Tag Archives: board gaming

Halesowen Board Gamers #15 (07/05/14)

Random News-y Things:
UK Games Expo No-Ship Math Trade

I mentioned this before, but the trade wasn’t actually up then. Anyway the geeklist for the no-ship math trade has been posted so if you’re thinking of joining in here’s a link ^^. Again, if anyone wants to make a trade and can’t get there themselves I don’t mind sorting it if you pass things through me at halesowen the week leading up to/week after the expo ^^.


 

Our meetup this week was pretty shoddy for me, as I wasn’t exactly in the best state of mind when I arrived. Not sure if I was just tired or something else, but I failed to say yes to any game offer and went to get a drink to avoid making a decision. Thankfully when I came back, Ian, Scott, Mike & Stan had kept a spot open at the table for a 5th player to Kingsburg for me =).

Kingsburg

Kingsburg is a dice-worker-placement game where players are building up kingdoms and fending off the evil that would attack them. Players use their workers to gather resources, fortify defences and prepare for the attack that comes at the end of each of the 5 rounds.

Each round has 8 segments to it.
1 – The player with the least buildings gets an extra dice for the next segment.
2 (Spring) – Placement Phase
3 – The player with the most buildings gets a victory point.
4 (Summer) – Placement Phase
5 – The player with the least buildings gets the ‘ambassador’ token.
6 (Autumn) – Placement Phase
7 – Each player can pay 2 resources (Wood, Gold or Stone) to gain 1 defence.
8 (Winter) – The top attack card is revealed and rewards/punishments dealt out based on players defensive strength.

In each of the 3 placement phases, players roll their dice (Each player has 3 to start with), set up player order (Lowest total first), then take turns placing them. Each space has a number from 1 to 18, to use a space you must be able to make the value of that space with your dice (E.g. a ‘4’ and a ‘5’ to take the 9 space), with ways to modify such becoming available over the game (There are ‘+2’ tokens to increase 1 dice/season, and the market building lets you modify up or down by 1). The higher the value of the space, the more resources provided, but of course you need to use more of your dice (So while a 9 might give you 2 resources, you could potentially do 2 separate placements at 3/6 to gain 2 anyway, but there’s only 1 of each space so you may get blocked).

The reason players want these resources is because at the end of each placement phase, there’s an opportunity to construct 1 building. Each player has a personal board with a 5×4 grid of buildings that can be made. There are 5 ‘categories’ of building (Y axis), and you must build from left to right, hence the more powerful buildings are on the right hand side. To construct a building, you just pay the resource cost shown to the supply, and place one of your building tokens on it to signify its’ completion. You then get the VP value for it immediately, and some ongoing effect (Such as ‘+1 to battle’ or ‘-1 to battle, but +1 dice in placement seasons).

After the 1-7 steps have occured, the attack occurs. The attacks, which steadily get harder throughout the game, just come with a number for success/failure/draw, a ‘success’ resolution and a ‘fail’ resolution. All players with a higher defence value than the monster(s) get the success, less get the failure, and draws get nothing. The player (or players) with the highest defence then get 1 bonus point and the next year begins (resetting defenses to 0), cycling until the 5th years attack has occured when the game ends, and the player with the most victory points wins. Also, when the attack occurs a D6 is rolled, with that value being added to the good sides values, so a high roll there can mitigate a poor defensive stat.

I’m not really sure what to say about our game, as I failed to catch every rule so just went with a ‘poke and prod and see what happens’ route (Which isn’t to say it was a bad explanation, I was just being bad at paying attention, and I quite like learning through trying things ^^). Because I’m just a valant, lovely person, I tried to avoid going anywhere near the defensive buildings in the early game (Although really I just wanted to see if it was valid to ignore it and focus on points/resources/etc). As a result I went for the top 2 tracks (Religious/Commerce) first. These proved slightly counter-intuitive as the religious track has nice mitigations for poor rolls, but the 3rd part of the commerce track makes it unlikely for poor rolls to happen (As it provides +1 dice). In the meantime, everyone else seemed to go heavy on the defence/battle track (Though I think Mike was going commerce quite heavily too).

Around the middle of the game I gave up on my complete ignorance of defenses as the negative effects on the attacks seem rather unnecessarily powerful. That helped me draw once again (I never beat a monster, but the first 3 rounds I did avoid the negatives for failing). In the 4th round, thanks to having tons of dice (3+Farm+Least Buildings) I was able to grab the 17 spot, that asides from resources/vps lets you look at the upcoming attack. Here’s where my not catching everything said during explanation hurt, as I knew there was a building loss in negatives, and bought a cheap building instead of defense (I placed a worker on the 3 space for 1 wood to build it, that I could have easily got onto the 5 space for 1 defence). The bit I’d missed is that the building lost is forced to be the highest ranked one you have (I had assumed it was just the rightmost on a track of your choice, so as I only had 1 in the defenses track I thought I could pick that), oops ^^.

