Gloomhaven , another long slog. Some of the length was my fault, I retired my character last week, so had to pick cards for a new level 3 character. Very different play style, and not one that I really felt comfortable with. We completed the scenario successfully (and I didn’t think we were going to), but I “died” 3 times (having to discard a card to prevent damage from killing me. I think it was the first time any of us have had to do that. Not sure if I’ll stick with the character.
New class was Inox Berzerker, who does more damage when he’s at low health. Bit tricky to play.
Ancestree X 2, a filler-ish game (by Eric Lang, no less). Its a tile layer, where each tile can have heritage (one of five), leaves (which you match to other tiles), hearts (for marrying to other tiles), and coins (victory points!). Not every tile will have all of these. Gameplay is simple – draw 6 tiles, play 1 and draft the rest, discard the very last card (so you’re playing 5 tiles). Then you see who has the longer heritage line in each of the five families, and you get points for that (depending on round). You get 1 point in the first round, 2 in the second, 3 in the third and last. Also, coins get added in after each round.
And at the end, you get points for any marriages you have in your tableau. Its a quick playing, decent looking game. The heritage is shown by a symbol and a colour, so you can easily look across the table to see how many of a particular type another player may have. If you tie on heritage, no one gets any points.
Rat-a-tat Cat X 2, definitely a very light, family oriented game. But still pretty good fun. You start with 4 cards, with values from 0 thru 9. You place them in a row, and you get to look at your two outside cards. On your turn you either draw a new card, or pickup from the discard pile. Then, you can swap that card with one of yours. Its push your luck, so you can swap with an inner card you may not have seen yet. There are special cards that allow you to draw more cards (basically an extra turn), swap cards with someone else, and peek at one of your facedown cards. If you feel like you have the lowest total of your four cards, you signal this (by tapping on the table and saying “Rat-a-tat”), everyone else gets another turn, and then you flip everything over to get your score, and you want the lowest score. You play over several rounds (we did four) and keep a running total. Just simple, good fun, enjoyed it.
Gizmos , the new game from Phil Walker Harding (Cacao, Imhotep, Barenpark). The game looks great – you have to make the “energy dispenser”, which holds the coloured balls of each colour. It has a line of 6 or 7 that can be picked from. On your turn, you can grab a gizmo from the display area (and either build it immediately, or file it away in your archive area to activate later). You can also pick a ball from the dispenser, or research cards (you draw cards from one of the decks and select one to build/file). Each Gizmo has a category, from power convertors (from one colour to another), upgrades (so you can hold more balls, file more Gizmos, or research more), pick triggers (if you pick colour X, you get something), or build triggers (if you build colour X, you get something).
The display area is made up of 4 level one Gizmos, 3 level 2s, and 2 level 3s. The higher level Gizmos are harder to make, but worth more in points. The game is over when someone builds their 16th Gizmo, or their 4th level 3 Gizmo.
The game has been compared to Splendor, and I sort of get that. Its way more interesting tho, in my opinion. I may have to buy my own copy of this one.
Now Boarding , a cooperative game of running an airline. It seems easy enough, all you have to do is pick up passengers, move your plane, and drop them off at their desired destination. Some routes can be used by anyone, others have a logo matching the players plane, and only they can use that. You can upgrade your plane by adding more seats (obviously allowing you to hold more passengers), more engines (can travel further), route upgrades (to allow you to move along the special routes).
You have a deck of passengers for morning, afternoon and evening, with more and more passengers being added each round. Also, weather can affect the routes – either a storm (which adds another point to a route), and tailwinds, which removes a point from a route (making it faster).
So, its all pretty easy sounding, right? Well, it would be, except the player movement and actions are done in real time. You flip up the new passengers (so you can see where they are going), then flip the hourglass. For 2-3 players, the hourglass is only 15 seconds, and you’re going to need every second. You need to coordinate with the other players to be as efficient as you can, you don’t have the speed to cross the entire country.
And if people aren’t picked up, they get anger cubes, and too many of those makes them leave and file a complaint. And too many complaints, and the game is lost.
It was pretty stressful to play. You can plan a bit (“ok, I’ll grab this passenger and take them here, so you can pick them up and deliver them to X”). But the new passengers added are facedown, so you know which airport they are getting picked up from, but not where they’re going (until the timer is started).
Any passengers you do drop off at their desired city give you money, which can then be used to upgrade (seats, engine, route).
We got most of the way thru the evening passengers, but we knew we were pretty stuffed. We were frantically picking passengers with multiple anger cubes, but having to drop them off anywhere, not the right place.
It was pretty challenging, we obviously didn’t coordinate enough. Good fun still!
The Mind – level 8, not too shabby