This evening Jonathan and I met up to play some games. Mat should have been there too, but he had to drop out at the last minute due to illness.
The original plan had been for the three of us to play The Manhattan Project (Mat had really wanted to play this game) and Lords of Waterdeep with the Scoundrels of Skullport expansion (Mat and Jonathan were keen to play this).
However with no Mat the plans were in disarray. Well kind of. Jonathan had bought with him Istanbul with the Mocha and Baksheesh expansion, plus the kebab stall tile promo.
We winged our plan of games to play, starting off with The Manhattan Project. For this play through we used the Nations expansion (one and two), used the tile to change the number of bomb attacks down from two to one. This made more sense for a two player game, and the mini bomb placement board for laying out the bomb cards. Oh and naturally the player aid cards were also used.
I really do like the Nations cards, they add a little more theme to the game, give a unique power to each player.
It would be cruel to say that every move we took we said “oh Mat would love this” and we didn't. But Mat would have loved the game.
I managed to ramp up my engine quicker than Jonathan, I had all my workers bought and working for me well before Jonathan. The only real place my system was not very good at generating stuff was generating lots of yellow cake. This meant I had to keep using a main action to get yellow cake, and normally ended up giving Jonathan free yellow cake so I could grab more.
I managed to beat Jonathan to testing a bomb first, which meant I claimed six points for being the first to test a bomb (second in a two player game gets no points) and switched on the higher point total.
Each bomb I made (except the one I was going to test) I loaded onto a bomber. It's a cheap way of getting five points.
I thought this worked really well as a two player game. And I'm not just saying that because I won. Jonathan also enjoyed playing it this way.
Jonathan and I both played in a non aggressive way, I've we didn't attack each other. I think taking that attack slot down to one, would have allowed for a more aggressive game if we had wanted to go down that route. If it had been left at two slots, it would have been just tit for tat on the attacking front. However with just the one slot, it stops that, and the other player has to wait until the slot is free before they can retaliate (if that is what they want to do). It also stops back to back attacks, and being completely destroyed. I'll be interested to hear what others think on this.
But still The Manhattan Project a very very good worker placement game.
Next up Istanbul with the coffee expansion!
Well you know I liked playing Istanbul, not only because I said so in a previous post. But because the game is now in my collection. And I was keen to play the game with the expansion.
We decided on a random board setup, and the kebab stall instead of the fountain.
What can I say about the coffee expansion? I love it. It takes an already great game, and takes it to another level.
I love the new scoring opportunities the expansion gives you with the coffee tokens. Then also being able to block off routes with a log for the other players is also cool. I did this at one point to stop Jonathan from gaining control of the log, blocking his route to the tile where he could wrestle its control from me.
The new cards this expansion introduces are amazingly powerful. However to use one requires using up your whole turn. While also the new power up tiles also pretty powerful. I got one that allowed me to move as far as I liked in a straight line.
The kebab stall was interesting. Apart from allowing you to recall all your agents from around the board, you could also choose to move your relative counter to another tile instead and take the action on the new tile if it wasn't on the police station tile.
I only went to the kebab stall once, and that was because I played one of the new cards, that moved my merchant and agents to the fountain, and allowed me to take an extra turn straight away.
Jonathan won the game six rubies to my five. I hadn't kept an eye on him, and forgot about one of the scoring opportunities, one that gave Jonathan the win. Which was a shame, because I was three turns myself away from getting my final ruby.
I love, love this expansion. You can be sure it will be added to my collection real soon. The new tiles, cards, scoring opportunities, the ability to block routes, and the coffee trader, just brilliant additions to the game.
Once again I liked how this game played for two players. Using the unused merchant counters in the two player game, was a nice touch. These merchants are placed randomly on the board using the dice. If you land on a tile with a merchant on it, just like the multiplayer game play, to do the action on the tile you have to pay two coins (but this time to the bank). Afterwards you then roll the two dice to move the merchant to a new tile.
A great evenings gaming with Jonathan, I had a great time.