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Shark Nursery of Tahanea
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Sunday, May 01, 2016

Board Game Weekend

I spent the weekend in Tösstal playing board games. Over three days I played 24 different games, 22 of which I hadn't played before :).

It would be too much to list them all, but I'll name my favorite new discoveries:
  • The Bloody Inn: We play a member of a greedy family owing a small inn in rural France in the 19th century. We don't really care about the well-being of our patrons, but rather only about our full coffers. To achieve this we can recruit the patrons and take them into our hand, from there we can play them in our play area using them as buildings which give us immediate or continued benefits. The most money, however, can be made by killing the patrons and burying them under one of our buildings, because then we can empty their purse. But watch out for police officers among the guests, they may confiscate the body...
    The play mechanism is really intriguing (and well known to Race for the Galaxy Fans), all actions have to be payed with cards from our hands, however, if the card has the correct color we get a discount. All our games ended up really close and we had great fun!
  • Nippon: We play a member of an influential conglomerate in Japan during the Meji period. We try to grow our influence by building factories, railroads and ships, producing goods and shipping them both to the local and foreign markets.
    This was the most complex game we played this weekend and with our initial three hours playing time it might seem overwhelming, but nevertheless time went by very fast with quick turns and many interesting decisions to take. I'm looking forward to another round soon!
  • Potion Explosion: We are apprentice wizards taking our final exam in potion brewing. In order to pass we need to brew a number of potions with the available ingredients. The more efficient we achieve this the more points can be earned and at the end of the day there is only Student of the Year Award!
    The ingredients are represented by small marbles placed in a dispenser with five rows. As our turn we can take one marble out of the dispenser, if this leads to an explosion (at least two ingredients of the same color smash together) we can take them as well (and so on until all marbles are gone or no more explosions happen). The gained ingredients need to be placed in our cauldrons in which we brew the potions. Once a potion is finished it can be drunk to gain a one-time advantage (which ranges from taking more ingredients from the dispenser, to stealing ingredients from our class mates). Once all bonuses are collected the game ends and everyone counts up the value of their potions.
    A very easy to learn and play game, which is delivered with fantastic components and a cool experience. It feels a bit like a cellphone game ported to a board game, but it works wonderfully.
  • Lanterns - The Harvest Festival: To celebrate the end of autumn harvest we want to gain honor by dedicating combinations of lanterns. Every player has square tiles in hand showing up to four different colors on each side. Once a tile is placed every player gains a lantern of the color pointing in his direction. The trick is to connect identical colors to gain additional lanterns.
    A very easy to learn game with lots of depth and different strategies.
  • Celestia: We play an adventurer who takes part in explorations in an aircraft. The farther we can travel the higher the possible rewards. The clue is that everyone is in the same aircraft and the place of captain is taken in turns. The captain rolls a number of dice showing different symbols. Every player has to decide if the captain can weather the crisis by playing matching cards, or abandon ship (taking the current reward). If the captain manages the difficulties travel continues and the next player takes the helm. If the captain fails the airship crashes and no-one on board receives anything.
    A wonderful little game with superb components (featuring a three-dimensional aircraft in which the player tokens have a place and beautifully illustrated cards) and great replay value. A definite recommendation!
  • Quadropolis: We are a city planner trying to build the best city, but we have to compete with the other planners for the available buildings and institutions. Every building is scored differently at the end, but only if it can be activated with the needed energy or people. Thus a fierce competition breaks out.
    For a city-building game Quadropolis works very smoothly and can be quickly explained and played. The included expert mode promises more strategic choices, for those who can build cities in their sleep. The package is rounded up by functional, colorful and pleasing illustrations and components (the people are actually small people). A definite addition to my game collection.
I had a great time and want to thank Cäsi, the organizer, and everyone who was there and played games! I'll be back next year! :)

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