March 2017 Monthly Meetup 

Once again it’s been a quiet week post wise here on the blog. That might be due to being rather busy at work this week. Certainly getting their monies worth out of me for sure.

A month passes pretty fast. It only seems like last week that it was the last monthly  meet up. Time flies fast when you are old like me!

Our first game of this months meet up was Starving Artists.

This Kickstarter project had arrived the day of the meet up, sitting there all packaged up, waiting for me to open it up. There was a pleasant surprise in the box it came in. Next to the sealed game was a play mat. I don’t remember ordering the play mat. But it’s something I would do. In fact as I wrote this bit I just popped over to the Kickstarter page to check what I had pledged for. I had selected the pledge level that gave me the game, play mat and all downloadable content.

That last bit has me intrigued about what downloadable content there will be. Now I’m going to have to go back and look through the campaign to find out what was said/promised. My memory is so bad. They were probably talking about print ‘n play.

I have to say this is a very pretty game. From the cute food shape player counters, and carrot shaped first player marker, to the beautiful art that has been chosen for the ninety plus cards. Mind you I love the play mat, it looks awesome.

The production quality of the whole game is very high. The linen finish on the cards, the wooden tokens, the box for the game with the player score track on it. It’s really nice.

I like that on the play and player mats where you have the colours of the cubes, you also get told how many of that cube there are. But that sort of help is all over the place. On the score track there are reminders of the game end conditions, and what happens when collecting cubes when selling a painting. On the play mat there is a reminder for spending two cubes to clear the market. Touches like this are very much appreciated.

Jonathan thought that using the first player counter to track morning/afternoon and evening superfluous. But I liked it. I can see people forgetting where they are in the sequence of the day.

Jonathan also didn’t like the collection of paint rule from the paint market when selling a painting. Basically it’s a round robin thing. The player with the highest value painting takes four cubes, then the second highest value takes two cubes, while the third takes one cube. Then you repeat until either everyone has taken the amount of paint cubes they are allowed to collect, or there are no more cubes left. So it is possible that a person gets no cubes because there are not many cubes currently in the market, or they get less than they should, while the other player gets more. I can see his point kind of. But I didn’t have an issue with this, if it was a choice between getting something or getting nothing. I’d take getting something every time.

I liked the multiple end conditions. So it could be a certain points target being reached (depending on how many are playing), or a certain number of paintings sold by a player, or a player starves to death. If one of those conditions are met, then the player with the highest score wins. You really do need to be aware of the other players and how they are doing on those fronts. Is it worth the player dying because they are in the lead, and they will win after the extra day is played by the survivors? Or are they near to completing that final picture to sell and reach that target. In our first game I triggered the end game by selling six paintings.

I liked the market place for the paintings. It’s one of those market places where new entries to the market start at the highest cost to buy, and gradually get cheaper as lesser cost ones get bought, and they move down the market place.

It was a very quick game to learn, and we learnt from the rule book in less than ten minutes (iirc, I wasn’t really timing it, but it was fast).

This is a nice, set collection game, that is beautiful to look at. It’s not a complicated game, some nice touches to it. Can be taught quickly. Yeah glad I got this. Plus with ninety plus cards (ninety two I think) for the paintings, there is a lot of variety.

 

Our second game of the evening was Mint Works. Still really like this, and if you keep an eye on the right of the page for what I have been playing recently, then you know this has been to the table a couple of times since Friday when I first played it. I’ve taught it to students, and now Jonathan and Katie. No one hates it yet!

I do hope that Mint Works and Starving Artists get to a wider audience other than the Kickstarter backers. Like AGES they deserve to be picked up and distributed to the unwashed masses.

Our evening of gaming finished with Archer: Once You Go Blackmail. You know I have one or two copies of Love Letter. So it’s fair to say that I like the game. I got this version because I wanted to see if any new mechanics/tweaks had been introduced to the game.

The main addition to this version of Love Letter is that the discarded card is now part of the game (now called the hidden card), and one or two of the abilities use that card. One even allows you to name one of the characters/cards, and if it is the hidden card, you win that round automatically.

It’s a nice touch, and Jonathan did like how this worked also. Although I did point out that Lost Legacy did something similar. But then this version of Love Letter doesn’t have that end game mechanic of trying to guess the hidden card at the end, that Jonathan really didn’t like (well apart from the sci-fi theme).

I like this version of Love Letter a lot. It’s a close call between this and Love Letter Batman as to which is my favorite one. The intelligence tokens are amazing and nearly as cute as the little Batman logos in Love Letter Batman. This is too close to call.

Anyway it was a really great evening of gaming. Oh now to decide what to play on Friday now.

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