SR: b20 -- two "new" games
- last night at b20 i got to play two sort of new games -- Sid Meier's
Civilization: The Board Game & Setters of Canaan -- herewith some thoughts:
Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game (SMC:TBG) is a board game version
of a computer game based on a board game. matt, david f, adam and i played
for about two - two and a half hours then quit, not because we didn't enjoy
it but because it was clearly a mini-monster type game (probably 4-5 hours
playing time). we played the "basic" set of rules (as with all games from
Eagle this one has basic/intermediary/advanced rule sets), which seemed a
good way to get acquainted with the game.
as with the computer game, the idea is to explore territory (some of which
turns out to have prizes, some of which is booby trapped), build towns,
acquire technologies and advance up the tech ladder to be boss of the
planet. all of this requires a good deal of trading and (in my case)
literal horse swapping. combat is resolved by dice but the modifiers (for
tech and different types of units) made it feel less of a dice fest than
say Axis and Allies. SMC:TBG seems to be Advanced Civ. lite, which is not
meant as a knock. the rules are a bit rough and vague on some points --
this is clearly version 1.0 of the game, which is a shame given that they
are charging $60 for it. it seems to need a couple more rounds of
playtesting not for playability but for inconsistencies or things missed in
the rules. it will definitely need a good FAQ before the next edition is
published. as with most "American" style games, the rules and mechanisms
are not as elegant as they are with "European" style games. the basic rules
offer a simplified version of the game, so it is missing a few things --
like any incentive to go up the tech tree. the map and bits in this one are
as to the game itself -- i think adam won. i came in in a resounding last
place. Matt would have done better had we not (actively) conspired and not
told him a key rule we discovered while he was on the phone with his wife.
however, in our defense, let me say that knowledge of that rule didn't
prevent me from playing like an idiot anyway.
i thought the game was fun and i really do look forward to trying it with
the complete rule set which will allow a whole different set of
interactions between the players by giving people various different tech
settlers of canaan: this was a gift to me from a bunch of knuckleheads for
my birthday. it is a scenario/variant of settlers (of course), published by
a christian game company, in which you try to do the typical settlers thing
while at the same time building the temple in jerusalem (a la the Cheops
scenario, for those of you who know it).
the differences from regular settlers are: a pre-laid-out board which
includes a "copper" hext that serves as a wildcard for resource production;
different development cards; the need/ability to trace a route of supply
(through your own and other people's roads) to a border town through which
you can build the temple. This game is played to 12 pts or until the temple
is completed, and includes another 2 victory point card (along with longest
road and largest army, er, most "priests") that goes to the person who has
contributed the most stones to the temple -- this card also lets you pick a
resource type and do a 2 for 1 trade. We didn't really appreciate the power
and fun of this card until well into the game.
campbell scored the win in this one despite all of kyle's whining. i stank
up the joint, and the other gentleman (whose name i've forgotten -- my
apologies) placed a respectable third. overall i'd have to rate this a very
good variant with enough difference from the original to give it a
pleasantly different feel from the original. it will definitely hit the
table again, as opposed to the previously released "historical" settlers
scenarios which were pretty much play once and forget.
i saw some folks playing the lord of the rings risk game and was intrigued
-- anyone have any comments on how it played?
The image of a free constitution was preserved with a decent reverence.