Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Time Keeps on Slippin' Slippin' Slippin' Into the Future

Another Tuesday, another Game Night! Why weren't you there? Surely you want to join us! Oh well, we made do without you just fine. And there's always next week.

Our opener was a fine game of Ricochet Robots. What a great opener. Any number of people can play and there's really no penalty to having folks join up in the middle of the game. It's a total learn as you go kind of game too. Watch someone play one round and you'll be ready to play the next. We started with three players and by the time we put it away perhaps thirty minutes later we had enough people to split into two games.

The first meaty game of the night for me was Khronos. This is a new game by Arnaud Urbon and Ludovic Vialla. It's a very unique game that's played on three identical boards, each one representing the same landscape over three different ages: the Age of Might, the Age of Faith, and the Age of Reason. Things you build in earlier ages ripple forward in time and appear in later ages as well. There are all sorts of cool things you can do such as creating a castle in the Age of Might that suddenly appears in the Age of Faith and Age of Reason, destroying buildings on that plot of land in those ages as if they never had existed. The game bears a very slight resemblance to Tigris and Euphrates in that you're building domains made up of sets of contiguous buildings (similar to kingdoms in T&E) which may conflict when they are joined, resulting in a reduction of buildings in one of the two domains. I really like the game but I have to say that the rules are a bit complex and it tends to encourage "analysis paralysis" which means that with five players the game is just a bit too long. What's more, with five players the board can change an awful lot between turns. I think the sweet spot for this game is probably three players.

Next up for me was a game of Evo. This is a delightful game which I haven't played in ages. It's a very whimsical strategy game where players control herds of dinosaurs which evolve, multiply, and jockey for supremacy on a deserted island. This game has several cool mechanisms, one of which is a very cool climate track where the climate on the island cycles over time between hot and cold. Each turn dinos that occupy spaces that are too far removed from the current comfortable climate zone die off so a big part of every turn is trying to move your dinos onto the new safe spaces to keep them around, especially since the more living dinos you have each turn, the better your score. Another cool mechanic in this game is the mutation auction. Each turn a number of mutations become available which boost your herd's abilities. Players bid on these mutations using a really elegant system. Each mutation is placed on a bidding track with numbers that range from 0 to 6. Players bid by putting their marker on one of the numbers on a bidding track. If anyone outbids you by placing their marker farther down the track, you pick up your marker and either outbid them or put it on an available space on another bidding track. Eventually all the markers are each placed on a different track at which time the auction is over. Everyone pays their bid and collects the mutation associated with the track they've chosen. It's a great game. It's just too bad that it's out of print.

The final game of the night for me was Tichu (of course). We lost. It was sad.

Other games played last night included Railroad Tycoon, Vinci and Leonardo Da Vinci.


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