Wednesday, June 1, 2016

THE ROUTE - Blades of Time

Gaming wise it has been a rather exciting time since I last took a look at what I've played. It truly is a golden age in gaming, it seems I rarely sit down to play something new and find myself being disappointed by the experience. In part this could be down to the great group of people I get to play with each week, a sour playthrough can always be improved by the interactions with them. Of course this could easily swing the other way when a player can bring a great game down, but fortunately I haven't had that feeling in a while.


First mention this week goes out to prolific designer Rudiger Dorn, who formed a double bill of plays for me. Firstly, haven't you always wanted to pilot a time travelling zeppelin? No, well your no fun then. On the other hand is that thought excites you as well as the prospect of playing a unique worker placement game then I suggest checking out Steam Time. This colorful game has players competiting as turn of the century (19th) time-travellers using newly discovered crystals to power their flying machines and exploring different time periods.

In turn players take an airship, place it in a time period and take an action. What is unique is that after this they must choose a spot later in the time period than any previous placed ships of theirs. This makes a clever puzzle of choices each round as you have to figure on a certain path through time to get what you need.


On a more gateway level comes recent Spiel des Jahres nomination Karuba. This is a tile-laying game with players leading expeditions into the jungles on the island Karuba, racing their explorers through the paths they create to get to the hidden treasures first. Everyone starts the game with the same empty board and locations of explorers and temples. One player will draw numbered tiles which essentially everyone will use for their own supplies, they have the choice to place it on their board creating the paths or discarding the tile to move an explorers along those pathways, I highly recommend this one to anyone with younger family members they are trying to get into the hobby,


Following on from Gold West last time comes another game with a historical tilt for newer designer J Alex Kevern, this time he takes us to the World's Fair 1893. Players compete through area control to get their exhibits approved, scoring them as sets at the end of the game. The mechanics are simple and abstract as you take turns placing a supporter (cubes) in an area and then picking up cards. Like his take on the gold rush previously the game itself has an elegance that makes it easy to teach to everyone. The theme wins through the usage of the cards, as every exhibit and ticket card in the game are unique with great flavor text that show you what the world expected in 1893.



Over the past couple of weeks I've managed to get in a few plays of Millennium Blades. Wow. Billed as a CCG simulator, it does well in boiling down all the key components of being into a game like Magic: The Gathering. It has you treading through the throes of acquisition disorder as you purchase pack after pack of cards just to find that ONE. Trading cards with your buddies still in the hopes that have that elusive card you are searching for. You get to build up your collection to turn in that perfect set to garner more points, And finally it drags through the tactical card play of a full blown tournament against your friends.

This game is so meta and within itself it has it's own meta as you are hoping to pull off the perfect combos with your tournament decks. It will break you and you will love it more for that. Hidden behind the over the top card art and so many gaming in-jokes is a game of great depth and huge amounts of replayability.

Other stops...
Multiple plays of 51st State and finally learning to play it correctly... Finding myself still winless in Terra Mystica... Exploring a new world through Alien Frontiers... Hoping off the Colt Express to ride a stagecoach... Once again exploiting Africa in Mombasa...