RogerBW's Blog

Thirsty Meeples September 2015 02 September 2015

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

First game of the evening was Red 7, which I played a little while ago and have been looking for since. I think it must have been between printings; I saw second-hand copies going for £30+, though it's got more reasonable now. It works remarkably well as a two-player game too. (Here's me about to make a really major mistake.)

We gave Star Realms another go, and enjoyed it again; I still won, but it was a bit more even this time, and I even generated some trade. As before I ended up playing mostly Blobs and Machine Cult. What can I say, the cards just come to me.

With our third player delayed by trains, we went for Timeline: Historical Events again; "extinction of the dinosaurs" was considered a bit too easy! But as usual with this group, making a single mistake is enough to knock you out of the game. Still enjoyable. (Clearly French: one card is "the introduction of the shallot to Europeans".)

Our "big" game for the evening was The World of Smog: On Her Majesty's Service, which is actually a whole lot more abstract than that title makes it sound. You're moving from tile to tile collecting four different colours of "ether"; when you buy or sell on a tile, you use the price closest to you, put a blocking token on the price you used, and rotate the tile clockwise. Your ultimate objective is to get four ether (of particular colours allotted secretly at the start of the game, though you can often sell at a profit to make more cash), and the four artifacts from the edge tiles (which must also be bought), and then arrive at a particular location which is your secret exit spot.

For a game with an awful lot of components, the core gameplay was relatively clean and simple. The art is deliberately busy, but the board and tiles are still readily usable. Complication is provided by the four Agents who come and go on the board at the behest of the player in favour with the Shadow Lord.

I wouldn't buy this; it's a pretty hefty box and I don't have room on my games shelf. But I would be happy to play it again.

We finished the evening with a couple of games of Sushi Go, where I didn't do quite as badly as at Reading last week. So that's something. There may well be subtlety I'm not seeing. I'm also just rather bad at counting cards.

[Buy Red7 at Amazon] [Buy Star Realms at Amazon] [Buy Timeline: Historical Events at Amazon] [Buy The World of SMOG: On Her Majestys Service at Amazon] [Buy Sushi Go! at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

  1. Posted by Michael Cule at 03:28pm on 02 September 2015

    My apologies for being late. You managed two whole games before I got there!

    The World of Smog for me could have done with being either more or less abstract. The (very nice) art and what have you distracted a bit from working out the mechanics without helping at all with figuring out what was going on. Why did the wheels have to turn every time you did something with them? (Other than that was the mechanic they had chosen.) I didn't get how to build up a winning position (you and Peter clearly did) or parley the special action cards into force multipliers. If it had been purely abstract and the pieces hadn't been named after people (I had the John Brown piece! You'd expect being John Brown would have some effect on your game play!) then perhaps I would have had fewer problems with it.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 03:36pm on 02 September 2015

    And a round of Timeline just before you arrived.

    For TWoS:OHMS I will admit I was largely ignoring the art and background detail once I'd got the hang of working out which pawn was mine, and treated the thing as an abstract game. (There's some chat in the rulebook about the various characters, and about the Agents too, but I didn't read it.) Given that my character was an anthropomorphic fox I possibly had an easier time not taking him seriously.

    After my first turn I didn't touch the central square and the special action cards again. (I can't even remember what the one card I had actually did.) Peter did, quite a bit.

    My basic approach was: parlay my starting ether into lots of cash, buy low and sell high to get more cash while accumulating the bare minimum of ether to satisfy my winning condition, and minimise movement: moving across the board takes a long time, so after the first couple of turns I basically did one big loop around it to get the artifacts and paused to trade ether on my way.

  3. Posted by Michael Cule at 05:20pm on 02 September 2015

    I think you did the smart thing. I didn't do more than one big selloff: it might have been otherwise if I hadn't have needed two of the ether I started with to complete the winning conditions.

    Though Peter got more special effects cards than either of us I think he only used one. Odd game.

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 08:54am on 03 September 2015

    Yeah, I meant to keep my starting ether, but then realised I could buy more later.

    Agreed, a strange game.

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