Theme Game Day #9 – Location Games

28 Jan

If I was rich, and wasn’t scared of flying, this post would have pictures of each game being played in the location where the game is set. But I’m not rich, and I am terrified of airplanes…so we have a series of games set in far off locations, being played in Dublin, Ohio.

Game #1 – Versailles

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This was an interesting game about constructing the Palace of Versailles in France. It’s most definitely a roundel / worker movement game. You have to trek around the outside of the board, trying to get resources and the proper embellishments in order to eventually move to the center of the board and build the palace and surrounding gardens. This game has some interesting movement mechanics, which can make getting the right number of workers to the right spot at the right time quite a puzzle. I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of this game, but thought it lost steam right near the end of the game.  I have seen a fix which looks to be very popular that cures this one ailment. A big surprise hit, since I hadn’t heard of this game at all before.

Game #2 – San Juan

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San Juan distills the board game Puerto Rico into a quick-playing card game. It’s one of the first games I can think of that uses the cards in multiple ways. Cards are everything: they are the structures you build, the money you spend, and the goods you produce. For new players, this aspect of the game can be a bit mind-boggling, but seeing as how this is still being done in games like La Granja over a decade later, it’s obviously a mechanic that people like. For me, this is one of the best card games around. I need to upgrade to the new reprint at some point because the new cards look incredible, and I love the new buildings. A classic.

Game #3 – Assyria

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Assyria is a game where people starve, and get their villages washed away by floods – and you don’t really care as long as that ziggurat base got built or that well got dug. There are a bunch of mechanics that all work together just fine. There are some interesting choices whether to go for a long turn strategy (ziggurats) or more short term bursts of points (wells). Overall, I just didn’t feel like the game added up to much of anything exciting. I was also left with a bad taste in my mouth by the fact that you weren’t really trying to build a civilization. You just wanted them to live long enough for you to get your stuff built, and then you let them starve to death so you could repurpose their hut. Or, you purposely built huts on a river so that they would get flooded away (for big points). I didn’t care for that thematic turn much at all. It just didn’t do much for me.

Game #4 – Tahiti

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Tahiti is an extremely pleasant little pick-up and deliver game. The game plays out over two phases. During Expansion, you create an island archipelago where you play out various goods cubes. There are a couple goals to the game. One, you want to try and complete as many sets of goods as you can because sets are bonus points. Plus, your family has a particular good that they really like, so if you can be the person at the table with the most of that, you’ll get a further bonus. The game has an interesting movement mechanic where the more goods your canoe carries, the slower you move. I also enjoy the fishing mechanic, where you draw resources out of a bag and hope you catch fish instead of bananas. Ok, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s fun. This is quite a cute little filler game or a decent gateway title for new gamers. I really enjoyed Tahiti.

Game #5 – Istanbul with the Mocha & Baksheesh Expansion

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Let’s get this out of the way…

Istanbul is a game I’ve had a chance to play several times since it was released, and I do enjoy it quite a bit. The Mocha & Baksheesh Expansion adds several new ways to get resources and gems to the base game. Istanbul is ostensibly a race game, the goal is to be the first to get a certain number of gems (based on number of players). I don’t know whether it was the setup, or just my bad planning, but I found it much harder in this game to get where I needed to go. The extra tiles make the map a bit larger, so things can get spaced out a bit further. This makes planning your path that much more important. I felt like the game was moving slower than I was used to, despite playing with experienced players. Still a great game, but I’m not sure if I’m sold on the expansion being necessary yet. I need to give it another play.

The next theme: The Unwrapped. Games in our collections that had never been opened, much less played. Now granted, it was just a couple weeks after Christmas – so the next post will focus a bit more on newer games. We did get to a couple of dusty old games though that people may want to take a look at again.

 

 

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