Busy second day at Origins, which is why this is late. We played or watched nine games, and re-played Deadly Doodles. And visited with Mercedes Lackey, the Author GoH, once we eventually caught her at her table.
Catan: Cities & Knights (Catan Studios)
Almost identical to regular Catan, except that the robber works a bit differently. Introduced invading barbarians and knights to protect against them. The game also adds city walls and city improvements that grant development cards and other bonuses. On the whole, I really enjoyed it and would definitely play it again.
Catan: Rise of the Inkas (Catan Studios)
We only watched this one, so I didn’t get as good a feel for it. According to the guy running the demo, it’s about 75% normal Catan with a Small World (Days of Wonder) style “civilization in decline” element and the ability to take over other players’ territory.
Schrodinger’s Cats (9th Level)
We didn’t get to play this, only have a talk through from one of the booth workers. Unfortunately, that didn’t really have much detail of game play and didn’t help. My son decided that it was the game he wanted to get this year, though, so we’re muddling our way through it. The concept is a basic bid and bluff or build style game. Each player is a scientist trying to prove or disprove Schrodinger’s famous experiment—alive, dead, empty, or Heisenberg Uncertainty (e.g. wild card). Each scientist has a special power that can be used once per game and a feline parody name like Albert Felinestein, Sally Prride or Neil deGrasse Tabby. The concept is amusing, but the rules are not written clearly. We’ll need to check some YouTube play throughs to really figure out how to properly play the game.
Blob Lobber (SJGames)
Not my favorite of the day, by far, despite my love of SJGames. Basically, the play area is populated by a blob and four blob queens. Cards are dropped from at least 12” above the play area and must flip over at least once. If they land of blobs that are not your color, you get points. If they land of friendly blobs (your color), you lose points. If they land blob-side up, there are more blob targets available.
Bunny Kingdom in the Sky (Iello)
Expansion of Bunny Kingdom that builds onto the board. Nothing majorly interesting or notably different about game play, except for a few cards that drastically change resource availability and, therefore, scoring. Honestly, if I were to get Bunny Kingdom, I wouldn’t bother with the expansion.
Tsuro: Phoenix Rising (Calliope)
Unfortunately, this is not available until September. But, once it is, it is definitely on our purchase list. A variation on basic Tsuro, except that the players are lantern hunting (to get stars) phoenixes. As phoenixes, they also get extra lives (one each), so going off the board can be a strategic move as the player can “die” and return anywhere along the board. Tiles (double sided, both sides can be played) also allow for movement across corners, which changes strategies considerably and the board begins mostly populated with tiles. As the demo guy (Chris Leder) said, you really have to unlearn everything you know about Tsuro in order to play Phoenix Rising. But, it was a lot of fun.
Interesting, if somewhat complex, game of “painting”. A lot of resource management (paint, mostly) and figuring out what, exactly, you need to get the diplomas that carry points. It was interesting, but I don’t think we were playing exactly 100% by the rules after the first couple rounds, once the demo guy left to help some other people with a different game.
Legendary Forests (Iello)
Fun and simple little game in which the players are dryads building the best forest floor. One player randomly draws tiles (full stack – 5, so not all tiles are used). Every player uses the exactly same tiles, but orients them differently and gets different forests by the end game. Some tiles have a different color number, which causes every player to draw trees to grow in their forest. The trees are what give players points, since every contiguous group of a color of forest floor that has one tree in it scores points at the end.
Unfortunately, not available until September. Fun game of strategy, resource moving/building, and deception. Every player is the head of a spy agency, with three field agents (whom only the player can move). There are also a dozen or more “neutral agents” (whom anyone can move). The game revolves around collecting intelligence (which allows players to move agents and “pay” for missions) and moving agents. Each face up mission (6, one per inhabited continent) has a cost in agents (agency, neutral, or both) and intelligence. Movement can be used to get your pieces in position, or move the pieces another player needs out of position, or to feint and try to get other players to think you’re going after one mission instead of your actual target. Looking forward to the full release on this one.