Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Viva Revolution! (The Resistance)

You're meant to meet the mark in an hour, but you can't stand the waiting.  Everyone is in their place, slowly waiting. You look up, and see the glint of the gun.  There, off to the left, is your backup, making sure the mark doesn't run. Then, you hear the klaxon of alarms, and guards start rushing your location?  As you bolt down the sewer, you wonder: Who tipped them off?  This is a grave threat to The Resistance.

Image result for The Resistance game

GAME DESCRIPTION:  The Resistance is a social bluffing game designed for 5 to 10 players.  At the start of the game, each player is either a Spy or a Resistance Member.  The Spies job is to have at least three missions to fail, whereas The Resistance must have three succeed.  Above all, discussions and accusations are primary and encouraged, as long as it's possible for everyone to hear.

SET-UP:  Each player is dealt 1 Character card, with a mixture of blue Resistance and red Spy cards according to the number of players.  Then, each player is given a vote Approved and Rejected card, and a Mission Pass and Fail card. The progress board is placed in the center of the table for all to see.  Spies then discover all other spy players, usually by having all Resistance players close their eyes.  Then, the Leader card is given to the first player.

TEAM BUILDING:  The Leader chooses a select number of players to go on the mission, determined by the number of players and mission number, by using the Gun tiles.  Then, players place either the Approved or Rejected card face-down.  When all players have chosen, all cards are flipped face-up.  If the majority are passes, the mission continues.  If the majority are rejected, the next player becomes leader, but the Mission number remains the same.

Image result for The Resistance game

MISSIONS:  At this point, only the players chosen may vote.  All players place a Fail or Pass in the center face-down, and hand the rest to the dealer.  The cards are shuffled and revealed.  Resistance players may only play Pass cards.  If all the cards are Pass cards, the Mission is a success, and you place a success/blue Score Marker on the progress board in the appropriate spot.  If there is at least 1 fail, your cover is blown and the mission fails.  A red Score Marker is placed on the progress board.  Then, the leader card is passed to the next player.

VICTORY:  Once there are 3 markers of a single color, the game ends.  If there are 3 Red Markers, the Resistance crumbles, and the Spies have won.  If there are 3 Blue Markers, then the Resistance has become victorious.

CONCLUSION:  This is one of the first games I've played where the concept of something like Are You The Traitor? is done properly.  The structured turns, obvious goal, and focus on getting people to talk rather than say nothing help make this a very solid game.  This definitely creates a more at ease feel, like a gathering than a game.  If I had a criticism, it's that it's perhaps a bit too generic, no real theme with something like Secret Hitler or Sheriff of Nottingham. Still, this is a solid game for a solid group.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Friendship First (Carcassonne)

Ah, the city of Carcasonne.  With it's winding roads, beautiful landscapes, peaceful monasteries, and sprawling river, it's like a bit of paradise on earth.  Well, except for the highwaymen, broken roads, and cities that seem to just end into nowhere.  This wondrous and prosperous city holds an unfortunate secret sprawling back from its creation.  Do you wish to uncover that secret for yourself?  Then lets go back to the founding and building of Carcasonne.

Image result for carcassonne game

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Carcasonne is a tile based game set for 2 to 5 players, originally created in German.  Each turn, players attempt to build and control the countryside using Tiles and 'meeples'.  Points are determined via a scoring board, and the one in the lead at the games end wins.

BACKGROUND:  The term Meeple is one generally used in tabletop games.  Originating from Carcassone and the words 'my people', it usually refers to the tokens seen in this game, vaguely human shaped and generally 1 solid color.

SET-UP:  Each player chooses 1 of 5 colors, and gets all the Meeples of that color in front of them.  The larger Meeple is placed on the scoring board at the start, or at 0 points.  The starting tile is then placed, noted for it's dark coloring on the back.  All the other Tiles are shuffled and placed face-down.

TURN:  The first player then draws a tile, and connects it to the current face-up Tiles in an appropriate manner (roads, buildings and grass connect only to roads, buildings, and grass respectively).  That player may then place a Meeple (if they have any) on tile they just placed, with a Meeple on a road as a highwayman, a city as a Knight, or a Monastery as a Monk.  However, if a Meeple is already on a connecting tile (such as in the city, or on the same road), then you are not allowed to place a Meeple on that tile.

SCORING:  At the end of a players turn, players will score.  If a road is closed by a city, village, or loops back on itself, it has ended, and any Meeple on any point of that road gets 1 point per tile with that road, and is then moved off the tile back to the owner, allowing the player to place that Meeple on a later turn.  Any city that is closed off also returns to the owner(s), and each connecting city tile is worth 2 points, with any Coat of Arms also worth 2 points.  A Meeple on a monastery that is surrounded by Tiles in all 8 directions also returns to the player, and that player gets 1 point per tile, or 9 points.

CONTESTED LOCATION:  If a city or road was not originally connected, but became so later with more than 1 Meeple on said location, then it becomes contested.  If there is an even amount of more than one color, those players gain the total amount of points.  However, if there is more of one color than any other, that player gets all the points.  All Meeples are still returned to the owners.

GAME END:  Once the final tile is placed, the game ends.  All Meeples still in play are still given points.  All Highwaymen are given 1 per road tile.  All Knights are given 1 point per connecting city, and 1 point per Coat of Arms.  Each Monestary is worth 1 point, and 1 per surrounding tile.

CONCLUSION:  I have learned to enjoy Carcassonne, but it took me a little time.  The game seems intimidating to a new player, and rightly so.  The complex strategies of when to place Meeples and where to place Tiles really does change up the game drastically.  It's a fun game, but don't expect a new player to love it on their first try.  Still, if you are looking for a solid game with highly complex strategies, there's a reason why players keep coming back to Carcassonne.

