Over the last few weeks I’ve been able to get in quite a few games. Most of them were games I’ve written about here before, but I’ve also managed to play some new games. In this edition Covert, Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu, and 3 Wishes are played!
As a big fan of Pandemic, and cooperative games in general, I was very excited to Play Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu. I wasn’t quite as excited as Sergio, though, who invited Blake and I over to play it with him. The 3 of us took on the role of investigators, and out of my two dealt choices I chose to be the Driver.
First off, let’s start with a brief overview. The board is beyond beautiful and obviously dripping in Cthulhu theme, even to a layperson. I much preferred it to the standard Pandemic board. As Sergio explained the rules the wonderfully done retheming of the modern classic really shone through. It was clear that this wasn’t just a retheming and that serious effort went into making the game recognizable and yet clearly unique.
The board is divided into towns instead of just sections of a world map, with bus stations to aid players in traversing the map between the 4 towns. Instead of disease cubes there are cultist miniatures, and there are even special, more powerful creatures that can spawn. There’s even sanity dice to roll for certain actions.
Just like in Pandemic there are cards to be collected in sets. These cards can be used to travel, be traded, and ultimately close the gate in each of the 4 towns when enough of a certain type are in hand. These 4 gates are the ultimate objective of the players. Just as in Pandemic this is way easier said than done.
At first the game seemed easy, almost too easy. There were no large gatherings of cultists and I was zooming around the board as the driver, collecting cards, trading cards with my compatriots, and squashing little uprisings. Before we knew it we had a gate closed and 2 more well on their way to being closed!
But as it often does when playing Pandemic, our fortune soon changed. We became so focused on collecting the right cards that the cultists crept upwards in number. We had a blast dealing with the different Elder Ones’ abilities as they came into play, and again the game is absolutely beautiful. I would definitely play it again, and intend to do so!
Outcome – Much like in Pandemic when a certain color of cube is exhausted but more are needed, we ran out of cultists. I am actually quite glad that we lost because for a moment it had fooled me into thinking it was going to be too easy for 3 veteran Pandemic players. Cthulhu quickly corrected that line of thought.
Trudi suggested we play a filler game while waiting for a few of our regulars to get done with a game they were playing. She suggested 3 Wishes, which is a quick cards-only game designed to take 5 minutes to play. These cards are gorgeous and I’ll never turn down a 5 minute game, even if it doesn’t sound like my type of game.
In 3 Wishes the players have found an ancient lamp with a genie in it, and the genie has promised that the first player to gather 3 cards of the 3 different types will have their wishes granted… or something like that. Anyway, players have a certain number of actions available to them, including looking at their own cards, moving cards between players and the cards in the middle, etc. There’s on more important thing. Most of the game is played blindly.
Even when a player looks at their own cards they can only look at 1 of them. Then, even if you know what your cards are another player might choose to switch one of yours out with anothers player’s card, or with one from the middle. Since I have a memory of approximately .0003 seconds, I had no idea what cards I had or what I was doing. As soon as a card left my control, it was deleted from my memory.
After so many rounds if a player has 3 different cards of the 3 different types they can choose to end the game. Anyone who has the appropriate card combination gets to compare their cards’ point values to decide the winner. I’ll give you one guess as to who did not win. If you like games like Masquerade, or really any game that involves memory and blind card manipulation, you’ll like this little filler game. It sure was pretty to boot!
Outcome – Alex won the game and proved that his memory was far greater than mine. If you had held a gun to my head and asked me to name one of my cards I wouldn’t have been able to do it. But then, memory games aren’t my thing.
On a Thursday afternoon at The Jester’s Court, my excellent friend, Trudi, and I sat down to try Covert. We were both excited to give it a whirl and as Trudi helped some customers I skimmed the rulebook and began setting up the game.
In Covert players control a network of spies that they move around Europe, completing missions, cracking codes, and doing all sorts of spy-like things. The game is a dice pool game where players use their dice to activate certain abilities during a round. These abilities let players move their agents, draw more cards, etc.
Completing missions is the ultimate goal of the game, and everything a player does is used to do this. Agents might have to be in a certain region for a mission to be able to be completed, or even in a certain city. Missions also require certain equipment, like documents, cameras, lockpicks etc. These are acquired through card acquisition as well as cracking codes. Speaking of these codes, at the end of each round players attempt to crack codes using a portion of the board with movable numbers that is quite fun and unique, not to mention challenging.
The dice placement on the action spaces is strategic, and blocking is possible due to the fact that placed dice must be numerically adjacent to other already placed dice after the first. This adds a lot of depth to the strategy on top of the already highly strategic code cracking and card usage. I would definitely try Covert again, especially considering the outcome.
Outcome – Customers began to pour into the store, and what should have been a relatively short game turned into a 3 hour game of non-stop breaks. Ultimately, because I had to leave, we called it a draw and vowed to try the game again soon.