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Giving people what they want: violence and sloppy eating

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Christmas games, including FANGing
mini me + poo
lovingboth


FANGing

City of Horror

You're three people by a 'crossroads' (actually, it's a t-junction) in a US town. Problem one is that the zombie apocalypse has happened, and so are lots of zombies. There are places to hide and things to do, but problem two is that there are several other groups of people there too, they are also interested in surviving until the helicopters arrive to rescue you and not everyone is going to make it through the night.

It's noticeably a US game. The board is bigger and more ornate than it needs to be, you don't do much each turn, and there's a problem with the way that who wins comes down to the very final action, so most of the previous hour doesn't matter. This happened in the one I played (almost won but..) and the other ones played that afternoon.

High Society

I thought I had a copy of this Knizia game, but it looks like it must be a self-made copy. You have about twelve cards with various amounts on, from one to twenty-five million. Each turn, an item card becomes available. Everyone can bid, but you can only add cards to your bid, so you can only up your bid by one million if you've still got the one million money card left in your hand etc. For good cards, once everyone but one has passed, everyone except the winner gets their cards back. For the couple of bad item cards, the player who passes gets their cards back (but gets the bad item card) and everyone else pays.

At a semi-random point, when the last of one sort of item card turns up, you stop. The player with the least money left loses, then the player with the highest value set of items wins.

We had two games of this - it's quick - and I won both. Don't be the player with the least amount of money left :) and do be the one with a 'double the total value' card doubling a hand with at least one high value item...

Metropolys

A French company have done some interesting but typically over complicated games. This is the one that's simpler. You've got a city with five districts, separated by a river system. Each district is made up of five different sorts of areas: industrial, parks, etc. (What they are doesn't matter - only the colour is important.) You have 13 numbered wooden towers, 1-5 short, 6-9 medium height and 10-13 tall. Someone puts one of them 'number up' in an area. The next player can then pass or place, again number side up, a higher numbered tower in a vacant adjacent area. Continue until everyone passes or there are no such areas. That tower is built (and turned number side down) and everyone gets their unbuilt towers back. The builder then places the next starter. Repeat until someone builds all their towers. As the board fills up, it becomes more important to win the building, because there are more and more spaces where you can guarantee winning - even with your lowest number towers - because there are no vacant adjacent areas...

There are two versions for how you score the results, and we played an unofficial version of the more complicated one. Everyone gets a card with one of the colours: you get two points per building built on one of that colours. Everyone also gets a card with a harder target with a varying bonus for each one you achieve (surrounding a 'statue' corner = 7, because it's very easy to stop someone doing it, while 'three in a district' = 3, because it's easy to do) and we played that everyone got that bonus. There's also a five point bonus for having the highest building in each of the five districts.

I came second of four, I think. The winner cleaned up by getting bonuses for surrounding lakes and three buildings in a district and three buildings in a row = scoring three times for the same three buildings.

I want a copy of this.

Tower of Babel

Another Knizia. There are eight wonders of the world that need constructing. Each requires three sets of things to be built, each of which is shown on a token showing between four and six of one of four suits of cards. (An option is to use some that need two of one suit and three of another.) In your turn, you have two options: 'pass' = you pick up a card from the top of the (face down) deck and.. 'then everyone picks up a card' - so you get two and everyone else gets one - or attempt to build something.

You announce what, and then everyone else can make an offer of cards to help. You examine their offers and can accept any, all, or none of them. You do have to accept the whole of any offer, no going 'Oh, you're offering four, but I only need two, so...'! Everyone who offered a useful card you didn't accept gets a victory point per card. Two things will then happen: you have enough to build via what's in your hand plus the offers or you don't.

If you don't, nothing happens, except that 'then everyone picks up a card'. You'd have been better off passing: you'd have an extra card and people with rejected offers wouldn't have won victory points.

If you did, then everyone whose cards were used to build it put one piece per card on the wonder to reflect how much they did, and you get the token... unless someone whose offer you accepted also used their trader card. In that case, you get 'their' pieces (so you will place more of them) and they get the token. This means you can only accept one offer involving a trader card (you can't split a token), which adds to the strategic options.

Once the third token is 'built', the wonder is finished, and scored. The person who has the most pieces on the wonder gets most points, second most gets fewer and everyone else with at least one gets three. The first wonder to finish is not particularly valuable (you'd score more if it were unfinished at the end, in fact) but as more are finished, they are worth more and more points. The game finishes when the last of one 'set' of tokens is finished, so there will always be at least three tokens unbuilt = no more than seven will be completed, probably less. You score uncompleted wonders as if they were the second completed one, then there are bonuses if you have more than one token of any colour.

