Last night was one of the “special” events that get organised at Fenland Gamers (my local gaming club). Which basically means some-one has a specific game they’d like to get to the table and play. So they host a gaming session to play that particular game. An invite is usually placed on the clubs Facebook page asking who would like to attend, making sure that people know there is a limited number of places available.
The session last night was arranged specifically to play the amazing Viticulture with the extended board from Tuscany.
However Jonathan found himself at a loose end and asked if those attending could make it along to the venue earlier. He had a hankering to play Pandemic Iberia again.
For Jonathan to scratch that itch he needed me! He won’t have his own copy until Christmas or his birthday. I had received my replacement red microscope token and missing epidemic card only a couple of days earlier. Also to protect the cards in the game I had sleeved them. So my copy was ready to hit the table.
Katie hadn’t played this edition of Pandemic. Well it is a hot new game. So we recapped the rule changes and additions that were made to Iberia.
We let Katie decide on how difficult the game would be. Our game used the “easy” setting of four epidemic cards.
We won our game. We hit three out of the four epidemic cards. And narrowly missed the fourth. If we hadn’t won we would have hit it.
I’d like to have my next game of Iberia use one of its variants. I like the idea of the patient one, where cubes home in on the hospitals you build!
Our next game was a new one for me, but one I’ve been interested to try, Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age.
It’s a nice Yahtzee, push your luck style game.
Not the most attractive game. However the wooden player boards and pegs were ok. The wooden dice felt nicer than the dice in Discoveries.
The player sheets where you are marking off the results of your dice rolls look intimidating to start with, but soon become clear.
It’s a nice game. Not amazing. But one I’d happily play again.
Jonathan and I both LOVE Viticulture. I don’t think I’d be incorrect in saying that if we both had to draw up a top five games of all time Viticulture would be one of those games. For me it would be Jamey Stegmaier’s second game on that list. Which is frickin amazing. I really must do a click bait top ten games of all time list sometime.
So you know how much we like Viticulture. But what impact would playing with the extended board make?
Katie and Diego hadn’t played Viticulture before. So a rules school was held for them. I think with the new board Jonathan and I were not at a great advantage having played before.
I’m a big fan of the original Prisoner tv series (not that crap remake they did). And it’s hard not to make Number 6 references. Why do I feel like I can talk about The Prisoner whilst talking about Viticulture? Well for the whole game I took the number 6 slot on the wake up track. No one took it off me. Basically I was being given by the end of the game six unchallenged victory points.
The territory control element this board adds to the game is a nice little touch, and a nice way to get some resources that may have been blocked off elsewhere. Plus at end game scoring a chance to add more victory points to your score.
The extra seasons made more sense thematically. Plus it gave you more chance to do things. But with two basic workers and a grande worker you will have to pass one of the seasons at least in the early rounds until you train more workers.
Until the last round I was only harvesting one field. I hadn’t even planted the others. In fact I had sold one early on for the cash boost, and repeated later on for same reason.
But being first to one or two actions allowed me to pick up the odd easy victory point.
On the final round I needed three points from somewhere on the board to push me over the finishing line. Jonathan managed to block two of them. But I was luckily able to get those from another route. Basically by buying back a sold field and planting on it (I had a windmill that gave me a point this way), and then selling a wine for a point.
I was feeling very tense trying to pull off those three points. If I’d failed in pulling this off and have to go through another year, there is no way I’d win. It was all or nothing. Jonathan blocking me added to the tension I was feeling. But once I cracked the problem of making up the lost points, it was plain sailing.
Jonathan discovered at the end we had misplayed the pass rule in winter. Which we are getting to the bottom of at the moment. Sadly Jonathan couldn’t find the relevant bit in the rules.
The extended board is a great addition to an already great game. Not sure I’d want to go back now to the regular one.
You know how I’m closing this blog post off now. Thanks to Jonathan (so you know who to blame) here are a couple of photos of me playing the games last night.
It’s been an amazing year for me game wise. I’ve played over 143 games, with 460 plus plays. Which just leaves me speechless. If I hadn’t been keeping track of my plays I’d never have guessed that high a number.
Regular readers will know I’m partial to jumping on bandwagons. Well this time of year you can’t miss the mass of top ten lists, and game of year posts/videos. So who am I not to go with the flow, shout “me too” and have my own poor attempt at click bait. Who knows I could get into the heady heights of more than thirty views.
My click bait attempt comes in the form of the first Whitespider1066 Game of the Year 2016 Award Ceremony.
First up are the games that really captured their theme.
The contenders for Most Thematic Game of 2016 are:
My Most Thematic Game of 2016 is…
Karmaka. This game just oozes it’s theme. The mechanics just re-enforce the theme of karma. The lovely art work, especially on the score board scream karma. I don’t think I’ve played a game this strongly themed.
Next up are the games that just look stunning, from the art, to the graphical design, to the components used. These games really do prove you should judge a book by its cover.
The contenders for Best Looking Game of 2016 are:
My Best Looking Game of 2016 is…
I’m going with Hit Z Road. This light weight Zombie game is just stunning. It’s kind of retro thrown together graphic design and art is beautiful, and really sets up the theme.
