Solstice Kickstarter Preview

charactersGrant Rodiek designer of Cry Havoc, Hocus, and Druids has a cool little card game up on kickstarter right now. Solstice is a game that combines card drafting, limited information, and deception in a cool and unique way. The final artwork by John Ariosa is gorgeous and really sells the theme.

Solstice is a tense strategy card game for 2-4 players that plays in 30 minutes. The game is inspired by the classic novel Dune, written by Frank Herbert. Players represent factions vying for control of an interstellar empire. Both bold play and subtlety will be needed to navigate the “wheels within wheels” intrigue of this homage to Herbert’s universe.

I first grabbed the PnP files from Grant via twitter and proceeded to play a few rounds. The actual gameplay is simple but fully understanding the strategy is deceptively intriguing. What I think will really make this game interesting is that due to the way it plays strategies could vary quite a bit as you have to learn to read the players you are playing  nearly as much as you have to read the cards.

you can back the cards only standard edition or a deluxe edition which comes with cool wood tokens.

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Cards are the same for both editions, Deluxe edition adds the tokens.

The game is live on Kickstarter and a good deal I think. If you want to try before you buy the rules and PnP files can be found on the games BGG page.

Trade & Troll Preview

Trade & Troll is a game for 2-6 players designed by Emanuele Buffagni and Giulio Torlai with Art from Monica Bauleo. The game is published by Good & Evil Games and should live on Kickstarter April 25th. The game is a clever take on economic games that uses tile laying and route building to create a production engine. The rules are simple and easy to learn while still providing players with a framework to make some interesting choices.

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Set Up

Place closed road tiles on the board in the configuration for your player count, shuffle the building tiles (Resource, Stall, and Market) separately and make 3 stacks next to the board. Turn over 5 tiles from the Resource, Stall, and Market stacks, these are available to purchase. Each player receives 12 merchant meeples and a troll bag, 1 randomly chosen resource tile, 1 road tile (except the last player), and 5 coins. In turn players place a building with a meeple to indicate ownership and a road with the last player placing only a building.

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Game Play

Each game round is divided into 3 phases:

1. Troll Auction

This phase is skipped during the first round. At the beginning of the troll action the number of coins a player has is open knowledge. Players then take their coins in hand, secretly decide on a bid and reveal the bid once all the players are ready. The player who wins the auction gets a victory point token, the acquisition token and the Troll meeple, in the case of a tie no one receives any rewards. All players then put the coins they bid into their Troll Bag, once in the bag the number of coins is no longer open to the other players. At the end of the game the player with the most coins in their Troll Bag will score 3 victory points and second place will score 1 victory point.
The winning player places the troll either on an intersection to block the flow of resources or on a building to prevent it from being activated. They also place the acquisition token in front of them, this means in the next round they cannot bid on the Troll.

2. Player Actions

Players will take 2 actions (1 action at a time) from the following possible actions:

Buy and Place a Building

Buy and Place a road

Both these actions are pretty self explanatory, buy either a building tile (resource, Stall or Market) or a road tile and put it on the board according to the placement rules.

Activate a Building

This is the heart of your engine, this is how you will gain your points and win the game. On their turn a player can activate any building that has not been previously activated this round. A resource can always be activated as it has no dependency, A stall must have a clear path to the resources it requires (indicated by the colours on it’s borders), and a market must be connected to stalls of the correct type. The resources or stalls you use to activate your stalls or markets don’t need to be your own buildings you can rent buildings from other players but this will cost you 2 coins.

Activated buildings score the following amounts:

Resources – 2 Coins
One Resource Stalls – 5 Coins
Two Resource Stalls – 7 Coins
Markets – 12 Coins

Once you have activated a building you lay the merchant meeple down to indicated that it cannot be activated again this round.

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3. End of Round

This is the clean up phase. The first player token moves to the left, merchant meeples are stood up, and the Troll is removed from the board if he is there.
These 3 phases are repeated round after round until the number of free spaces for buildings is equal to or less than the number of players once this happens it triggers the end game sequence. Finish the current round and then play 2 final rounds skipping the Troll Auction phase in these rounds.

