Monday, 25 July 2016

boardgaming in photos: Lost Cities

6 Jul 2016. I played Machi Koro with the children. This is one of their favourite games. Chen Rui (9) doesn't have a strategic mind yet, and makes decisions on a whim, mostly depending on which buildings she finds interesting. She plays the way which makes her happy, not the way which makes her win. Maybe there's something to learn from this. Shee Yun (11) understands the strategy and makes her decisions which lead her to a final goal. She identifies synergies between cards. It pleases me to see her think strategically.

Chen Rui made a mini pyramid out of the Renovation markers.

The kids still try to gang up on me. However we play the advanced rules using the ever-changing market system, so it's hard to collaborate against another player. The cards don't always come up the way you hope they will. I won again this time.

We still mix together all the cards from the base game, the Harbour expansion and the Millionaire's Row expansion. It's not a good way to play, because the cards are too diluted. It's hard to focus on any specific strategy. We really should spend some time creating a smaller set to play with.

This time I constructed many blue buildings, which allowed me to earn money on any player's turn.

7 Jul 2016. Lost Cities is an oldie. Back in the day (well, about 10 - 12 years ago) this was the spouse game. Nowadays I don't hear it being mentioned much. I suspect many gamers new to the hobby haven't even heard about it, which is a shame. It is still as delicious as I remember it. Michelle and I played briskly. Play-and-draw, discard-and-draw, play-and-pick-up. It was like synchronised sparring. Yet there are quite a few tricky decisions to be made along the way, and gambles to make. Sometimes the game takes an unexpected turn.

I fared horribly in this particular game. I had drawn all three of the yellow handshake cards early in the game, but not other yellow numbered cards. Michelle discarded a yellow card early in the game, so I thought she must have few such cards to be able to decide so early that she was giving up on yellow. I decided I should go for yellow and make a killing. I played the three handshake cards, and waited to draw more yellow cards. To my dismay, Michelle picked up the yellow card she had discarded, and proceeded to start her own yellow expedition. That was not a good sign. She drew more and more yellow cards, and I drew pitifully few. It was a disaster. I had started the red, green and blue expeditions, but they were just for buying time hoping to draw yellow cards. Most of these side quests just broke even. Instead of yellow cards, I drew lots of white cards. Now (at the time of this photo), the draw deck was running out, and I was stuck in an unenviable position of having not enough yellow cards to play, and too many white cards and not quite enough time to play them.

I played Ticket To Ride: The Card Game with the family. I bought this when Michelle and I were still very much into the Ticket To Ride series. However I didn't really fancy it, and seldom played. I brought this out because the children hadn't tried it. They are familiar with the Ticket To Ride series, but this was new to them. They liked it, and they did much better than us. I wonder whether they liked it because they beat us.

There is some aggression in this game. You need to collect train cards. To do that, you need to first play them onto the table, and then on later turns move them to your safe storage pile. While the train cards are still on the table, they are vulnerable. If other players play cards of the same colour as yours, your cards will be discarded. Thus the aggression. A few elements look familiar, but this is quite a different game from Ticket To Ride.

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