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Archive for November, 2009

Coming Soon: War of the Ring CE, Specials and more

Posted by Eisley on 30th November 2009

Here’s what’s coming soon on the Metagames blog:

WAR OF THE RING: COLLECTOR’S EDITION – I have indulged myself (which may be read as ‘taken leave of my senses’) and pre-ordered the War of the Ring Collector’s Edition.  I love the original game and I’ve always commented, “How amazing would this game be if the figures were painted?”  Not being a figure painter, and as a special treat, I decided to go for it.  When it arrives in a couple of weeks, I shall be posting lots of images and coverage here.  So, if you’re a War of the Ring fan, stay tuned, and drop me a line if you have any specific questions.

2-PLAYER SPECIALS – In addition to any great games, I’m always looking for games that play really well with 2 players.  This special will highlight some of my favourite games for two.

GAMES SESSION REPORTS – Quick round-ups of the games played at games nights with some comments from the other players too.

Plus, more reviews of games from Spiel 09, other games too, and thoughts on further plays of games already reviewed and a few more special items too.  So, lots more to come.  Remember you can use Twitter or the RSS feed to be updated of any new additions.

James.

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Review: A La Carte

Posted by Eisley on 29th November 2009

There were quite a few stands at Essen with people in costume promoting games and the chef on the A La Carte stand was a memorable one.

A La Carte is part-dexterity and part-push-your-luck.  The goal is to score the most points or complete 3 recipes perfectly.  Each player has a stove on which to cook and a small saucepan too.  These are fantastic as the stove is a 3D hot plate constructed from thick card with a dial for the heat setting, plus the saucepan is a mini, metal saucepan.  In addition, there are 4 small seasoning bottles which each contain plastic, pea-sized nuggets – each bottle starts with 15 nuggets of a single colour of seasoning (black, red, yellow or green) and 5 clear nuggets (representing salt). Read the rest of this entry »

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Replay: Stronghold – Part Three

Posted by Eisley on 27th November 2009

[This is the final part of my three-part Stronghold Replay post (part one and part two) which is a more in-depth look at Stronghold and is a follow-up to my initial review.]

HEROES
The defender has two heroes who enhance the troops at a wall.  These are very useful, especially as they can not be killed.  One can increase the strength of the units on a wall, and the other adds some strength and can kill an invader unit before the assault.  Of course, both of these special effects cost hourglasses, but can make a big difference.

FLIPPING THE PHASE CARDS
The reverse side of the phase cards works really well.  At the start of a turn, the invader can flip any of their phase cards over to use the options on the back which are different to the front. Read the rest of this entry »

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Replay: Stronghold – Part Two

Posted by Eisley on 26th November 2009

[This is a follow-on from yesterday’s Stronghold Replay post (part one) which is a more in-depth look at Stronghold and is a follow-up to my initial review.]

TRAPS AND BRIDGES
Most of the pathways to the castle can have either a trap (placed by the defender and which will kill some specific enemy units if they use the path) or a bridge (placed by the invader and which mean no trap can be placed there).  Once they are placed, they can not be undone and remain there for the game.  These seem relatively small but, once laid, the paths and traps really start to define the battlefield.  Obvious routes that the invaders troops will probably follow start to form and this starts to determine which walls will be the preferred targets.

I thought this was a really nice gameplay mechanic and I would look to lay down traps or bridges earlier in future games. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 09, Replay, Stronghold | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Replay: Stronghold – Part One

Posted by Eisley on 25th November 2009

Stronghold is an epic game.  It is filled with relatively simple options and decisions but there are lots of them and no definitive answer as to which will be right or wrong.  The players act and then re-act to one another and there is little (or even no) downtime as play passes back and forth between invader and defender.

