It was a little while ago now – the beginning of autumn if I recall well – that we went to Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered, the wonderful exhibition that is on loan at the Sea City Museum (Southampton) from the Victoria & Albert Museum (London). All I can say about this exhibition is only positive. It was a wonderful experience to go and learn about the history of board games and how the hobby has changed throughout history. I thought that the exhibition followed an excellent dynamic with information, items on display and plenty of interactive bits – such as the life-size Snakes and Ladders game. It was really fun and well thought off.This was the main exhibition area. You can see there at the back the dice for the life size Snakes and Ladders, but there were other things you could do. The interactive bits occupied the middle of the room where the space was necessary whilst the information panels where on the sides and walls giving you the context relevant for each game or development era. It was really cool seeing a chess board with pieces from all the way back to ancient and medieval history, up to current times.
Este lunes, después de haberme pasado unos cuantos días destrozada por un virus de la muerte, decidí que hacia falta levantar los ánimos, así que nos fuimos a jugar unas partidillas a Board in the City (Southampton). Probamos dos juegos que yo nunca había jugado: Origins – la premisa tenia buena pinta y era un juego visualmente bonito, y el Blood Bowl Team Manager. Este ultimo lo conocía porque mis padres lo tienen en casa pero yo nunca he jugado. Uno de nuestros jugadores del grupo nos comenta que no sabe como saldría el Blood Bowl porque el ha jugado partidas de dos y tres y le habían parecido algo extrañas, pero creía que con cuatro tenia que cuadrar todo bien. Así que después de haberlos probado, aquí os cuento:
Como venia diciendo este juego es muy bonito. Viene con un mapa del mundo que usas como tu tablero para similar la evolución y migración de los primeros humanos. Para simbolizar tales individuos el juego te proporciona con unas piezas de madera muy chulas que vienen en distintos tamaños de altura anchura y distinto color para ejemplificar las formas en las que uno puede divergir de la especie humana original. El objetivo del juego es ser el jugador con mas punto al final, y al dinámica en ese sentido es muy simple. Cada turno puedes moverte a un área nueva del mapa que tienen todas distinto color. Dependiendo del color coges carta y loseta de avance de tu grupo humano. Además de moverte puedes evolucionar siguiendo unas reglas especificas (o bien cambiar el peón de color de las mismas dimensiones, o alterar las dimensiones existentes a mas alto o mas ancho). Y no tiene mucho mas. Sencillo verdad?
So today I am going to spare the technicalities and what not, and I am going to get to the meat of what I wanna talk about today which is: HOW FUN IS EVOLUTION?! We played it a couple of weekends ago, and I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed messing about with a game to this level. Because that is the thing, the beauty of Evolution: who cares if you win or not?! You get to create bizarre species of pre-historic like animals competing for survival. It’s Hilarious! I genuinely did not care about winning, it was all about making a cool funny creature and see how well it will do. I guess you could describe as what Spore would be if it was on table top, but playing with your friends, having a real danger of extinction and the urge for self-preservation.
Bueno hoy os traigo algo distinto y cortando las tecnicidades; ¡hoy me voy al meollo del asunto de cabeza! Y la cuestión es: ¿habéis jugado a Evolution? Pues si no lo habéis hecho, echadle un vistazo porque, ¡es La Monda! Lo jugamos hace un par de fines de semana, y la verdad que no recuerdo habérmelo pasado tan bien desde hace mucho tiempo con un juego por el hecho de que sea entretenido y tenga su gracia. Porque realmente no importa si ganas o no a Evolution, lo que tiene gracia es el montarte tu chiringuito con tus especies y ver como salen y si consiguen sobrevivir o no. Las características que les das y el cómo creas a estas criaturas prehistóricas es lo interesante de la cuestión – y si te mueres por el camino, pues chico, ya habrá otra, ¡qué más da! Lo digo en serio, ni por un momento me preocupo el ganar o perder, y no era por estar con mis amigos pasando un buen rato (que también), sino porque el juego es tan entretenido que hace que te inmersiones por completo en el proceso de creación. Supongo que podríamos definirlo como algo parecido al Spore si fuese un juego de tablero, pero en el que juegas con otras personas y donde sientes la necesidad de protegerte del peligro y poder preservarte como especie.
For the last few years I have been thinking to myself that I was very much done with my trading card games – mostly Magic: The Gathering, to be honest. You have probably heard me rant before regarding the way the game has changed and how Wizards of the Coast’s strategy of milking their customers and destroying the game through their exhausting power creep and extensive new releases that to be frank do not seem to add anything other than rather lame hype to the whole thing. I also find it rather annoying that every set requires a new random ability that tends to create a new set of rule issues that force you to play with new cards constantly. Same problem that we have these days with Yu-Gi-Oh, right? Like how ridiculous it is that for those of you who wanna play competitively, unless you play 3 very specific variant of a deck, you are essentially done and dusted. I am fed up of having to spending a fairly copious amount of money fetching cards, the same cards everyone else is after. I am done having with new sets every 3 months that unless purchased will make me an obsolete gamer, so on and so forth. Instead, I have decided to give a go to LCG’s: living card games as the cool kids in the industry like to call them. Why have I opted for this approach? Well, probably for the same reasons than many other people, but here are my thoughts.
So thanks to the wonderful resource that is Board in the City (Southampton), I have been playing a few more new games and trying out some stuff. There is two in particular that caught my attention recently: Century Spice Road and Splendor. The former was like the sensation game at the Expo last year, sold out and stuff, so I thought “ok cool, we will give this a go”. And I had heard lots of people talk about Splendor so, why not, ey? The two games themselves are pretty comparable as the follow very similar dynamics and the game goals are in essence the same: be the player that has more victory points at the end of it, all based on your capability to do your best at resource management to maximise your economic gain.
