Thoughts From The Gameroom

The ramblings of a Euro-gamer from South Dakota

Reading Rules

Posted by sodaklady on October 4, 2007

Reading rules to some of the new games that are soon to be released is the highlight of my gaming lately.   The only playing I’ve done is when I twisted the arms of my husband and daughter to try out my recent purchases of Uptown, a very good game with the length of a filler but the heart of a tricky abstract, and Bohnanza, which is pretty crumby with only 3 players.

I only discovered this game through the Rules Wiki on BGG, otherwise I probably would never have heard of it.  This is a 2-4 player game that plays in about 30-40 minutes, about pumping water from the wadi to irrigate the land.  It’s basically an abstract but the theme fits the game play beautifully.  The tiles, which can be set up in different configurations to start, are very bland but easily distinguishable from each other.  It also has the most beautiful start player token I’ve ever seen.  It looks, at first, like a simple, quick filler but it sounds like a real thinker.  There is no luck in the game, and stealing other players’ water is part of the strategy.  I definitely want this one.

Chang Cheng
This is a light area influence game with a twist.  Each block of the Great Wall of China that you place influences both a good area (+ points) on the China side and a bad area (- points) on the Mongols side.  I hesitate on putting this on my “must buy” list only because of the Action cards.  They could add to the strategy, making you decide when and where to use their powers since you only have 6 cards for the whole game, or turn out to be a crap shoot with 4 players vying for supremacy in the last couple of provinces.

In Kingsburg, you roll dice to influence the King’s advisors who will help you get more resources and soldiers.  The resources are used to build buildings which give you special powers; the soldiers help you fight off an attacking enemy at the end of the year.  As I was reading the rules, other games kept popping into my head:  choosing an advisor by dice placement made me think of To Court the King; and the resource gathering in order to build buildings in order to use their special powers made me think of many games, especially Yspahan but that might just be because of the dice aspect of the game.  In the end, my main thought was, “Is that all there is?”


League of Six
I read the rules even though I know that it’s unlikely to show up on American soil unless it’s a runaway hit.  After reading the rules, I can’t say I’m broken-hearted about that.  It sounds like a good game, don’t misunderstand me; but I have enough light, interesting games that it would have to “wow” me before it makes the “must buy” list, and it doesn’t.  There are interesting concepts like the re-ordering of the Turn Order and the rotating Tax tiles to give you a variety of choices in each city but on the whole, it sounds fairly ordinary.

This game has absolutely gorgeous figurines!  If you haven’t seen them, hop over to the BGG game page or the game’s web site and check them out.  They make Cleopatra’s pieces look like Leggo blocks.  Anyway, on to my impression of the rules.

 This is what I would call an area control game rather than area influence—you either control the district or you don’t.  The rules aren’t as foolproof as they could be since it wasn’t immediately clear to me that you play a color rather than a civilization.  Each set of color tiles has pieces that represent all of the civilizations but that is a little confusing until you keep reading.  Other than that, they were easy to follow and understand.

 The game sounds great; I was drooling to try it before I finished reading the rules.  One reason is that there is more than one way to score points so you can try different strategies or shift your focus if things aren’t going the way you planned.  Another reason is that, during one phase of the game, you can manipulate both your presence in a district and the value of a civilization.  I like games that let you do a little tricky manipulation; it keeps things fresh and maybe catches your opponents off guard.  It also sounds like it would play pretty well with just two.  Want it, want it, want it.


4 Responses to “Reading Rules”

  1. ekted said

    Glad to see the page is useful. I passed your Utopia comment along to Arnaud. He’s been very accepting of input about changes.

  2. sodaklady said

    Thanks, Jim. I’m sure it’s not a big deal if you have the game in front of you, but with only the rules to go by, it was a little confusing at first.

  3. Arnaud said

    Thank you to this comment on Utopia.
    Unfortunatly rules’ printinting are in progress. I hope that is not a big issue.

  4. Andrea said

    Thanks a lot for your interest in Kingsburg.
    Yes, the rules are pretty easy and straightforward. I agreee it shares with Yspahan the alternate use of the dice (but the mechanic is totally different). Maybe if you will be so nice to give it a try you will find it more interesting than it seems by just reading the rules. I know from personal experience that sometimes just reading the rules can be misleading (I had with Notre Dame the same feeling you had with Kingsburg, then I played it and I was surprised how much I loved the game).

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