January 05, 2011

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Gili

Another small game night, and all these new games to play, too.

Dominion/Prosperity

Jon 95, Nadine 85, Gili 65

First play of all the new Prosperity kingdoms for me. We had the treasure that lets you get a Gold, but then we also had Thief. Ouch. Nadine and Gili took early thieves and nearly emptied me out. I had to take one just to take back some of my stuff. However, since they weren’t trashing Coppers like I was, my Golds and Platinums didn’t help them as much as they helped me.

One nifty combo I had was the new Reaction card that let you take cards you gained and put them onto the top of your deck + Thief to take the cards + Castle to give two actions so I could play them both.

Carson City

Nadine 41+, Jon 41-, Gili 35ish.

None of us had played, or even read the rules. We punched out the game and I read the rules quickly to set us up. The game looked a hell of a lot like Caylus, and it played a little like it, but nowhere near enough to bother me.

In CC, you have the Caylus-like track of spaces on which to put workers. The middle spaces of the track get buildings that, if you place your workers, you can place onto the plots you own on the grid-like board. A round consists of: taking a role (like Age of Steam), placing your workers, executing the spaces one at a time (losing your placed workers in the process), returning money in excess of what you can keep to the bank (every $10 returned = 1 point), getting new workers.

The roles give you free money, or plots, or discounts on buildings, or extra guns.

You can place your workers on the game board; if you do, then when the “get plots” action happens, you can buy the plot.

You can place your worker on someone’s building; if you do, when the “collect income” action happens, you steal half of that building’s income.

You can place a worker on the same place that other people have their worker(s); if you do, when it is time to get the benefit for the space, you each roll a d6 and add your guns and unplaced workers to see who gets the space; the loser gets his worker back as if it was unplaced, the winner loses his worker but gets the space. So, as you lose fights, your strength grows (you gain in unplaced workers).

During income, your buildings generate income based on how many specific board features they are near or that you own. From $0 to $40.

How do you get points? The last actions in the track are taking points for various things that you have (guns, plots, etc…) or in exchange for paying $2/1, $3/1, $4/1, or $5/1. The cheaper options disappear as the game goes on, and people can fight over them like they can fight over other space.

After four rounds, the game ends. Toss out the money you are forced to toss at $10/1 points, and the remaining money at $6/1 point. Gain 2 points for every occupied plot you have on the board. That’s about it.

It looked complicated, as these things do, but execution was smooth and intuitive for the most part. The surprising part was figuring out how to get points efficiently, and how the gun battles worked.

Nadine took the point conversion space in round 2, when neither Gili nor I did; we didn’t “get” it. As a result, she was a round ahead of us in scoring. That we caught up as much as we did was amazing.

Gun battles are kind of a problem, and not only because they involve dice and I don’t like dice-based combat. There is a role that gives you a 3 gun advantage for the turn; as you can see, that’s essentially automatic victory for all battles, all else being equal.

There is also a space that allows you to get a 3 gun advantage for the turn. You would think that this would cancel out the one given by the role, except that acquiring this space may involve a battle, which will be won by the guy with the most guns already, which means the guy who took the role that gives the 3 gun advantage. That’s weird. It seems to me that a 2 gun advantage for both of these would have been better.

On the other hand, there were turns where none of us actually fought any battles; on the third hand, we were only three players. That won’t happen in a five player game.

So, with this reservation, we all liked the game. Like many such games, you really want to do a whole lot more each round than you have workers for.

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One thought on “January 05, 2011

  1. First round I had a high income, but lost a lot of it at 1 pt for 10, so I made sure that wouldn't happen again. You caught up because I didn't invest in buildings, I used almost all my money on points. I was going to keep using the gun strategy and try to steal, but you took the gun guy. There are a lot of things to balance – location and building planning, points, guns turn order and what others are doing. Your building investment was aided by your taking guns and fighting, which contributed to limiting your trading for points. The multiple and necessary trade for points system seems like an extra mechanic that many of these types of games don't have.

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