Gamesday @ Janna’s in Antwerp

We met up with Janna, Ken and Linde in Antwerp for a surprise day of games!

Janna turned out to be quite the Ryan Laukat fangirl! Ryan is the designer of The Ancient World and a whole slew of games that all have his beautiful signature artwork. Probably the best artwork in games today. At the end of the day I was pretty sad I didn’t back his latest game Artifacts Inc. on kickstarter! So we spent a lot of the day catching up on old Laukat games we didn’t know yet.

City of Iron

First City of Iron which looks and plays a lot like The Ancient World. It’s set in this very evocative steam-punk world of captains, explorers, beast men and demon-powered airships. You spend the game building up your production machines, but also exploring new lands, conquering new cities *and cycling your employees in the deck building part of the game. Just like The Ancient World, this game wants to do a lot of things at the same time! I’m still not quite sure if that works well or makes a good game, but it is a bit like playing will all the toys in the toy store at the same time. And that brings it’s own fun!

Janna and me tried to take an early lead on science, but it ended up as a very slow start, while Ken and Jan built up their military and managed to carve out quite a lead on production very early. We ended up closer in the end but Ken destroyed Jan’s cities and won. Yes, destroyed! Much like in Race for the Galaxy, if you take the war path you also open yourself up to get attacked. Just another toy in the toy store!

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Eight Minute Empire: Legends

Another Ryan Laukat game: Eight Minute Empire: Legends. This one is very different than the previous Laukat games, though, it’s a land grab game like Small World or Risk. But a small minitature version you can play in eight minutes. If you hurry, 20 minutes is more likely. Jonna warned us that we needed to spread our cubes around the world fast because the game is over so fast. And it’s true!

You play by picking cards that have an action (move cubes, get cubes) on it *and* a card or ability bonus. You can either pick the first card, or jump ahead and spend your money to buy one further up ahead. The catch is that you can’t get more money than your starting amount! So it’s quite possible to run out of money and have to pick up scraps for the rest of the game.

I usually hate land-grabbing games. I find the strategies involved boring and the games take far, far too long. This one is really short and half of the strategy revolved around card picking instead of cube management. A big improvement, as far as I’m concerned! This game is going on the wishlist!

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Story Cubes

We played some Story Cubes during dinner prep. I’ve seen the game around but I never got to play it. You take 9 story dice,roll them and make up a story: one line per die, using the icon on the die. It’s very cute and quick! You can throw your fellow players for a loop, I started one story with “A long, long time ago, in a country far, far away, a man couldn’t get his paperwork in order to register for health insurance”.

I don’t have a picture of the cubes, but I have one of Janna’s cat!

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Chtulhu!!! Hastur La Vista Baby!

Then we played Chtulhu!!!, the variant of the classic Zombies!!! games that we’d never got round to playing before. I called the cultists zombies throughout the entire game because it just has that feel. But, no, in this version you battle cultists and try to tear down three cultists sites without ending up on the altar yourself and becoming instrumental in summoning Hastur (who?).

It’s a fast little ameritrashy push your luck game where my luck kept ending in death and other people did quite well. Because, like all good zombie (cultist!) games, it is a competi-coop and you throw other people for a loop while you pretend to work together. It was cute but somehow managed to go on forever! It would be great at maybe a 30 minutes playing time. Maybe I’m just getting really enamored of short, quick games. Though Janna and Ken certainly kept busy with their infinite byakki conga line!

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