So Airlines Europe is a game I’ve never played before. It is however a game in Jonathan’s game collection. And also the game he chose for us to play at last nights mid week gaming session at the White Lion.
Airlines Europe is a game by some guy named Alan R Moon. He apparently created a game called Ticket To Ride that seems to be popular with a certain devil may care attitude to life and a hippy haircut.
Our game was a four player one with three of us having not played it before. So it was upto Jonathan to explain the rules and stress several times you are all colours and not just one colour when building routes.
I liked the share element of the game, and pushing the value of your stock up by building routes.
You have to be aware of what your opponents are investing in, not just for scoring but also for which airlines you are going to advance in value.
I benefitted a lot from Debbie pushing up the value of stock I had the majority in or was second highest in.
I love the randomised mid game scoring. It means you have to try and second guess when it’s going to occur, do you invest those shares in your hand now, or do you still have time to push their value up? Jonathan and I got caught out by this during the game. Having shares in our hands that we failed to get out in time to allow us to score points.
The red and orange planes are so close in colour it’s easy to confuse one for the other. I also thought the colour of the cards could have been a bit easier to tell, especially from the opposite side of the table. The iconography of the player aids could also be improved.
This a solid game. I’d definitely play again. But I’m not sure I’d be able to repeat my stunning victory of this playthrough.
It’s that time again for a new set of Magic the Gathering cards. So the coffers of your FLGS will be over flowing this weekend.
Dreamwell is a game that is on my radar just. I love the art work. That box art is lovely.
Sam Heely from The Dice Tower really liked the Old Saloon expansion for Bang the Dice game. I enjoy the game, and my students have also liked it when I take it in. So this will be a no brainer.
The Dark Tales game and its expansions is another game that’s on my radar. And to be honest sitting closer than Dreamwell. So this Cinderella expansion peaks my interest in the base game and the expansions.
Still sitting in my pile of shame is Coup G54 Rebellion, and I’d already got this Anarchy expansion for it from kickstarter. However if you like Coup G54 Rebellion this adds more of the same with more characters.
The Resistance The Plot Thickens is for edition three owners really, as it adds the expansion that was in the second edition but not the third. There are some other little bits but in reality I wouldn’t say this is a must have. But then I’ll be getting it.
That’s it for this week, lots of interesting expansions. If these have half as much impact on their respective games as the last one for Istanbul. Wow these games will be awesome.
Adding in the “mini expansion” the kebab shop makes it a little better. It replaces the Fountain tile and I wouldn’t play the game without this now.
Playing with the first full expansion Mocha and Baksheesh adds new and interesting elements to the game. Such as coffee and it’s alternate path to victory, and the ability to block routes.
But how would the latest expansion Brief and Siegel that came out this week effect the game?
Well Jonathan broke his self imposed game buying ban for the month to buy it, and he had it delivered Thursday.
So with an exit pass granted Jonathan and I met up to throw everything Istanbul and the kitchen sink on the table for a mega epic version of the game.
With all the expansions in play set up takes a little time. And moving from four by four tiles to the four by five grid of tiles with the first expansion to five by five makes the game massive.
Placing the rubies on the board on the relevant tiles, they now look lost! Dwarfed by this increase in size of the board.
The new expansion introduces letters and seals, that are not only another way to get rubies but also away to get extra turns.
Naturally you get letters by visiting one of new tiles (there are two of the new tiles that give letters out), or from the courier (which acts like the coffee trader,smuggler, and governor). Each letter has an “address” or tile number on it. When you get the letter it’s worth one seal, deliver it to the “address” it’s worth two seals. Visit the Secret Society tile, and you can trade six seals for a ruby and possibly between three and one coins depending when you get there. Or you can use three seals per round to take an extra turn.
Jonathan used his seals well to get that extra turn at key moments. I’d been using this new scoring opportunity early on to take an early lead.
I scored all my rubies between letters, coffee and the odd guild card that gave me cheap ways to buy a ruby pushing the value up for Jonathan.
During the game I made no effort collecting lots of goods and trading. The only goods I collected were enough to purchase/fuel certain powers.
My first tactical mistake was with my companion (a new addition to the game) where I moved him too far away from the Caravansary and the Guild Hall (which were next to each other). If he was in position whilst I was exploiting the tile combo Jonathan had stumbled across on the opposite side of the board (see below), I could have still been drawing the guild cards and bonus cards, and get extra coffee counters.
And that brings me to the companion another new feature of this expansion. Because of the size of the board now, this is a much needed addition. It does give you a choice each turn, do you move your merchant or your companion once you have them. The companion acts like the merchant except it can only move one tile at a time, he works alone (can’t pick up assistants) and any tiles/bonuses that show the merchant don’t apply to the companion. With the companion you are able to leave him on the other side of the board to your merchant.
