Wednesday, 8 June 2011

boardgaming in photos

17 May 2011. Endeavor is a game I procrastinated on for quite a long time before deciding to buy it. I only recently discovered that there are 2-player variants, and I was quite excited to try it as a 2-player game against my wife Michelle. I chose to try the less confrontational and simpler variant by Peter Scarborough, which is an unofficial variant. Some neutral pieces were required (we used white), but most of the rules were the same.

The 2-player variant was quite good. Michelle (red) dominated Europe and was the one who waged war. I kept drawing cards. In fact I shouldn't have spent so much effort on that, because much effort was wasted because there was a limit to the number of cards that could be kept. I should have diversified a little. We played twice. I lost the first game and we tied in the second.

22 May 2011. My 3rd game of Dominant Species against Han and Allen. We used a random setup.

I did very badly in this game, I think mostly because I had not been preserving my limited supply of species (cubes), bringing them freely onto the board even when there were events that would kill off many of them. In this photo, Han (yellow) did well on the left half and Allen (blue) did well on the right half. I... didn't do so well.

After this 3rd game Allen discovered that I had taught one rule wrong. I had completely misunderstood the Depletion action. The correct rule is that all elements on tundras matching the elements in the Depletion box are removed from the board; if a player has placed an action pawn next to the Depletion box, he can remove one element, which would usually be a defensive move to protect his species on or next to tundras. The way we played was Depletion was only done when a player placed an action pawn there, and it was done for the specific element chosen by that player. I had it the other way round, making this an offensive move. Playing with the correct rule would mean that tundras are much harder to survive on, and it would be harder to gain many points from the Survival card.

Han did so well that he ran out of Dominance markers again (cones) and we had to use this tube of Haw Flakes.

This game was a little different from previous games. We were more specialised and were not able to have our presence spread so widely. So not as many tiles had presence of all three of us as before. Also the tundra spread was elongated.

Han was the spiders and specialised heavily in eating grub (pink element).

22 May 2011. Tigris and Euphrates, a Reiner Knizia classic that I have not played for a very very long time. I have always wanted to learn to play this well, but have never managed to do so. There is some depth to this game that needs to be explored. This was the early game, and all three of Han (Vase), Allen (Lion) and I (Bow) had leaders in the small civilisation in the north.

Red tiles (temples) spent on internal conflicts.

I was Bow, Allen was Lion and Han was Vase. There was now much tension between the civilisation in the north and the one in the south west - only one tile away from an external conflict. We used an incorrect tile in the north. There were two civilisations, the bigger one in the north west and a much smaller one in the north east, split by a disaster tile. We had used a handshake (external conflict) tile instead of a disaster tile.

The two civilisations of the south west and north west had merged, and I (Bow) had 3 leaders in it - black, blue and red. I was hoping to attack the medium sized civilisation in the south, which would give me many points. Unfortunately Han ended the game before I could do so, by claiming the 3rd last treasure (natural coloured cube).

I think there is a lot to explore in this game. It's quite confrontational for a Reiner Knizia game.

27 May 2011. Mexica, a game I have not played for a very long time. I needed to give myself a rules refresher before I could teach the others. Mexica is the 3rd game in the mask trilogy, following Tikal and Java. This was the early game. Mexica is a game about dividing the island into neighbourhoods using canals, and then building your temples in these neighbourhoods to compete for majority.

The octagonal tokens are called Calpulli tokens. The numbers on them indicate the neighbourhood size and also scores to be gained. Bridges are the most important mode of transportation. Your pawn normally moves one step at a time, but when on a bridge, it can take a boat directly to the next bridge.

Second half of the game. At the centre, Ainul (yellow) had created a neighbourhood and flooded it with cheap temples, using up all spaces and thus preventing others from competing with him.

Heng (orange) was very very determined to dominate this large 13-spaces neighbourhood. Look at all those orange temples! Ainul (yellow) had been competing with him, initiating an arms race, but by now had decided to just be content with 2nd place.

Near game end. I didn't do so well, despite being the only one who had played this before, but I think I did manage to teach the others some dirty tricks (like pulling away bridges that others need) and I hope they enjoyed the game. I think the game is best with four, because that means in each neighbourhood at most 3 players can score. 3 players is probably OK too. At least it doesn't become a zero-sum 2-player game.

28 May 2011 (1:18am). Roll Through the Ages is very nicely produced. Heng, Peter, Allen and I played two quick games. Tempo is very important. You always need to watch out for others ending the game quickly before you can pull off your grand plan. Or you may want to do this to your opponents. Peter was a victim of this, scoring negative points in our first game.


Aztlan said...

About Mexica, i played many times two players games, on the advice of a connoisseur. I was surprised, but Mexica is very funny with just two players

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

That is a surprise to me. I have always imagined that if played as a two-player game, Mexica would be like a see-saw, with the two players trying to sneak in to each other's area to steal majority, and the competition becomes very back-and-forth - you steal mine here, I'll steal yours there.