Globetrotter Games - Society and board game site

6th Boardgame weekend of Varberg 2007-02-09—11

(To see the photos, click at the index to the left)

Friday 9th of February
I and my partner Christina departed early, as several gamers were supposed to arrive at hotel Gästis at 9:30-10:00 am. When we had unpacked my two big boxes of games, then nobody still had showed up and we looked into the book shelves, which are everywhere in this cosy little hotel. Even at the toilets! There were plenty of all kinds of second hand books and you were allowed to take any book you wanted. The first is for free and the following for a low fee. We laughed a lot while reading a 60 years old book, containing “everything you needed to know” from a questions and answers column in the Gothenburg newspaper.

Finally some other arrived, among them Johan with several newly ordered games directly from Germany. We started with Portobello Market, which was quite promising, although slightly abstract. You are scored whenever you, often together with at least one another player filled a street with market stands and there is customer pawn at each end of the street. But you can only build a stand if the “Bobby” as is beside the street. You have to pay either the bank or another player (with most market stands on the road) with score points, for each street Bobby must go over. The game is interesting, but endgame created a lot of kingmaking, which lowered my rating. The game took 50 minutes. Carl 90, Christina 82, Johan 82 and Fredrik 82. My rating is 6 of 10.

We continued with another new game: Taluva, which is very abstract to be my type of game. You first have to take a new tile and place on the board and then you either start or expand a settlement, build a temple or a tower. A new settlement is always started at the first level, but may be expanded to second or third level. When a settlement has a size of at least 3, you may build a temple and if there is a place in the settlement, which is at level 3, then you may place a tower. The game is a bit too dry for my taste, but ended in just 55 minutes. Carl 1st, Fredrik 2nd, Christina 3rd and Johan 4th place. My rating is 5 of 10.

It was time for lunch, which we spent on a nearby Thai restaurant and a few more joined us there. Back at the hotel I joined a 45 minutes game of San Juan, which is one of my favourite filler game. It took a bit longer than normally, as we had a newbie with us, as this shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes or so. Sanny 30p, Oscar 26p, Carl 23p and Anna 14p. My rating is still 8 of 10.

Fredrik had brought a game, which I’ve been curious about for a long time: Tahuantinsuyu from Hangman Games. This is a crayon game, with some territory elements. There are 4 different phases, which occurs in a pre-determined order according to a table. In the Inca phase, you receive labourers, according to territory markers you have conquered. In the Sun phase is everyone playing a sun card, which works as an event for two players during the next phase, between whom the card is placed. These are placed in reversed score order. The main phase is the People phase, where you can choose from the 2 actions of either Road building (draw up to two roads for free on the map) or Construction, which includes building a city, garrison, temple, terrace, add an additional road segment or conquer a region. In the Sapa phase at the and of every main round are your buildings scored. I really liked the Incan theme, as well as the logistic aspects, but both the bad components and the usage of crayons make me feel uncomfortable with the game. Fortunately Fredrik had brought a plexiglass to put on the paper board and whiteboard pens. With a system similar to Power Grid, this could make a good commercial game. The game took 2 hours. Fredrik 135p, Oscar 120p and Carl 116p. My rating is 7 of 10.

I recently fell in love with a great filler game. The Yatzy look-alike game called Um Krone und Kragen (To court the King) and Johan had brought a copy for me. Basically it’s Yatzy on testosterone but with lovely cards, where you either may add a die or two or affect the die rolls. You start with 3 dice and for each roll, you must set aside at least one die. The final result gives you the possibility to choose a card, which give you more possibilities. The ultimate goal is to roll 7 dice with equal result to capture the King and his Queen and then there’s a final round to contest this player. With 4 newbies and me it took 1:05, but normally it takes about 45 minutes to play. Fredrik was the winner. The other players were Carl, Anders, Maria and Oscar. It was a perfect filler game before dinner. My rating is 7 of 10.

We had the traditional inauguration of the weekend after dinner and Magnus L and Anders presented their respective competition. In Magnus competition, you should match pictures of games boxes (not including the names), with pictures of different historical persons on a sheet, where some other clues were written. Anders had a more difficult competition, where you should match game pictures, with extract from component lists and rules. I could pick two directly, but never got around to try the rest.

The evening ended with a great game of World of Warcraft: the Boardgame together with the expansion Shadow of War. We were 3, who had played before and 3 newbies and there were some discussions regarding the team lottery if I and Archie actually should be in the same team, but Sandra said she could manage to help her Horde to win. The expansion doubled the number of power and talent cards for each character. It also added Blue Quest cards and some event cards, depending on the main creature we should defeat and Destiny cards, which affected the play either positively or negatively for all players for a few rounds. All made a rich game even richer. I’ve never played the PC game, but who needs that after playing the boardgame! Archie (Shailara Witherblade), Mattias (Brandon Lightstone) and myself (Burbonn Fang) played the Alliance, while Sandra (Meadowfrey), Fredrik (Dongon Swiftblade) and Amanda (Wennu Bloodsinger) played the horde. After a couple of rounds we went into trouble by Blue creatures, which entered the board where we were and Mattias character died. We realised that we maybe split too early in two groups. Still it seemed to be worse for the Horde, although they started out by going together for a while and they died a few times and lost tempo. The real breakthrough for us was when we succeeded to win a “war” uncontested and all gained 5 xp each. This probably broke the other and they gave up after round 24 (of 30) and exactly 4 hours. As both Archie enjoy the building and discussions of characters, this took some time, which normally shouldn’t had been a problem, but the players on the other side seemed to just quickly do the round without much thought, so we never had time to plan between our rounds and they thought we were slow and both Fredrik and Amanda seemed to be bored. I really enjoy the aspect of choosing power and talents and build the characters in the best way plus the timing in the game. The lack of a lot of interaction is no problem at all for me. Alliance: Archie 23xp, Carl 21xp and Mattias 17xp. Horde: Fredrik 18xp, Sandra 16xp and Amanda 13xp. My rating increased after this play to 8 of 10.

