Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thursday Night is Boardgame Night

Well it has been for a while anyway.  I've had little joy organising figure games at the Headingley club over the last six months or so (one game that I can recall); but it isn't really an issue, as I can always score a board game of some sort when I do go.

In the last couple of weeks I've tried games old an new, including a second go at Cosmic Encounter:

The first time I played this I got properly smacked by the sequencing of cards and thus players conspiring against me, and so I didn't enjoy it.  Thankfully my second go was more pleasurable, and a fairer game.  The idea of the game is to gather colonies on other races planets, each player begins with five home worlds and needs to gather five colonies to win.

Each player is a different alien race, and these have their own unique powers.

In your turn, you randomly draw an alien system to interact with, and send forth your ships either in friendship or hostility, though this is not revealed until after you have recruited allies to your cause.  Both primary players may canvass for the support of any of the other players, or may elect not to involve some or all of them.  Below blue leads a crusade against white!

Once allies are decided the main players select a strategy card in secret - usually either a combat card, or a negotiation card.  If both negotiate, it is peaceful and they may trade colonies; otherwise (and more generally) it is combat, and to the victor the spoils.

Destroyed vessels are sent to the warp,  until a reinforcement card or similar rescues them.  And so the game continues until a winner is found.  A large part of the game is in the use and maintenance of alliances, which allow you and possibly your allies to advance at the cost of other players.  How you pick allies will be partly influenced by how you evaluate the value of their racial abilities, and partly by how loyal they are to you during the game.

In the end it produced a close result on this occasion, with my purple fleet coming second to a well organised surge at the end by one of the other players who attacked a weak planet without the use of allies to secure a win.  This is a game that favours four or more players, we ran with seven and it made for a challenging and close race.

The following week, I managed to arrive in time for a go at Fortune and Glory:

Rarely has a game been so easy to summarise; it's Indiana Jones, the game.

Each player takes the role of an Adventurer between the two world wars, in search of mystical artefacts - randomly generated to locations around the world, and up against one another and/or the Nazis and the Mob.

The game was absolutely loaded with components and cards, and the production standards are lavish.  But then the £80 price tag would suggest it should be.

So far as gameplay, it is pretty simple, and without the close adherance to theme it would boil down to little more than 'draw a card, roll some dice, if successful draw another card, if not stop'.

It is nonetheless a fun game, and if you can stand the expense, a good replacement for such family favourites as Monopoly or Cluedo.

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