieving much of either. It was ok, but it did not really grab me as did Kings Under Mountains.
GQ Rating of 6.5
Founders of the Empire Board Game
Finally I will be keeping a League Table, so we can keep track of which games are hitting the top and those falling out of favour.
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By Day - Director of online Games and Toy Store Gamesquest. By Night - Father to two girls and husband to one wife! Board Gamer, Blogger and general dogsbody!