30-Apr-2002All month
 
Through the Desert

Its been too long since the pastel camels saw the table. The board represents a desert and is made up of Hexagons. Four of these hexagons are filled with palm trees and then a lot more are covered with tokens worth 1,2 and 3 points. Each player takes a camel in each of the pastel colours, and places the rider of his colour onto it. Players take it in turns to play these riders onto the board. Play then starts in earnest, on his turn a player may play any two camels onto the board, such that each camel is adjacent to a camel of the same colour which in turn is part of a caravan of like coloured camels including one with that players rider. The same coloured caravans of 2 players may never be connected. As a caravan touches a tree that player gains 5 points and the player collects tokens from the board as they cover them. Once all the camels of any colour are played the game is over. Players then score for any enclosed areas formed and for the longest caravan of each colour.

Initial placement got rather aggressive as 3 of the four pink camels were all clumped together in one corner of the board, allowing Oggie to steam through with another coloured camel and pick up all the 3 pointers in that area. Elsewhere Andy was concentrating on his blue while managing to work his pink camel out of the corner, Steve was picking up plenty of tokens and connecting to plenty of trees. Tel enclosed a small area in one corner and set of after the opposite corner. Into the end game and Tel had a slight advantage in one of the colours from Steve but was forced to place just this colour each turn to maintain this lead. Andy was pushing his two main colours and Oggie claiming a couple of areas. In the fnal analysis Oggie had scored enough points to claim victory, Steve claimed a surprise second despite only sharing a single longest caravan. Andys 2 longest chains was enough to take third with Tel taking his first wooden spoon of the evening.

The big draw of this game is that each game plays in about 30 mins. Granted it also takes a few minutes to setup/put away with the many pieces. It does play well with any number of players and always scores well when played by the group.

Final Scores
Oggie 64, Steve 59, Andy 58, Tel 56

Ratings / 10
8s for everyone.
 
Scores: Oggie 64, Steve 59, Andy 58, Tel 56
Ratings: Oggie 8, Steve 8, Andy 8, Tel 8
Winner(s): Oggie

Vinci

After conquering the desert in our first game we decided to try and conquer Europe in the second. In Vinci players try and introduce new civilizations into Europe. Since each civilization is detemined by two tiles they each have different abilities. The knack of the game is to be able to determine when to put a civilization into decline and start a new one.

This was the first playing of this with 6. It was also the first time Ive ever seen anyone (Paul) put his first empire into decline before it had actually got onto the board. The second edition rules state that each time a pair of tiles is passed over it gets 2 VP, the first civ was pased over 3 time making it worth 6 VP to Paul. It didnt do him any harm as he and Tel opened up an early lead, Tel scoring big due to a specialised Weapon civ that allowed him to claim an early large territory. As is traditional in Vinci the early leaders get trashed, and Boog obliged by almost wiping Tel of the board. Andy was apparently supposed to do the same to Paul but decided that Oggie looked a better target. After some very nice combos of tiles at the start of the game the rest of the game produced some real junk. Hence people were trying to hold onto dying civs for longer in the hope of seeing better tiles turn up. No one achieved this better than Andy who somehow managed to go through the whole game with only 2 Civs. Granted after 2 hours of play we called a halt to proceedings before anyone had reached the 100 point barrier. Despite being frugal with his civs Andy managed to claim a comfortable victory with Boog being his closest challenger 10 points adrift. Paul claimed 3rd from Oggie and Steve with Tel again taking last place.

The game was rated slightly lower then usual for this excellent game, this was due to excessive downtime. Most turn based games that play with 6 players are going to suffer from downtime and this was no exception. Although some planning could be made during other players turns, things often changed dramatically during the course of one round. This was still an enjoyable game but the consensus within the group seems to be that the ideal number of players is definitely less than 6.

Final Scores
Andy 90, Boog 80, Paul 76, Oggie 75, Steve 72, Tel 69

Ratings / 10
Andy 9, Boog 8, Paul 8, Oggie 6, Steve 7, Tel 7
 
Scores: Andy 90, Boog 80, Paul 76, Oggie 75, Steve 72, Tel 69
Ratings: Andy 9, Boog 8, Paul 8, Oggie 6, Steve 7, Tel 7
Winner(s): Andy