Friday, June 24, 2011

Origins Day Three

Busy day today as we began our annual quest for our Mayfair Games Knight of Catan badges. We began by playing Lemming Mafia. This is a cute little game for a younger audience that has you betting on which of the lemmings racing towards the docks would be given a pair of concrete sneakers (thus the mafia) and drowned horribly. The pieces for this were really cute though and it does have some interesting mechanics in that you were not playing one of the lemmings but were instead standing on the sidelines betting on the outcome. Neither Lissa nor I were really impressed with this one.

Next up we played a nice little cooperative game called Van Helsing. In this one one player plays Dracula while the others team up and play the usual suspects including the titular Van Helsing and poor Mina. The game includes a measure of hidden movement for Dracula with the room he has moved to being recorded on a pad. It is imperative that the players cooperate as any one character stands no chance against Vlad. Lissa and I both liked this one a lot. The only drawback is that the game board, while beautifully rendered, is needlessly small. The gameplay would be vastly improved if the map were increased in size by 25% or so.

Our last game for the day at the Mayfair area was Martin Wallace's London. In this game you are trying to rebuild London following the great fire. While doing this you are also trying to make lots of money while avoiding attracting any more of the peasantry to your area as possible. Mechanics for thus game are card driven and the game moves quickly. Lissa and I both enjoyed this game quite a bit and it has made it onto the likely purchase list.

Next up we played a game of Castle Panic. This is a very light but difficult to win cooperative game where you attempt to defend your castle from various marauders coming from the surrounding forest.

The play area is divided into color coded zones and the zones are divided into concentric rings denoting how close to the castle the attackers are. Players use cards that denote a colored sector and ring (such as red archer or blue swordsman) to attack the creatures. The creatures are triangular chits and when they take damage they ate rotated towards the central castle. On each turn a player will draw a card, discard and draw another card if they like, trade with another player, and then play as many cards as they like against the monsters. They then move all surviving monsters forward and draw two additional monsters, rolling to see what section of forest they appear in.

This was a big hit with us both. It seems very much like a gateway cooperative game similar in weight to Ticket to Ride. Very likely to be coming home with us.

The final game of the evening was the latest from our friend Ted Cheatham, City Square Off. In this game each of the two players has an identical set of colored pieces reminiscent of Tetris blocks. The players choose starting blocks that differ slightly but occupy the same area. Cards are then turned over one at a time with both players placing the corresponding piece on their grid. This continues until one player cannot place a piece that is drawn.

Lissa and I both liked this quick little game a lot. A copy would be coming home with us but we have not found any vendors selling the game.

We are looking forward to tomorrow morning when we can start anew.

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