Having played Stronghold a couple of times, I thought I would post some further thoughts on the game  (following-up on my initial review.)  I discovered that not only is Stronghold epic but the length of this post was to become similarly epic too.  So, below is the first of a three-part Stronghold replay report. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 09, Replay, Stronghold | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Review: Albion

Posted by Eisley on 24th November 2009

When I heard the designer of Carcassonne had a new game, I knew I wanted to check it out.  Players build forts and towns in the land of Albion (Roman Britain) where the south is tame but the north is inhabited by the Picts who are less welcoming to the Romans.  Each player controls Settlers (who build buildings and collect resources) and Legionnaires (who increase military strength in their region).  The first player to complete three level 4 buildings (including one in a far North region where it is most hostile) wins.

MOVEMENT
An interesting gameplay mechanic is movement.  Each turn, a player can move as many of their own units as they want.  The number of regions (distance) each unit can move is dictated by what buildings the player has built.  At the end of the player’s turn, all settler units are returned to a home camp. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: El Paso

Posted by Eisley on 23rd November 2009

El Paso is a push-your-luck game where players are cowboys who are trying to loot towns and get away before the sheriff arrives. The players loot 7 towns one after the other. Each town contains loot tiles which each display one of 6 loot types (cattle, gambling, horse, cash, saloon, gold) and a number from 1 to 5.  Each turn a player either commits to a turn of looting, or moves on to the next town.

LOOTING
All players that decide to loot lay one of their cards face down – each card shows a type of loot and a number from 1 to 8 – and these show what loot each player will try to take.  Then, the dice are rolled – each dice shows 2 cattle brands, 2 dice icons and 2 sheriff stars. If any sheriff stars are rolled, these dice are frozen for this town. If all 5 dice now show sheriff stars, the sheriff has arrived – any players who are looting are caught and must discard all loot tiles in their possession (victory points are unaffected). Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Atlantis

Posted by Eisley on 22nd November 2009

Many people have compared Atlantis to Cartagena but I shall review Atlantis from fresh as not everyone has played Cartagena (and will add a few notes about Cartagena at the end).

In Atlantis, 52 stacks of tiles are laid out in a trail leading from Atlantis to the mainland with one water tile in the middle.  The tiles are either in stacks of two tiles or single tiles.  Each tile shows one of 6 different symbols and each has a number on them from 1 to 7.  Players have three meeple (which they will move from Atlantis to the mainland) and a hand of cards which each show one of the different symbols.  The goal: To collect as many points as possible.

Each turn, a player plays a card and moves one of their meeple to the next tile along that shows the matching symbol. Read the rest of this entry »

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Replay: Langfinger

Posted by Eisley on 21st November 2009

Langfinger was one of my favourite games (initial review) at Spiel 09 – simple, cute, fun and small. 

Further plays reveals that there are definitely tactics to the game.  The placing of your cubes which will determine you actions and their order  offers some interesting decisions and quite a lot of trying to work out what the other players will be up to too.  Mentally crossing your fingers that they won’t take the spot you want adds a nice excitement.

Also, the fencing of items (which is how you convert most goods into points) is really key as it can be a complete bottleneck.  Having lots of hot stolen goods is (literally) pointless if you can not fence them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Cheese

Posted by Eisley on 20th November 2009

In Cheese, players flip a piece of cheese (made of foam) and score points depending upon how it lands.  One corner of the cheese block has a nibble taken out of it.  When the cheese lands, if the nibbled corner is facing downwards the player gets no points and the turn moves on to the next player.  However, if the nibbled corner is facing upwards the player scores points: 1 point if the cheese is resting on its largest side, 3 points if resting on its long edge, and 9 points if resting on its short edge.  A player that scores points on a flip can gamble those points and take another turn immediately; however, if they do not score any points on their next flip then they lose all the points for that turn.

The cheese block has large round holes in it of three sizes and these start the game filled with foam discs so it is a single, solid block.  When a player scores points they remove a foam disc (small for 1 point, medium for 3 points and large for 9 points) from the cheese to keep to record their score.  Removing a disc changes the balance of the cheese block slightly.  The first player to 12 points wins. Read the rest of this entry »

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