Thursday, 24 July 2014

Dextrous Delights

A flurry of dexterity games this week down the pub - mainly down to James bringing a bag full of such things. Villa Palleti, Hamsterrolle, Loopin' Louie, Animal upon Animal and Riff Raff were the fat fingered fumblers that got played, of which I have no idea who won what.

Riff Raff - Balance goods on a sea rocked ship
Villa Paletti - Remove your columns to build upper floors
Loopin' Louie was an unexpected visitor - it can be tricky to get your hands on - and is one of those kids games that has found favour with the board gaming cognoscenti. Or maybe it's all just an excuse to play with toys. Unfortunately they played it so quick I failed to get a shot of it - if you've never seen it, a guy in an aircraft buzzes around trying to steal your chickens. You can prevent this with a well timed flick that makes him jump your chickens and hopefully land on someone elses - or if you are James, back onto yourself to steal your last clucker. Childish and fun. If you are interested in it, and can't lay your hands on the original AND you are passing one of their shops, then there's a carbon copy of it being sold in Smyths.

Galaxy Trucker -The big III ships ply the space lanes
Betrayal at House on the Hill, Galaxy Trucker, Hegemonic and Hansa Teutonica were the non dexterity 'main' games being played in the evening, with Mr Bond taking a largely newbie or near newbie Hansa crowd upstairs to impress them with his cube shuffling skills. Punk Rich, the only seasoned vet tumbled to fourth position - not sure what was going on there - whilst Mr Bond crushed all before him to win the prize of being painted in period costume on the box of the next germanic historical Euro.

Galaxy Trucker had a fairly disastrous run, quite a few ships disappeared into the void never to return - fun fact, a rule that sometimes gets missed, a player can be a spoilsport and drop out of the race at any point to cut their losses... - but as ever the game went down well.

Hegemonic was a new visitor to the Ribs - a 4x space game, something of a more Euro-ified less sexy looking Eclipse. Pete reckons I did a poor job of selling the game with this description, but I think it's accurate.

Hegemonic - a space based 4x
Hegemonic is a 2-6 player game that sees each player exploring out into the galaxy to exploit political, industrial or military bases of power. The power bases present asymmetrical conflict possibilities, with each having different rules for where, how and what strength an attack will be. The game has no resources other than cash and very much comes down to what kind of power you can project or defend with, timing of actions and what technologies you have to help you along.

More than anything the game presents area control gameplay, the fairly large number of permutations between how each power overlaps with others giving a reasonable amount of depth to play.

Unlike Eclipse there are no dice in Hegemonic - conflicts are determined by strength of factors on the table and a single played card from your hand ( a la Game of Thrones et al ). So combat is far less open to RNG shenanigans. Also, tile exploration is performed from a pool of known tiles - another reduction in randomness from Eclipse - so gameplay is much tighter ( which might be as much a curse as it is a boon for those that like perfect information games ). Conflicts - particularly when player count rises can quickly become chaotic and are tricky to judge or time correctly. I have a fear that the game could devolve at points into single power base exploitation and popularity contests, but I haven't played it enough to see if that plays out.

Animals Animals aka, what I do with meeples when bored
waiting for someone to take their turn
There's not a lot of time to faff about with the game, the end game timer is pretty brutal, and a mis-step or two can easily cost you the end game. Nice game, interesting conflict dynamics - suffers a bit from inconsistent clunky rules in places ( not helped by subtle typos that change the meaning of sentences ), a lot of plays I fear might reduce the game to a fairly binary set of strategy choices.

Avalon Resistance finished off the evening for those not playing Hegemonic - a straight good guy win in the first round, with Luke as Merlin being just as quickly assassinated to turn it into a bad guy win, followed by a much more tricky five round game where the bad guys tipped for the win. Two wins for the bad guys.
Numbers - a very laid back 19 this week.


James Mapp said...

Villa Paletti is a dex game based on Greek construction law. You start with a nice solid building (or you would if it was played on a decent table) and the foundations gradually get removed to create construction materials used to build higher.

Each turn a player has two options. either roll the dice and remove a piece of that colour from the foundations and place it on the highest level. of place a new 'floor' supported by at least three pillars on the next level. There is a little hook to help with pillar removal but frankly on te wonky table it didnt help much.

James Mapp said...

Animal upon animal is a favourite with my 3yr old. each player has a set of animals and each turn has to roll a dice which tells them what to do. place 1 or 2 of their animals on the stack (started with a croc) in the middle, place a new piece to make the base longer, give a piece to someone else who has to place it, or the other players pick a piece for you to place (from your supply). meant for kids you are meant to keep only two of the animals that fall off, but we kept all of them.