I won this one, somewhat to my surprise. I had hoped to get sets of tokens for the bonuses but in the end had zero points for them, and expected to lose to the people who had 20-30 points worth. What I did have was lots of small points for rejected offers - if you have six cards of the required suit, offering them all means you either get lots of pieces to claim first place in the completed wonder points or six victory points and you get to keep the cards. I also made sure I had at least one piece on every wonder = worth a minimum of 24 points. Being the only player on one of the uncompleted wonders (only one token had been built, and I'd either done the lot or accepted a 'trader' offer) helped too.

I'd certainly play it again, but I am not sure I'd buy a copy because some of the production choices are odd. Everyone has a chunky wooden column, and you're supposed to move these around to reflect the turn order... except that they're always in the same order. As printed, the game has bonus cards for people completing a wonder, but a) the designer suggests you don't use them (so we didn't) and b) none of them change the order either. Why spend two paragraphs talking about how to move them around when just saying play proceeds clockwise would do? The board is bigger than it needs to be too.

Ice Flow

You are trying to get your explorers across the Bering Strait. To do this, they will need to hop onto ice flows, possibly using rope to get across crevasses. Rope is also used to get fish, used for energy to swim across single sea spaces or to distract the polar bears. The ice also moves, with currents alternating between north and south. It's Frogger, basically, with very nice components.

I lost this one, because I ended up running out of rope. No rope = no fish, and you're stuck hoping that another player leaves some rope on your ice flow(s) or that a new one with some rope/fish comes by. Had we been playing to get all three explorers in your team across, rather than just two, there might have been time, but we weren't and there wasn't...

Good game, and it was my copy.

Not FANGing

Colosseum

An adaptation of another game, Princes of Florence, it turns out. There, you're creating art. Here, you're putting on spectacles in ancient Rome over five turns. You have a stadium, plans for a fourth class and third class spectacle, and a small cast. Each turn, you start by improving the stadium or planning a bigger spectacle (which may require expanding your stadium first). A new set of batches of cast members is then auctioned off... and not everyone may succeed in getting a batch. You then move one or more of the Emperor, a couple of Censors and three Senators around, preferably into your stadium or onto a space that gets a bonus (being able to attract more people / move someone / make money / make two improvements in a turn). You then put on your show. If you don't have the complete cast, it will be worth less. You make money for later turns for each point you score. Once everyone has done that, someone who was in the show quits, and the player in last place gets to steal someone from the player in first place.

The winner is the person who puts on the best single show, not the best series of shows: only your best show counts.

Somewhat to my amazement, I won this one, just. My plan was to put on the best possible show. I didn't have the complete cast (something that turns out to be almost impossible to get with five players), but that'd be ok. Actually looking :) it turned out that the drop off for an incomplete cast on the biggest shows is huge and it'd be almost worthless. Ah. Different shows require different mixes of cast, and there was almost nothing with a similar mix - I had plenty of gladiators and horses, as well as a few odd others, but almost everything else needed, at best, gladiators or horses. Fortunately, there was just one show that made sense, the best second class show. And with one item missing and various bonuses that was - by one point - enough.

It's nice, but I think I want the original.

Pitchcar

Two rounds of this, and I won both. The second time by a millimetre or two. The even better news is that L thinks it is worth buying.

Moviemaker

I've had this for almost forty years, but haven't played it in decades. It's a 'roll the dice and move the dobber' game, but I had good memories of it. You're trying to make films. You need a script (epics are worth the most, horror the least), a director (four classes), a female and male lead (each specialises in certain genres) and a number of locations (more for epics, fewer for horror). You get these by.. landing on the right squares and being lucky. You get money by having completed films and passing 'go' or.. landing on the right squares. You can get problems by.. landing on the wrong squares.

It's going on eBay. It's nicely produced and you do have some control over your fate, but not nearly enough.

Boomtown

Another one I've had for ages - this was an early (1990) attempt (by Games Workshop co-founder Ian Livingstone) to do a 'German' game in the UK. You're developing a town with six areas. In a turn, everyone builds two houses somewhere, then everyone builds a small 'feature', then another two houses, then a big feature. Not all features are good :) so you want the park where your houses are and the abattoir where they aren't. If someone else wants to build a nasty where you are, you can veto one feature a turn. At the end, you work out whether your houses are in good areas or bad and score accordingly.

I won, but if it was actually worth anything, it'd be heading to eBay. It's a good theme, but as printed the result depends on getting one more house in an area than others in good areas and one fewer in bad ones. How to make it better? Hmm...

(Oops, I didn't get the cut tag right first time - sorry!)

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/488058.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

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