Thursday, 29 January 2015

family boardgame outing: Meeples Cafe

Chen Rui (8) asked me to bring her to Meeples Cafe to play, so I planned an outing on a Sunday afternoon. We played for almost 5 hours straight, and we had a great time! I think we picked the right games too - all were very engaging. Michelle was initially planning to sit out for a few games, but ended up playing all the way.

18 Jan 2015. Cloud 9, a game about pushing your luck, hoping to score more points while risking what you have gained so far. We have played this before, we had fun revisiting. Chen Rui kept accidentally showing her cards to Michelle, because she sat next to her.

Shee Yun (9) holding donut-shaped cards from Baker's Dozen (a.k.a. Friday the 13th, Poison). You can see these cards are rather small. They are round too. A pain to shuffle.

Alhambra, Spiel des Jahres winner in 2003. On your turn you normally either collect currency cards, or spend them to buy a building to expand your palace. At certain points in the game you score points depending on how many buildings you have compared to other players in each of the six colours. Surprisingly our youngest player Chen Rui won this game. This is not exactly a simplistic or luck-heavy game. I think she won partly due to Michelle guiding her. She was quite lucky too in often having the right amounts to make precise payments, allowing her to take extra actions.

There are currencies in four colours. Vendors only accept specific currencies.

I didn't think much of Alhambra when I first played it many years ago, but this time I quite enjoyed it. It has some long-term strategy because of the area majority competition, but most of the time you make tactical decisions. The board situation (currency cards available, buildings available) keeps changing, and when a good opportunity presents itself, you usually want to grab it. You want to buy buildings while paying the exact price as often as possible, because of the extra action that gives you. Maybe it's because of this tactical nature, I could play in a relaxed manner.

This is Shee Yun's palace. Rather small (she came last), but she did have a very tidy wall almost fully enclosing her palace. She was only competitive in white buildings. She had four.

The final score. Chen Rui was yellow, I was green, Michelle red, Shee Yun white.

Pandemic: The Cure, a cooperative game about fighting diseases. Chen Rui was the one responsible to find the fourth and final cure, and she was relieved when she succeeded. The four infection dice on that card on the right means we have found all four cures and we have won.

Guillotine is a silly card game about chopping people's heads off during the French Revolution. I tried to avoid explaining the story in too much detail. We were just claiming cards worth points, not claiming heads worth points. On your turn you claim the first card in the queue, but before you do that you may play an action card, which usually either changes the order of the cards in the queue or does something for game-end scoring.

This can be a queue of customers waiting to be served too, instead of nobles queuing up to be beheaded.

Two of the characters I had claimed. Only some characters have text on them.

Playing Forbidden Island, a cooperative game too. We have played this before, a few times. This time we tried the normal difficulty, and we barely made it off the island with the four artifacts. If we had played just one notch harder, we would have lost. It was tense watching tile after tile get flooded and disappear beneath the waves, as we raced to collect the artifacts.

The island started with 24 tiles, and by now there were only 9 remaining, and 6 of these had started flooding (the blue ones).

Cartagena, a simple yet clever race game, one of Leo Colovini's best known works.

The objective is to get all six of your pirates (escaping prisoners actually) onto the boat at the end of the tunnel.

Chen Rui moving her pirates.

When you play a card, you move one of your pirates to the next empty spot with the same icon as the card. You don't get to draw cards for free. To draw a card, you need to move a pirate backwards to the nearest occupied spot, and then you draw cards depending on how many other pirates are occupying that spot. A spot can have at most three pirates. If the nearest spot behind a pirate is full, he will have to move further backwards.

The boat is getting crowded.

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