Matt picked this up and gifted it to me for my birthday! I was really surprised when Matt handed it to me that my brain just had no idea how to react so, seriously Matt, thanks! Ra is a game where you are taking turns drawing tiles and invoking the god of Ra to…start an auction… ::Looks at box again:: Yes, Ra starts an auction, not the wrath of the sun. Anywho, this was a pretty fun game that seemed to take a good two full rounds for it all to click with us. The bidding mechanic is pretty straight forward, but everyone knows what everyone else has to use for bidding so it can cause some pretty strategic moves. The idea is to win bids to gain tiles for set-collection. Each type you can collect has different values based on your set type—majority, pairings and ones of each type. Biff did not do well at all, but this was not his type of game. How did he even get roped into this one?!
Ra is dull. Apparently, it’s enjoyed by many which leaves me scratching my head. The game started to make more sense after the first epoch, but by the time it did, I didn’t care any longer. I sat with my 2, 5 and 7 constantly being outbid. Clearly, the auction gods were not in my favor this day, but even if they were it’d be hard to find enjoyment.
This is a wonderful set collection game that challenges players to collect tiles with various Egyptian glyphs. It’s kind of hard to differentiate the art on the tiles while they’re on the board, but in general, everything looks gorgeous. The game is fairly simple, although the auctions and disaster tiles can be really mean. I definitely look forward to playing this one again.
Described to me as ‘Twilight Struggle Lite’, I couldn’t help but agree as I settled in for my first play of the game. Instead of having a single, world-wide Defcon track, 13 Days has three different tracks for each player, representing Political and Military tensions, as well as … World Opinion, I think? It’s possible to score for dominations of the various battleground locations, as well as for your positions on these tracks. Of course, you have to keep an eye on just how far you’re pushing your Defcon levels, as I ended up starting WW III when my opponent accidentally took control of the television networks, preventing me from lowering that one key trigger. I was winning when the mushroom clouds settled across the world, though!
I legitimately screwed this game up by not really paying attention to my Defcon tracks and blew up the world by total accident. Matt was mad.
Having missed my chance to play Blood Rage at Origins, but seeing everyone have such a great time with it, I was excited to get it to the table and finally see what all the hype was about. Unfortunately, this play did nothing to support the claims of several reputable media personalities, nor the opinions of my trusted cohort. Rather than enjoying a tense game of area control and card-drafting, I spent the majority of my time sitting and watching, as two of my opponents killed of all of their units, reaped huge rewards, and repeatedly used Loki cards to steal my action points. I, very literally, was only involved in about 50% of the total play time, leaving me beyond soured. It was in my top 3 worst game plays of my life. I will play it again, primarily because I spent a bunch of money on the title, but I now approach it skeptically. I don’t like the idea of being forced to hate-draft to balance the game, so we’ll see how I feel after another run through Ragnarock.
During our big Nonsensical game day, I was lucky enough to get in another play of Blood Rage. This is still a lot of fun to me. I took a different strategy this time around and decided to go pure muscle and area control. I did not have a lot of upgrades and had a very balanced clan ability track and was able to pull off a pretty strong victory. This was Matt’s first play and he did not have a good time. Our other two opponents were both going mostly Loki strategy and it felt really hopeless for us to gain any ground. The Loki strategy is really tough to hold at bay but you just need to find ways to overpower it. I still really like this game and look forward to more plays. Hopefully with Matt.
I couldn’t pass up this interesting looking euro-style game for only $15 during the CoolStuffInc sale, and I’m glad I didn’t. Ben and I played a two-player game of Ships, a game about advancing nautical technology and exploring the world. Player turns are driven by a simple action selection mechanism, but the overall pacing of the game is determined by the player’s’ interaction with two separate advancement tracks. Working to balance your ships and your exploration was tough, but provided a lot of satisfaction when balanced well. The game ran a bit long, but I think that’s likely due to it being a first play for both of us. More interesting, our scores ended only four points apart, with us both scoring and insane 320+ points.
As you might expect from the title, this is a game about mining and minerals, but in this case, it’s set on a far-off planet in the future. While it is a deck-builder at the core, it doesn’t really have the same feel as Ascension, or even Trains, which shares the mechanic of having a central board for you to manipulate. Players must deal with drilling and bombing through three different types of underground terrain, trying to collect minerals which are then reinvested back into additional pilots that are added to your deck. These pilots are your main source of victory points, as well as providing more powerful drilling actions during your turn.
I really enjoy my time with this great little two player game. Each game offers different strategies due to the order the actions become available from game to game. I still have yet to add in all of the variants so there is a great amount of mileage yet to be untapped in this game.