Only 4 of us could make it over Christmas for some gaming fun. We started around mid afternoon so got a few extra games than normal. Unfortunately no pictures as I forgot to take my camera, which is a shame as Niagara is very pretty. First up was:
Carcassonne - The City
Carcassonne die Stadt (Carcassonne: The Town) is a deluxe edition of the Carcassonne-series, that comes in a wooden box with quality components. In this new standalone game, players build up the old town together by placing tiles. While the town area grows, the town walls grow around it, starting from a wooden gateway. The wall is comprised of delicately carved wooden parts, that create a beautiful rendition of the medieval town at the end of the game.
Next to the slightly modified tile-laying rules, players have the possibility to place their followers as guards on the walls, offering them a wide view of the town. This brings the players extra points. Each player also receives three wooden towers which can be placed giving more scoring opportunities, giving the town walls an added aesthetic effect.
I like the Carcassonne series of games so was looking forward to playing this latest incarnation. We played all the expansions plus the The Count a little while ago and the general consensus was that it was a bit of a mess. But this variation is neat. The visual aspect of the game is very pleasing, the wall and towers create a great looking city at the end and the game play is sufficiently different to provide a new challenge. I particularly like the walls and towers. I don’t think any of us had played this before so it was a level playing field so to speak.
Natalie 99, Neil 87, Garry 65, Colin 77
Next up was he new offering from Hans Im Gluck.
Im Schatten Des Kaiser
- From Rio Grande Games.
Germany in the late middle ages! It is a time of flourishing cities, influential bishops, the powerful popes, and a pompous aristocracy. In such a volatile climate, no dynasty can remain in power for long. Several aristocratic families seek to acquire the crown of the emperor. But this decision lies in the hands of the seven elector. 2–4 imperial candidates use their knights and cities, marry their barons, and work to influence the electors. But all efforts are useless if the candidate is not elected. But, in the shadow of the properly elected emperor are always those who want to displace him.
A while before Christmas we sent off an order to Adam Spielt and this was one of the ones I ordered. The reviews sounded good, a gamers game by all accounts. The rules took a while to get through but by the time we had played one turn it seemed to be coming together. There are many complex strategies running through this game and I think it needs a few plays to figure out the best course of action to take. I particularly like the mechanics that involve your nobles aging and eventually leaving the gameboard, keeps the balance always changing. And the opportunity to marry off your daughters although I think boys are better, gamewise anyway :) As you can see the points spread was very close.
Natalie 15, Neil 16, Garry 14, Colin 14
This was the first time I had played this one, the others had played it the week before. Natalie sat this one out. See previous post for a description of this game. Bribing pirates to carry chests of treasure to your home port doesn’t seem very likely to me, they’d be more likely to have it away on their toes. What shall I have, a couple of bottles of rum or a chest full of treasure.....hm. OK I’ll take the rum. Not likely. Anyway I like the game, plays quickly and their is a bit to think about. And I won! Say no more.
Neil 26, Garry 38, Colin 46
Last game of the session.
Niagara is set in the not particularly safe world of rushing waterfalls. In the late 18th Century, the Shawnee and Iroquois Indians pointed white Desperadoes, Mercenaries and Adventurers in the direction of hidden caches of valuable jewels, in the hopes of turning them against one another and away from their territorial expansion ambitions. Players play as some of those Adventurers.
The first player to be able to claim ownership of five jewels is the winner. But the chase after the riches has some snags. The speed of the river is always changing, since the speed depends on the decisions of the players and the changeable weather. And once a canoe goes over the walls, it's a hefty investment to replace it. And there are also the Desperadoes to contend with, who aren't above trying to plunder the riches from Adventurers returning home. Niagara is distinguished by an innovative movement mechanic as well as a beautiful three-dimensionsal rendering of the waterfall setting.
Not too sure about the historical accuracy, but anyway everyone agreed this is a fun game. The game components are top rate and the original idea of positioning the board on top of the box to form the waterfall is great. Careful planning is needed to get your canoe downriver to get those gems at the edge of the drop. If somebody plays a cloud tile you could be over the falls and it will cost you to get that boat back again. We played 2 games they were both quite close. The winning condition of 4 same, 5 different or 7 any type, makes it difficult to achieve. Natalie thought she was home dry with the last winning gem on board when somebody back paddled and nicked it (sorry Nat). Will see the table again soon I fancy.
Final Scores Game 1
Natalie 4, Neil 5, Garry 7 (any type), Colin 4
Final Scores Game 2
Natalie 5, Neil 4, Garry 5 (different), Colin 5
Altogether a very enjoyable session. And please feel free to add your comments on the games guys.