RogerBW's Blog

Thirsty Meeples June 2014 04 June 2014

This time we tried a variety of shortish two-player games at this boardgame café, playing each of them twice just to get the hang of the basics.

We started with Splendor, which I enjoyed again. My second and third games; with only two players one uses fewer tokens, so it's still possible to corner the market in the early game. I'm definitely getting a feel of building up resources, then choosing when to abandon that and sprint for the finish. Certainly one I expect to buy at some point.

King & Assassins was next, a slightly hnefatafl-like game of getting the king out of a crowded market where any local citizen might be a disguised assassin (and they're all controlled by the assassins' player). It's a bit simplistic for a wargamer like me; enjoyable to play once or twice, and with randomness only in the allocation of action points to each side (by card draw; if one side gets a lot of actions, so will the other that turn) which is a pleasant touch, but I can't see myself playing it a great deal and it probably won't go on my purchase list.

We took a look at Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War but were frankly intimidated by the game materials (see this image) and so decided not to play. It looks a little like a reversed Stratego, in that your enemy can identify all your pieces but you can't; you make a move, he tells you whether it was a legal move for that type of piece, and you try to deduce which of your pieces is which.

Instead, carrying on with the Cold War theme, we tried 1955: The War of Espionage. With six countries available, each side plays cards to sway them towards his own faction (winning by getting any three countries' control markers all the way to his end of the board, or by taking over the enemy's home country). There are complex rules about which cards one can combine and when, but in the end it felt fairly random (because of the large card deck, which we were nowhere near getting through by the end of the game) though still enjoyable.

We finished off the evening with Summoner Wars: first Phoenix Elves vs Tundra Orcs. This is a card-based combat game on a 6×8 grid: you draw cards, summon allies to join your side, move and attack the enemy, and discard cards to build up your magic reserve to summon even more allies. (We didn't spot during this first game that you also add killed enemies to your magic reserve.) The elves were fragile, but effective in attack and with lots of magical boosting; the orcs were less fragile, but also less effective. This came down to three on one in the end, and my elves managed to surround and magic to death the orcish summoner (king-equivalent).

Guild Dwarves vs Cave Goblins was a more asymmetric match: the goblins have many cheap but ineffective units, which when they're slaughtered en masse contribute plenty of magic to the dwarves' side. They really need to rush forward constantly. I got a good start on this one, but bogged down, and my summoner took some heavy damage, which eventually gave the victory to my opponent.

This game suffered, to my mind, from a difficulty in combining attacks: ranged units can only fire orthogonally along the grid lines, an understandable simplifying assumption but one that was just one simplification too far for my suspension of disbelief. Elven archers can shoot at enemy A four squares away, and at enemy B right in front of them, but not at enemy C one square forward and one to the right?

I wouldn't mind playing some more of this, but I don't really see myself wanting to have it as a regular game at home. Indeed, Splendor is the only game of these I'm likely to buy, and I already was before I played it here. But most games can be enjoyed once or twice even if they don't earn a place in one's collection, and this was a good evening of trying out new things.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1