The Kiosk tile is awesome. It gives you a letter, plus it has kiosk mini tiles that have bonuses on them. You draw one more than the number of players, you pick the one you want, carry out that action. Then the other players do the same in turn order. Then the last tile left you get and action. I was using this a lot.
With the increased board size the tavern bonus tile that allows you to move any number of places in a straight line is a must.
Once Jonathan hit the tile combo shown below he soon caught me up on the ruby front. I joined him in exploiting it too late. Although throwing the barrier in his way to slow him down and make his life a little difficult did work. If I’d have remembered I could jump the barrier (the draw back of not having played the game for a while) along with my other “mistake” I could have won.
In the base game the “Black Market and Tea House should have a distance from each other of at least 3 places.” We felt that there should be a similar ruling for the above combo. Otherwise it’s too powerful a combo. We may house rule this. I think Jonathan is going to bring this up on bgg also. (He did here)
In the end this was a very close game with Jonathan pipping me to the post and the win. But I may have got the win if not for my two “tactical” errors.
Unless I’m playing this game with a new player I will not play this game any other way than with everything in play. The base game is a bloody good game. But with everything it gets taken to a new much, much higher level. The multiple avenues to victory, the random layout of the board each game, there is just so much variety and replayability.
It should be noted that apparently according to bgg there is a camel driver mini expansion that for completeness I will get but wasn’t used in this game because we don’t have it technically!
We are totally loving our new location for our Friday night gaming sessions. The White Lion are fantastic hosts, provide fantastic facilities, great beverages, what more could you want?
Last night Debbie, Jonathan, and Diego provided that last element needed for our great new location to play games, great company.
During the week we had become aware of an injury to Debbie. Apparently due to a hair brain stunt she did (going for the world record for possum juggling). Debbie had fractured a finger. A cunning plan was hatched to take advantage of this by playing manual dexterity games such as Flick ‘Em Up, Pitch Car or Ice Cool (or whatever that new game is called). Sadly there was a flaw in this cunning plan. Jonathan and I didn’t own any of these games.
I don’t know what Diego made of this banter at Debbie’s expense. This was the first time I’d met him. Although Debbie and Jonathan had met Diego before at a previous Fenland Gamers monthly meetup. Maybe he thought I was a bit of a dick. Not an inaccurate conclusion to arrive at.
Earlier in the week Jonathan and I, who were the only ones at the time going, decided to choose which games we were going to play. So between us we had decided on Saloon Tycoon, Guilds of London, and Five Tribes.
So our first game of the evening was Saloon Tycoon.
Considering Diego hadn’t played the game before and had only read the rule book that morning, his victory was just totally awesome. Now if I said Diego crushed us, I’d be doing him a disservice. He destroyed us. We weren’t even close.
I took second place, while Jonathan managed to steal last place after a late surge in points from Debbie. Who had been hanging way way back on the score track for all of the game. That late surge almost got her second place. But I managed to hold on by four points.
This was the first time we played the game with the max player count. And it still played well.
Debbie made some excuse about having to go see her boyfriend, and made a fast exit.
Still there were three of us. And Jonathan and I both had our copies of Thiefs Market with us. So we decided to play a game of it, and then go get the end of evening celebratory kebab.
Wow did I totally suck playing this time. I failed to buy intelligently. Too many turns where I wasn’t buying anything or getting gold/noteriety instead.
Like Love Letter Batman I think we need to start rationing our play of Thiefs Market. The danger I want to avoid is burning out on the game.
The new King of Thieves was Diego.
Wow a clean sweep of victories for Diego. Whilst Jonathan and I both walked away with a bottom of the pile.
A great evening of gaming again. So same time and place next week?
So there I am driving home from a hard day at work. The Secret Cabal Podcast blasting out of my cars radio. I’m thinking I thought these guys were more cool than they were letting a video game company dictate to them when their reviews can go out. I’m not a fan of these NDA timed release of reviews. But hey if they want to encourage this bad practice in the board game industry who am I to complain? I mean they weren’t the only ones that shamefully participated in this cheap marketing trick, where reviewers get early access and told when they can release the “review”. Oh yeah say something bad about the game, suddenly you are out in the cold, no early access next time, strangely calls don’t get returned etc. Yeah let’s encourage this in the hobby.
Anyway my train of thought was broken by Jonathan calling to invite me to meet him at The White Lion to play games. Naturally having no life, my hectic social calander had a gap, I was able to be there.
Our game of the evening was one Jonathan had just got second hand off the UK trading and selling page I also buy from. That game was The Builders Middle Ages.
