Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Rich wins first Arcadia outing

And so it begins. One point separated 1st from 2nd in last nights ‘Die Baumeister Von Arkadia’ A first play for Rachel, Rich and Kat. Luke did the rules session and the game flowed fairly well. The game is incredibly simple, has a certain degree of depth and plays relatively quickly (provided you play with the right crowd). We zoomed through our game with Rich edging out Luke by the smallest of margins. The way scoring is calculated you would expect a variety of scores but it was tight between 1st and 2nd and tight between 3rd and forth with Kat getting the bronze medal and Rachel being left with the wooden spoon.

The game involves building a town around a central castle. Players have two choices either play a card which places a building on the board or play workers from behind your screen around a building already on the board. When a building is completed (completely surrounded by workers and or other buildings), that building is scored, all owned workers adjacent score a medal with a bonus medal going to the player who instigated the completion. When any building is completed you add a tower to the central castle. Twenty towers can be added before the end game is triggered. Each tower has a colour of a medal on its top and all medals are worth the value of visible tower tops. You have four opportunities (+final scoring at the very end) to cash in the medals you have collected taking this opportunity at the end of any of your turns. Thus the game takes on a second and interesting element of choosing the correct tower from the available store and placing it in such a way as to maximise you imminent cash-in or minimise somebody elses.

I would like to play this ‘two player’ as the biggest problem I have with the game is not being able to set yourself up with a good play. You have to rely on others leaving you opportunities as any manoeuvring you make for future gain is soon utilised by one of your opponents. I enjoyed yesterdays outing immensely because everybody (including myself) played openly. We each left loose ends and each had loose ends available come out turn. The only other time this game was played (Tom, Andy, Matt and me) we also played openly first time (good game) but then in an immediate second play we all tried to be far more tactical. This slowed the game right down from 45 minutes to double that of nearly ninety minutes. The game became much less fun as a lot more analysis and calculations took place.

I am becoming a bigger a bigger fan of RĂ¼diger Dorn, who along with this designed Jambo, Traders of Genoa, Goa and Louis XIV. He has developed games of different weights and complexities but all his creations I have played I have bought and intend on keeping. A few more plays of Arcadia are needed by me before I decide how great this game is, but it is definitely a keeper, if not only for the fact that in 3 plays Crocker has only won once.

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