Dice, Gems, and Markets

Yesterday saw three Fenland Gamers meet up for an afternoon of rolling dice, pushing tokens around, plotting and general cardboard shenanigans.

Amazon had let me down again. Colt Express was meant to have arrived Friday, but it didn't. So after chatting with their support I had an extra month added to my Prime membership as a “gesture of good will” from them for the inconvience, and an assurance the game would be delivered by midday on Saturday so it could be played that afternoon. Guess what? It never showed up. When I contacted support again, was told it was still at the couriers local distribution centre. I wasn't happy. In a fit of rage, I performed the act known as cutting my nose off despite my face, and asked to cancel the order and get a refund, saying I would get it elsewhere.

After getting hot beverages organised, our afternoon of gaming started with the three of us learning the new arrival I had this week Dice City.

So a brief read through of the rules, then we started play. Our first couple of turns saw us fumbling around like new born foals finding their legs. Through out the game questions would crop up for various situations, and the rule book would have to be consulted.

Three turns after getting the catapult I realised I had missed placed the catapult. Basically shutting down my ability to use it, and my main ability to attack bandits.
On the other hand Jonathan's dad had established a really effective engine that got him free army units, and allowed him to get more than enough swords to attack bandits, and build up points that way.
Jonathan was just scoring at will. He was trading, attacking bandits, purchasing. His engine was on fire. The victory points were just piling up for him.
I completed my second row, activated my three deactivated properties, and called the end of the game. It was time to put me out of my misery. There was no way that I'd be able to catch up.
As the final score below shows I wasn't even close to winning. I had made the right call to end my suffering.
Wow. This game took a lot longer than I was expecting. I thought this game would be a quickish game. But it took around two hours. Maybe some of that time was due to the three of us learning the game. But still, there are a surprising amount of decisions to make while its your turn.
I like the fact that there is a mechanism that mitigates the luck of rolling dice. Which is basically being able to move a dice one adjacent position to its left or right. However there are buildings that you can buy that allow you to move a dice to any position on its row.
Surprisingly for a dice game, you need a lot of table space to play. The player boards are massive, plus the space for the various card piles, and tokens, it's not a small game.
I like the fact there are different paths to victory you can take. Ok I didn't do very well executing mine, but Jonathan's dad had the military path pretty well worked out, Jonathan's was fairly successful. In our game there was no attacking the other players buildings. Which would have been a good extension to the military path.
Overall I liked the game, definitely want to get this to the table again.

Our second game of the afternoon was Splendor. Having had the custom playmat made for the game did aid setting up. I didn't have to remember where everything went for starters.

I like Splendor, especially the tokens for the gems. The fact they are poker chips with the relevant image of a gem on is nice. But I just like the tactile feel of these chips. It's hard not to play with them when they are in front of you waiting to be spent.

Although Jonathan managed to attract the first patron, and also take the early lead with a couple of one point cards. I quickly caught up, and pulled ahead, before attracting two patrons. Jonathan did pull back, but by then it was too late I scored the fifteen points to get the win.

Our final game of the session was Istanbul. The tile setup used was the short paths one, with no expansions or promos used. We went this route because this was the first time Jonathan's dad had played the game, and didn't want to over complicate things.

Once again Jonathan won. That's all three games of this I've played so far and he has won all of them. I came second in this game due to the tie breaker rules. Jonathan's dad and I both had three gems, but I had more money than him.

After the game, Jonathan shared his winning tactic for the short paths set up. Which basically meant grabbing the tile power up that allowed him to reroll a die, or change it to the number four. Then visiting the tea house to get money and the gemstone store to buy the gems. And alternating between the two. I must find a way to disrupt this tactic if we play this set up again. Which while writing this I think I have.

A great afternoon gaming, great company.


2 thoughts on “Dice, Gems, and Markets

    1. I like the game a lot too, just wish they hadn’t forced me to get a custom playmat made, instead of selling an official one.

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