RogerBW's Blog

Thirsty Meeples August 2015 05 August 2015

Back to the boardgame café, just two of us this time. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

We started with Yardmaster, which, well, if I'd gone into it expecting a game about railways I'd have been disappointed. You collect "freight" cards, then use them to pay for matching "railcar" cards to add to your train, but each railcar must match the one before in either colour or value. It's basically an abstract game, but a surprisingly deep one, and I quite enjoyed it. (Points off for relying on colour, though. I'm not colour-blind but I know plenty of people who are to some extent, and they'd find it much harder to play this.)

Not as hard as they'd find Race for the Galaxy, though, where the resource type given by a planet is only shown by colour. There's a lot of symbology here, and part of the problem is right there in the name (as a race game there's really very little you can do to your opponents). The rulebook seemed over-complex and didn't do a good job of explaining what were really fairly simple rules. That said, it was enjoyable and flavoursome, and I'd play again, especially with more players so that more was happening each turn.

Next was Waggle Dance, not the beer but a new boardgame from Grublin Games who published the appealing but flawed Cornish Smuggler. It's a light worker-placement dice game: your bees have to raise more workers, expand the hive, gather pollen and make honey. Since the cards are in a set layout and don't move around during the game, I was rather surprised it didn't have a board instead; and the art was distinctly, sorry, "busy", in that there was lots of extraneous detail that sometimes made it hard to tell just what was going on. (And the rules sheet, a huge fold-out affair, is also sometimes a little tricky to follow.) It's another one that relies heavily on colour, and some of the cubes would be hard to tell apart in bad light (especially red/orange/pink, a lot more distinct in these photos than in real life), but the actual gameplay is rather enjoyable, and this worked rather better for me than the mechanically-similar Alien Frontiers that we played a few months back.

I'd been planning to give Red 7 another go, but since there were just two of us I was persuaded to try Star Realms, a deck-building sort of game but not one that devolves into a race like Dominion: rather, you're balancing trade (to buy more ships) with attacks on the enemy. Or in my case going all-out to attack, which won me the game quite handily. One can play with more, but the core game is for two, which is rare; and it's a deck-builder I don't hate, which is rarer. Really, the only thing that's a bit clumsy is the set of cards for tracking one's remaining Authority (victory points). Reader, I bought it.

See also:
Thirsty Meeples May 2015

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