Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report @ OTK Cheras 21/6/2013 – Shadows over Camelot, Evo, Risk 2210AD, Love Letter, King of Tokyo, Cash n Guns, Suburbia
Back to theme nites, this time we do the Co-operative (COOP) theme with two coop games SHADOWS OVER CAMELOT and VIVAJAVA (didn’t hit the table though). Other games in play were RISK 2210 AD, EVO, LOVE LETTER, KING OF TOKYO, CASH N GUNS and SUBURBIA.
Gamers: UPM, David, Stefan, Enson, Victor, Sinbad, Ian Tan, Waiyan, & others.
Games: Shadows over Camelot, Evo, Risk 2210AD, Love Letter, King of Tokyo, Cash n Guns, Suburbia.
We kind of enjoyed organizing our Friday meetups around theme nights and while last week was a loose light-n-easy event, we thought of getting back into themes this Friday with a Cooperative Game night. However when we started scanning the list of coop games we’ve in our library, it started looking like a bridge too far to attempt all coop games in an evening.
So we decided to play those that were coming up more recently in our radar eg Shadows over Camelot, VivaJava and possibly our fave Pandemic. And perhaps later get more organized with multiple Coop game sessions (as it certainly does not look possible to do all coop in one evening)!
SHADOWS OVER CAMELOT
Enson wanted to try this game.. and since this is a coop game, it was the first coop candidate game to hit the OTK table for tonight. We didn’t get 7 ppl for this session (the max number of players unless you have the Sir Bedivere XP that gives you the 8th knight) or even 6 (probably the optimal) but we got a good 5 anyway.
Being a Days of Wonder game, you can rest assured this is going to be a beautiful looking game (not unlike their Cargo Noir, Pirate’s Cove and Mystery of the Abbey). Complete with miniature knight figures – unpainted obviously unless you paint them or acquire the Company of Knights expansion.
Even the Armour of Lancelot comes with a miniature! 😛
The game is about the knights of Camelot, who convened on the round table (lepak time) before setting out on their quests or to defend Camelot & her King from the Saxons and Picts (take your pick of barbarians!)
Above: The beautifully illustrated gameboard showing the Arthur’s Round Table, the threat of Saxons and Picts on your left and right and the other Quest boards around it. In the middle is the state of Siege Engines… if you let 12 of these get to the board, Camelot is lost.
The Quest board for the armour of Lancelot. This quest is for a single knight only (so much for coop)… and if a knight successfully complete this quest, Knights of Camelot can attempt to go on the Dragon’s quest (the Quest board is flipped over for the more challenging quest).
Or you get to die alone. Yes yes, I know.. this is suppose to be coop. 🙂
The board above is for the quest to find the lost sword, Excalibur. This is a group quest (ah, finally coop!) – meaning everyone can participate (unlike some quests like Lancelot/Dragon which is a solo quest and can only be attempted by one knight at a time). If the knights are successful in locating Excalibur, it remains as an artifact within the group (with the knight) and can be used to counter some of the Evil cards.
The other grave threats to Camelot is the laying of Siege Engines (in the background) by the Evil party…. when these start accumulating in your front yard, you better get the Knights to fight them off. Otherwise once 12 of these are laid, is good night and thank you Camelot.
You can also see white & black swords on the Round Table. They are like timers to tick the game towards its end. The game ends when 12 swords (regardless black or white) are placed on the Round Table. If you have more Whites than Blacks, Camelot is saved (for another day).
Note: Looking at the state of the siege engines and number of black swords, this group looked doomed? 😛
Yeah, Ian’s (guy in yellow) face spelt doom! LOL… long time haven’t seen this chap – now a barista in training – doing boardgames. Welcome back, dude!
SHADOWS OVER CAMELOT is essentially a set collection game – collect the right set of cards and played them in the right quests to advance the group. While the game is cooperative – save for a potential traitor in the midst – and some might argue if it’s cooperative, why hide the cards from your team mates?
However this game will be more enjoyable and engaging when the gamers avoid discussing the specifics of their cards eg “I’ve three 2s and need someone who has two 4s to join me in this quest.” I’ve even seen some groups just lay down all their cards face-up and one person (usually the dominating fella in that group) go thru everyone’s cards, plan moves and then directs everyone’s actions. Ah well, you might as well play 5-player as a solo game. 😛
I overheard this group using “card specifics” talk when table-talking on their quests but given this is their first session (save for Victor), I thought that’s okay for them to learn the ropes of the game. Next session, suggest you follow the game’s suggested rule on collaboration (in pg 8 of the rulebook) and you’ll find the game even more immersive.
My first game – many moons ago – which was facilitated by one Long TJ (wonder if he’s still around boardgames or already lost to WOW) where he specifically enforced the “no specific discussion” rule and I think we enjoyed the game more than if we had just take the shortcut and asked for specific cards.
RISK 2210 AD
This UPM Grad group seems to like RISK very much… have seen them do RISK 2210 AD twice in our OTK Cheras and tonight’s no difference. J
Maybe this group like this RISK so much becoz it gives you a trip to the Moon. Cue Frank Sinatra’s “Fly me to the moon and let me swing among the stars…”
EVO is a rather old game (first released back in 2001) that has gone OOP (out of print) for some time before Asmodee reprinted it in 2011 with some significant rule changes. Last I heard, I think the game is already out of stock at Asmodee’s level.
Image © Boardgamegeek (user: D Eramus)
Above is the box front for the 1st edition of the game. Cute eh? It uses round disc to denote your dinosaurs unlike the 2nd edition which uses dinomeeples! 😛
While two tables were busy with their own games, Stefan who brought EVO was setting it up with Chee Ho & Khim. A quick preview how the 2nd Edition compares.
