The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Initial thoughts on Spacecorp: Ventures

leave a comment »

After finally reading the rules and playing a solitaire game (session report on BGG).

The good:

  • Corps have differences! 10 corps that can be played solitaire, and 4 more that are multi-player only. I haven’t examined them but the one I played (“Ahead of the Curve”) gets to go first (instead of second, as is normal in solitaire), and a free genetics or revelation step each era, and maybe a free turn (in Era II) or two (in Era III) once certain conditions are met. But this company only has two infrastructure slots, not three and can’t play edge cards! So big differences. (Each corp also may differ on number of teams and which cards they start with).
  • There are four “enemy” HQs with their own rules (although you only have one in play). Each solo HQ has a suggested enemy, but if you swap them out that’s 40 combinations, a nice jump up from “each company is the same.”
  • The bot is better, but still not great in Era III.
  • There is a (random) eighth contract, so the contracts vary a bit each game.

Looking forward to trying this multi-player.

Update — Looking at the scores by Era (~10, ~36, ~100) I was mulling how the game is basically all the final era I was thinking “So, in the future we have FTL travel but we forgot compound interest?”(Not a big deal, just an amusing thought).

Update II — Played a second solo game with some tweaks and lost, but it was reasonably tense.

Written by taogaming

January 15, 2022 at 8:35 pm

Posted in Reviews

Tagged with

Coloma Review

with one comment

Has it really been over a decade since I coined the term JASE?

Yup.

I guess they are still popular. So, perhaps I should update the term to “Yet Another Soulless Euro.” Our subject for the day is Coloma. Take Adel Verpflichtect’s simultaneous action selection, but make it slightly more care-bear-y (if too many people go to your area, you don’t get a bonus action) and less interesting. Throw point salad scoring things, and a somewhat clever spinner that covers over one action each turn and …

Honestly, I don’t care. The mechanisms aren’t fresh. Unlike Adel’s fluid game, the fixed number of turns (and blocking spinner) combine to make everyone follow a same-y path. Suck it up and go to places when you know there will be no bonus, because it won’t be available next turn. I still remember a game of Adel where all five players went to the same action and did nothing (5 thieves?) four turns in a row. Tense, Everyone waiting for someone to jump ship.

JASE is bad enough, but there are plenty of head-scratchers in the design too. For example, the number of slots for people to place gunfighters to “Defend the town” doesn’t scale. With 4 players, you may wait an action or two to do it. With six, if you don’t get it on the on the first action, it’s gone. Even some players who went on the first action got blocked because of turn order. Let me repeat that.

Blocked. Based on Turn order. In a simultaneous selection game.

RatingAvoid.

P.S. I suspect Point Salad is JASE, so I haven’t played it. But I respect leaning into the theme.

Written by taogaming

December 27, 2021 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Reviews

Tagged with ,

Feierabend (Finishing Time aka Quitting Time)

I don’t always like Friedemann Friese’s games …. sometimes they infuriate me, but they rarely earn the dreaded “Just Another Soul-less Euro.” So I tried Feierabend tonight. First of all, the theme is a credit to Friedemann’s creativity. Anyone could have had the thought “Are the workers in the worker placement game happy and well treated? What if they weren’t?” and made a game of it; only Friedemann did. Thematically, you are planning your weekend ….workers are ‘recovered’ when they trudge back to the factory on Monday to go through their (70 hour) work week to earn tons of stress for little money. So I guess this is a “Relaxer Placement” game.

Mechanically, you take a turn and then choose whether to recover (return to work), which you must do if you have no workers left.

If you are incredibly stressed, the only relaxation you can stand is drinking (which costs money) or zoning out in front of the TV (which doesn’t, but isn’t as fun as the bar scene). You can also increase your stress on a side hustle (bartending) if you are desperate for cash. These three spots are unlimited and you can also mix and match between the three (and place up to three relaxers in front of the TV). The rest of the spaces follow the traditional rule that each meeple blocks a space until recovered.

Going to the carnival chills you out and can also find you a romantic partner (nice pink meeples). Once you have that, you can spend some coin for a date and a trip to the motel, which will definitely take the edge off (a local said that his 13 year olds blushing reaction this this rule was worth the price of the game). Some spaces require a romantic partner to open.

