I’ve had a great few game night recently, and I played the brand new expansion to one of my all-time favorite games! Though not full reviews, I hope that perhaps this article can direct a few gamers to some new games!
The Jester’s Court
One of my very favorite games of all time, Evolution by North Star Games, released an expansion called Evolution: Flight. I backed the Kickstarter Campaign for this expansion, and I am so glad that I did! Not only is the expansion fantastic, but the promo cards from the campaign add some serious options and replay ability to the game. As the title suggests the expansion adds, among other things, the ability to create an avian species. They are more expensive to create and to feed, but they have certain advantages to compensate for these costs.
For my first playing of the game I drastically underestimated the advantages of the flying species. I thought that I could take advantage of the “newness” of the avians and control the ground. With the avian species being able to eat from a new watering hole type location called ‘The Cliff,’ an area unreachable by non-flying species, starvation was less of an issue for them. Meanwhile, my creatures were starving due to a large number of players having the same strategy.
I made a few mistakes early on, like choosing the aggressive, start-the-game-with-a-carnivore strategy. This would have been fine except that there were 2 players who were playing the game for the first time. Both of them and another experienced player chose the same strategy. Half of the carnivores starved out during the first round. Since food is the primary victory point in the game, a goose egg on the first round created problems.
Sergio’s bird species, however, dominated the game and gorged themselves on the food from The Cliff. He was ruthless in depriving the watering hole first and watching as our land species starved when it ran dry. His birds just flew to The Cliff and kept on eating.
Outcome – Out of 5 players I came in 3rd. When you consider that I have played Evolution many times and that 2 of the players were playing for the first time, I think it’s safe to say that I essentially came in last. But I had a lot of fun doing so!
Dixit is a classic, story telling game with amazing artwork that is always accompanied by lots of laughter! The game that I played with Andrew, my cousin, and his wife, Kathy, was no exception. It was both of their first time playing, but I am very experienced at the game. Since Andrew and I are on the same wavelength, describing a card so that each other can understand the hint was easy to do. We made lots of references that we were sure Kathy wouldn’t understand. It backfired of course when Kathy managed to blindly, but correctly, guess the correct card anyway.
The rules for Dixit state that once the story teller has chosen a secret card and given a clue, the other players have to submit a card that fits the clue as well (also secretly). The submitted cards are shuffled and the story teller/active player lays the cards out. The story teller gets no points if none of the other players correctly guess the active player’s card (the hint was too vague) or if all of the other players manage to find it (the hint was too obvious).
Once Kathy got a feel for the game she began to give hints in Polish so that only Andrew would get them. While this is probably technically cheating, we let it go because we were having such a great time.
Outcome – I lost to first timers… again… Andrew beat us soundly since both other players were targeting their hints at him. He murdered us!
Top Secret Project
Sergio and I have created a game that we think is not only fun, but commercially viable and a good candidate for a Kickstarter Campaign in the future. Our prototype is on the table and we have begun testing it, tweaking and doing our best to make a solid, affordable game. While it is too early to discuss a lot of details, I will say that the game is cooperative and has a survival theme. Vague, huh? I know, sorry!
The game is in the very early stages of play-testing, but we are extremely optimistic. The game is challenging and fun, and I will be dropping more hints as time goes by, revealing more and more about it as the day approaches when we put it on Kickstarter. We want to take it slow and do it right, so look for updates peppered in occasionally of the next few months!
Outcome – Very hopeful