In EVO, you are a tribe that controls the evolution and survival of your own specie of dinosaur! Game play is simple (and hence suitable for children) and it lasts for about 12 turns when a comet strikes earth and everything stops.
The 2nd Edition features very beautiful board with wooden dinomeeples (instead of the round discs used in the 1st Ed). Adds to the cute factor, dun you think so?
Most who have seen the 1st Ed Climate board would agree the 2nd Ed board looks much more impressive. This is an important part of the game as each turn, the climate changes and all those cute little dinos have to hustle and jostle to the next “safe” spot on the map – or die!
The Biology Lab where players bid for new genes to evolve their dinos. The 2nd Ed already incorporates the cutthroat variant (where there’s one less gene available based on number of players) however it softens the bidding by capping it to 6 MPs. In the 1st Ed, the sky’s the limit!
And we know what happens when you do not cap cutthroat auctions (Homesteaders anyone?)
I also noticed they’ve revised the bidding mechanics – ie when you are outbid, you have to move to a new column instead of being allowed to outbid in the same column. This is similar to the bidding mechanics first introduced in Knizia’s AMUN-RE and recently in Asmodee’s CYCLADES.
The bidding column also determines your turn order, thus if you bid on the first column (which only gets you an event card) you will go first unless there’s another player with lesser dinos than you.
Dinosaur Survival is really serious business. Look at the faces of these tribal leaders as they wrestle with the difficult decisions of which of their dinos to cull!
One thing lacking from our session was for some reasons, the special genes were hardly drawn… think we only have 4-5 special genes drawn for the entire session. And those drawn are the mild genes. There are some pretty good kick-ass special genes which if drawn, am sure will make the game even more exciting!
And this is where I think the cap on the bidding to 6 MP can be a downer since if a player has acquire some discount genes, he can just slam down his bid at 6 and guarantee a win (ie if he’s ahead in turn order). In the 1st Ed, players can go “wild” chasing for the special genes. Are you ready to bet the whole house? 😛
At the end of the game, my dino specie customized into a cold horny animal… LOL. The horns (2nd col from left) are useful for attack and defense, while the fur coats allow my dinos to survive on cold climate.
If you think the Dino Evo board in the 2nd edition is cute, wait till you see how dinos were customized in the 1st Edition (below). Cute ler? However there’s no special gene pool in the 1st Ed.
There’s some interesting decision in deciding how to evolve the genes of your dinos (hence the game title EVO) and this mechanic reminds me of another game… the eat-your-own-poo PRIMORDIAL SOUP.
VIVAJAVA THE COFFEE GAME
We had wanted to do VIVAJAVA THE COFFEE GAME as we happened to have 8 gamers available from finishing the Shadows over Camelot and Evo tables but as it’s late and a few of the gamers need to leave, we couldn’t manage to get VIVAJAVA to the table (this game is best for 6 or more).
If you wish to find out more about VIVAJAVA (until our next sessrep), I’ll just point you to Hiew’s sessrep on this game when it was first played at OTK backin December last year. This is a Kickstarter game but is now available as retail copy through our webstore (click pic below) now.
The last game we did for the nite was one that has received much rave from last year’s Essen but quickly sold out and everyone’s been waiting for a reprint since – Ted Alspach’s SUBURBIA. Since Ian’s been asking about the game, and we’ve just 4 gamers the perfect number for this game.
Pic of Ted Alspach with my signed copy at last year’s Essen
The interesting thing about SUBURBIA – not unlike Agricola – is looking at everyone’s farm, sorry I mean town come end of the game, with each of them having a unique shape and form.
Above: Here’s my town which’s very much a heavy industry district; more like KLIA lumped into an industrial park. It’s dotted with plenty of lakes… you can interpret it either way; to beautify the township – or to provide more outlet to dump industrial waste. Hehe.
Yellow is Ian’s township; bustling with community parks and tourisy buildings like museums and nice waterfront properties which obviously fatten his pockets no doubt. For some strange reasons he saw it fit to littered the beautiful waterfront properties with some heavy factories. And again, you see lots of lakes right? Ya ya, they are for landscaping purpose and have absolutely nothing to do with dumping of toxic output from the factories.
Chee Ho’s township is altogether different from mine and Ian. Here you see lots of greens, beautiful residential areas, great suburbs for you to call home and he even thoughtfully planted a
junk food McD restaurant close by his residential townships in a bid to increase the BMI of his townfolks.
However in the early stage of his township when there were heavy construction work everywhere – and obviously that comes with large immigrant workforce – his township was attracting so much undesirable elements, turning into negative reputation and the existing townfolks were migrating out in droves.
Lastly you get Boon Khim’s business districts. Nothing but business, closely resembling HK’s Central, complete with luxury condominums for the rich and busy. 🙂
And then disaster struck!
I guessed it’s becoz I forgot to take pics of the KING OF TOYKO game which was going on in parallel with this SUBURBIA. But those monsters were certainly feeling peeved!!
And were rampaging along the streets of our beautifully planned township! Aargh!!!
KoT: Let this be a lesson to you puny humans. Next time, take our pictures when King of Tokyo session is playing and you won’t suffer such wanton destruction to your properties.
Stefan also brought along MAGNIFICO – DaVinci’s wargame? – but was not played given time constraint. Hopefully some other time.
Other games played last night included LOVE LETTER, KING OF TOKYO and CA$H n GUN$ (though due to being too busy with the SUBURBIA table, I forgot to take pictures for King of Tokyo and Cash n Guns).
CASH N GUNS (picture from other OTK sessions)
And folks, that’s our first COOP Gaming Nite! You can bet there’ll more coop nites in future. 🙂
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