Saturday 10th of February
After breakfast I started easily by playing Zirkus Flohcati a couple of times. A card game, where you try to collect sets of cards to gain points. The second game I nearly broke Magnus by drawing 6 or 7 of the highest cards (7) and won with a record of points according to him. Although he spent a lot of time with his little son Torik in his knee, he seemed to be the one who had full control of who had taken which cards from the table. It wasn’t really an engaging game for me, but ok as a filler game. We played twice in just over an hour. 1st play: Magnus L 49p, Carl 43p, Sus 40p, Tommy 37p and Mikael 34p. 2nd play: Carl 69p, Sus 46p, Magnus L 43p, Tommy 36, Mikael 32p. My rating is 5 of 10.

Finally it was time for a full game of Through the Ages: A Story of a Civilization, which is the new great card game from Czech Board Game, who also has published Graenaland. After a minor test at another convention, I had longed for this. We started at 11:45 and ended at 22:15 with 8:50 as effective game play. Fredrik was the only newbie and both Karin and Bo had played the full version 2-3 times before. This is really a good game, where you develop your civilization during 4 eras, where you have new type of civil and military cards for each era available. In the beginning of the game it flows very quickly and it’s easy to plan your phase, while waiting for the others. The first wonder I built was the pyramid, which gave me an extra action per round for the rest of the game and I soon got a special card, which added yet another action, but unfortunately I seemed to drag on building up my army, which I suffered from several times during the game and this was difficult to catch up. I also got trouble in increasing my science points and I waited far too long time to upgrade my government, partly due to this. In the later part of the game everyone had many more actions and it happened so much between the turns, so it became more difficult to plan in advance and there were more downtime. But this meant that I could engage in the competition of Magnus together with my team of Christina, Bo and Elli. Even if the game was long, it was never dull. I succeeded to catch up some in the culture points, which is the game scoring. Bo 164p, Fredrik 101p, Karin 91p and Carl 76p. My rating is 8 of 10. The game is the very best implementation of the raising of a civilization, which I’ve played, but the rating is reduced by both the fragile components and long play. The owner of the game had spent a lot of time putting all of the cards in protection deck shields, which he had cut by hand.

The evening was ended with Hermagor, which is one of my new favourite games. But we only played it with only 3 players and I’m looking forward to play it with more next time. The core of the game is a placement of the buyers of different goods on the market and with the bought goods, you may establish trading stations around the country of Hermagor in villages, which requires theses goods in the next phase. The games works unusually well with only 3 players, as the market is scaled according to the number of players. After 2 hours the result was Bo 111p, Carl 102p and Karin 98. My rating is 8 of 10.

Sunday 11th of February
Christina had only one wish regarding which game she wanted to play and that was Graenaland, mostly because we spent our summer holiday a few days at Greenland. First we were 4 players, which was my ideal for this game, but Stefan had nobody to play with, so he was added. A 5th player is unfortunately only adding time, without more playing experience, which I’ve seen when I played before. This is a very different game, which initially make people think of Settlers, as the territories are generating resources each round and the main player may build with these resources. But the core of the game is getting votes in the territories and cooperation is important in this game, otherwise there is a risk that you will fall behind, as well as the game might drag on. The round starts with resource production on all territories with settlements. Then all players except the active secretly may move one of their 3 heroes to another territory. In the 3rd phase every non-main player gives a proposal how to divide the resources in a certain territory. This proposal may absolutely not be preceded by negotiations, if so then the proposal is void. The votes for each territory depend of the number of settlements (either villages or buildings, which are a keep, a church or a hall) and the type of heroes in the territory. In the final phase only the main player can build, but he may also propose to build one public work together with another player. The game works very well and is one of the better games during the last year. The only drawback is that it should be played with exactly 4 players to work best. You should also always play with the advanced rules, even if they take longer time. I made a big mistake in the beginning and come into a settlement race with Fredrik, which I lost and made me fall behind. Still I was very near to get a couple of more victory points. The game has been very tight at the end in all games I’ve played so far. The game took 2:25. Fredrik 7vp, Stefan 6vp, Oscar 5vp, Christina 5vp and Carl 3vp. My rating is 8 of 10.

After lunch there were prices for the winners of the competitions. Johan and Sanny won the competition of Magnus L, with my team just behind. I don’t remember who won the other competition.

My final game of this convention was Candamir: Die Ersten Siedler, which is a very light adventure game by Klaus Teuber. In each turn you may travel around the map to gain resources, experience or items to increase your character attributes. The other possibility is to stay in the village and build desired items or brew potions to use during the adventures. It’s a nice and light game, which is very forgiving, as you always may rest a turn to fill up your “life points”, which also are travel points. I had a good lead most of the game, which made the other using the mead, to make all with more points loose “life points” and in the final rounds Fredrik caught up by getting an animal, which he knew where it was, but hadn’t picked up and I thought it was a worthless tile. The game took 2:25. Fredrik 10vp, Carl 9vp, Christina 9vp and Maria 7vp. My rating is 7 of 10.  

Then it was time to pack the games and take the car home again. A few remained an extra hour awaiting their train. Thanks for the 6th convention here, which was the 4th which I could attend.

Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson

 

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