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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Games - Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

I've been delinquent in blog posts. Not that thousands of people are anxiously awaiting to read everything I type, but there are those that I've found reading my blog. So, first off, my Sanctuary RPG hasn't been played in over a month, and I do have one installment I need to finish up. I'll be getting to that soon (hopefully). Additionally, I might start posting a game log about the Serenity game I am joining.

However, this post is about last night's board games. It's been a long time since I've had a night of all new games, and last night almost counts. I played:
  • Agricola - with an expansion - the expansion was new.
  • Finca
  • Snow Tails
On with the review post!

Agricola - Through the Seasons

Still Agricola, but this adds a bit more variety. Each round gets a new season, and you cycle through the seasons starting with a random one until the game ends. Each season adds a new action only available for that round - at least until the season comes around again. The season also makes some minor tweaks to the resource fields and some standard actions.
  • Spring comes with an additional sow/breed action.
  • Summer with vacation (extra victory points)
  • Fall with harvest/vegetable
  • Winter with family growth without space (for 2 wood and 3 food).

The resource tweaks are usual +/- one wood/clay/reed/stone/fish and the action tweaks are usually freebies you get when taking the tweaked action (e.g. two free fences if taking fence action etc.).

Generally, I liked the seasons. I thought that the resource tweaking wasn't necessary, but it's not a show stopper. I was mostly raising animals due to the occupations I got, and I took advantage of the extra breeding and the sow action twice. There wasnt a spring that went by that someone didn't use the free 2 fences.

I don't know if I would play with this every time I play, but it is nice to have the option. PLus it it basically free, you just got to find and print out the image on some card stock (preferably in color).

This was a cube farming game. except the bits weren't cubes, they were fruits / nuts. The gameboard of Finca is an island. Using a rondel / windmill of fruits, you move your farmers to try to harvest fruits - oranges, lemons, almonds, grapes, etc. Then you deliver these fruits to gain points.

This was a clever game, with some rules that if a resource (fruit) ran out, everyone has to put their stock pile back. Since this was my first play, I tended to collect with a goal, rather than using the opportunity of high gain on the windmill. I came in 3rd of 4 people. Prior to final tally, I thought I might have been second. I wouldn't set out to play this game, but it's a good time filler for 45-60 minutes.

Snow Tails
Our board game group has a love / hate with racing games. We try them, and few of them are liked by the whole group. Formula De, Das Motorsportspiel, and Moto Grand Prix all make it out to the table occasionally, but the people wanting to play them vary. This is a racing game that simulates a dogsled race on snow and ice. You gotta watch out for sharp turns, trees, and other sleds. This doesn't sound like a lot, but it is. Game play is simple in execution, but difficult in decisions. you have three factors, left, right and brake. You have a deck of cards numbered from 1 to 5, and you shuffle these to give yourself a hand of 5. You can only play one value per turn, so if you want to play 2 or 3 cards, they must match. Different front values (played on seperate turns) allow for drifting and steering, and you can also put a numbered card down to slow down. Losing control or speeding into a corner results in Dent cards being acquired. Each Dent card will limit a your hand size by one, so 5 dent cards means a hand of zero, and your sled is toast!

The game contains modular track pieces which can be fitted together to form different courses, which is what a lot of the racing games are doing now. I think that modular tracks are a great idea. Even though I have all the Formula De tracks, there are infinite possibilities with a modular track setup.

We played and even though I didn't do very well (3rd out of 4), it was very enjoyable. There was some rules clarification when it came to what constituted a drift and forward move, but the rules had pictures to clarify. The group came around to a concensus pretty readily.

And that's it. 3 games played and sorta reviewed. Check back for another installment on Sanctuary or even Serenity.