Halesowen Board Gamers #14 (30/04/14)

News Bulletin!

Yeah, that’s right, I’m going to bring up random bits of information that I think people might be interested in and make them out as being ‘news’. Deal with it ;)

UK Games Expo Math Trade
– The Math Trade discussion thread has been opened up early, so if you’re interested in some no-ship trading when at the expo you might want to hit subscribe on it to be notified when the trade goes up.
– If anyone wants to trade and can’t get there in person, I’m happy to proxy – we can pass the games at halesowen the week before/after.
– Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1165072/uk-games-expo-2014-no-ship-maths-trade-discussion

Kickstarter
– Among the Stars latest kickstarter is almost finished, so if you’re interested in this space-station building drafting game that in my opinion kicks 7-wonders ass, take a look!
– Heavy Steam is another interesting looking (EU Friendly) project running at the moment. It’s a strategic resource-management combat game with some awesome looking pieces. Too expensive for me right now though at $95 =( Run by the same people as Zpocalypse.

Halesowen

Anyway you probably don’t actually care about me trying to not-so-subtly convince you to spend your money, so here’s my session report =)

Lords of Waterdeep

Lords of Waterdeep is a worker-placement game loosely themed on the Dungeons & Dragons universe. Players are trying to get the most points over 8(?) rounds, by sending adventurers off on quests to do whatever adventurer’s do. By managing their workers, constructing buildings and playing intrigue cards players compete to be the best upper-management in the D&D world.

As is standard with worker-placement games, players take turns placing workers on the various available spots. The standard spaces include gaining adventurers (1 space for each of the 4 types – Wizards, Clerics, Fighters & Rogues), gaining money, gaining intrigue cards, playing intrigue cards, constructing a building and gaining quests. Most spaces are limited to 1 worker/round, which generally means it’ll take multiple rounds to achieve much. In additional to the standard spaces, when a player constructs a building it becomes a new space on the board for everyone to visit – ownership of that building provides an additional effect when someone goes there (As well as a few points – each round 1VP is added to each unbought building, of the 3 available, such that even a less-attractive building becomes worth it eventually).

After players have placed their worker for a turn, they may complete a quest. Each player starts with 2 quests face up in front of them, and if at this point they meet the requirements, they can pay those resources back to the supply to gain the reward for the quest. This is the primary source of points in the game, so completing lots of quests is important to have a chance at victory. Also, each player has an individual character card that provides additional points for certain tasks, which for the most part are along the lines of ‘gain 4 points per X or Y quest completed’, X/Y being a quest type, of which there are 4 in a presumably even distribution.

Asides from the intrigue cards which throw various spanners into the works (Such as ‘all other players return a wizard to the supply, gain 2 coins for each that cannot, or ‘discard a building and replace it with one from the builders space at no cost’), that’s about it!

In our game, I played an ugly character called ‘miirt the moneylender’ (Which is hidden till the end, so I didn’t see the others long enough to remember them), which meant I’d get 4 points per piety or commerce quest completed. That was fine as I started with a commerce plot quest (Plot quests give less points, but provide ongoing abilities) to have something to go for for my first game. I rushed this as quick as I could, as well as taking first player to try and get a building down (Which got ruined by the cursed ambassador…as everyone in the game will attest to, I disprove of that). The plot quest meant for the last 5/6 rounds I got 1 of any adventurer at the start of each round. Ian also completed a fairly early plot quest, letting him place a worker somewhere even if it was blocked (Once/round I think). Despite sitting next to Steve I barely know what he was up to, but he seemed to get nice early lead on points.

As we got a bit further into the game, I finally got a couple of buildings down, one to gain 1 coin/building out and one that let someone use an occupied action as if they’d placed there. Steve had a pretty nice one to pay 2 coins and gain 4 fighters/rogues in any combination. Ians included the cursed ambassador one aaaand I don’t remember what else anyone had. I was able to pick up/complete a second plot quest that let me gain a rogue every time I used an action to gain money, as well as mildly annoy Steve by replacing the ‘use an occupied spot’ building with a VP-generating one, which was generally because I think it was giving everyone else way more points than it was to me. I also did a nice quest that cost lots of stuff but gave me 25VP in one go, catching me up to Ian/Steve who were steaming ahead.

