Participants: Nadine, Gili, Yitzchak, Dylan, Jon
Nadine hosted in my house until I returned from an appointment.
Gili 5, Nadine 2
Huh. I didn’t think anyone else liked this enough to pull it out voluntarily. On the other hand, no one ever seems to bother trying to complete an entire game (to 12 points).
Yitzchak 62 Nadine 60 Gili 50
A new group favorite. Apparently there was some sort of upset. Nadine was winning but didn’t earn any points in the last round. Yitzchak came from behind to victory.
Jon 50, Dylan 45, Yitzchak 39, Nadine 37, Gili 28
They all had a hard time deciding what to play next, so I forced this on them. This is a game which we’ve only played once. I liked it, but the other players, including Yitzchak, Dylan, and Ben, complained that there was too much luck. I thought they were highly exaggerating at the time and the game deserved another go.
It took a few minutes to remember the rules. Once again, I highly enjoyed the game. The two Queen games I’ve played (this and Alhambra) seem to have little in the way of plannable tactics, as the board generally completely resets by the time it’s your turn again. Which is a negative.
On the other hand, in this game you definitely have long term planning options, which mitigates the lack of strategy quite well. Yeah, there’s luck, but it doesn’t have the effect of ruining the game; a better player will generally have better chances, at least. (This is not true for Alhambra, which is why I didn’t like it.)
I think Yitzchak felt a bit better about the game this time, but still not enthusiastic. Nadine also did her share of complaining, although she tends to complain about every game that isn’t Puerto Rico lately 🙂 . Dylan seemed to enjoy it.
Jon 5, Dylan 2
The others went, and I thought Dylan would be the perfect one on which to try out this game. Neither of us had played it.
It’s an action point race game with a rich fantasy RPG theme. You’ve got eight characters to move out your opponent’s side of a maze-like board. Various useful items are sprinkled around. Each character can only carry one at a time. The maze is made of passages, walls, pits, and doors, the latter three of which can be passed only by some people or using some items.
And topping it off, the maze is divided into eight sections, each of which can be rotated a quarter turn at a time by someone sitting on the rotation gear which can be found in each section. That makes traversal of the playing field, and avoidance of barriers within, uniquely interesting, as everything and everyone on the dungeon rotates along with the section.
I’ve heard this game called “Chess like” which is completely untrue. There’s blind luck when you have combats, for one thing. For another, it just doesn’t feel like chess. It feels like a dungeon crawl, not like an abstract.
The game asks you to choose secretly your starting positions, but we played by randomly placing all the pieces. It was a tense and close game for all that. I suspect that the random placement is probably the best, but I’ll have to read up on the strategies of opening placement to see.
It’s quite good. I won, but I suspect that I’m not very good at the game and will probably lose most of the time to certain players.
I started with an early lead, but discovered that taking my best characters off the board early can make it quite difficult for the remaining characters. One negative of the game is that each piece moves independently. That makes movement as a party rather difficult and it loses something for that.
Another thing I didn’t fully like was that wounded characters were essentially dead. It would help a lot if they could at least still move.
Dylan came up from behind with a strategic lineup across the board which made it look like my remaining two characters who had any chance to escape were likely doomed. But then he undervalued a combat with his strongest player against mine. I ended up killing him (worth a point) and escaping with that player (worth another point) to win the game (at five points).
As I said, it’s a very good mind-bender of a game which I’ll happily play again.