Wow, what a clever little game. I have dubbed Karuba as “Sanssouci Lite”. Players begin the game with the same board setup and collection of trail tiles… the only difference is in how players utilize them as they come up! One tile is drawn at random, and all players take their own version of that tile and must choose to either place it on their board, or to discard it and move their explorers along the paths. This is such a simple game that works incredibly well, and seeing how other players use the same tile in different ways is really cool to see play out. This is an easy candidate for the Kenner Spiel.
We played this about a million times. It’s an excellent spatial reasoning game in which you’re building trails through the jungle from your explorers to the temples for which they’re searching. You get map tiles at random and have to put them on your board in whatever formation you like, and hope that the right pieces come out for you to actually finish your trail and get enough movement actions to get your explorers across the board. I loved it.
This game has a little bit of everything: area control and influence, hand management, card drafting, simultaneous action selection, worker placement, etc., etc., etc. If you’re into Euro games, you’ll undoubtedly love it. I’m not all about Euros, but I really enjoyed this one. After we got the hang of all of our actions, it was relatively quick-paced and it seemed to be pretty well balanced, offering many different avenues for gaining points toward winning. I will say, though, that Matt not trying to get any diamonds for much of the game really did him in.
Oh, dear goodness, where do I even start on this one? There’s so many interlocking parts in this game that even my first-play magic couldn’t save me from Buns’ decimation of the company I’d poured all of my stock into. The mechanic for recycling cards provides a nice puzzle in and of itself, while you try to navigate the byzantine requirements of the scribe track, and fight a proxy war with the four trading companies for control of the central board. I needed a nap after playing this, but I’m looking forward to giving it another shot!
Dan loves to rant and rave about certain games and how he can’t wait to get them in front of the other league members. Mombasa was one of those games, and it’s definitely a doozy for sure. There are so many decisions to make on your turn – what cards to use in your hand, how you place them on your board, and then in what order you’re going to take your actions! Placement of the cards is key since they will go to specific discard piles, and you only get the cards from one of those piles at the start of the next round. Seeding your piles so that you can maximize your moves in future rounds can really hurt your brain. This reminded me a lot of La Isla and how you decide which card you want to play where; this was a step up from that mechanic! I went heavy in exploring and lost out on some key points on the diamond and bookkeeping track. I look forward to a replay!
Finally getting to play my copy of Mombasa from @AlexxPfister & @RnRGames #boardgames pic.twitter.com/RoNYqeOPiS
— Nonsensical Gamers (@LeagueNonsense) February 6, 2016
Coal Baron –
My second attempt at Coal Baron fell in line with my first, an unfortunate loss, but I enjoyed the game nonetheless. It’s a straightforward worker placement game, but the need to balance the different sides of your mine shaft and the ability to pay extra to take a spot that’s already been used gives the game its own flavor. Not one I’m itching to play regularly, but one I’ll happily give a go at if someone else is interested.
I played a lot of games with dice this week, and CV was another one that I had a chance to play with Steve. I received this game in a trade a few months ago and had not gotten a chance to play it. With that in mind, I listed it for trade to see if there was interest in the community. I had an offer come in and while I gladly accepted it, I wanted to at least get one play in before I sent it off. The game is a very light engine building and set collection game about mapping out your life. While doing just that, it was funny to look at our tableaus and see the life we had built for ourselves. I took the college and intern route while Steve didn’t get his first job until he was middle-aged. The game, though silly, was rather dry from a mechanical standpoint as you continually roll dice and collect cards for 60 minutes. For families and casual gamers, I think this game is a great addition to your collection. If you enjoy more medium-heavy fare, however, I don’t think you will find much on offer here.
CV offered a family style, light-hearted theme with some great illustrations and humor. You roll dice and use the value rolled to buy cards of different types to add to your tableau. As you add cards of the same type, you will need to decide what cards to replace them with in order to gain the new benefits from those cards. In a game of dice rolling, you would normally think I am screwed. The good thing is that I went heavy on the good-luck symbol strategy which lets you buy cards for free when you roll 3 or more. A cool little game for families but it did start to drag a little bit as the game escalated. There were just so many symbols available to you that it really slowed down the game as AP set in. Still, in the end, my CV looked pretty good. I lived in a castle on a mountain, biked everywhere to stay healthy, I had kept in touch with college friends and had earned an early retirement from my job as a test subject.
As it turns out, Raptor continues to be an awesome two-player game. In my experience however, the Scientists have won 4 out of 5 games. Despite this, I still say that the circumstances of the board and the player’s choices seem to dictate the winner more than the faction being played. I’m going to continue to assert that the balance is even between the two sides. The only way to prove that theory: play more Raptor!
Very Jurassic Park-y. I got pretty cranky playing this one because I didn’t do a very good job. The simultaneous play is very tricky!
“Remember, Smee, you’re not allowed to be Blue!” … Right. Well, luck chose me the Matriarchy to command this time around, and they’re purple, so this fit directly into my nefarious plans. Anyway, this is always a fun game, and one I’ve been wanting to get to the table again for a while. Bit of a slow start this time around, but some nice terrain kept the blood-crazed axemen off on their own side of the table so I was able to get all my figures on the board and advance forward to claim the middle tile without too much trouble.
Valeria: Card Kingdoms –
As the lid was being popped, it was initially described as Machi Koro on steroids. This game showed me everything that Machi Koro could have been, and the theme and the art were top notch. You are always in the game and gathering resources, even when it is not your turn and others are rolling the dice. Building up your band of warriors and maximizing on each roll is key to your strategy. I was holding my own until Dan decided to steal one of my monster cards and it set me back a pretty good amount. I would love to put this in my collection to replace Machi Koro, but the family loves it too much and they might not take too well with the change in theme… but the mechanics are just so much better! Maybe I’ll just do it, and they’ll have to suck it up. (Or just have both!)
Valeria: Card Kingdoms is what I had hoped Machi Koro would be. The games share a similar central dice-rolling mechanic, but Valeria adds a number of new and refreshing elements. For one, downtime is virtually zero in this game due to the ability to collect resources based on what others roll on their turn. This slight change keeps everyone engaged throughout, keeps the pace quick, and ensures that you always have something to do on your turn. The second thing I love about this game is the variability within the base box. There are a number of monsters, citizens and domains in the game to ensure that each game brings with it new tactics to employ. I am a big fan of this game!
Valeria: Card Kingdoms again. @_dailymagic_ Review coming next week! #boardgames pic.twitter.com/jNgBCFbCce
— Nonsensical Gamers (@LeagueNonsense) February 6, 2016