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Players begin with a ship, and travel from planet to planet, hiring crew, purchasing ship upgrades, and picking up cargo to deliver (jobs) all in the form of cards. Some crew and cargo are illegal, and can be confiscated if your ship is boarded by an alliance vessel. Travelling from planet to planet requires turning over "full burn" cards, one for each space moved. Most do nothing, but you can also encounter an Alliance ship, have a breakdown, or even run into Reavers. Completing jobs gets you cash. First player to complete the story goals wins.
Game description from the publisher:
In Firefly: The Game – based on the popular Firefly television series created by Joss Whedon – players captain their own Firefly-class transport ship, traveling the 'Verse with a handpicked crew of fighters, mechanics and other travelers. As a captain desperate for work, players are compelled to take on any job — so long as it pays. Double-dealing employers, heavy-handed Alliance patrols, and marauding Reavers are all in a day's work for a ship's captain at the edge of the 'Verse. Firefly: The Game is a high-end thematic tabletop boardgame from Gale Force Nine (GF9) and the first in a series of tabletop hobby board games and miniatures games from GF9 set in the Firefly Universe.
A long time ago in Europe, ages were pretty dark. The distribution of wealth back then left a lot to be desired. Greedy people banded together to take things from other people so that the rich could get richer and the poor could have even less. Twas ever thus. Step into the middle of the normal state of human affairs as a Baron or Baroness somewhere almost in Europe a long time ago. Thanks to your birth you have a lot of little people working to make you richer, and you, in turn, are doing your best to make your king even more prosperous. If you do things right, you might someday be king.
Each player starts with a Fiefdom Management card, divided into 64 squares (49 of which can have tiles played on them. Into four of these squares you deploy your Keep, in which you will put your fortification of some sort, and your soldiers. Elsewhere in your land you deploy assorted resource gatherers and buildings in an effort to grow, prosper, and score victory points. Along the way there may be wars, invasions, tournaments, taxes, and a lot of other nonsense.
In this area-control boardgame with a mythic Scandinavian theme, players draft cards to place their viking warriors and leaders in the different realms found in Norse mythology. Beware! Some regions will suffer Ragnarok, sending your pieces to Valhalla.
In Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery, an exciting game of twisted schemes and bloody combats inspired by the hit STARZ Original series, each player takes on the role of Dominus, head of a rising house in the ancient Roman city of Capua. Each house is competing for Influence to gain the favor of Rome. Through a combination of political schemes and glorious battles on the arena sands your house will rise in fame and stature. As Dominus, you have a variety of resources at your disposal. Guards protect you from schemes launched by rivals. Slaves run your household and earn gold. Gladiators compete to bring glory to themselves and influence to their Dominus.
Three main phases occur in each game round of Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery.
The Intrigue Phase is when players launch their Schemes, hoping to raise their fortunes while undermining their rivals. Schemes and Reactions are represented by cards in the Intrigue Deck. Players wield their Influence to put their Schemes into play, often asking for (or bribing) another player’s help in hatching the most complex plots.
The Market Phase is when players buy, sell and trade Assets (Gladiators, Slaves, Equipment and Guards). Players also bid against each other to acquire new Assets at Auction. Wealth is not the only path to success as players bluff and bargain with each other to acquire the Assets they covet.
The Arena Phase is when the bloody games are held. Gladiators from two rival Houses are pitted against each other in a brutal fight for glory. The spectacles of the games are represented by miniature combat on the arena board. Fighters pit their Attack, Defense and Speed dice against one another to determine the victor. All players seek to increase their fortunes by betting on the outcome of the gruesome conflict. Fighters who emerge from the arena victorious gain Favor and their Dominus gain Influence.
The goal of the game is to become the most influential house in Capua, securing your family’s power for years to come. During the game, players will bribe, poison, betray, steal, blackmail, and undermine each other. Gold will change hands again and again to buy support, stay someone’s hand or influence their decisions. Will you be the honorable player whose word is their bond or the treacherous schemer whose alliances change with the wind?For myself, the Intrigue phase presented some difficulty. I kept balking at using one of my special abilities though in retrospect I needn't have been so sheepish. It was someone else's special ability that allowed them to slip into a victory. I would be surprised to find that a majority of games are won that way. While Intrigue cards can be opposed, and even opposing Intrigue cards (Reaction cards) can be opposed by a couple of special cards, I don't recall seeing anything that can thwart a special (character) ability. I can also see a number of games ending from arena combat but it seems to me the key is the Intrigue phase of the game. I'll need to play some more to be sure. Until then, keep your Dominus clean and active.
