Hope You Enjoy!!!
Blood Rage and West Valley TableCon 2015
WEST VALLEY TABLECON 2015
By: Dr. Ben Coles
This week marks a milestone and a celebration of sorts, it has been a year since I started up a facebook group in an effort to grow a community of gamers for the far west side of the greater Phoenix area. This is our origin story…
My wife and I had fallen into hobby games a few years back, but we had only really played Catan, Ticket to Ride and the like. After a new local game store opened on our side of the city I started making the concentrated effort to get regular gaming going. Tabletop Tuesday was born. Many of our attendees came from these first few meetups, but unfortunately the store closed and a decision to move hosting to our home. With a little discussion we settled on a regular Wednesday get together and with that West Valley Wednesday became a thing.
Wednesday night has become a staple of our lives and a regular turnout of at least 15 gamers each week is impressive and allows us to play many varied titles. I want to thank those that have joined us over the past weeks, those who have brought, shared and taught games. Also those who have kept us fed. It has been great to make new friends and share these great little cardboard experiences together. This past year has been alot of fun and we hope to continue this on for as long as we can.
Thanks to everyone around me I’ve had the opportunities to play alot of games that I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. As many who play with me know, I have been tracking my plays since the end of April and in the six plus months since I started doing so I have played almost 200 unique games.
I enjoy the experience of learning a new system each time, mechanics, card play, movement. I love to bury myself in a heavy euro as much as playing a strong thematic game with randomly high luck. There is so much choice and diversity out there in this hobby and so much that I have yet to get to play, both old and new that I look forward to every week to get together with my new friends and play.
So with that, I am excited for this weekend and our first TableCon. Hoping we can introduce some new people to games we love and to this hobby.
Keep on Playing!
The previous year wouldn’t have been possible without help from the following:
Cindy Coles and our kids, Theresa, Chaeli and Robert; Jared & Andrea Adamson, Mario Attilio, Trevor Shaff, Gary Pryzbocki, Cyndi Weaver, Nathan Kohatsu, Jason Washburn, Wil Sisney, Matthew Green, Nicole True, Michelle Brinker, Danielt Montgomery, Thomas Kirksey, Jeff Carroll, Kevin Kaye, Aubrey Hudachko, Michelle Bonk, Niki Stanger, Jason Schneider, Leo Vandenburg, Steve Rasmussen, Judy Ives, Darren Borquist, Rob Ruppert, Bridgette Sims and the many others who I have played with….
The Weekly Route – It’s back!
Here is a lesser known game from the designer of Stone Age that I had the pleasure of playing. The abstracted theme has players taking control of various people throughout the Mediterranean as they spread out and build their monuments to the gods. Using hand management and set collection, players can play cards on their to spread out around the map or to claim god tiles that give you passive or immediate abilities. You earn the much needed victory points mainly by placing out your control columns in certain spots on the map, but also through bonus tiles and gods.
There is certainly randomness to how cards come out and what bonuses are revealed each turn but a depth of strategy can be reached. It doesn’t quite live up to Stone Age’s reputation, but it sits at the same family level with a little less seriousness than it’s worker placement counterpart.
The ‘theme’ for this euro is that players are each one of a great noble house in Europe during the 17th century. Using country cards that players acquire via drawing each turn, players can turn them in to gain influence with various titles. Once in with a title, players can be bumped out when intrigue cards are played on their spots. Points are earned as you move into each city, at the end of each round based on the most influence in each country and finally end game scoring based on who has the most sway with each title.
I put this game at gateway plus, easy to teach and the use of a Ticket to Ride like card drawing mechanic helps ease players into decisions. Card drawing can leave a lot to luck but otherwise this is a fairly decent game.
A month or so ago I got to play Glory to Rome, it was a brief play, but the multiple action selection for each card was a fantastic mechanic. Mottainai comes from the same designer, Carl Chudyk, and it’s boasted as a refinement to his earlier design.
Coming with only a deck of 54 cards at first it may not seem much, but there is a great variety choices and not too much to become overwhelming. The game is hard enough for most to wrap their heads around but with familiarity I could see playtime coming down alot. With multiple plays you will find your flow and ability to create cool card combos.
In Soviet Russia rail tracks build YOU! Well at least start earning you a truckload of victory points. Through worker placement players compete to build out their railway network, advancing the modernization of their rails and upgrade locomotives to further their reach across the country.
It is a true railroad race as players escalate up the scoreboard, building up to those final round combos that earn you big gains. I absolutely loved my first play of this and look forward to growing my railway reach again as soon as I can.
TABLESTOP GAME OF THE WEEK
Trading in the Mediterranean is the very familiar core to this game. Players works as dynasties of the Roman Empire as they extend their reach sending out colonists and building up a trade network. To achieve this, each player starts the game with a hand of cards and their turn they play one out to activate an action on that card. As the game plays out you have opportunities to pick up more cards, which is encouraged as these cards double as end scoring at the end of the game if you meet the requirements of the Roman God on the card.
Strategy can be rewarded in this one, with little player interaction other than copying card plays. The appearance of cards can be variable but over the course of a game you will see all of the eventually, along with the variable board layout of resources adds to replays of the game. A deserved Top 100 game.
THE RECENT HOTNESS
I thought I would add something new to bottom of my weekly posts, just to keep a comparison of all the games I have been playing over the past four weeks and how they stand in my wish to get them to the table again.
1. Manhattan Project
3. La Granja
4. Arcadia Quest
5. Russian Railroads
6. Isle of Skye
9. The Grizzled
10. Between Two Cities