And you can also organize …. this gives you strike markers (which you naturally earn each time you go back to work). Those can be spent (instead of placing a relaxer) to improve working conditions by:

  • Increasing salary
  • Reducing the working hours (and therefore, stress) of a work week
  • Get the opportunity for paid vacations (you’ll still have to spend to take that trip to Ibeza … but if you spend twice as much to bring your date, it will be much better!)
  • Reducing the pay gap
  • And more community organizing (to increase the amount you earn each week)

Thematically, this is one of the most European games I’ve got …. Friedemann has designed the game for r/antiwork. Over the course of the game you’ll go from a 70 hour work week for a $5/week and go up to something like $10/week for 20 hours of work (or so). With vacations!

As a game, I think it works. Like many of the newer worker placement games, there’s a fluid place-retrieve cycle and this has several things that let people “get out of sync” with the crowd. The fact that you can place 2 or 3 workers at the bar/TV/side hustle, or zero workers when spending you strike tokens to improve working conditions gives you control. (You can also end the weekend early, at the cost of taking another week’s stress).

Game end is triggered when one player has gotten to enough of a chill state … then each player finishes their weekend (players who have nothing left to do just get an extra chill each turn they pass) and then go back to work one last time (and pay the associated stress).

Now — as far as I can tell, there is no randomness in the setup apart from start player and player order (later players do get some extra goodies to balance their start), so that means that its possible that there is a one true path to victory. And at its heart this is a “build $$ engine early, VP later” (where $$ means money/organization, etc). But even if there is a dominant strategy, then tactically the game should hold a fair amount of interest.

Could this get to fifty plays? I suppose so, although it would take some time. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a nickel or dime in the next few years.

RatingSuggest

PS — For Funny Friends, see also my follow-up to the above link.

Written by taogaming

November 29, 2021 at 9:17 pm

Alone in Arle

I traded for Fields of Arle last year in the middle of the pandemic (for real this time) … but upon opening the box I couldn’t actually summon the willpower to read the rules. They aren’t horrible, but I’d also just gotten and tried Caverna, proving that I’m a sucker. Anyway it’s a year later (ish) and I’ve managed to reclaim some gaming space away from the hordes of “work at home” computers. The TaoLing is off to college and on a day when the wife announced she had plans I decided to try some actual board game solitaire instead of more Slay the Spire or some other computer-based solitaire game.

And … you know what, Fields of Arle is yet another game in the Agricola line. Now I’m perfectly aware that the small subtle changes in rules (or costs) can have enormous impact on gameplay.

I just find myself not caring for this particular line.

Having (finally) read the rules, Arle may be a monstrously good 2 player game. You have winter and summer turns but the ability to the board seems tuned for 2 players. Letting a single worker (at most) place out-of-season at the cost of giving the opponent the start player next season seems brilliant. No family growth (etc) to unbalance things, lots of paths to score, the slight randomness in setup. I suspect it all works.

As a solitaire game I found it dull. In theory you could plot out all 9 seasons since there is no mid-game randomness. I don’t particularly enjoy doing really deep look-ahead, and given that the solitaire experience is … vaguely pointless? (Of course with two player you still have to look ahead, but its more a season or so. “I take space A, he probably takes B or C” etc. A real chess game — still a giant search tree, but I doubt that looking ahead a full game (or even three seasons) is feasible.

Rating (as a solo game) — Indifferent

Post-Script Debate Trigger — “Resolved: Uwe Rosenberg’s work has become self-derivative since Agricola.” (I really don’t want this to sound as harsh as it came out, but I don’t know a good way to say it).

I’m not actually sure where I stand on this. I like Agricola, generally liked the follow-on types (Le Havre suffered from a rather one dimensional route to victory, if I remember correctly) but the returns are definitely diminishing (even if not directly each time) and each game just feels like a different point-salad setting. Look at U.R.s first five games: Bohnanza, Bargain Hunter, Klunker, Mamma Mia, Babel. They don’t feel all the same (even if only one was a monster hit, they are all reasonably solid). Now it’s just “Variations on the theme of Worker Placement.” (I actually suspect that isn’t true, and that I’ve only noticed U.R.’s worker placement games, but … there sure are a lot of them).

I hope that Uwe invents another genre (even if it doesn’t catch on fire) instead of the Nth variation. Of course I must admit full culpability here … I’ve bought (or traded for) many of the Agricola style games, and none of the other ones. So I guess I should look in the mirror when placing blame.

