Played Mage Knight. Love the game. Aaron won.
(Peter as editor has insisted in a little more detail, so …)
Mage Knight is a complex game of exploring and battling across a fantasy land: there are tombs to rob, ruins to explore, castles to conquer, mazes to get lost in, monster lairs to clear, dragons to defeat and so on. Your hero's actions are determined by the cards he has in his hand. Initially this will be basic move, attack, block and influence actions, each of which can be pumped up to a stronger action by using mana (magic) from the mana pool. As the game progresses you can add cards to your hand by defeating enemies and levelling up giving you more powerful advanced action cards, or by gaining spells, artifacts and followers. The game is a little thinky: how can I maximise the output of the cards that I have in my hand, the skills that I possess, the abilities of my followers and the colours of the mana pool so that I can move across the board, block the attack of the wizards in that tower and then crush them? In this respect it can feel a little like a puzzle to solve. But it's pretty amazing when you can make your cards all work together to bring down some tough enemy.
The game is hugely replayable as there are different scenarios to play; some like last night's introductory game last just three turns as the game ends when an enemy city is discovered, while other scenarios can have you battling the armies of General Volkaire, conquering enemies entrenched in cities, or fighting each other in a race to win.
It certainly deserves its ranking of 9th on Board Game Geek's list.
Oh, and Aaron won.
Aaron - 14 Neil - 12 Peter M - 11
And here's Emma with her account of Trains, ranked no. 208 on Board Game Geek.
This part of the blog is brought to you by gaming newbie Emma. I definitely still count as a newbie, despite coming to a few BBG nights so far, because I pretty much don’t know any of the games that are brought along! I was in good company this week, as Jon brought a new game called Trains that none of us had played. Each player owns a private railway company aiming to serve the highest number of cities – this is done by laying tracks and building stations. We played on the Tokyo map (it comes with two – I’ve discovered that a game is not a real game without a double-sided board) and considering that it’s classified as a board game it’s mostly made up of cards. We each had our own ‘deck’ and added to it throughout the game by buying new cards that might help us win. When laying tracks or building stations ‘waste’ cards are accumulated into your deck, and these are no good for anything. Pretty much all of us had one or two goes where we quite literally had a rubbish hand. The nice thing with Trains is that not all the cards are used for each game – 8 types of cards are drawn randomly for the game you’re playing; this means every game is different, although I deduced that the general trick is to build tracks as fast as possible because it costs more money to lay tracks somewhere that one of your opponents has already been. This makes the game go more quickly as well, as it only finishes once one player has used all their tracks or the central store of stations has been used up. The estimated playing time of Trains is 45 minutes, but playing with Jon essentially doubles the estimated time and we took well over an hour. Despite Jon’s best efforts to persuade us that he wasn't doing well, he won by a generous margin. My reward for coming last was to write the blog, so I hope you've enjoyed reading! After all, there’s always next time…
Jon - 37 Peter H - 31 Sam - 28 Emma - 23
The last throes of the evening were spent with Family Business and Splendor with Neil taking an impressive victory in the latter and my gangster Benjamin 'Bugsy' Malone the last man standing in the former.
My gamer of the week goes to Jon for his impressive victory in Trains.