Once the final two rounds are player or all the building spaces are filled players complete the final scoring. You score victory points for all buildings that could be activated (resources 1vp, stalls 2vp, markets 7vp) any placed buildings that could not be activated subtract these values, coins give the players 1 victory point for every 10 coins, and final score the troll bags 3 victory points for the player with the most coins in their troll bag and 1 vp for second.

Components and Art

I won’t speak to the quality of the components of Trade & Troll as the version I played was a print and play copy that I printed and assembled myself but I can say that the images I have seen of the design look promising. Monica Bauleo’s art is colourful and interesting but shouldn’t distract from easily analysing the current situation on the board. The design of the building tiles with the coloured borders will make reading the resource type or requirement clear and concise. I look forward to playing a production copy

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Final Thoughts

I enjoyed all my plays of Trade & Troll. The game was easy to learn and to teach, the tile laying and route building is intuitive and familiar but still feels like a fresh implementation of these mechanics. Going into the game I wasn’t sure how the troll auction would play into what appeared to be a straight forward economic game but I really liked how it added player interaction. The scoring of the coins in the troll bag was also a great incentive to get people to bid even if winning the troll auction wasn’t their end goal. I played mostly 2 player but also a few 3 player games and I feel the game felt good at all counts but the sweet spot is probably around 3-4 players. Overall the game is a solid little resource management, economic euro that almost has a pick up and deliver feel without the pick up. If you like games where you build a nice little engine to score points this game is worth keeping an eye on Kickstarter for.

Old School Cool : Snorta!

Le Zellers près de mon travail en avait plein à l’époque où ils ont fermé. J’aurais du en acheter une dizaine.

Développé vers la fin des années 90, édité à l’origine par Out of the Box (éditeur de Apples to Apples) en 2004, le jeu est passé chez Mattel pour une sortie grand public en Anglais en 2007.img_2281

Le contenu du jeu est simple:

  • Un sac en tissu rempli de petite figurines d’animaux
  • Huit petites granges
  • Un paquet de cartes représentant les même animaux

On distribue tout les cartes au joueurs (de 4 à 8) et chacun les places dans un paquet sans les avoir regardé. Chaque joueur pige un animal du sac et le place devant lui.

Et c’est ici que ça devient intéressant: chaque joueur, a tour de rôle, doit imiter le cri de son animal. On le refait une deuxième fois après avoir placé la petite grange au dessus de son animal pour le caché. À partir de ce moment, plus personne ne peut voir les animaux des autres joueurs et doit essayer de se rappeler le cri de chaque joueur.

À tout de rôle, chaque joueur tourne la première carte de son paquet et la place devant lui de façon à ce que TOUT le monde voit la carte en même temps. C’est très important pour éviter la triche!

Il est inévitable que le jeu arrivera à un point où deux joueurs auront la même carte. À ce moment, ces joueurs doivent tenter de faire le cri de l’animal de l’autre joueur en premier. Celui qui réussi donne sa pile de cartes déjà révélée au “perdant”.

Le jeu continue jusqu’à ce qu’un joueur se débarrasse de toute ces cartes.

La beauté du jeu vient de sa simplicité. Les règles sont simple donc tout le monde peut y jouer. Mais il est impossible de ne pas éclater de rire à regarder un autre joueur s’efforcer de se rappeler de l’animal de son adversaire et passer à travers la liste complète des animaux.

Le seul point négatif du jeu est la difficulté à se le procurer. Introuvable à l’achat neuf, il reste quand même relativement dur à trouver en usagé. Cela ne change en rien son prix qui reste abordable. Avec un peu d’effort, on peut le trouver à moins de 30$.

Je le recommande fortement à ceux qui ont le rire facile et qui n’ont pas peur d’un peu de ridicule.

The 10 X 10 challenge

The 10×10 challenge is fairly new in the board gaming community. It originated on BGG when Sarah Reed, one of the hosts of the wonderful podcast Our Turn! and co-designer of Project Dreamscape, was getting into the hobby and like many of us was getting drawn into the cult of the new. She came up with the 10×10 as a remedy, I reached out to Sarah and here is her story of how the 10×10 came about:

I wanted to play a new game every time we sat down, but I was always so frustrated at learning so many new rules and not remembering them months later when we sat down for a second play of a game. So near the end of 2013, I was chatting with some ladies in the Women & Gaming forum on Board Game Geek about my frustrations and how I wanted to focus on learning a game better and really getting into the strategy of it.

