With the impending launch of Search and Survive and last minute preparations for the game, I haven’t had much time for personal gaming. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t snuck in a game or two here and there. The Game, the 2015 Spiel des Jahres nominee, and Via Nebula are featured in this edition.
– The Game –
Somehow, despite it being nominated for the 2015 Spiel des Jahres award, I had never played the cooperative game, The Game. Trudi and I sat down for a quick game at the Jester’s Court while waiting for a group of kids from Partners to come in to learn some board games. They were running late so we gave it a try.
In The Game players are trying to run through a deck of cards, playing a minimum of 2 cards from their hand each turn (2 cards per turn for a 2 player game at least). There are 4 places in which to place cards. There are 2 spots for cards to be placed in ascending order, and 2 spaces for descending order.
It’s trickier than it sounds because of these limitations. One does not want to make too large of a gap between numbers because, with the exception of 1 rule, of the possibility of future cards not fitting in any of the piles. It is ideal to get only low and high numbers to begin with so that there’s plenty of “room” to add more cards to the proper spaces, but that isn’t how it goes down. Of course.
As an example of game play, if one of the descending spaces has an ’85’ on top of it then one would not want to place a ’55’ on top of the stack. This would mean that (with again 1 exception that I will not cover here) cards with ’56’ to ’84’ on them could no longer be placed. There’s limited space with only 4 spots to place cards.
When I was explained the rules by Trudi The Game sounded incredibly simple, but it proved to be much more strategic. To add to an already difficult concept, players are not allowed to tell each other which cards they hold. Communication is very limited, which just further compounds the difficulty.
The Game is deep despite its simple structure, and is far more strategic than it sounds. The game is quick and easy to teach and makes a great filler. I am looking forward to playing it again.
Outcome – The outcome looked bleak pretty much from the start, but it ended up being a lot closer than I thought. We made it most of the way through the deck before we lost.
– Via Nebula –
I had been looking forward to Via Nebula for a very long time, and I got to play it for the first time at our last Board Game Night at The Jester’s Court. Trudi, Jeremy, Ethan, and I gave it a go and I was not disappointed.
The board is made up of several different types of hex spaces. Some are impassable, some start the game with resources on them, and a large portion are covered with fog. The latter must be explored by placing meadow tiles over them. Players can place construction sites on certain spaces, and once the appropriate resources are transported there players can build buildings from their hand or from a common pool.
This transport of resources is the key mechanic of the game. Fog, and the even more obstructive petrified forests, use up player actions to explore. Once a construction zone has a perfectly cleared path to a resource, said resource can be moved to the zone as an action. This takes a lot of planning and a little luck as well.
The game is close to coming to an end when a player builds their 5th building. Players get points based on the buildings they completed, the amount of exploration they did, and resources they found during the game.
Via Nebula exceeded my expectations, and my expectations were already pretty high for the game. Navigating resources through the maze of fog and obstructions is tricky, but both fun and rewarding. The artwork for the game is amazing and has a steampunk feel, a theme that is underutilized in my opinion. I had a blast playing Via Nebula and immediately wanted to play it again.
Outcome – Despite playing against Jeremy, one of my board game archenemies (in a friendly way), I managed to win. Miracles can happen, I guess!