We started out with this very thematic game, Jenseits von Theben. I decided to spend most of the time collecting cards around the cities. I turned out to be pretty well rounded in specific knowledge. And I gathered 5 Kongress cards (triangle point cards). So, I started digging. I was pretty lucky on one dig: out of 4 cards, I received 4 artifacts. Marty was even more lucky than I though. His excessive knowledge in Palestine, his breadth of artifacts dug up from there, and the two showings that he was able to attend won him the game.
The cards dried up during the game. Early on, we had a number of showings (only two of which were attended). However, towards the middle of the game, no conferences showed up at all. So when the cards stopped being attractive, the only thing left to do was dig.
I played a prototype trick-taking card game called Rainbow Trump. There are seven suits (the colors of the rainbow with red being the highest rank and violet being lowest) with values from 1 – 7. Therefore each card has two attributes to it. You are dealt out some amount of cards (in a three player game it was 15) and there are some amount of cards which were not in play but instead used as bonus points (4 for us). Each player chooses a personal trump card by secretly picking a card and facing the desired attribute towards himself (if can be number or color). Which are then revealed. Someone leads a card either as a color or as a number. Standard trick taking rules apply: you must follow what was led, you can sluff or trump otherwise. If multiple people want to trump, then something special happens. The first trump starts to take it, then, a second trump can beat it: if it is a number trump then
if the number is higher, or if it is a color trump, then if the color is higher. If it was overtrumped, then you take the trick and an extra point as recorded by an extra card (so these points could run out during the course of a hand).
One strategy you can use is to attack the base trump. If someone is forced to play the card that they used to show their trump card, then they loose the power of trump. Whatever cards were left which would have been trump are now normal cards. So one strategy is to try and get someone to be forced to play that card. Of course, usually people will pick trump of whatever is their longest suit or number. However, if that person picked blue and displayed the blue 5, then playing other 5’s as a number will get them to play that card.
I always like trick-taking games. And there are many of them out there with unusual twists. For this game, you are forced to now keep track of 7×7 things instead of 7 things. Also, when you try and save walkers of a suit (low cards that are the only ones left), it is hard to try and stop someone else. Normally you will trump in, but if you are out of trump, then chances are that the cards that they will play will be different than cards you can cover. For example, if you hold the 6 of blue, then someone can play the 5 of blue as a number. Which means that the 6 that you hold is considered sluff. Only a 5 of red, orange, yellow, or green will beat that blue. Did you save one of those as well?
We went for a late lunch at Doneraki. Which was supposed to be pretty good. However, by the time we arrived, they stopped serving the buffet. And we had problems with the waiter. It seems that I have bad luck when I eat with Kevin and Debra. 😉
While we were eating, the group decided to play werewolf. But there wasn’t a vote on it because I would have surely have voted against it. Sigh. I wasn’t picked as a werewolf or seer. So I remained quiet and hoped that everyone would leave me alone. We did make a good pick on the first suspected werewolf though. I had a feeling that Brandon was just a little too vocal in his accusations. The next werewolf was harder though. Mary volunteered the fact that she was the seer. So her life was going to be short. She did say that Tim Houston was not a werewolf. Tim then used his logic arguments to get people to vote in a certain order. Tim Burnet and I agreed and we killed off the next werewolf. Phew. Hopefully I won’t have to play that game any time soon…
I have been wanting to play this game for a while now if only for the bits. You are building Cleopatra’s palace. The different pieces are obelisks, sphinxes, walls, door frames, and Cleopatra’s throne. The box is used as part of the building, so at the end of the game, the completed structure looks impressive. Game play is easy. You either collect cards that represent resources (wood, stone, marble, lapis, artisan) or special abilities, OR build a section of the palace and collect money. When 5 of six sections of the palace has been built, the game is over.
Only money counts as victory points at the end of the game. However, there is one mechanism that you have to watch out for. And that is corruption. Some of the more powerful cards, like the double resource cards or the special ability cards, are tainted. If you play them, then you get corruption tokens which are secretly placed inside of a pyramid bank. At the end of the game, you get more corruption tokens if you have cards in your hand that are tainted. The person with the most corruption automatically loses. There can be points in the game where you offer money to remove corruption tokens. However, only the person who offered the most money gets to remove three tokens. The other people get one or more tokens. Painful. And unpredictable. It can happen a lot or a little during the game. In our game, it only happened once.
During the game, the ladies at the table (Mary “Corruption Jones” and Amy) were taking corruption tokens. I knew Amy was going to spend a lot of the money that she earned during the offering. So I went for second place. Amy ended offering 13 dollars which I thought was a lot. As the game progressed, I started taking corruption tokens. And when the game ended, the corruption tokens were surprisingly close (9, 8, 8, and 6). Mike lost and I ended up in first place based on money. If Mike would have taken one less, then only Mary would have won.
Marty brought out this game claiming that it would be quick. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the complete opposite. But I was able to chat and do other stuff during the massive downtime.
Since only myself and Mike were not playing games, Mike suggest that we play Carolus Magnus as a two player game. I like this older Colovini game. It doesn’t really need a them. In fact, I cannot remember what the theme is supposed to be. All you need to know is that it is a majority game. You want majority in some of the five colors. Because if you are first in a color, you can use that color on the board to cast votes for you. And if you have the most votes on an island when the king comes around, then you place your marker(s) on it. If the neighboring islands are also owned by you, then you can merge them into one super island. Once you place all ten of your markers on the board, the game is over.
This game was close. It came down to a dice roll at the end. Could Mike roll the colors that he needed? Yes, he did.
I certainly had fun at this convention. But I am sad that I didn’t get to play Train Raider, Struggle of Empires, or my many other Wallace games that I brought. Kevin was still the nicest person at the con. Amy, the Cookie Pimp, made some wonderful cookies. Imperial was surprisingly the most played game at the con. The hotel was actually pretty good. It had a Tempurpedic mattress, fitted sheets, and free WiFi.