AFTERTHOUGHTS:  Now, these are merely the beginning rules.  I have decided not to include the "Supplementary Rules", which introduces Farmers, River Tiles, and Abbots and Garden Tiles.  This blog is meant as an overview for newer players of both the game, and tabletop games in general.  The rules claim that it is better to introduce these to new players later.  I tend to agree, having played this with most of the Supplementary Rules already introduced to me on my first play-through.  Now, this may be why I had such a hard time enjoying the game, but I have grown to love it.  I would just caution others to introduce these rules to newer players later.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

This is the 90's, fo' Shizzle (Quelf)

It's 8:00 on a Saturday evening.  You're chilling with your friends, shooting the breeze.  Then, out of nowhere, someone suggests that they play a game.  You pounce on the opportunity to  Everyone looks over at you.  They know that the night is going to be filled with awkward moments, neverending lists, and great memories.  Welcome to Quelf.

Image result for quelf

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Quelf is a board game designed for 3-8 players.  The object is to be the first to finish and succeed in various tasks, and get to the center of the board first.

SET-UP:  Each player takes 1 character token, ranging from a bean pole farmer to a platypus.  Each turn, 1 players rolls the die, and moves that many spaces.

CARDS:  The player who rolled draws the same colored card as the space they landed on, and follows the rules accordingly:

  • Blue (Roolz):  If you draw a Global Roolz, all players must follow that rule, or pay the penatly by moving back that many spaces (located in the top right).  Action Roolz and Talking Roolz affect that player, and if they are caught breaking that rule, they must pay the penalty.  Note that all Roolz card are permenant until replaced by a new card.
  • Green (Quizzle):  These are generally Trivia questions, asked by another player.  Some cards feature an Extra Credit question which allows the player to move additional spaces (but they will not draw another card until they roll again.)
  • Blue/Yellow (Stuntz/Showbiz):  These are more physical activities.  Some cards may have you not say anything, or "Tell the Other Player to Guess", which the other players must guess the underlined word.  If you are unable to perform that card, or cannot safely do it, you can always redraw.
  • Red (Scatterbrainz):  The player chooses a topic, and players must go around the group, each submitting an answer until either a player uses more that 10 seconds to guess, repeats an answer, or gives an incorrect answer.  That player pays the penalty (top right), and play continues.
FINAL CATEGORY:  If a player lands in the center, then a Scatterbrainz card is drawn and played, but the player who landed in the center must now give 2 answers each turn instead of 1.  If they fail, they take the penalty, but if another player fails, then the game is over, and the player in the center wins.

CONCLUSION:  You want a crazy game?  Here you go.  Quelf is designed to be loud, rowdy, and high energy.  It takes cues from games like Curses, and makes them their own.  It can be a lot of fun to play, but also exhausting.  This is one of those games I'd recommend to a group of High School and College students, but not to a group who's more interested in strategy games.  Also, never play with a group of gaming nerds.  When "Titles of Video Games" is chosen in Scatterbrainz, the round will Never. Ever. End.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Company Loves Misery (Gloom)

Jack and Jill went up to the hill, to fetch a pail of water.  They both fell down back the hill and were immediately accosted by a parade of ducks.  Jack was turned into an ugly beast, found the love of his life, and he lived happily ever after.  Jill fell in the swamp, and drowned.  She was never to be seen again, lost forever in the Gloom of life.

Image result for gloom card game

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Gloom is card game designed for two to four players.  Each player takes a "family". and during their turn, writes out their life using their cards.  The catch is that the player wants to get as few points as possible, and have as many negative points as they can get.

SET-UP:  Each player begins with a family of 4-5 members, depending on the amount of players.  Each player begins with a hand of 5 cards, and play begins with either the owner of the game, or the player who had the most miserable day.

PLAYS:  Each player has two Plays per turn.  Each player may play or discard 1 card from their hand during each Play, or pass.  Each card generally has a title.  The title determines what happened to your family, but the fun is telling a short 2 to 4 sentence story that explains how that happened.

MODIFIER CARDS:  These generally have numbers on the left side, and a description or effect on the bottom.  These are played directly on a family member.  When played, the numbers seen count toward or against you, with any number covered up not applied.  Any effects are applied to the family member either once (Immediate), or for the rest of the game (Continuous).

EFFECTS:  These generally have a red text, and have various effects.  Generally played on that players turn, they can also be used on another players turn if the card says "as it is played."  Event Cards that move Modifier cards don't count as playing the card, so immediate effects don't go off.  Continuous effects, however, are now applied to that player

UNTIMELY DEATH:  Death cards are played for two reasons.  First is that all Modifier cards, and most Event cards, can NOT be played on a dead character.  Second, any players who have not died at the end of the game will not count towards a players total score.  You cannot play a Death on any player on your second Play.

SCORING:  Once all of any players family members have died, the game immediately ends.  The player with the lowest score wins.

CONCLUSION:  This is one of those games that you need to be careful with whom you play.  The definite story-telling and slight improv elements make it hard for certain people to grasp. The dark, grim tone is also a warning to be sensible in choosing to play with younger audiences.  Still, the art is wonderful, a very Edward Gorey-ian style (if you haven't read The Gashlycrumb Tinies, it has great dark humor).  The game creates some wonderfully ghoulish, grim stories, and definite humorous situations.  And there is still a sense of competitiveness for those players who want to win.  It is actually pretty funny to see people get mad because something good happened to them.  A great game for a night of creepy and grim.