For this next award of Best Kickstarter Project to qualify the game had to be delivered in 2016.
The contenders for Best Kickstarter Project 2016 are:
My Best Kickstarter Project 2016 is…
The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction. It’s basically it’s bigger worker placement brother but in a smaller quicker card game format. The deluxe Kickstarter edition with its wooden tokens and box really do this game justice.
Now for the main event…
So as I said back at the start of November I will be picking my game of the year from my list of game of the month winners. There was a slight hiccup with the list, because I didn’t start announcing a game of the month until April. Which means I will have to chose a game of the month for January, February and March looking back at my log of plays for those months.
Here is the complete list of my game of the month winners:
- January – Seasons
- February – Bomb Squad Academy
- March – Eminent Domain
- April – Scoville
- May – Bohemian Villages
- June – The Voyages of Marco Polo, Guilds of London, The Great Heartland Hauling Co. and Imhotep
- July – 7 Wonders Duel
- August – The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction
- September – Istanbul with all the expansions
- October – Escape from Colditz
- November – Scythe
- December – Pandemic Iberia
As you can see this is a pretty strong list. In June I wasn’t able to make a decision and copped out and chose four! It was nearly a decision I copied again in November.
But a decision has to be made. And I think I know which game it’s going to be.
So my game of 2016 is…
Scythe ticks all the boxes. Beautiful artwork, great components, amazing game play, asynchronous factions, replay ability.
I really do look forward to playing Scythe. The expansion that’s two new factions will be with me any day now. The board expansion is also on its way. Two excuses as if I really needed them to play Scythe again. This game is truly epic.
So there you have my click bait awards. I hope they were of some interest.
Wednesday saw the Fenland Gamers monthly meet-up for December. This was the last monthly meet-up of 2016. Where has the year gone?
We split up into two groups. Jonathan went to another table with Debbie and Diego, to play Plague Inc. While Gavin, Katie and I played Alien Frontiers.
Gavin has been looking at purchasing Alien Frontiers, while I owned it, and had been looking for an excuse to get it to the table. So before the meet-up I’d suggested we played the game at the meet-up for him to try it first.
I did like this dice placement, area control game.
At first you think how do I mitigate poor dice rolls? Then you look at the alien artifact cards and some of these allow you to adjust the value of the dice by one, or reroll them. Which means if you get those cards it becomes easier placing your dice for the action you want.
There is a little take that in the game, such as being able to steal resources from other players, or moving colony domes from one territory to another. And these bits of take that come from either alien artifact cards or one of the orbital facilities.
The alien artifact cards are a nice touch. I particularly like the fact that the majority give you a choice of two options to decide between.
Controlling a territory gives you a power up you can use whilst you control that territory. That control can be fluid.
During our game I was using alien artifact cards to move the colony domes of the others to give me a majority, and take a majority away from them in another territory where I had no interest.
Scoring isn’t going to be massive. It’s a fluid thing that goes up and down depending on control of territories, some alien artifact cards. As the rule book describes it, the scoreboard is a snap shot of the current state of play.
Katie and I drew on the points in our game, but I won on the tie breaker of having the most alien artifact cards.
It’s my understanding there is going to be a big box release of Alien Artifacts in 2017. If that is the case I’ll definitely be buying it so I can get the expansions. The expansions seem to be a bit elusive to get hold of at the moment.
So that last paragraph should tell you I really liked the game.
Our final game of the evening was Love Letter Premium edition.
This is a beautifully put together edition of the game. The extra thick playing cards, the card sleeves, heart tokens, the awesome game box. This just oozes high quality.
This edition supports up to eight players using extra cards being shuffled in for player counts over four.
One or two of the new cards I didn’t recognise the abilities of. So I’m assuming they are new or from the Archer edition. Other abilities on the new cards are from other editions like The Hobbit edition. And I did like these new abilities.
Jonathan didn’t like the additional cards because they made guessing harder and keeping track a bit tougher. Plus I think the player count doesn’t really work at the higher numbers. I think the sweet spot is 3-4 players for Love Letter.
If I use this edition again I’ll stick to the sweet spot. But maybe use some of the new cards to replace some of the older ones to shake things up a little.
Katie and Diego drew as winners.
A great evenings gaming. Great company. Second Wednesday of each month.
We have three meet-ups over the Christmas period. I’m looking forward to them.
Yesterday was the last day of students before the Christmas break.
So as a treat to my level three group I took in a selection of games, and my folding 6ft table.
The students had earnt this treat. Completed my assignment and handed in by the deadline. That deserved a reward.
I think they played two or three games, working their way through all the monsters in the game.
After King of Tokyo I introduced the students to Welcome to the Dungeon. Which they really enjoyed.
Finally they ended the morning off playing Love Letter.
What do these games have in common? They can be taught in under ten minutes. They are also about the right length of time to play. By that I mean approx thirty minutes.
It was great seeing the students enjoying themselves. In the new year there is going to be some tournaments arranged for them. With iello willing to sell me tournament kits they are going to love having a King of Tokyo tournament.