RogerBW's Blog

Thirsty Meeples November 2014 05 November 2014

Back to the boardgame café. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

We started with Abyss, a new game from Bruno Cathala and Charles Chevallier. I have to say, first of all, it's gorgeous: lots of art evocative of a fantastical undersea realm.

The game itself is in stages: gather small creatures, trade them in to get a Lord (who's worth more, and may have a special power), trade in Lords (making their special powers unusable) to get Locations which score you extra points for having particular sorts of creature or Lord…

The currency is pearls, and these give a lovely tactile sensation. I ended up ignoring most of the funky powers from the Lords, and eschewing locations completely, just going for the high-scoring Lords without big powers, and this won the game for me by a handy margin. None of us used the locations as much as we thought we would.

The rules text is not of the best quality and we got off to a slow start. I'm not sure the game has enough replayability for my collection, but it's quite fun and I wouldn't mind playing again.

Then it was time for Quantum, a game that's been on my list to try for a while. It's a simple 4X space game, where you're racing to place your supply of Quantum Cubes on various planets while preventing the enemy from doing the same thing. Your ships are dice, and can be reconfigured between the slow but powerful Battlestation and the quick but vulnerable Scout; to place a cube, you have to have ships in orbit round a planet equal to that planet's resource number. (In the picture above, both Red and Green have just achieved this by putting eight points of ships round eight-point planets.)

After some early clashes we didn't have all that much fighting, and by careful use of advance cards (I ended up with Brilliant, giving a research bonus, and Clever, which let me choose instead of rolling whenever I reconfigured my ships, and frankly I think this might be a game breaker) I was able to get my last cube out before anyone else. That said, the other two players were both one cube away from victory; we stayed fairly even. Definitely one I'd like to play again, and going on my "to buy" list.

We finished the evening with Arctic Scavengers, a deck-building game that's less annoying than most because you do actually have a conflict phase each round. This is probably as close to a deck-builder designed for me as you're likely to get: an interesting theme, and tension between keeping your deck small so that the cards you've obtained come up often and large so that you've got a chance of victory. It was enjoyable, and it's the only game in this style that I've tried of which I can say that, but it's still not a mechanic I really like.


  1. Posted by Michael Cule at 01:59pm on 05 November 2014

    I'm still not sure why I won ARCTIC SCAVENGERS: you and Peter beat me to all but two of the 'contested resources'. I did add an extra mercenary on most turns and I suppose the one or two points they were worth did add up.

    What difference would the expansions make I wonder?

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 02:06pm on 05 November 2014

    You got quite a lot of Hunters early on, and I think they may have added up to get you enough people even when Peter and I were getting reasonable numbers of Family cards.

    The expansion, as far as I can see, has more of everything: two new contested resources (rifle to boost combat, toolkit to boost building ability), more mercenaries (including the engineer who builds stuff), and buildings which I assume give more bonuses. (Can't immediately find a rulebook on line.)

  3. Posted by RogerBW at 02:16pm on 05 November 2014

    Ah, here's a review that talks more about the AS expansions.

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