Written by taogaming

November 13, 2021 at 5:25 pm

Posted in Reviews

Tagged with ,

Dyson Sphere Program Redux

My old laptop blew up, so I got a new computer. This coincided with a few weeks between jobs (I’m part of the “Great Resignation“), so I decided to revisit Dyson Sphere Program (see my earlier thoughts). According to steam (which tracks these things, and also has an annoying overlay that sometimes interferes with my game despite the fact I keep setting it to “No overlay”), I’ve played 60 hours (at roughly real time), so my current game is ~40 hours. I’m close to “the ending” (which isn’t actually building a dyson sphere, but done by solving the “Universal Matrix” (grand unifying theory of science in your Little Prince Universe, I guess). I’ve started the research, but — as happened with my first game of Factorio — I wasn’t really setup to grind out that much science, so its a slog to finish. (I need 4000 white science, which needs 4000 critical photons, which I’m generating at the rate of several per minute).

That being said, more thoughts:

  • The devs added copy/paste and blueprint functionality, which greatly enhances the gameplay experience. It isn’t perfect (by any means) but its much better than it was a year ago.
  • There are still sharp edges. Fractionators don’t use sorters but you run the belt directly through them, which is unlike anything else (etc). That threw me …. off to Reddit to look it up. Why are logistics not working? Off to reddit! (etc etc)
  • There are a few ‘fake intermediate’ products. (An intermediate product serves no intrinsic purpose but is necessary for other items, so Factorio has Green Circuits, Red Circuits, Blue Circuits, Engines, etc. Engines are used to make cars, trains, some science, and electric engines, which are used in robots. Green circuits are used in all simple electronics devices, etc). But DSP has intermediate products that are used in only one product, which creates ‘false complexity’ IMO. There are also some alternate recipes, but you typically can’t find the raw ingredients until you are well past the point of caring. And there are some intermediates you’ll need to make massive production, and often you can’t tell until you’ve played the game once or twice which is which.
  • The science timing doesn’t really work. When you unlock a science you can quickly (over an hour or so) knock out all of the upgrades/sciences that requires it. Then your science sits stagnate because the bottle neck is setting up production of the next science type (which has several intermediate steps) and also taking advantage of the new perks of the old science. To be fair, Factorio also suffers from this. (My suspicion is that upping the cost would drive off new players, but old hands and automation have ‘solved’ this). My last game of Factorio I played with 3x research costs, which made the game feel nicer. Not nothing …. nothing nothing … mad rush of all the new sciences … nothing nothing nothing….
  • The early game is too slow even on my second play through. Your construction drones are tediously slow.
  • The Dyson Swarm/Sphere editor is esoteric, to say the least and how you calculate energy received from it is complex enough that even the “pros” like Nialus need plenty of time to explain it.

DSP is still a good sandbox game. Once I finally “win” I will likely start a new game and try to build more effectively and use a Dyson Swarm (which I skipped) and finish a sphere. It’s not bad. But it could be much better.

DSP feels like it needs another “Bomb” in the game design sense (I don’t have the link to that original article anymore ….). A bomb is a sharp breakpoint, a game changer.

In Factorio, once you have construction robots, the ‘time cost’ of building stuff drops drastically! (Hurray!) So you can just double (or 10x) your smelting by copy/pasting. Of course you pay other costs of (power consumption, etc). But now the game isn’t about running around as much, you can slap down blueprints and let the bots do the tedious work. You get to design. But in DSP you start with construction bots that are horrendously slow and can improve them (both in speed and number). Your bombs are intra planetary logistics (don’t need belts), interplanetary logistics (necessary to build a multi-planet system) and finally interstellar logistics (by adding warpers).

But you are still have to layout belts and miners to collect resources (just as before) and you are still limited by your (admittedly faster and more numerous) drones. You never get a “bomb” technology something that says “Oh, your logistic towers will automatically mine an area around them if you get it.” So even after constructing a Dyson Sphere you still personally run around to slap down iron miners? (Maybe you have a blueprint to speed it up, but still).

In this game you can mine gas giants. There is literally nothing to do but go to it, fly around and place orbital stations that suck up gas. Each gas giant can have a maximum of 36 (??) they only go at the equator and have to be 10 degree apart (and they have no terrain etc). Maybe you can have 72. But I still have to fly to the gas giant and place them by hand. Why not just shoot them off at some point? After all, I can do that with the Dyson swarm/sphere. It feels like another fake interaction.

