Halesowen Board Gamers #27 (10/19/14)

Ok, so I’m going to start with an apology, I was really tired/grouchy on Wednesday evening so probably a bit of a dick…sorry if that was so.

Last Will

First up, as I got this recently in a trade and wanted to get it played, was Last Will. In this game, your rich Uncle, who’s spent his entire life being Lord Business, wants to give his fortune to the relative who can enjoy it the most. His Will leaves each person an small but generous chunk of the money, and the player to spend it the fastest will be the winner and sole inheritor of the rest of the estate.

The game is a light worker-placement game where you want to manage your cards (Ways to burn money) and allotment of actions each turn to try and lose money more effectively than the other players. This is achieved through depreciating property, elaborate nights out (Being sure to bring your horse along to enjoy the fun), and just generally (and deliberately) foolish spending of money.

To start each turn, each player in turn (From the player with the ‘start player’ marker) chooses one of 7 similar spaces. Each has a number of cards to draw (0-7), a number of errand boys (1 or 2) and a number of actions (1-4). Rather than scale directly that placing later in order (For the 2nd part of a round) that they get worse, the actions vary – You get 5 cards and 2 errand boys for going in the first spot for example, but only 1 action, while the 2nd spot is 2 cards, 2 errand boys and 2 actions.

Once everyone has chosen, they draw their cards from the 4 ‘regular’ decks (Events, Assistants, Properties, Companions), taking from any deck, but without seeing what they’ve drawn until all their cards are picked up. With that worked out, players going into the second ‘placement’ stage – errand boys.

In this stage, players take turns in the order decided in the first stage to place either 1 or 2 errand boys (Represented by awesome wooden top-hat pieces!) in various spaces around the board, to gain cards (face-up so you know what you’re getting), get player-board extensions (Have more permanent cards in play), go to the opera (Spend 2 coins) or get 1 extra regular card at random.

With this completed, the 3rd and final stage of the round takes place with each player spending actions as per their order mentioned earlier (They do all their actions on their turn). It takes an action to place a card into your permanent area, and often to use either a white card from your hand or one of your previously placed permanents.

At the end of the round, players discard down to 2 cards, and the offering board (The face up cards) are cleared and replaced for next round. Any building that wasn’t maintained depreciates (So it’ll sell for less than you brought it for) and cards are reset (As the permanents are once/round). Play continues until someone announces bankrupcy (At which point the round plays to the end before it finishes), or the game gets to the end of the 7th round. The winner is whoever has the least money, or most negative money!

Our game started off with farms being rather expensive, leading to us all grabbing one in the first round. I also picked up a training ground (Costs money for each farm you have, and more per animal on those farms), a move duplicated by Stan the next turn. I also grabbed a steward that would make farm activations free, determining that farms would stay my main strategy for the game ^^. Stan picked up a mansion before long, and Mark did I have no idea what but seemed to get 2 really expensive farms (16 & 25 base cost, mine were 12/15).

It wasn’t too long before Mark switched around the market to make his farms sell for less (As he ran out of money, but you can’t declare bankrupcy while you have property) and chucked away his 25 cost farm that had cost him 28, for a still high 22 coins. In the meantime I managed to get myself a couple of horses and a dog onto my farms, building up a little engine but also realising I had a lot of money to lose to catch up (Never happened). Stan managed to depreciate his mansion a couple of times, and got a nice carriage to be driven aroudn in for a healthy cost of 5 coins per turn.

As it came into the last round, I was way behind (10 coins to Marks’ 6 & Stans’ 5, which also meant I’d got rid of my farms which were the only way I really had to lose money fast). I worked out a way to get to 0, and a bit of luck on card draws meant I got to -1 instead, but that was soon showed up as Stan dropped to -8 through his plays. Mark happened to have a particularly powerful card that basically let him funnel almost all his last turn actions into a huge spend of 14, taking him to -9 for victory.

I had fun, but…I don’t think I like starting with 70 (The recommended first game amount, which is also the lowest possible when you do it randomly), as the game was too quick for any engine-building to work. Rather than trying to burn my money through farming, I would have been better to just spam instant cards…but that just didn’t seem like a fun idea asides from the mad rush at the end. Looking forward to playing with a bigger chunk (100 at least!) and to picking up the expansion which has some really ideal features for what I want from the game (You have a job at the start, so you have to be countering the fact you’re earning as well as spending ^^).

Definitely one to get played again, and definitely staying in my collection. I have been thinking I needed more light/short options ^^.

Coup * 4

Speaking of light/short. Our next game was Coup, in large part because I really wasn’t feeling like playing anything too long, and wasn’t at all in the mood to try eminent domain or even bother with pandemic (Which there’s really not much point playing if you’re not really up for it, as you’ll just let everyone else take your turns). So as an artifact of my being a miserable sod, we went with the shortest game I had with me.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, its’ really difficult to talk about coup, as the interesting and intriguing bit of the game is in whether you believe other players and whether they believe you, which is a very ‘in the moment’ feeling.

The first of our games I won after Mark called a lie on my assassin and lost both his lives as I was telling the truth, and I managed to maneuvre myself into enough money to coup Stans last character (The power of lying!). The second game I won also, during which I think I told the truth once and got called on it, then used about 3 different roles despite having a pair of dukes to win ^^. Mark won the next, apparently by telling the truth (Yawn), and he also won the fourth, mainly as I just decided to call everything people did against me and lost in the whole of a turn or two – Unfortunately if you get the right cards in a small game its’ possible to win through truth, so I wish we could have had more (Where it becomes harder, as the slight increase in number of turns that tends to happen means people work out what you have an can capitalise on it).

We finished there as Stan wanted to head off for an early night, and I was more than happy to agree on the idea, feeling utterly shattered at the time. it was a good night, but I don’t think I was particularly pleasant for everyone else to put up with…oh well :(

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