The Weekly Route – From castaway to finding my way to the Pacific
As always thanks to all that make this journey possible each week through my gaming groups.
A couple of weeks ago I got to revisit Small World, this week I managed to pull to the table another old favorite. This is a fantastic drafting game where you are building up your wonder with locations that can earn you victory points. The simultaneous nature of the game play makes any player count run over the same amount of time once all the players know what they are doing each turn. There is a fun balance between keeping something you need while also not passing on cards that would be helpful for your neighbor. We played this with six players and it seemed different strategies earned victory each time and my wife even seemed to enjoy a play of a game she isn’t really that into which speaks volumes for how this game is with the right group of people around the table. Also I need the practise as I just signed up for the tournament they are hosting at Rincon this year.
This was my first playthrough of this supposedly brutal co-op game. Players are all castaways, awaiting rescuing on a tropical island. You must explore your surroundings and collect resources to help battle the elements and the island’s wildlife, while at the same time trying to complete the objective for the unique scenario you are currently playing. This is certainly unlike any other co-ops I’ve played, it has many decisions for you to make each round and an excellent implementation of dice rolling if you decide to do a task alone. As I said I was warned about how hard it would be to win at this, which we managed to do in my first sitting, I think a large amount of good luck helped along with playing it with two very experienced members of our group. Thanks Matt and Nicole couldn’t have made it off the island without you.
You are sent to a remote space station to investigate an alien presence there, now one of your team is infected and you don’t know who it is. Working as a team and against a traitor in your midst you must search the station looking for the alien hive to defeat the threat. Although the game seemed to have some clunkiness in the rules and needs to have printed player guides for what cards do, for me at least the game instilled a frantic level of paranoia as we got closer to the end. The major mechanic of the game is that when you enter a room with another player you have to essentially ‘swap-spit’ by trading cards in your hands, in the process of this any infected player has the chance to pass off an infection card and in turn infect another member of the team. At points during the game you can scan all the players and through the secret playing of cards it can be revealed how many people are already carrying the alien parasite. Just imagine The Thing as a board game and you are getting there.