Date: June 5, 2003
Games: Hornochsen!, Die Glücksritter, Trendy, Exxtra, Ra, Trias
Attendees: Anye, Doug, Ed, Helen, Jessica, Mark, Rick, Robert, Susan
Reporter: Susan Rozmiarek
A cousin to 6 Nimmt! but not quite as chaotic. Cards are added to rows in a similar manner but this time 5 cards takes a row and there are positive green oxheads as well as the familiar negative red ones. Each player also has two special cards, a +5 cards and a X2 multiplier that multiplies one's entire score at the end of the game. A big difference between this and 6 Nimmt! is the fact that you play your cards in turn order instead of simultaneously. You have to play at least one card on your turn but you can play up to three cards. This gives you much more control, or at least it feels like it. The special cards are handy to save for towards the end of the game when you don't have a safe card to play.
Scores: Mark 12, Anye 10, Doug 10, Ed 0, Susan -16, Robert -64
This game does not have a very good reputation, but our group has always enjoyed it as a light game. It's another one of those simultaneous reveal action games. This time you are trying to be the first to build a castle consisting of four walls and four towers using some very nice wooden pieces. Each round everyone secretly chooses their action. These are revealed and dealt with in a fixed order. The actions include buying an action card, buying walls, buying towers, a knight action, and getting money. The idea is to be the only person to choose a certain action. Otherwise the action is more expensive, or in the case of the knight you have to duel for the right to take the action and the loser's knight goes to jail.
This was a tight game, with all of us eventually getting very close to completing our castle. I made a boneheaded mistake and picked the wall card when what I needed was a tower to complete my castle. I realized this the instant I turned it over, but my unsympathetic opponents refused to let me correct my mistake. What meanies! Helen had chosen correctly to take the win instead, but Robert had played his knight and was able to steal a piece from her and prolong the game. It paid off, as he was able to complete his castle to take the win a turn later.
Results: Robert, Jessica, Mark, Susan, Helen
This is the most requested filler in our group right now. There was much whining during this game, mainly about its lack of availability. There is talk about scanning the cards and making homemade sets out of desperation.
Results: Susan 106, Mark 96, Robert 90, Jessica 87, Helen 75Exxtra: Helen, Jessica, Mark, Robert, Susan
Next up was another Knizia filler favorite. Since Ed wasn't in the game, I chose his red dice for a change of pace. Big mistake, I should have kept my lucky blue. After shooting out to an early lead, my luck quickly turned sour. I rolled a "double X" at least three times and ended up far behind everyone else. It was still a lot of fun, though, and the end was a hosefest with the others all in striking distance of winning.
Results: Mark, Jessica, Robert/Helen, Susan
A very odd game of Ra. VERY odd. We had the shortest first epoch we have ever seen. I pulled a Ra tile out of the bag on just about every one of my turns and Ed pulled out most of the bad tiles on his turn. People were cringing when the turn came around to us. It was very short and brutal. Nobody was able to improve their initial score of 10 and all but Mark and me lost points. The second epoch was also fairly short. Another odd thing was that lots of Niles but very few floods were drawn in the first two epochs. This led to a very long third epoch which finally saw lots of flooding and some very big leaps in scores when it was over.
Scores: Mark 42, Susan 37, Helen 27, Ed 23, Anye 20.
With several new members to our group who are new to German-style games, we are really enjoying pulling out an older game or two each week. It's easy to get caught up in playing the new stuff, while older gems collect dust on the shelf. The downside is that most of these titles are out of print and hard to find for new fans.
Reported by: Ed
We received this game in our last game order but had not yet gotten it on the table. I have recently resolved to be a little more forceful getting some of these games on the table. It's not hard since we usually stand around looking at the shelves just naming games to play with no one making a decision. Just grabbing a game and throwing on the table seems to work. At least it did tonight with Hornochsen and Trias. It also helps that we have been having enough for two tables lately, that gives us more flexibility. Anye, Doug and Rick decided to join me in playing god and controlling the break up of Pangea.
I went over the rules, which are actually fairly easy. "Drift" a section of the board (based on your one land card or the top card from the draw deck); use your four action points to improve the situation for your "herds" (moving, reproducing, getting out of the water); draw a new card if needed and score an island, if one was created and it met the other requirements. The hardest thing to understand for most people was when a new island would score. However, it appeared that everyone had caught on by the midway point of the game.
The game went rather smoothly. Early on no one was sure what to do but dropping the other players' herds into the water seemed like a good thing to do, so we did it. That turned out not to be as bad as we feared since for one action point you can save up to three swimming herds, it was almost better than using the move action (one point to move one herd). Later in the game we noticed that swimmers could be blocked from getting back on land if the neighboring tiles were full. Again, this wasn't always bad as towards the end of the game a couple players needed herd counters back since they had run out. Early on there was also a lot of spreading out and reproduction.
After a couple of rounds we started looking for ways to break off islands that would score points or set us up with a majority for the end game scoring. Doug was the first to break off an island with four hexes with only his herds on it. However Rick was able to swim his lonely herd over to "Doug Island" and the two co-existed peacefully for a while. Meanwhile, a couple of other higher contention islands broke off from the mainland. There was much jockeying for position, breaking up into smaller islands and tossing herds into the water as everyone tried to position themselves for the final scoring. Rick seemed to be in the lead has he had control of the two largest islands and had scored the most from the intermediate scorings as the islands broke off. In the end, I was almost able to overtake Rick as I was able to score the majority on two of the smaller islands and also pick up second on two others. However this was not enough to catch Rick who was able to pull out the win by one point.
You can view the development of the game board over several rounds by starting here in our picture gallery and viewing the next several pictures.
Scores: Rick 26, Ed 25, Doug 18, Anye 11
Other games played: Blokus
For more pictures from this gaming sessions and others, see our Gaming Picture Gallery.
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