June? What? It’s August! Sorry. A month late, I kind of forgot about this segment, but here are a couple of games I played in June 2015. This month was not the best months in terms of gaming, but I played a couple of good ones. In this segment I tell you what I think about the first Spiel des Jahres winner, a game with stunning components and a game that made it into my Top 10 of 2014. Wow, what a show.
Hare & Tortoise
When my girlfriend brought back Hare & Tortoise from a flee-market on Kingsday, I thought ‘ It’s the first Spiel des Jahres winner. Nice.’ I’d never played the first Spiel des Jahres winner and, after it sitting for a while on the gameshelf, now I have.
It’s a game from 1973. That’s more than forty years ago, almost prehistoric in gaming terms!?
It’s a racing game where you have to move around a track by paying carrots. Coins were not invented back then. The more spaces you want to move in your turn, the more carrots you have to pay. The faster you move, the quicker the carrot price goes up.
You start the game with a couple of carrot cards and three lettuce card. The first person who exactly lands on the last spot with 10 or less carrots and no lettuce cards left in their hand, wins the game. Along the way you will move onto spots that give you extra carrots (according to your rank), allow you to lose carrots, or allow you to lose your lettuce cards.
It’s a very mathy game, I had to get used to that. There’s very little luck in this game. Only the hare cards, which you can use to perform a special action when you land on the hare spot, are random and can screw you over sometimes, like when you lose a turn. Lose a turn, how retro!
The rest of it is pure skill.
The game was fun, but, because of the amount of calculations I had to make, not amazing. I do think that for a game that’s forty years old, and despite the lose your turn cards, it still has a place in the current market.
Cleopatra and the Society of Architects
If there has to be one reason to play Cleopatra and the Society of Architects, it has to be how the game looks just before you put everything back into the box. The box itself, in fact, is used as part of the board and all the plastic columns, sphinxes, statues and obelisks that are placed on and around it look beautiful.
The game itself is very good too. I like the idea of corruption in this game. To do some actions you have to take corruption tokens and place them, secretly, in your own pyramid. At the end of the game, you can have the most points of all the players, but if you have the most corruption tokens, you lose immediately. Why is this fun, you might think. Well, it’s fun because you now have to pay attention to what your opponents are doing. OK, he took two corruption tokens, so I can take some as well. It doesn’t matter how many you have, as long as you aren’t the most corrupted player.
I also think it’s quit fun that the cards you use throughout the game are shuffled with one half face-up and the other half face-down. So when you choose to take cards from the market you can see some cards and other cards will be a surprise when you pick a row.
The cards you can get are normal resources, corrupt resources that are better, but where you also have to take corruption, and there are character cards that allow you to do all kind of stuff for one or two corruption tokens.
With the resources you can build the different parts of the Palace of Cleopatra and these parts score in different ways.
When you’ve built a segment, you have to roll some dice and when you roll the ankh symbol you must place it onto the altar and when all five dice are placed there, an auction of some sort takes place. Every players takes some talents, your points, in their hand and simultaneously everybody reveals their sacrifice. The player who offered the most can get rid of some corruption, the player who is second takes one corruption, the third player takes two and so forth. This is a really fun mechanism as well.
There are a lot of interesting things going on in this game. So, Cleopatra and the Society of Architects is fun and it looks great too. A solid recommendation.
I end this segment of Played in … with La Granja from Spielworxx, with two Xs, or 999 Games or Stronghold, you name it. It made my Top 10 list of 2014. It was my number nine. How great is that. I could copy and past the bit that I wrote in that article, but I wont.
I’m going to slightly alter it, so you still think ‘haven’t I read this before?’, but you won’t be able to find it on the Google machine. Like your teacher tried a while ago, when Altavista was still a thing.
In short, La Granja is a farming game where you produce, stock and sell goods on the market. The most interesting and fun thing about this game are the cards. It depend on where you place them on your farm board what they can do. Every round you also perform two actions with dice and you have to decide which card to place where.
You complete contracts, you make money and you generate points. It’s a lot of fun and I think if you like Feld games, you will like this one too.