In Quarriors! Light vs. Dark, players take on the roles of Quarriors, mighty mystical warriors who have the power to capture dangerous quarry from the untamed Wilds! They must conjure the mysterious powers of Quiddity, cast powerful spells, and summon their creatures to battle if they hope to overcome rivals and earn their rightful place as the Champion!
Quarriors! Light vs. Dark has the frenetic excitement of a dice battle game, with an added "deckbuilding" twist as players customize their dice pools during the game by using resources generated by their rolls.
Quarriors! Light vs. Dark can be played as a standalone game or used as an expansion for the Quarriors! base game.
Kingmaker simulates the Wars of the Roses, the period of sporadic Civil War in England between 1450 and 1490. Ruled by a weak and mentally unstable king, Henry VI, demoralized by the defeat in France at the end of the Hundred Years War, and encouraged by the ambitions of Richard, Duke of York, and his sons; the country's Noble families used their large private armies in attempts to gain control of the government.
The game is based on the premise that the powerful Noble families used the Lancastrian and Yorkist princes as pawns in a greater game of gaining control of England. Players control factions using their military and political power to control and influence the royal heirs, supporting the heir in their control as king while trying to take down all of the other heirs.Of course, being a first time through, we spent some portion of the evening learning rules then had at one another to get the gist of the game, knowing full well we would not finish in the four hours we had to play. I wanted to give some idea of how an aggressive player can be rewarded but also takes risk, and mostly proved the latter. Nearly every battle I initiated wound up with one or more of my Nobles slain. It was a hoot as the others watched in anticipation with each card I drew. Great fun!
On November 30, 1803, the United States purchased Louisiana from Napoleon. U.S. President Thomas Jefferson decided to send two explorers – Meriwether Lewis and William Clark – to discover this huge terra incognita.
Lewis & Clark is a board game in which the players manage an expedition intended to cross the North American continent. Their goal is to be the first to reach the Pacific. Each one has his own Corps of Discovery that will be completed by the Native Americans and the trappers met during the journey. He has to cleverly manage his characters and also the resources he finds along the way. Beware, sometimes frugality is better than abundance.
Lewis & Clark features dual use cards. To be activated, one card must be combined with another one, which becomes unavailable for a while. Thus, players are faced with a constant dilemma: play a card or sacrifice it. During the game, each player acquires character cards that enlarge his hand, building a crew that gives him more options but it needs to be optimized as he will recycle his cards more slowly. This new "handbuilding" mechanism fits strongly the historical background.
Since the aim of the game is to be the first on the Pacific coast, the timing and the opportunistic use of the other players' positions are crucial.
In Masters Gallery, players are art critics and gallery owners at the same time, trying to pump up the value of certain artists before cashing in their works. The works of five artists – Vermeer, Degas, Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh – are in play. Each player starts with a hand of masterpiece cards, and on a turn you play one on the table to show a stake in the fate of that artist; some masterpiece cards include special actions that allow you to play a second card, draw an extra card, increase the value of a certain artist, or have everyone play a masterpiece card at once.
When a certain number of works from one artist are on the table, the round ends, and each work from the most well-represented artists are sold for $1-3. Masters Gallery lasts four rounds, with players receiving additional masterpiece cards prior to new rounds and the value of an artist's work increasing based on past performance. The player with the most money after four rounds wins.It took me until the second time through to really understand the game but I picked it up fast enough to enjoy playing. It largely comes down to the cards one is dealt but there are several approaches of how best to utilize what one gets and adjustments can be made based on what one sees other players playing. I'm sure I'll try this out at least a few more times and perhaps it will become one of those games that sees regular play at our table.
The Battle of Five Armies – based on the climax of JRR Tolkien's novel The Hobbit – pits the hosts of the Elvenking, the Dwarves of Dain Ironfoot, and the Men of the Lake led by Bard the Bowman against a horde of Wolves, Goblins and Bats led by Bolg, son of Azog. Will Gandalf turn the tide for the Free Peoples? Will the Eagles arrive, or Beorn come to the rescue? Or will Bilbo the Hobbit perish in a last stand on Ravenhill?
The Battle of Five Armies features a game board representing the Eastern and Southern spurs of the Lonely Mountain and the valley they encircle, and a number of plastic figures representing troops, heroes and monsters.
