We all met at the Madden's and got started on 3 tables of gaming!
Adam brought along an Alan Moon game called Andromeda. It was some type of space trading game but, since I didn't play it, I don't have any details. Sharon, Eileen, Adam, and Jaimie played this one. Final Scores: Adam 55, Sharon 50, Jaimie 38, and Eileen 25.
This one was popular last week and it came out again this week. Five players took on the challenge of trading goods with Alien Races and Warren proved you can win even when "rolling a 3" -- since we all heard him announce his dice roll when things weren't going well early in the game... Final Scores: Warren 2851 , Matt 2456, Frederick 2305, Steve 1962, and Troy 1374.
I had been hoping to play this game soon and I recruited Joel and Andy to give it a try. We got through the rules and got started. The game is deceptively simple to learn but it has an interesting balance in various tactical decisions. Players represent archaeologists placing workers at various digging sights and also claiming locations in the museum where the discoveries will be displayed.
The game is divided into 4 seasons and each one consists of a placement phase and scoring phase. Players start each season with a specified number of workers that they take from a common pool. During the placement phase each player may either place workers, use special character abilities (discussed later), or pass. Once a player passes then they are out of the placement phase of the turn. If a player is out of workers then they must pass. After all players, except one, have passed then the last player can take one more action before the placement phase ends.
The dig areas are randomly created (by combining two different tiles) and at the end of a placement round, majority in these areas offers privelages. During Seasons 1-3 there are 6 areas and in Season 4 there are 8 areas. Players can place 1 worker on an area to start a dig. On future turns they may place a new worker in a new (or the same area). They may be able to place 2 workers in an area where they have already started a dig. In this case, the first new worker must be placed orthagonally to the existing worker and the second new worker must be placed orthagonally to the first new worker. This can be tricky as there are Pyramids on many of the sights where workers cannot be placed.
After all figures are placed then majorities are determined in each area. Ties are broken in order of the passing position (ie the 1st player to pass wins all ties). 1st and 2nd place get the choice of (a) either of the tiles (2nd place might only have 1 tile to choose from) or (b) placing in the museum. 3rd and 4th place cannot place in the museum but they may take a tile provided one is available. All remaining workers are moved back to the common pool.
(a) Tiles have symbols on them that correspond to the special character on the back side of the tile and some will also have victory points on them. Players who take a tile score the victory points and then flip the card over and place it in front of them. During future placement phases these characters can be tipped (turned 90 degrees) to use a special ability. This can only be done once per card per season.
(b) The museum is divided into 5 hallways (corresponding to the 5 special characters). There is a 3pt and 5pt space in each hallway and a 2pt space between each hallway. A player can place one worker on a vacant 2pt or 3pt space. In order to place on a 5pt space the player must already have a worker on that hallway's 3pt space OR a worker in one of the two adjacent 2pt spaces. This forces players to place more workers in the museum to get the valuable positions.
The special characters really make the game interesting so I will briefly go over their abilities (although I don't remember all their names so I'll label them 1-5). (1) allows the player to take an additional worker from the common pool before placing workers on a dig area. (2) allows a player to place 2 workers when starting a dig (instead of 1). (3) allows a player to place up to 3 workers when adding to a dig (instead of 2). (4) allows a player to place one worker on a Pyramid. (5) allows a player to place a worker in the musuem.
Final scoring is determined by adding up the value of all the tiles a player has acquired. Each tile is worth a number of victory points that corresponds to that player's placement in the museum. It will be worth 5 or 3 if the player has placed in that hallway or 2 if adjacent or 1 if the player has no workers near that character's hallway in the museum. For example, if I have 3 Lord Lemon tiles and I placed in both the 3 and 5 pt locations in his hallway then I would get 15pts for those tiles (you only get pts for the best placement). Players also score 5pts for each complete set of characters that they possess.
In our game I was able to get a lot of the character that allows you to place in the museum and this proved invaluable in claiming great scoring spots. Final Scores: Michael 81, Joel 58, Andy 38.
Mykerinos offers a lot of interesting tactical decisions in a relatively short (60min) playing time. Which areas do you fight for, which ones will be easy to claim with little effort, which characters are more valuable, when do you choose to pass, and when do you place in the museum? Overall, I like Mykerinos and would definitely give it some more plays and see if I can figure out the relative value of the various powers. Each has its benifits but I definitely saw advantages in the museum guy...
After Mykerinos and Andromeda ended, Sharon joined Joel and I for a game of Taluva. This is a very easy to learn game with tile placement but with some clever mechanics. It is a great production with firm and durable tiles (they are 3 hexes in a triangle pattern) and great colorful pieces to place on the tiles. The object of the game is to run out of 2 of the 3 types of pieces first with an additional victory condition if all tiles are placed before this occurs.
Each player draws and places a tile on their turn. The tile must be placed either adjacent to an existing tile OR on top of multiple tiles (there are some particular rules on this placement). Each tile has a volcano hex and two others (with various types of terrain). Then a player may place 1 or more buildings. Players have 20 Huts, 2 Towers, and 3 Temples to place. Huts can be placed (a) 1 on a single hex or (b) x number of huts on x consecutive terrain spaces adjacent to that player's hut. In addition, more huts are placed when hexes on higher elevations are chosen (1 addl hut per elevation level). So a player who places huts on a level 1 hex and a level 2 hex would place 3 huts. Placing a Temple is allowed provided that it is in a settlement (series of consecutive buildings) that covers at least 3 hexes and doesn't already contain a Temple. Towers may be placed only on elevation 3 hexes in settlements that don't already contain a Tower.
The tricky parts of the game involve positioning tiles that will benefit you getting rid of buildings while limiting others from doing so. Also, placing tiles on top of player's huts is allowed (the huts are removed and not returned to the player) provided that the entire settlement is not destroyed or that the tile covers any towers or temples. Players can also lose outright if they cannot place a building on their turn (so running out of huts too quickly can be costly). Finally, if no one runs out of 2 of the 3 building types when the last tile is placed then the game ends and the player with the most temples on the board is the winner (# Towers and Huts will break ties).
I enjoyed this game also and I was able to use the elevation levels to place most of my huts and place two Towers. I finished the game by getting rid of my final 3 huts.
Since Taluva was so quick we got out Ave Caesar! for a quick chariot race. I was fortunate to start with a "6" and grab an early lead that I maintained throughout the 3 lap race with Joel claiming 2nd and Sharon finishing in 3rd.
This is one of Adam's favorite games and he pulled it out after Andromeda. Eileen and Jaimie also played and Andy joined them after Mykerinos. This is a light maffia game where everyone's various gang (family) members sit around a table and try to kill off rival maffia families (especially people that are making money running various business from their seat). Players play cards to move people, shoot people (if a gun is handy), knife people (if a knife is available), poison people (sitting with drinks..), or send an exploding cake around the table...The person with the most money wins! Final Scores: Adam $57k, Eileen $25k, Andy $21k, and Jaimie $17k.
After Joel and I left, Sharon joined the Don Pepe group for 2 games of Coloretto.
Game 1 Scores: Adam 26, Andy 23, Sharon 22, Jaimie 19, Eileen 12.
Game 2 Scores: Jaimie 24, Eileen 22, Sharon 21, Adam 18, Andy 14.