As we came into the endgame, despite being quite spread during play, the 3 of us on higher points ended fairly close, while Stan unfortunately dropped back a fair amount (Which is odd, because there didn’t seem to be anything particularly wrong with what he was doing, with him finishing just as many quests as the rest of us). Ian won, with Steve in second and myself in third.

I think it’s a pretty well designed game, but I really struggle to appreciate the theme and that’s a bit of a problem for me. Rather than feeling like I’m going around hiring adventurer’s to go on grand quests, it’s just a bit ‘I get some purple and white cubes, then turn them into VP (What happens to them…I send them to do stuff and they just disapear, with an arbitrary ‘points’ value in return). I still had fun, and I think the game is well made, but without more thematic mechanics or at least wizard-meeples it’s just ‘ok’ for me ^^. Glad to have had the opportunity to play though!

Voluspa

Afterwards, we looked to play something shorter, and someone pointed out Voluspa that I’d bought along so we went with that. I talked about it a bit more last week so I won’t repeat, but suffice to say it’s a tile-placement/hand-management game where you’re trying to score the most victory points.

After I got explanation out of the way we jumped into playing with little issue. It’s not really a game I can explain what happened in, but I did make quite a mistake with a valkyrie I placed when I could have done better things, and saw a couple of good moves after placements at other points in the game. We were playing with 1 of the expansion tiles (The included expansion, saga of edda. I’m adding 1 tile/game to see how they change things) – hermod. This tile gives you a second-turn after placing, but can be difficult to score as it’s a value of only 3. I quite like the effect they’ve had, although I only got one near the end of the game by using a skadi, just because I wanted to try it out and was losing anyway ^^.

Final tally had Steve winning, with Stan 2nd, Ian 3rd & myself trailing in last place again. I’m not 100% sure of Steve/Stans thoughts of their first game of this, but Ian commented (I think, maybe I’m imagining it) that a second play does indeed improve on your feel for how things are going – although seeing as I was last and he was 3rd, I’m not sure how convinced I am that it helps (I’m still not sure if its’ just a case of 4 being too many to strategise much – I think 3 could be a sweet spot as with many games. Would still happily play with 5 though).

Anyway that’s all for this week, I hope I wasn’t too vague (Although I was pretty airy-fairy with talking about Voluspa again ^^). Till next week! =)

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3 thoughts on “Halesowen Board Gamers #14 (30/04/14)

  1. helpme1986

    Thanks for putting g up with me while I explained my first game.

    I too go by “2 orange cubes” instead of their real nAmes, but I do that for almost everything to be fair

    Yeah I enjoyed voluspa a bit more. Still not something I would rush out to buy but certainly more open to the suggestion

    Reply
    1. Smoothsmith Post author

      Ha, it was no problem you did fine =). Less jump-around-y than me I think, not sure if that’s the nature of the game or just the way you went about it ^^.

      I wouldn’t particularly expect anyone to rush out and buy Voluspa I think, but I also think it’s a very good short game to fit in, and I like that there’s the extra tiles included to slowly slip into the game. Played it today when I went to my parents for a bit with my Mum, Sister & Sister’s Boyfriend & had a lot of fun (Sister won!). We had an amusing few minutes at the end as we all saw a 12 point move that Scott (My sisters bf) could make…except Scott. He gave in looking (Or decided to give the win to my sister) in the end and came in 2nd ^^.

      Reply
  2. Smoothsmith Post author

    I’ve noticed we’ve been doing something wrong in Voluspa – We should have hands of 5 tiles not 3, might make quite a different as it’ll give a lot more choice.

    Reply

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