In December 2013, I created a GeekList with some really general guidelines on how to join the Play 10 Board Games 10 Times Each Challenge. My friends from the Women & Gaming forum joined in, which was like 10 people. And then 20 other people joined in. Then 50 more people joined. And they started asking questions to clarify the rules of the challenge. And then 100 more people joined. It just exploded and suddenly I was running a huge challenge where I was officiating what was acceptable and what was not. It totally blew my mind! I had hit upon something that really resonated with others – getting burnt out by the cult of the new.

I can certainly relate to this sentiment. I have felt the pressure to play the latest and greatest, to not get left behind, in the fast paced world of board game fandom it can be easy to feel left out if you haven’t played the games on the hotness meter. I still love getting my hands on some new and highly anticipated game, I love learning and playing new games but I have learned that this shouldn’t come at the expense of really digging into and savouring games.

I first read about the 10×10 on BGG but noticed it has spread to the Reddit boardgame community this year and I really got inspired to try when I started using BG Stats to track my plays. BG Stats is a neat little app that allows you to track plays, scores and other data about your gaming but it also has a add-on that will let you set a variety of challenges for yourself like the 10×10. The 10×10 challenge really struck a chord with me, I decided I would choose games that I really want to dig into for a variety of reasons like exploring their depth and studying deeper strategy, they are games I can get quality time with my kids with, or they are games that allow me some great one on one time with my spouse. I think I got a good mix of games:

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My 10×10 Challenge in the BG Stats app

Since I filled my list with games that I know the people I game with the most like to play, I have no plans to substitute any of these games but I also have no need to label it as hardcore (when you pick 10 games and cannot alter those choices). I don’t see the point in taking something I love and do for leisure and turning into another stress in my life but others may want to challenge themselves.

Now if you have been in the hobby for a while it probably isn’t too hard for you to realistically pick ten games that you could see yourself playing ten times and that you would have the opportunity to do so in the span of a year but if you are a newer gamer Sarah has some tips on getting started so you can get the most out of the challenge:

  1. If this is your first time doing the challenge, stick to the normal challenge. Keep track of plays, let it go mostly natural to 10 plays of 10 games. Just guide it towards the conclusion
  2. Make sure you own the game. Don’t include KS games you don’t have as they are always late. And don’t use your friend’s copy because you never know when they’ll move or sell off the game
  3. If you have a gaming group or gaming partner you’ll be relying on to do the challenge, get them involved in picking games. They’ll be more likely to want to help you finish
  4. If it becomes a chore to do, stop doing the challenge. Or if you’re doing hardcore, downgrade to normal. This is supposed to be fun. There are enough chores in life without adding one that doesn’t need to be one.

I believe that the 10×10 challenge is a great addition to the board game community. It is a great tool for getting people to think about and possibly change their gaming habits. I think that each person’s 10×10 can have a variety of themes or goals. I’ve stated my goals yours might be to learn and master 10 train games, or to get in a lot of plays of gateway games, or play only 2 player games with your spouse or partner for quality time, the reasons go on and on as to why I think a 10×10 challenge can only help to deepen ones love and appreciation of board games.

I’ll leave you with some more words form Sarah as to what she has appreciated from the growth and acceptance of the 10×10 challenge in our community.

I was so happy with how many people enjoyed my challenge! My favorite part is hearing how positively the challenge has affected people. It’s brought families together, it’s saved unplayed games from being sold before being given a chance and it’s reinvigorated people’s love of the hobby.

Old School Cool : Il n’y a pas que le culte du neuf

On m’a demandé de participer à ce blog. J’ai dit oui tout de suite, en tant qu’amateur de jeux de société, n’importe quelle opportunité d’en parler est la bienvenue.

Sauf que… de quoi je vais parler ? C’est facile autour d’une table de parler pendant des heures de jeux. C’est différent avec un groupe qui suit et qui fait partie de l’actualité du jeux. J’aurais du y réfléchir avant de m’ouvrir la trappe!

Après avoir longuement réfléchi en faisant les cent pas dans ma salle de jeu et à regarder ma collection, j’en suis venu a la conclusion que mes jeux couvrent une période beaucoup plus longue que bien des gens qui commencent à s’intéresser aux jeux de société moderne.

