Wednesday, 6 January 2016
Bruges: officially the only place that is better than Bruges
Contributors: Daniel, Peter, David
Ludwig's secrets occupied most of the night for me. I don't personally think that this adds to the base game in a productive or meaningful way, nor does it move the experience forward a great deal. My main problems with it are that it makes the game so horribly slow and with so many extra scoring avenues open the game kind of gets lost in all the noise. Even the setup is a royal pain in the ass as you have to create a balanced stack of tiles for every single room size before you can play, with some from the base game and some from the expansion; what a tremendous waste of time for what is supposed to be a light game that is playable within an hour.
Proceedings slow right down as there are so many extra things to take in and it kind of loses it's charm as a simple, fun castle building game, and becomes quite a bit more serious instead.
The scores are also out of this world with an unforgiving spread, we ended up with a range from around 140 pts to nearly double that amount! You can really notch up some big scoring moves so the combos that you build up are fun at times but then this isn't really a combo-making game so it doesn't feel right for some reason. I think I prefer to stick to regular castle building from now on.
Warhammer Quest also made another appearance - I quite like this game but it didn't seem to work very well with four, will have to try it two player sometime to see if it's one of those games best suited to solo play.
Bruges with Neil, James and myself. The second best thing to an evening in Bruges is an evening with Bruges. You could be there: tall elegant houses, hand built by you and your workers, fights for the power in the town hall, rats, plague & floods, building canals with your bare hands, a bunch of mavericks living in the houses, and every person is different, just like in Bruges (or so rumour has it) - so who says Stefan Feld doesn't do theme? Pah. We were in Bruges that night.
AND NOW WITH PETS!
So, playing the game not only saves you the bother of ever visiting the town it is also, and at this point I become serious, one of the finest games to grace a table. Pure Euro Heaven.
It was James' first play of this wonderful game so Neil and I let him win.
Arrived early to find James and Philip already there and itching for a game and James suggested The King of Frontier a Japanese game about building up your kingdom by buying and laying tiles as well as producing and consuming goods. Dan arrived just in time time to join us for a quick run through of the very simple rules. Each player is given a small player mat that they play tiles onto, with bonus points for filling in every space. A bit like Puerto Rico the active player can choose a role of either developing, producing, building or consuming with every other player allowed to do the same action at a slightly reduced capacity. There's a lot to enjoy in this, it doesn't out stay its welcome as it rattles along and the option to do something on other people's turn means there's almost no downtime. It's not the prettiest game in existence but it's a nice mash up between Carcassonne and Puerto Rico.
After that everyone else started turning up and we split into two tables with myself, Dan, Jon and Philip choosing Castles of Mad King Ludwig and it's expansion Castles of Mad King Ludwig: Secrets. I've only played it twice now but it's one of those games where I always make terrible decisions and it ends up leaving me a bit cold. Also I'm not sure if it was the way we were playing it or the added elements of the expansion but it seemed to take a long time with a lot of downtime between turns. At games end Dan had utterly crushed us with Jon in second and Philip and I picking up the scraps, although hats off to Philip for building the most aesthetic looking castle I think it's possible to build. I want to give this another go as I feel it's something I should enjoy more and perhaps as faster game would be better next time. (Quick note to anyone building a castle, don't hire me )