I do like the tin the game comes in. It’s colourful, looks great and that nice portable size that means you can chuck it in your page on the spur of the moment. I’d say it’s the same size as the tins used by the Timelines games.
Playing this game was similar to playing Splendor. It had that feel to it. And after my defeat, it was more or less the first thing I said. To which Jonathan replied that was the first thought that struck him too.
This is an average game, not as good as Splendor. But it’s portability is it’s strength. You want that Splendor like experience on the go, this gives you that.
Our next game was Kodama. This was also a first play. Sadly since getting it from backing it on Kickstarter it’s sat on my pile of shame.
One of the things that attracted me to the game initially was the the Ghibli-ish Princess Mononoke tree spirits look. And the whole look, graphic design is beautiful.
We did find initially the rules a little confusing especially on the scoring. But once we got it sorted it made sense and Jonathan sailed ahead to a victory.
There are some nice elements to the game like each of the three seasons have a unique rule chosen at random at the start of the game and revealed at the start of that season. I like how the first player changes at the start of a season, with it going to the lowest score. The Kodama cards are cool, you have a hand of four of these at the start of the game. During the scoring phase at the end of a season you get to play one to hopefully give you a nice points boost.
What you can’t escape is your finished tree does look awesome.
This is a nice game. It worked well with two players (it plays more). I’d play it again. Mainly as a change/break from some of the other two player games I have that I adore.
The final game of the evening was an old friend Tiny Epic Galaxies (TEG). Since the current Kickstarter for its expansion Beyond the Black (yes I’ve backed it) started up I’ve been craving to get this game back to the table.
Our game of TEG was my only victory of the evening. We played with the mini expansion Satellites and Super Weapons that came with my Kickstarter copy.
It was interesting playing the game with the expansion because at first we ignored it. We didn’t make use of the super weapons cababilities or try destroying it for points.
The super weapon we had out allowed you to force opponents ships back two spaces on any planets they were trying to colonise. I like that extra opportunity to mess with others, screwing with their plans, hopefully swinging the momentum your way.
Plus destroying the super weapon gets you two victory points. That’s nice. Like the load bomb card in The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction that two points could be enough to push you over the finishing line, as it was in our game.
I liked this mini expansion. It’s a nice little addition to the game. Well worth the trouble getting from the bgg store if you didn’t get the Kickstarter edition.
To top off our mid week gaming session apparently it was also Debbie’s birthday. So we were celebrating her birthday also by playing games without her!
I needed this nice mid week distraction from the pressures of the working week. Thanks Jonathan for inviting me along.
So how are our Esdevium overlords planning to separate us from our hard earned pocket money this week?
First up is a game that I’d love me to try, Captain Sonar. But if I bought it wouldn’t get played much. This is a game that needs the max amount of players to get the best out of it.
Then it’s followed up with a restock of (queue Axl like screams, Slash like guitars) Welcome to the Dungeon.
Istanbul is a fantastic game, love it. I liked it so much after playing it was instantly added to my collection. Anyhow the second expansion for it Brief and Siegel hits our shores. Yes I’ll be getting this. Not as if I need a reason but this gives a great reason to play the base game and first expansion again.
Lotus just looks stunning from the photos I’ve seen on Instagram. I’d be buying it just for its art.
This final one in the piccy above is one you need to rush out and buy. In fact I played it yesterday. Yep Thiefs Market is out.
And then we have Forgotten King: Super Dungeon Explore.
OMG how much? I paid £24 earlier in the year in one of those amazing Amazon offers. It had a rrp of £80 then. Btw it’s £50 at the moment on Amazon.
Oh and yep I feel super smug nabbing my copy at that super cheap bargain price.
Anyway that’s the new stuff hitting this week. Another pretty strong week.
This afternoon Jonathan, myself and special surprise guest gamer Luke played games and enjoyed hot beverages at the local Costa.
So because three of us were gathered in one place, and it is the law, we played Thiefs Market.
Since getting the game I’ve played the game four times, and I just love the splitting the spoils phase so much.
It’s not just the hard delicious choices you have to make. But also the ones your decisions then pose to the other players.
Despite me building up an intimating engine of cards that if fueled correctly could buy four cards a turn, I still came last. While Luke stole my short lived title and became the new King of Thieves.
Our second game (queue Guns ‘n Roses music) was Welcome to the Dungeon.
We vied to see who was the bravest, boldest one amongst us to take on the dark dungeon and it’s monsters as a barbarian.
My timid play saw me again claim last place. While not exactly being brave, more like not being quicker than Luke and myself running away, Jonathan won.
I still believe that this game should never, never, ever be played with only two players. I know that you can’t avoid that situation in a three or four player game. But this is not a two player only game. And if/when you got down to two players that is the least enjoyable part of the game.