Halesowen Board Gamers (10/12/2014)

This week, after messing up a bit in terms of bringing the main Myth box but forgetting the secondary one (Which is pretty much required), I opted to wait and see what else got played. Fury of Dracula got set to occur as someone had previously asked Dave to play it, and Mike wanted to get ‘Shipwrights of the North Sea’ played. I wasn’t really sure about either, but the 3rd game being looked at seemed to be City of Remnants, so I went for Shipwrights with Mike & Suzy =P

Shipwrights of the North Sea

This is a card-drafting game, where you’re trying to gather the craftmen and goods to build ships and buildings for VP, with the game ending when a player completes their 4th ship. Each player has their own board, with a money-tracker, 2 ‘workshops’ (To build ships), a Mill (To store goods) and your Village (To hold Villagers, shockingly). Players will be putting completes ships above the board, tools to the left, buildings to the right, and craftsmen below, throughout the game.

Each turn starts with a drafting phase, the player who currently has the 1st player token draws #players+1 cards, keeps 1 and passes clockwise till all have 1 card, the last beind discarded. Then the player who went last draws 4 and does the same, but passing anti-clockwise, then the 1st player does 4 again, so each player now has 3 cards.

Next, players perform actions. They can play cards (To start building a ship, get a craftsmen in play, gain 3 gold or w/e it may be), gather goods (spend 2 money + 2 workers for a variable amount of goods based on the current ‘next card’ in the deck (The backs of cards have that information on them)), or build a ship (Spend the resources required and move it from the workshop space its’ in to above your board).

That’s about it, some cards are tools, that you pay to get buy give discounts on building ships, some can be aggressive, such as stealing a craftsmen or good from another player, some are buildings, that usually cost lots of gold but give VP. All in all a perfect recipie for a <1 hour game (Its’ not <1 hour, but I’ll get to that later…)

In our game, I pretty much decided to go for any ship providing money. The reason for this is because you need otherwise need workers to generate money, but have to spend workers to get things, and that seemed far too much to think about =P Mikes first run was for extra worker-generation (Same kind of effect ^^), while Suzy got a bit of extra capacity and gold generation from her first ship and decent points (4, whereas my 1st ship was 1vp and Mikes 0vp).

Moving on a little, Mike got a 6VP ship build, which cancelled our his extra worker and reduced his capacity for goods (The higher VP ships have brutal negatives..). I consistently seemed to have no workers, but my second ship was another gold generator so it was less of an issue (I made sure to keep my one-legged worker around, wonderful chap he was, even if he couldn’t stand up without a crutch/another worker). Suzy’s second ship was another 4VP, but I soon got a 3rd ship so I had 4/4/1 (Each adding 1 to my gold generation ^^). I also got a ‘treasury’ VP card, which was 1VP/4Gold at the end of the game, which was a mistake as I’d mis-understood the card (Compared to Suzy having a straight 3VP building, when you have max 12 gold…). Mike got kicked about a bit, with Suzy playing a card that naffed him out of all his gold, and not much later a round where I murdered one of his craftsmen, then stole one of them (Suzy had none, it wasn’t personal!).

Moving on, I got another 1VP building, and Mike got a 3rd ship while Suzy struggled to do her 3rd as someone kept interfering (Can’t imagine who, but if I hadn’t the fact she had no low-VP ship like me/Mike would have won her the game I think). I was able to end the game when I (Finally) got given a Stone Mason (Cheers Mike =P), with both Mike/Suzy being only a touch short of what they needed to play cards to put them ahead on points (Well, sort of, I won the ‘most military’ thing where you get another 3, but I’d forgot about the fact we were competing for that ^^).

Hooray! I won! But oh god does the game drag on a bit. I believe it was about 2 hours, which meant god knows how many turns. The problem is, the gameplay is slick and each turn is a fast draft and playing phase, but you just never seem to get anything done. Everything you do eats away at your workers, and unless you’ve happened to build one of the few ships that increase worker generation, you have a maximum of one per turn. Each ship requires 2-3 so ~10 turns there, then each time you gain resources, which is roughly once/ship you build its’ another 2, so another 8 turns, then each building needs another 2-3 so maybe another 5-6 turns. On top of that you might not even be able to do stuff for many turns as you just don’t have the craftsmen you need and it means spending more turns just hoping for the card you need…

*Breathes*

Now, that’s not to say its’ not fun, and I did enjoy playing, but if I want to play a game for 2 hours, it needs to be deep and strategic, whereas the mechanics and cards here work as a light and easy style game (Particularly emphasised as there’s a bit of take-that. If they could have fit the same mechanics into a game half as long, then that could be pretty cool, but as it is I’m in no rush to play again ^^.

Tiny Epic Kingdoms

After that probably over-ly ranty description, lets keep it short this time. I played Lizardfolk, and did my utmost to get people blocked on moves, while pushing up my magic, as the level 5 was ‘1VP per opponent territory you occupy’ which seemed pretty good and easier than most to achieve. Noone attacked me all game, which was a nice surprise but reasonable seeing as I often had a lot of magic (And when Mike did attack someone went for Suzy, which was also worth doing as she’d probably have hit the top of the tower and won if he hadn’t).

Eventually, I managed to get to the ‘4vp’ level of the tower (Suzy was on the 7VP leve), as well as 5 meeples (Mostly scattered in Suzy’s territories, as I kept wanting to use my ‘when you quest, gain one resource of the type of region you moved to’ and Mike territory was full of meeples. Mike pushed quite hard at getting more meeples (He had some magic making it something he wanted to do, I forget what).

In the end, with my balanced approach of magic, tower and meeples, I eked out the win, my second of the evening. Hooray! It was a nice change from my shocking plays last Friday (of TEK) where I just did awful ^^.

Cool Evening, got to try a new game (Omg a kickstarter I didn’t back =P), and won twice. Or maybe I was just asleep in bed and it was all a dream…hard to tell ;)

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