The Battle of Five Armies is a standalone game based on the rules for War of the Ring, which is from the same designers, but with the rules modified to function on a tactical level as they describe a smaller battle rather than the entire war. Ares Games plans to expand the Battles game system in the future, releasing expansions depicting other battles from the Third Age of Middle-earth narrated in The Lord of the Rings, such as the Siege of Gondor and the assault of Saruman against Rohan.I must admit that I am not only excited to see this release and play it but also amped up to want to get hold of the War of the Ring second edition and give that a try too. I'll need to start checking locally to see who might be willing to play!
It's been a long time since I made a straight up war game. Invasion England is an 1880's war game played on vintage ordinance survey maps using new rules that stress resource management and force multipliers over simple maneuver. I've got three sets. This one is a communist uprising army coming down to London from the Midlands. The other two are a French and German invasion. It's steam punk because it includes zeppelins! All available at the Hamster Press booth (1636) next week.Sounds like a winner!
You and your opponents represent powerful developers in a burgeoning Nevada city. You will earn money and prestige by building the biggest and most profitable casinos on "The Strip," the town's backbone of dust and sin. You start with nothing but parking lots and dreams, but from there you build, sprawl, reorganize and gamble your way to victory. Score the most points investing in the most profitable development companies and putting the best bosses in control of the richest casinos. Put your dollars on the line . . . it's time to roll!
The game board is broken into 8 different areas, each consisting of a number of empty 'lots'. Players build lots by paying money and placing a die of the value matching the one shown on the lot's space onto the lot, along with a casino tile of one of 7 colors. Adjoining lots of the same color are considered a single casino. The casino's boss is the player whose die value is higher than any other in the casino. On each players turn, players turn over a new card representing a new lot they get. The card also is one of the casino colors. Any built casinos of the matching color will score both money and VP. Money is earned for each lot in the casino, where each lot may be owned by a different player. VP goes only to the casino's owner. Players can expand their casinos; try to take over casinos owned by other players; make deals to trade lots, casinos and money; or gamble in opponents' casinos to make more money. Ultimately, though, only victory points matter, and that means making yourself boss of the biggest casinos.It's meant to play in about an hour but since it was the first time through for all four of us, I'm not surprised at the time it took. As with most games that have a victory point track, it behooves players to move along that as quickly as possible. You can't move backwards on it, so extending yourself isn't a bad idea. It's also possible to go to the casinos of other players and gamble there, alleviating them of some of their money on hand, so spending what you have can reduce the chance that someone will put the squeeze on you and drain your nest egg.
In this award-winning game, players take on the roles of Grandes in medieval Spain. The king's power is flagging, and these powerful lords are vying for control of the various regions. To that end, you draft caballeros (knights in the form of colored cubes) into your court and subsequently move them onto the board to help seize control of regions. After every third round, the regions are scored, and after the ninth round, the player with the most points is the winner.
In each of the nine rounds, you select one of your 13 power cards to determine turn order as well as the number of caballeros you get to move from the provinces (general supply) into your court (personal supply).
A turn then consists of selecting one of five action cards which allow variations to the rules and additional scoring opportunities in addition to determining how many caballeros to move from your court to one or more of the regions on the board (or into the castillo - a secretive tower). Normally, you may only place your caballeros into regions adjacent to the one containing the king pawn. The one hard and fast rule in El Grande is that nothing may move into or out of the king's region. One of the five action cards that is always available each round allows you to move the king to a new region. The other four action cards varying from round to round.
The goal is to have a caballero majority in as many regions (and the castillo) as possible during a scoring round. Following the scoring of the castillo, you place any cubes you had stashed there into the region you had secretly indicated on your region dial. Each region is then scored individually according to a table printed in that region. Two-point bonuses are awarded for having sole majority in the region containing your Grande (large cube) and in the region containing the king.So, as you can tell, the game relies on responding well to the available action cards in direct opposition to the tactics chosen by your opponent(s). Tactics are definitely the crux of this game. You are managing a "worker" resource and looking to control territories but the cards and their availability are the key. You can make long range plans and even devise a loose overall strategy but unless you live in the moment, you're likely to come out behind. I'm definitely looking forward to playing this one again and again in the future.
Just last week, the offspring of the authors of Chainmail (1971) got together at Lake Geneva Games to play the classic Battle for the Brow...