In Century Spice Road you are merchants trying to set up a spice road (obvs!). There are victory cards with a set value of points for your end score that you can buy with cubes of different colours starting with yellow at its lowest value, green, red and brown. Your turns are devised in such a way that you either acquire cubes, cards that allow you to gain or exchange cubes or purchase the victory cards. Splendor is fairly similar, just instead of cubes you have gems (blue, red, green, black and white). Whilst in Spice Road you end the game when a player has purchased 5 of the victory cards, in Splendor you stop playing when someone reaches 15 victory points. Fairly simple games in any case, easy and quick to play, however, after having played both, I am still wondering why did Century Spice Road perform so well, when in comparison I think it is less straight forward – and more lame if you ask me…Also, who wants to pay nearly 30 quid when I can buy Splendor for like 20?
So as it is approaching my sister’s birthday, I found myself thinking about what should I write for the occasion. My sister is getting older now, even though for me she will always be little – even though now she can pick me up and beat the crap out of me if she wanted to…So, not so little then. Then I thought to myself, before she became an angsty teen – and before I moved to the UK – we used to play lots of board games together, cause she still thought back then that me and my parents were cool and was not ashamed of spending sometime with us. Sadly for her, she is a very sore loser, and had a tendency ever since she was tiny to get really annoyed if she didn’t win. However, there is a few that I remember she was very keen to play always; and I thought to myself, I haven’t really chatted about some cool board and card games to play with lil ones. So here we go.
Pickomino: now, this game for us is actually called Piko Piko, because for some bizarre reason, in Spain the German name of the board games just stick around. Piko Piko is a great game for everyone to be honest: we have played it in our big gaming sessions with my and my parents friends and it’s just fun. But it is even better to know that you can also play it with kids. I think the game recommends the children to be 8+ to play, but my sister played a bit earlier than that (with some assistance). The mechanic is very simple: you have some domino like pieces with numbers and drawings of worms on them. Depending on the amount of worms, the higher the scoring value, whilst the actual numeric value of the card is just what you require to roll to obtain it. You roll the dice and you can only keep those of a matching value (whichever you fancy), and then you keep on rolling until you run out of dice, you are bust, or you are happy that the amount you have rolled is sufficient for you to grab one of the tiles. It is, in essence, a very basic gambling, risk-taking game. All you really need to keep track of is what are you rolling and what number you are trying to obtain, the rest is just the availability of the pieces. At the end of the game, whoever has accumulated the highest number of worms, wins. Simple. And it plays to a substantial amount: 2-7 players.
Cuckoo Zoo: or Cocotaki (again, the German name…). Once again this is a very easy-going game. It is a bit like UNO. You have a deck of cards with animals and colours and you must play to suit the colour or animal, BUT unlike in UNO you MUST make the sound of said animal card, otherwise you mess up and take cards. The only time when you don’t make animal noises is with the red cards, unless you are playing a red cockerel in which case you very happily go and say “Cocotaki!”. And when you run out of cards; you win. Dead easy. Now for kids this is fun, cause how often do they get to see adults and others make funny noises such as “mmooo”, “oink oink” and the likes? The suggested age for the kids is 5+, which to many sounds outrageous, but it really isn’t, seriously. My sister was rocking it around that age – like I said, it isn’t complicated at all. And the amount of players that can join in is very generous: up to 10. So, children’s’ party? Birthday? You are essentially sorted.
The Dwarf King: (El Rey de los Enanos or Le Roi des Nains for those of you who don’t have the English version). This is something that you could technically play with a normal deck of cards: but this has Dwarves, Goblins and Knights, which is considerably more fun! So, you have cards and these little slabs. The slabs determine the special bonuses of the round. The cards are numbered as in your average poker set, as well as some special cards that have interesting abilities. You play 7 rounds, new slab on each round, and a special card. Then you play your hand in tricks, where the highest card wins the trick. When you all run out of cards, you count and tally your points and repeat for the next round. At the end of the 7 rounds, whoever has more points wins. The mechanics here a bit a more difficult perhaps, and the box does say this is for 10+ children. However, I guess it depends on the case. I was playing ordinary card games with a normal deck with my great grandparents at the age of 8, so just judge whether the kids would be able to follow the process. It is a bit more restrictive in terms of number of players, however: you need a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5.
In any case those three should be plenty to get you started and get the little ones hooked up on the magic of board games 😉
Hopefully they won’t get a salty as my lil monkey :p ( I love her, honest!).
Hoy voy a daros la chapa un poco sobre algo a lo que le llevo dando vueltas desde hace ya un tiempo, y que por fin he conseguido asentar, al menos conmigo misma. Este es el dilema que me llevo planteando desde hace un par de años sobre las dos versiones standard de Aventureros al Tren: el mapa de los EE. UU y Europa. Salí de dudas el pasado fin de semana cuando fuimos al torneo, o liguilla, que tienen montado todo este mes en Board in the City – del que seguro ya me habéis oído hablar con anterioridad; el café de juegos de mesa en Southampton (UK). Esta liga se juega con el mapa europeo, por tanto, fue con esa versión con la que jugamos. Éramos cuatro, y todos hemos jugado con ambos mapas, y la cosa que tiene cuando juegas con gente que conoces y con la que has jugado más veces, es que más o menos sabes por dónde van los tiros. Así que, este era buen escenario para observar y cuantificar, en comparación con otras partidas que hubiésemos jugado con el otro tablero. Así que aquí os dejo mis reflexiones; muchos supongo que habréis llegado a la misma conclusión; o tal vez no, tal vez vuestras experiencias sean completamente distintas, pero ya que hay tanta gente que pregunta en que se parecen o cual el mejor para principiantes y distinto tipo de jugador, pues aquí dejo esto.