It’s Sunday Funday people! Our second full day of gaming means both Bear and I get to dictate what games we played! Yesterday we suffered through Gaia Project and enjoyed a very weird game of Scythe. But today I’m taking my friends where they never go willingly. To the world of fast food management.
- Block 1 (Me!)
- Block 2 (Bear)
- Dinner/Campfire break
- Open Gaming
Being the parent of a toddler, it seems impossible for me to sleep beyond 7am. So as per usual I was first to rise. I took the morning to walk along the beach. When I came back, I prepped breakfast and made coffee. I was still the only one awake so I broke out Bullet⭐ and played a solo game as Rose Blanchett vs Starry Night Sky
If you’re curious about how the Bullet game plays, check out my review of it here. Bullet❤️ and Bullet⭐ are identical, except that the 8 heroes in each box are all wildly different from one another.
Starry Night Sky is a bit of a weird boss, their pattern requires that you don’t have a single bullet of a specific number on the turn that you break a shield. If you do, then you’ll lose a life. At the same time, you can’t just go wild in breaking shields, as if you break more than one shield in a round, you’ll lose a life.
I promptly lost this solo game, but I always enjoy exploring the different bosses and characters.
Eclipse: A New Dawn for the Galaxy
The first big multiplayer game of day 3 was Eclipse. Now, I’ve already written about my experiences with Eclipse, but the more we play it, the more enthusiastic Bear seems to be to return to it. This time, I took control of the Hydran Progress, a science/tech focused race. I don’t know how other groups play, but for the first 6 of 9 rounds of the game, there wasn’t a single combat. There was a lot of building and upgrading, but no combat. Our forces swelled as we all kitted out our best fighters to tackle the problems that were on our doorstep.
I built out my galaxy tiles in such a way that there was only 1 way into my quadrant of the map. I then plopped 4 star bases on that doorstep and attached 2 missile modules to each and a high-powered computer. If anyone wanted to take my territory, they’d need to survive first. I also managed to take the only wormhole generator that appeared in the game, which allowed me to zip out the back door and take over several planets nearly uncontested in the end.
That being said, my star base strategy left me wanting for brown resources; my fleet was severally out numbered. But I doubled own on my smart missile strategies, shaving off the hull of my ships to fit more ordinance. The best offence is a great defense, as they say.
It worked well in the end, I took several planets from Bigfoot, but he managed to survive my volley during my siege of the centre tile. It was my first time even using the missile tech, it’s not a strategy our group has really explored. While Bigfoot managed to hold the centre, I took the win of the game due to the tiebreaker.
Glen More II: Chronicles
Up to this point we had played a LOT of space games, but now it was my turn to pick the game. My first choice was Glen More II: Chronicles, with accompanying soundtrack provided by The Real McKenzies
Glen More II: Chronicles is a tile placement and resource management game. Players take turns moving their workers around a tile selection roundel, moving from the back of the line onto any tile they want, then placing it into their kingdom and activating all adjacent tiles. Then the tile row is refilled and the player who is now in the rear may take their turn. If players leap over several tiles to claim a particularly important one, then it may be several turns before it’s their turn again.
The goal of the game, is to have more of certain resources than your opponents, as scoring is almost entirely dependent on “How many more of X do you have than the player with the least amount.” For example, if I have 5 whiskey barrels, while Otter only has 1, then I have 4 more than he does, which would net me 5 points at the end of each round.
Now you might think to yourself, “If someone leaps ahead, then I’ll just scoop up every tile left behind!” Unfortunately, at the end of the game, players lose 3 points for every tile they have in their kingdom, more than the player with the leanest kingdom. Urban sprawl is punished here.
Glen More II: Chronicles is always a delight, and I love the production. The custom meeples are charming, the art is bright and green, and any excuse to put on punk bagpipe soundtracks is a win for me.
Food Chain Magnate
Because Glen More II is a slightly faster game than the ones we’ve played this weekend (Eclipse and Gaia Project, looking at you), we also managed to squeeze in a game of Food Chain Magnate with a couple expansion modules, namely Coffee, Parks (Lobbyists), and Fries!
Now, Food Chain Magnate is my favourite game of all time, and I’ve already written a lot of words about how much I like it, so I won’t belabour that point.
The first four rounds of the game are generally quite quick. I know some people complain about rote openings, but I don’t mind them, personally. In my game group, two players generally take the recruiting girl while two others take the trainer, and from there, the strategies diverge. I quickly put up a burger billboard in the top left corner on a house with a garden, with the expectation that players would fight over delivering that good, then I’d cash in on the coffee sales. Unfortunately, Bear beat me to placing the coffee shop right on their driveway, but thankfully, Bigfoot won the bidding war and sold the burger, which ran right by my restaurant, allowing me to sell my coffee.