The building I lost was my merchants guild, that I’d pretty much only just build and gave 1 gold at the start of each placement phase. The loss of it had me losing anyway, but I didn’t really try particularly hard to get points after the fact, opting to try and get the resources for church/cathedral (Which was enough points to maybe get me to near the 4th place score), but ended up 1 stone short (That wouldn’t have been a problem if I’d got the 4/5 gold the merchants guild would have provided). Seeing as I couldn’t even get close to matching anyone I didn’t bother building the church either, figuring I may as well lose in style =P.

Over the game, Stan consistently had the most buildings, and I think got the ‘1VP for most’ in at least 4 of the 5 years. Ian had the most defenses, getting the +1VP for most defence after each attack, Mike was on the least points for most of the game, but seemed to get a good engine going from commerce letting him make a good catchup near the end, and Scott definitely did things, and I even looked at his buildings a lot, and seem to have promptly forgot (sorry ^^). Not sure if it was Scott or Ian that won, but I’m sure Dave’s post will fill in that information =).

As far as opinions of the game go, I quite like it, with the placement being a really cool aspect with the choice of going for something big or splitting up your dice for multiple placements (With the latter also presenting interesting opportunities to block other players). The little bonuses every other round which have both catchup mechanisms and rewards for most buildings are a nice touch too.

What I like less is the heavy impact the attacks can have. Some attacks just hit on resources, which can hurt, but if you don’t have the resources results in losing nothing, but the ones that have a building loss is a ridiculous hit. Much as I realise that it can be prevented by building defenses properly, hitting the highest building which in my case above was a cost of 6 resources, as well as making me lose the 4VP and the effect that I needed and had invested to get, took me from having a fair chance to being in a ‘way as well not even try’ situation…all that and it heavily depends on a dice roll (As a 1 could screw half the table and had the other half victory just for having 1 better defense, while a 6 can mean the people who took time to defend get shafted as they get maybe 1 VP as a bonus for doing so). Bit of a sour feeling basically, but not enough to put me off playing again.

Carcassonne: Winter Edition

With 1 hour left, we turned our attention to the shorter game choices. Seeing as Ian has brought the Winter Edition of Carcassonne a ton of times, without it having been played, Mike opted to champion it and suggested we finally play. The game itself is identical to Carcassonne, but with winter themed art (Snow spattered buildings, snowy fields, icy roads, etc). The included expansion that we played with (Because c’mon, might as well play a different game if we’re going with different art right ^^) is called the gingerbread expansion.

For those that may not know, Carcassonne is a tile laying game where you place 1 tile each turn adjacent to another tile in an ever growing map of tiles (Matching feature to feature), then choosing to place, or not, a meeple of your colour onto a feature on that tile (Roads, Cities, Fields or Cloisters). When a feature ‘completes’ you get the meeple back (You have 7 meeples, so will need to complete things eventually). Most points when the game ends is the winner.

The gingerbread expansion we used adds 6 new tiles to the game, which are all tiles with 3/4 city tiles, but with those cities being split up (So one tile may be in 4 different cities, with a field in the middle). Each of these has a gingerbread man in the corner of the tile, letting you know that you can move the gingerbread man. The way he works is that when a city is scored with him in, or when he’s removed from a city, that city scores 1 point per tile in the city. The person that completed that city chooses an incomplete city to move him to, (Or when a gingerbread man tile is placed he’s moved). This is just a small change that makes trying to jointly occupy cities more attractive.

With our game, Scott/Ian raced out into the lead, completing many cities/roads throughout the game. Myself & Mike hung back, being on 4 points each until 1/3rd-1/2 of the tiles had already been placed! Stan occupied a middle ground, though generally closer to the frontrunners. Both me and Mike chipped into a field that was going to score a fair number of points, competing over the game for control of it before Scott slipped in a few turns before the end to match him. A tile that Ian placed managed to get an extra 1 of my meeples into the field too for a 3 way tie. The final scores had Scott way out in the lead, myself in second, Ian 3rd, Mike 4th & Stan in an unfortunate last place. Fun game, I like the gingerbread man addition, with it being the first expansion I’ve played the game with ^^ (Asides from rivers on the windows-phone version, but that doesn’t really change the gameplay, just the starting conditions). Also, 2nd place! ^^.

Random Musings #2 (Christmas Soon!)

I like the idea of calling posts ‘random musings’ because it gives me an excuse to type nonsense as a way of delaying until I final get around to thinking of something that’s actually interesting to read to someone, maybe. Lets just go with an update on board games for the past week.

Friday – UoB Tabletop Gaming Society

I try to go to the society at the University I live by every Friday. Sadly I’m no longer a student but as I still enjoy going, I’ve taken to the idea of driving over there as soon as I finish work at 5 to play games until the late evening (2-7 was normal, but people stay around till around 11 if I go, particularly as I bring more games than the society gets out themselves ^^). Anyway we had time for a couple of games last Friday although I always wish I could fit in more.