Pour chaque jeux récent et encensé par la critique, des dizaines passent inaperçu. Pire encore, des centaines de jeux plus vieux sont vite oublié pour passer à la prochaine nouveauté. Et y’a rien de mal à ça! Les nouveaux jeux utilisent souvent d’ancienne mécaniques ou concepts et les améliorent. On a tous la piqûre du culte du neuf et moi même j’en suis victime.

Donc dans ce blog, j’aimerais vous parler de jeux qui ont un certain âge, mais qui sauront piqué votre curiosité au même point qu’un jeu fraîchement sorti.

Les règles sont les suivantes:

  • Chaque jeu présenté doit avoir été édité pour la première fois il y a au moins 10 ans.
  • Doit être relativement facile à se procurer. Évidemment, c’est relatif donc au moins 10 copies disponible sur le Geek Market de BGG sera utilisé comme barème.
  • Ne pas faire partie des jeux de type “gateway” ou extrêmement populaire. Ticket to Ride est sorti en 2004. Je pense qu’on a pas vraiment besoin d’écrire à propos de ces jeux la.
  • Le jeu doit être le fun!

Si vous avez des idées de jeux à suggérer qui correspondent à ces critères, n’hésitez pas à m’en faire part et je me ferai un plaisir de trouvé une copie pour l’essayer.

The Bead Game

The Bead Game was fully funded on Indiegogo in November 2016 and should be shipping to backer in April 2017. The campaign introduces us to the Bead Game or Gaming Station like this:

This is a gaming station that allows you to play over 100 games straight from one compact set. You can discover a wide variety of historic and traditional board games, as well as rich set of dice and paper and pen games – all from cultures around the world. In fact, you can add game variations or invent a new game rules by using Game Canvas on web App today at www.beads.games

This system gives players all the parts and pieces needed to play over 100 traditional games like Checkers, Senet, Mancala, Nine Men’s Morris, Queah, and more. Now a box of beads and some boards to play ancient board games is not new and can be found at many big box stores and discount retailers but what I think is quite interesting with this project is the app integration. I am not a fan of apps that are required to play a game but this is different. This is like the open source movement in information technology. The game canvas app will not only allow users to find new games to play and rate them but it will give them the tools to create variations of games or entirely new games using a common set of components and to share them via the app with all the other users world wide.

Others in the To Die For crew had some concerns about how the game would work with colour blind users and would have like a little more of a tutorial about the game play of some of the standard games but they agreed that the concept itself was interesting.

While I don’t think this will appeal to a wide margin of the Board Game community that are looking for more modern Euro or American games. I could see this appealing to those that enjoy abstract games and to people that want a tool kit to tinker with design and want a base of play testers.

 

** To Die For Games was approached by Adepts Creative to preview this game**

2p: Patchwork

Two player only games have a bit of a stigma in the board gaming community, but I think this is changing as gamers realise that playing epic games of Twilight Imperium 3 or Battlestar Galactica isn’t all there is to the hobby.  Personally, I have really gotten into two player games in the last couple of years. The big change for me was that I really started to focus on getting some playtime in with my spouse. I was tired of trying to only game around my family’s schedule and wanted to work it into our schedule. My first step into this world was the wonderful little take on Agricola that is Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small but the real break through was Uwe Rosenberg’s Patchwork.
Patchwork is an excellent introductory  game because of its whimsical theme, familiar Tetris like shapes, and abstract game play. It is not nearly as daunting as some heavily themed, rule heavy games like my favourite 2p game Twilight Struggle.

Now I am far from the first to mention the greatness of Patchwork. In fact, if you ask any board gamer for an easy to teach and fun game to introduce someone to the world of 2p games then invariably you will get told to buy Patchwork. This is why I want to start off this series exploring 2p games with what I agree is the perfect place to start.

Patchwork is simple to teach.  Players take turns choosing pieces to fill their grid. There are 3 factors to consider on each piece. 

1. How many buttons will it cost to take the piece?

2. How much time will the piece cost on the timer track?

3. How much income will that piece generate in further turns?

Despite the simplicity of the game, Patchwork has some real meat to it and plenty of strategic and interesting choices.  This is what I think makes it so spectacular. Simple to teach, easy to learn, hard to master, and quick enough to play several rounds in an evening. 

Gone quiltin' #boardgames #bgg

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