New England

I had got this game on a Funagain offer for just 10$. The first play happened in December last year and it was a complete disaster. Aarthi was sleepy though the rule reading and therewas some confusion on the the interpretation as well. The game just did not flow then.

Shreyasi had been bugging me to play a new game she had not played that had money in it. So I took out New England because I really thought there was more to the game than what I had seen. Aarthi also joined us on a 3 player and it played very very well. I took up a particular interpration of the confusing rule and the game flowed nicely with Shreyasi saying ‘Good game I like it!’ Of course she won the game with 34 points. I got 31 and Aarthi 29. One of these days I have to just count the number of times I come in 2nd place. I always seem to come in 2nd. Reminds me of the Seinfeld take on winning a silver medal at the Olympics!

Also checked BGG and found that my interpretation was right. In case you are planning on getting this it is a very good game. But please check out this also before you proceed to play. Will be useful.

Ticket to Ride – Unofficial expansions

I was just browsing this blog and came upon this page. We all love Ticket to Ride  and like all the new editions. Am waiting for Marklin that is likely to reach here next week. I read somewhere on BGG about a Switzerland map available online. I remember the game’s designer Alan Moon posting on BGG and saying that he had an India edition planned! (Of course that came after I had posted, and my post showed where I came from!)

Now I saw this page and just look at the no of unofficial expansions!!!!! There’s a complete ‘cottage industry’ out there I say!

Naturelich Games: Unofficial expansions Archives

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Its a Knizia game! No wonder!

Renier Knizia is regarded as a superstar boardgame designer. The first Knizia we got was Samurai. As soon as I opened it, set the game up, the first thing that struck me and my wife was the fiddly nature of the components. In India we normally have a fan to provide air as centralised air conditioning is not exactly affordable in all residences. So the screens used in the game kept falling. The board itself is designed like a big jigsaw puzzle with 4 pieces that need to be fixed together. The quality is not really great and the board does not sit on a table easily.

The next Knizia we got was Tutankhamen. Nice interesting game that even my 5 year old could play. But the set up takes so long! So many small pieces that have to be arranged before the game starts. that small pyramid into which we slot the coins in keeps moving everytime some one wants to slot a coin.

And then we got Through the Desert. Wonderful game! We all loved it, but…. Try playing a 2 player game. First we have to get all the riders up on the camels. Then we have to fill the board up with the water holes. And then we start playing and finish the game so fast that the set up actually took longer! That's when my wife Aarthi first said "Reiner Knizia? No wonder!"

I got a small game called Maginor basically becasue it was a Knizia and it was available at 75% discount. This time the game and the components were fiddly. I can understand why the game is not highly ranked.

And then I finally got the game I had been wanting for a long time – Ra. Excellent game with interesting mechanics and choices and so easy to explain and get people to play. But look at the no of tiles in the game. You have to fill them all up into that black bag and then it is so heavy to pass around for people to pick! Aarthi exclaimed "Renier Knizia? No wonder!"

Of course there are other Knizia games that I have and feel good about. we have a small children's game called Schildkroetenrennen, that great horse racing game Royal Turf and his highest ranked game on BGG – Tigris and Euphrates. Not too much to complain about here though. Let me get more Knizia games and then see.

Settlers of Catan – 5 to 6 players expansion

I had got the 5-6 players expansion of Settlers because we had enjoyed the basic game so much and thought it would be fun to have more people playing the game. yesterday Shreyasi's friends Guha and Sai joined, Aarthi, Shreyasi and me for a 5 player game of Settlers with the new expansion. The game is the same as the original with the expansion just offering extra hexes, cards and counters. The only change is an extra opportunity to build after everyone's turn. This ensures that we can trade intelligently and get rid of extra cards before the next player rolls a 7! Aarthi won with me just following at 8 points. After 30 rolls or so we got an 8! So much for probabilities. The trading phase however takes a bit longer because of more players. But the expansion retails at 20$. Too much for just adding 2 more players I think.

Elasund – The First City

Klaus Teuber is a favorite at home. The first game I got of his was Lowenherz and the next his all time hit Settlers of Catan. So when I saw some favorable reviews of Elasund I wanted to get it.

The game is very well produced with good quality components. The player aid cards are really excellent and help newbies get into the game very quickly. I really like this because I am the guy who has to explain the rules here and once I go through them the players can manage with these turn aids very well.

Since the game is a part of the series on Catan adventures there are a few elements taken from Settlers. The first being rolling dice for production. But there are 2 distinct differences. Firstly there are no hexes. There is a rectangular board and a ship track with numbers corresponding to each row. Based on the type of building you build and if they exist on the row rolled for, gold or influence cards are generated. So the production sequence is much simpler because there are basically only 2 different types that we are rolling for.

Both gold cards and influence cards have a variety of uses so that an excess of one over the other or a balance of both helps us in our performance. This and the fact that we can pick up 2 gold cards freely per turn also instead of another option – that of placing a building permit, removes the uncertainty element of not getting favorable rolls. In effect you can go through 3 turns of not getting favorable turns but still collect 6 gold cards.

Placing a building permit is the precursor to building. Buildings generate income and victory points. Victory points are in the form of 10 victory cubes given. The first person to place all his 10 victory cubes is the winner of the game. Victory cubes can be place on certain types of buildings. They can also be placed on certain city walls. There are 9 walls given to each. Most of them generate an influence card when built. A few of them give you a chance to place a victory cube. There are also some squares on the board with windmills. When a building is built on this there is another track that you can move your counter on and place victory cubes once you move a certain number of spaces. When your building gets displaced you have to move down the track and lose the victory cubes you had placed earlier!

There is no trading in the game but player are allowed to build over and displace others' buildings. Here is where influence cards also come in play. The can be used to place building permits, pay off others' building permits and use those to build your own buildings, pay off others when building buildings of the same size as others etc. There is also a church that can be built This is very powerful, has 9 pieces and each pieces can hold a victory point, and can displace a building of any size. Finally as in Settlers a pirate is activated when a 7 is rolled and forces people to give up cards. The can be picked up by the pirate if he has a victory cube on a city wall.

The game is listed as 2-4 player. The board gets scaled down when playing with 2 or 3. It plays very well all numbers. I can see resemblances to Settlers. I also see a bit of Lowenherz in the game especially going down the track when losing a square with the windmill. Overall I have really enjoyed the game and is my current hot favorite. The components are completely language independent.

Stranded boardgamer

Living in India and trying find 'our' type of boardgamers is now very similar to what has been written below

A stranded boardgamer in Alaska!

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Downgrading some of my 10 rated games on BGG

I was just going through my game collection on BGG and found that I have given a rating of 10 to 15 games. Now normally I would rate a game a 10 if I thought I would be ready to play it whenever I am asked. That I should want to play it anytime is probably the biggest and most singular reason to rate a game a 10. I was going throught this list and wanted to see if I still felt the same way about them. Since I did not I am downgrading a few of them now. 

 Citadels – I did enjoy it a lot when it first came out. I would still play a game if asked but then maybe I might just prefer one of the others. So 10 has become 9 now.
Samurai – Again one of my early acqusitions. But the plays have dried out a bit of late and I would like to play some of the newer games. So 10 becomes 9.
San Juan – I got this first because I thought it was cheaper when compared to Puerto Rico. really really enjoyed the game. Played only 2 player games. But after we got Puerto Rico recently, I guess 10 has to become 9.