And I still sometimes miss planets when I fly. (Or run out of fuel halfway, which is basically just a restart from last save level of annoying)> Yes, you can go faster and faster (and ‘warp” between systems, but you have to aim/remember to fuel up. Where’s the “autopilot/teleporter?” bomb? Setting up the first colony is a 30s-3m flight (depending on how your solar system is set up) and then laying out miners/etc. Once you go interstellar, its the same thing, but your flight is covering light years, but sheesh, after the 10th time give me something that makes it automatic (or at least less painful).

Anyway, if this sounds like I don’t like DSP, that’s not right. It’s fun, and clever, but it just needs that polish and oomph to make it great. I don’t necessarily want to fight aliens (ala Factorio) but I want the experience to feel like it grows over time, not just “OK, grind it out.”

Rating Suggest (assuming you have a good graphics card), but I hope it gets better. I’ll probably get to 100 hours on this by the end of the year.

Update — Finished at 51 hours. A few more things that crossed my mind:

  • There are production charts (by planet or system or total) which are nice, but it would be good to have a measure of deliveries (like, this planet exported X units of Coal in the last 10 minutes). It’s tough to trace the logistics. The main reason I’m restarting is that I have no idea where anything is and too many haphazard builds. I spend ten minutes looking for my Titanium Steel setup (on the main world).
  • The ability to label the map (even with just icons) would be great. It was a huge add in Factorio.
  • Logistics bots would be nice, or even a “provider” chest where you could just drop your excess trash and it would get sorted back into the system (like a supply only intraplanetary post). But eventually stuff is so cheap you just throw away that excess steel you spent an hour setting up rather than run around to recycle it….that’s fine from a game design perspective but a bit unsatisfying in a game about efficiency.
  • Found that article on “Bombs” in game design. Man, its nearly 20 years old….

Written by taogaming

September 21, 2021 at 4:46 pm

“Nemesis” vs “Who Goes There” — The Experience Game Showdown

I played two “new to me” experience games last week: Nemesis (basically Alien/Aliens) and Who Goes There (the “Who Goes There” short story/movie later remade as the classic The Thing). Two games based on great horror movies, trying to recreate the experience.

Who Goes There drops the players in a arctic research facility trying to gather supplies after discovering an alien shapeshifter. Sooner or later one player will get infected and then can infect others, leading to a paranoia and tension. Nemesis sees the players prematurely awakened from hibernation on their ship where an alien has boarded and set up a nest. In this one you don’t have to worry about their crew-mates being infected — they may be perfectly normal humans who murder you just because a goal card directed them to (or you were standing between them and their goal). Of course, players still don’t want to get infected (it usually means losing, is generally unpleasant, and gets you dis-invited from the best soirĂ©es),

Long story short — Nemesis is the much better experience and game. (I’ve only played each once).

Who Goes There‘s first sin? It overstays its welcome. The rescue helicopter comes on Turn 15, and nothing will speed that up or slow it down. It may take a while for all the infection cards to get dealt out (at which point you are sure that someone is infected). And (in keeping with the theme) The Thing (infected player) is incentivized by the victory conditions to play a slow game. It’s admittedly tense and the rules do a great job of keeping with the experience. Want to trade a card with someone? Great, but the Thing could choose to infect you? Bunk up with a player during the night (to avoid taking an automatic wound). Great, but the Thing could choose to infect you.

But the real kicker is the second sin. The victory conditions mean that the Thing is kind of incentivized to not infect you. The Thing needs at least one human to survive (good!) but the humans victory condition gets easier if more humans get infected. Basically the entire game comes down to if the humans can guess who to let on the helicopter. If you let on an infected player you likely lose.

So the infected player tries to never raise suspicion. Maybe infect someone on the sly (during sleep/trade), probably at the very end (to avoid letting the new player infect someone else). So while the game does recreate the experience (particularly towards the end as players get more and more hostile to each other), there’s little-to-no information to go on.

In the ~150 cards there are few cards that prove someone’s guilt/innocence. They may not show up. Almost none of the decisions reveal too much information. Humans have no reason to be fully committed to helping, and all the things they balk at are reasonable (“I don’t want to risk infection”) decisions. Since The Thing wants to appear human and basically doesn’t do much sabotage, so practically no actions provoke suspicion. One possible solution is something like my Shadows over Camelot variant, but that would just make the game harder for humans. What this game really needs is more decisions that actually have a cost for the thing to avoid or let the humans pay a cost to get more information. More micro-information, less macro-information.

As we approached the endgame I mathed out endgame options (we did get one lucky proof of innocence that was good for a double-clear, so we had two known humans). The Thing, realizing that our “mathing it out” was correct, had no choice but to reveal (basically ending his game) which let him try to randomly infect one other player.