Bigfoot and I hit $100 on the same turn and both generated the CFO. He placed a park in the lower corner, touching two more houses, and a mailbox campaign started generating interest. I put a second coffee shop right next to Bigfoot’s restaurant, and one next to the park. Now I’d sell 2 coffees to each of those houses every time they ate at Bigfoot’s Blues Bar. I picked up the luxuries’ manager, and now my strategy was set!
What I didn’t anticipate was our CEOs dropping to two open management slots when the bank broke for the first time. I had plans to play trainers and generate coffee at the same time, as my coffee production was still quite low. Should I skip producing coffee for a round and let my trainer work, so I can produce even more coffee in future rounds? Should I eschew the luxuries manager and take less money and train? It’s quite hard to know which way to go sometimes. In the end, I succeeded at selling 3 coffees at a base price of $20 to houses with gardens, making it $40 per coffee, and my CFO worked his financial wizardry to turn that into $180 in a single turn. Bigfoot was selling several goods, but at a base price of $7, plus a $5 benefit to some of his goods.
The bank broke just in the nick of time, as one more turn would have spelled disaster for my luxury coffee strategy. One more round and Bigfoot would have doubled my income easily. As it stands, the game ended with me in the lead with $395 to Bigfoot’s $362.
This play left players a bit salty on the coffee modules, claiming it’s too hard to counter. Unlike selling food to houses, you need to ensure that you have the demand, and you’re selling it less than or closer to your opponents, but there’s no way to steal someone else’s coffee sale. The combo of the luxuries’ manager with the coffee seems really strong. My rebuttal is that my coffee production just couldn’t scale. I’m lucky the game ended when it did, as one more turn would have dropped me into second place. In any case, I really enjoyed myself, as I always do when I play Food Chain Magnate.
Twice as Clever
After dinner and a fire, we returned for an evening of casual, open gaming. The first game that got pulled out was Twice as Clever, the second in the That’s Pretty Clever line of games. I’ve only played That’s Pretty Clever a paltry handful of times, as roll and write games generally don’t light my world on fire.
If you know how to play the first one, you’re 80% there on Twice as Clever. The active player rolls all three die, chooses one to place on their scorepad, take the action corresponding with the colour and value of the die, move any die with a value lower than the die they took onto the platter, then roll the remaining die. They continue this until they have 3 dice on their sheet. Then, all the inactive players may choose one of the rejected die and make a mark on their own sheets. A round consists of each player having a turn being the active player, and the game concludes after 4 rounds.
One of the trademark features of a roll and write game is triggering cascading combos. Marking one thing off your sheet that lets you make another mark over here, which gives you this bonus, and that lett’s you do this thing… you get the idea. Twice as Clever does that very well, and it’s an absolutely fine game, but it’s not one that I would ever see myself reaching for again. Inactive players sit and stare at the dice they want while the active player ponders their own pad, then that blue 5 you desperately needed gets re-rolled. If you enjoy roll and write games, I think this will be a hit, it does all the things you expect from this genre of games, but like I said before, these games just don’t excite me.
Race for the Galaxy (x2)
Before anyone says anything, I only own the base game of Race for the Galaxy, and I love it. I’ve heard the expansions are pretty rad, and I’ve dabbled a bit on Board Game Arena, but I’m pretty content with the base game.
Bear on the otherhand, had vauge memories of distaste for this game, so this was finally the opportunity to re-teach the game to him, in a safe, welcoming environment.
Race for the Galaxy is an action selection tableau bilding game designed by Tom Lehmann. It’s often critisized on being brutally difficult to teach. Luckily, 3 of the 4 of us already knew how to play, so I could focus all my attention on teaching Bear.
I spent the bulk of the teaching time showing him how to read the iconography, as every card is laden with icons. The downside of this approach is it repells new players. The plus side of the iconography is once you know how to read the language, you can parse a lot of information very quickly.
We played twice in a row at Bear’s request, which is fairly unusual for our group. We’re very much a ‘play it once and move on’ kind of table. After the second game Bear had warmed up to the system and was able to find the joy in the game (probably because it was the first game he won all weekend). I suspected it would, as he’s a big fan of other tableau building games such as Terraforming Mars and Ark Nova.
Hopefully with this revelation, Race for the Galaxy will hit our table with much more frequency.
The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
To cap off the night, another space game. Much like last night, our brains were pretty fried from the long weekend of heavy games. We played 10 rounds or so and lost 8 in a row. One day we’ll be less tired and more successful, but it won’t be this day!
And thus ends Day 3! Day 4 will only contain two short games, but will also have my concluding thoughts on throwing a cabin-con!