Boardgame Madness @ Mid-West, pt. II

Imperial Settlers

Warm up game! My Barbarians never properly entered the race as Jan’s Japanese battled Lowell’s Romans. This would become a recurring trend! Leaving me in the dust, I mean. Not Japanese vs. Roman battles (though that would be a much better trend).

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Stupid Barbarians. I still love this game. It’s fun, has some player interaction but not too much, and it’s has lots of card variety to make the games different and combolicious.

Right of Succession

Lowell’s own game that he took to Cards Against Humanity’s Cardboard Deathmatch (or whatever it was called). As Jonna always says, never pass up an opportunity to play a game with its designer! Right of Succession turned out to be a crunchy game of area control with some auction and drafting mechanics thrown in for good measure.

You manage a house with different families in it. You want to optimize these families to allow prominent family members to achieve their potential in areas like religion, knowledge, finance etc. Not all area’s give points every round, though. The important areas are decided by the ruler in charge.

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At the end of every round (and those go quite fast) you points if you are the first, second or third best placed for the three areas this particular ruler finds important. But rulers can change fast – every round you are invited to support other pretendents for the throne, or you can play the long game and invest your money in the next generation of upstart rulers.

Marrying your families will move them up one generation and give them a lot more options to become more skilled or specialized, but will also mean you have to give things up. Deciding when to marry is probably the toughest call in the game.

We enjoyed this game quite a bit! The quick rounds make for a nice dynamic that doesn’t bog down overly much, but it is still definitely a medium weight game with a good amount of crunch. I’m not sure if the theme sticks completely (moving people around different families feels a little weird), but it was really fun to recognize a lot of family names from RPGGeek. Check out the Hidaman family!

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Lowell is planning to bring the game to kickstarter, and I hope he does.Want!

Dutch Blitz

Jonna had gotten a copy of Dutch Blitz from the Holcomb family. They played it while we were roleplaying our Savage Worlds dungeon crawl. They were making more noise than we were!

Dutch Blitz is a type of speed patience. Everyone has a deck of cards (not quite playing cards) and deals out three face up cards, and a small pile of 10 cards face up. The goal is to clean out that pile of ten cards as quickly as possible. You do this by placing cards in the common area in the middle.

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Piles in the middle have to be one color, start with one and go up one number at a time. Once you are rid of your 10 cards, you yell Dutch Blitz! And everyone else will score penalty points. Jonna creamed us all. Yet another simple game that’s surprisingly fun and we got really into it. Want!

Cheaty Mages

A betting game made by the maker of Love Letter. High expectations! Sadly, it wasn’t a very good game. Every round you bet on one or two or a series of gladiators, and then cast spells (overtly or hidden) on the fighters to try to ensure your guy wins. It kind of reminds me of Munchkin, and it seems too random to actually affect very much. Too bad, Love Letter dude!

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Uchronia

When I mentioned to Lowell that our niche was card games and that Glory to Rome was my holy grail game, he suggested Uchronia. Urchonia is another Carl Chudyk card game that uses a lot of the Glory to Rome mechanics. The theme is Ancient Roman times with dinosaurs – nothing wrong with that!

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Having already played Innovation and Mottainai (the so-called “spiritual successor to Glory to Rome’), I didn’t need a lot of explanation. Jan hadn’t played Mottainai yet, and had to get used to cycling his cards from the middle to his hand to his resource stack to either Activities or Building Projects. You know, the usual GTR stuff. This was a fun brain crunchy game! I just can’t get enough of Carl’s card-games – even though they are all pretty similar I still want them all. I think Carl might pass Vlaada Chvatil as my favorite game designer – or at least as my must buy one.

Brass

Finally we tried out this Martin Wallace classic that Lowell thought would take two hours to play. Gha! Brass is about the industrial revolution in Mid-England. The game is divided into two parts: One where you build waterways and try to shape your industry around them. Then in the second part those waterways go away and you race a second time to get as many railways as you can and built your industries around them again.

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I scored big in the first part and had a nice pile of money to see me into the second, but starting fully over set me back a fair bit. A few mistakes left me behind as Jan once again trounced Lowell. I had quite a bit of AP this game and they made fun of me and called me Rahdo!

I didn’t like Brass on first play – the rules and the game play seem messy and inconsistent and dividing the game up in two parts is frustrating. It might improve on repeat plays as you get more equipped to plan ahead, which is what this game is all about.

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