Again, we mathed out it, leaving an innocent human behind (me) but that still gave a decent chance at victory which came down to …. die rolls. But the Thing would have won if it (randomly, again) infected the player the humans decided to trust, which (again) they had zero information on.

Ugh. So, a three hour game with a bunch of not-terribly meaningful micro-decision, maybe four meaningful macro decisions, and decided by dice.

Nemesis is also fifteen turns, but can start with a literal bang. In another game, one player died on their second turn. Ours took a few more before the first death. Brutal, but also speeds the game up. We needed only ~7 or 8 turns to finish, although it took several hours. Nemesis has clunkier rules (as various things from both movies are thrown in, including the Xenomorph life cycle, slime, a bunch of weapons and archetypes), but the “Design for effect” paradigm works as an experience.

But as a game it can suck to die because another player randomly wanted you dead and — being an efficient gamer — gave no indication before looking you in a room with an Alien, by which point the knowledge is of little use.

So both games — as games — could use a bit more work. In either you can randomly get hosed. (But horror movies don’t have a great survival rate). In a few minor ways, I think Who Goes There has the better design.

  • Who Goes There actually gets the nod on character differentiation. Both games have different decks for each character, but WGT’s seems more impactful (and also gives the characters each an improved use of one of the basic actions).
  • The Nemesis random map feels like hack design. Everyone “forgot” the layout of a ship they were on for how long?
  • The Nemesis rules have a lot more chrome, which is a point in its favor in terms of experience, but a point against it in design.

But in all the important ways and judging these games by how much fun I had — Nemesis wins hands down. (BGG’s ratings clearly agree, with Nemesis several points higher). All the minor design points for Who Goes There are killed by the terrible victory conditions and lack of meaningful decisions. Sure, Nemesis may set you up an impossible situation, but it generated a ton of little moments in its playtime.

Playing with the Alien/Aliens soundtrack (and with a fully blinged set) didn’t hurt either. “I move into this room.” <Violins shriek and screech>. “Uh, did you hear that?”

Rating Who Goes There gets an avoid. Nemesis is indifferent as a game, but as a now-and-again experience, I’d play it a few more times.

Written by taogaming

August 29, 2021 at 5:41 pm

Dominant Species Marine Initial Thoughts

I liked this better than Dominant Species, and my initial thoughts:

  • The idea of worker placement but your pieces must ascend (So if the spaces are 1-40, once you go in space N, you can go in N+1 up to 40, or retrieve your workers) is excellent.
  • You can earn extra workers (via dominance) but that isn’t as huge as in most games because you still always go around the table in turn order. It does mean you can go a bit longer before retrieving workers, but its not as important. But the bonus workers can ignore the “ascending” rules. Again, I liked it.
  • You claim dominance works by establishing a score in that attribute (number of tokens of it you have times number of tiles of it you are on). Even if you later lose tokens/tiles that’s your “dominance score.” If someone takes one of the dominance actions and can improve on whatever your score was (even if you’ve improved it or its dropped) they get it. But the worker (if used) doesn’t get pulled until they retrieve. And a few spaces are “dominance workers only.” All told, I liked this idea.
  • The game “resets” a few things once all players have retrieved workers one (or more times) but the game continues with the next player.
  • Overall the worker placement, retrieval, bonus worker for dominance and reset felt like a nice organic improvement on the original, (which I admittedly did not really remember).
  • I think the spaces are more balanced than in the original, but I have no idea why I think that.
  • Some of the random traits (think — Cosmic Encounter Powers you start with) seem much much better.
  • Partially this is better than base DS because its capped at four players.
  • Whenever you score a tile you also resolve a random event (from the five visible, and some spaces further down the track give you more choice). These were a bit too varied, some being a few points and some being “really hose some people.” Sure, one of them is the big ol’ asteroid, but others let you turn fertile tiles into wastelands. (There’s an action that could do that, but it was limited).
  • Worse, some cards cause a big event when they are revealed.
  • Nit — The tiles nicely show you how much the score for first second/third. Nice! Do they show how many cubes you can put on them? No, please read a tiny chart. Also, there are two types of vents — the difference matters by the rules and have a different icon, but it would also be nice if the tiles had their distinct names on them instead of just “hydrothermal vent” for both types.
  • The look of the game is much better, although it makes it a bit harder to parse than the original.

Overall I enjoyed it while playing it and I thought several times that “This is better than the base game” but I’m not sure the improvements are enough to make this “good.”