First up was Kings of Air and Steam. There was 6 people about and we were trying to decide on a game when a 7th walked in and it immediately settled the matter, as this was the only one going to that player count. I’m really happy about that as I love this game and it’s better with more players, plus I’ve now been able to introduce most of the regular Friday tabletop people to it so future plays will have less teaching! It was a tight game between 6 of us, with 1 of those 6 being a dirty pirate and using his steal money/goods powers to good effect. The 7th managed to sneakily find a corner where noone bothered him much, and shot out to a ridiculous lead, leaving it 200-something to 100-120 for the rest of us. I came last, as tends to happen with KoAaS as I make a lot of mistakes while teaching (It’s hard to remember to upgrade your airship when you get asked 6+ questions a turn ^^). In the end though it was a fun mess and I loved it anyway!

For the second game of the night we split into 2 groups. 3 went for a MtG variant called commander (I think, 100 card pre-set decks) and the other 4 of us went for Among the Stars. This a brilliant drafting game that plays out like a strongly thematic and much more exciting version of 7 wonders, where we act as various races building space stations for some post-war peace ideal. I went for an odd shape designed to let me get high points from adjacency cards (Lots of gaps for those cards as I went) which confused the new players a lot, while they were being more confined. In the end I almost won, but got edged out by a little thing we very nearly missed, I think credits to vp. It was great fun and I enjoyed having a transporter heavy secure station with some totally peaceful huge gun emplacements. Can’t wait to try it with the expansion, and up to 6 players!

Sunday – Apres Essen Goodie Con (Telford)

The brilliant UK online gaming store gameslore held an event in Belmont Hall in Telford in Sunday, where they had a few new games from Essen available to play as well as a few for sale. I couldn’t resist the temptation, and also wanted to go in part as motorway practice in case I need to go longer distances sometime (I’ve been driving for 2.5 weeks). My lovely girlfriend Grace joined me and we headed over in the early afternoon for a few hours of gaming, which we managed to fit just the 1 longer game and 2 smaller ones (1 of which we gave up on as it was kinda lame ^^).

The longer game was Spyrium, a worker placement game that came out recently with an interesting worker placement mechanism based around a 3×3 grid of cards. When you place a worker, you put it between 2 of these cards, and when you move into your activation phase (Stop placing workers) to use/obtain one of them. One caveat though is that the cost to obtain/use a card (obtain is buildings that you take off the grid, use is people that can be used multiple times) is increased by 1 for each other worker around that card. The result is that a valuable looking card soon becomes too expensive. During activation you can retrieve a worker around a card to gain 1 money for each other worker their instead of using it, so you can also use these heavily contested cards as a money generator. I tried to go for the lesser buildings that generated spyrium/converted it to victory points rather than competing for the high cost cards, coming in 3rd/5. We had to learn the game before/while playing so I don’t know much about what everyone else did unfortunately, I do hope to play again sometimes but I won’t be buying this one!

Game 2 was a game with a few dice (18 D6 in 3 colours, and 1 special big dice) and some imps, you roll the big dice to work out what you are doing (Take the colour of imp the same as dice closest to the die, or take the imp the same colour as the highest die rolled). This ended up being lame as hell because it took so little time to work out the simple ideals that it was more of a ‘I can grab it faster’ than ‘I can work it out faster’, we gave up about halfway through despite it only being a 5-10 minute game, bleh.

Finally we had a game of Eight Minute Empire. I’ve been quite intrigued by this game since I came across it on kickstarter but didn’t back at the time as I wasn’t convinced it could work and didn’t really research it. We were in need of a quick game though as were time limited, and I picked it from the table of stuff provided for trying. We played the basic game but had a good 8 minutes of fun (Maybe 10, the game lies!) with us all going for slightly different tactics. I won with 11 points by a sneaky move at the end taking control of the island to the bottom left, although I’m not sure how tactical the game really was, maybe with a few plays (Which wouldn’t take long to be fair!). If I see this in a FLGS or on kickstarter with another expansion/sequel maybe I’ll pick it up!

—-

I mentioned Christmas in the post title! I should say something about it really. A few days ago I was asked by my family what I’d like for Christmas/Birthday (as my birthdays only a few days later they get combined). My wish list is pretty much:

  • TomTom – Borrowing my grandads at the moment, but I need one of my own really ^^.
  • Caverna: The Cave Farmers. Looks like a fantastic version of Agricola with some of the aspects that put me off being tidied (Feeding family for example).
  • Legacy: Gears of Time. I have the back to the future card game (kind of like chrononauts) but it doesn’t quite scratch my temporal board gaming itch, so this looks like a good option.
  • Belfort. I’ve developed a soft spot for TMG after getting KoAaS and this looks like it could be of interest to me,
  • Eldritch Horror. Arkham Horror seems a bit OTT to me, this streamlined new version looks great though.
  • Socks. I mean c’mon, what’s Christmas without socks as presents. =)

Can’t wait for Christmas day to try out some or all of those!