It’s been so long since I played Dominant Species I wasn’t sure why I didn’t care for it until I re-read my review and I see that its pretty much the same feeling. I liked most of the (non-nitpicking) points above and in the end the game felt like a bunch of things happened and then it ended, but without the story of a Seven Ages or some such.

In some ways, this removes my complaint about the Cosmic-Encounter like powers — they aren’t balanced in Cosmic. But in that game you don’t have fine-grained-action control. In this game one player literally never used their bonus power and another player got a “look around the table at setup and copy someone else’s power, then halfway through the game switch it for a random power” …. and that random power earned ~10 points (with a winning score of ~175). (Granted, you draw three powers and pick one, but still….)

Another point, in tonight’s game I controlled the endgame: It would end when I retrieved workers … so I could play five rounds (if I dragged it out) or none. If I had been interested in winning I would have stopped, mentally calculated the scores if I passed (not easy, as you score each tile and some bonuses) and if losing play a (hopefully maximizing) move at each turn. Thankfully I was sure I wasn’t close to winning, so I could just skip the first step. And the game (with rules) still took about three hours.

I would play DS – Marine again, I mean, its better than DS. And I played that twice.

Rating — Indifferent, but willing to try again.

Written by taogaming

June 28, 2021 at 10:03 pm

Counterfeit Monkey

On a discord, someone asked about “That interactive game where you manipulate words” and someone answered “Oh, it’s ‘Counterfeit Monkey‘ a free-to-play text adventure (like Zork). From the introduction:

Anglophone Atlantis has been an independent nation since an April day in 1822, when a well-aimed shot from their depluralizing cannon reduced the British colonizing fleet to one ship.

— Counterfeit Monkey (by Emily Short)

I don’t love IF (bad memories of the Infocom games) but the newer games are more forgiving. And of course you have the WWW for help (online Invisiclues!). And the game is short enough to be done in a few hours. Counterfeit Monkey has topped some polls for IF games, and the reason it stands out is that it is a frankly brilliant idea. Many RPGs set up a magic system that is a giant box of rules. With the simple idea of linguistic manipulation, CM has built the best magic system I’ve seen. For example, if you have the “p-remover” you can turn a clamp into a clam …. (but can’t do anything to a lamp, because a ‘lam’ is nonsense).

A fireball has one use, but that p-remover opens up a world of imagination. Honestly, it would be impressive in an RPG, but in a programmed computer game (that had to code in all the possible interactions) is just impressive. (And the game keeps adding linguistic tools).

Even with only the barest of interest in IF, this was worth playing. And there are often multiple (multiple) solutions to any puzzle, with only a few things being sort of esoteric “try everything” options. (Often I was clear what I needed to do, but didn’t have the right inventory, so I’d use the invisclue to tell me where I needed to go. I’ve made my peace with easy mode).

Written by taogaming

May 7, 2021 at 6:37 pm

Nidavellir

I played Nidavellir on BGA last night, and I now feel what all the people who said “Race is too short” felt. The game gets going and then it ends. But as the game is merely OK, I guess that’s more of a point in its favor … this is a blind-bidding set collection game. There are three taverns, and one dwarf to be recruited (per player) at each tavern. You place one of your coins at each tavern, high coin gets first pick (with some tie-breaking rotation I didn’t follow).

Purple and Green Dwarves are identical, you just get a score based on the # you have (vaguely triangular in one case). Blue and Brown Dwarves just score their list points (averaging around 5 or so). Orange Dwarves score 0-2 points times the number of orange dwarves you get. And every time you get one of each dwarf (full set) you can recruit a hero dwarf with special abilities.

The only thing making this not a pure point salad is that if you use your “zero” coin, you can replace your (higher?) unused coin with a value equal to the sum of your unused coins. So usually you punt on one auction to improve your coins (which also are score at the end). Paying careful attention to tiebreakers is likely important.

Or not, since I tied and didn’t really understand the tie breaker rule (or most of the details) during the game. You play three rounds of recruiting (three dwarves per round), get some bonus for “Most of a color”, then do three more rounds and score. It is probably much less offensive online (which handles all the fiddly scoring — the tie was at 203, I think).

Rating Indifferent.

Written by taogaming

April 13, 2021 at 11:15 am

Posted in Reviews

If you’ve been desperately wondering what I think of a few dozen bridge books…

Written by taogaming

February 19, 2021 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Bridge, Reviews