Thoughts From The Gameroom

The ramblings of a Euro-gamer from South Dakota

Archive for the ‘Do-It-Yourself Games’ Category

Gentlemen, start your engines. A review of Thunder Alley

Posted by sodaklady on March 1, 2013

We like race games, all kinds of races and all kinds of game mechanics from the quick and fun GMT Formula Motor Racing to slow and analytical Bolide; from dog sledding in Snow Tails to escaping pirates in Cartagena. Thunder Alley caught my attention when it was announced for GMT’s P500 list and I proceeded to follow the designer’s blog and subscribed to the game page.

This game has had quite a life already and it hasn’t even been printed. From the P500 where it lagged, to Kickstarter where it perished, and back to GMT with a guarantee to be printed this summer thanks to a contribution from a fan, it has several laps under its belt before the race even started.

The files section on Board Game Geek contains a Print and Play version for 2 players, which is the basis for my review. It contains the simple oval track, the Race Cards, Event Cards, and lots of chits representing your cars, damage markers, lap points, and place trophy points.

The two main things that separate this race game from others are that you control a team of three to six cars, depending on the number of players (2-7); and when you activate a car, it often affects many cars, including your opponents’.  This doesn’t sound like a big innovation and in truth, I couldn’t grasp how it would feel to race with these rules– what made it fun or special. That’s why I finally put together the PnP version to try it out myself.

This is the Dover short oval track.

This is the Dover oval short track.

The board shows a simple oval with an inside track that is used only as the pits. Pitting occurs at the end of each game round no matter where you are on the track. This is a simple way to handle pitting and works very well although not totally thematic for those who are anal about such things.

The player mat for each player's team also has a handy reference for damage results and End of Turn Sequence.

The player mat for each player’s team also has a handy reference for damage results and End of Turn Sequence.

Each player has a player mat to keep track of the damage for each of their cars. The damage can be either permanent or temporary, the latter being the only kind that can be fixed during a pit stop. The cars are two-sided, gray and white backgrounds so you can keep track of which cars have been activated on a turn.

Thunder Alley cards

The Race cards contain various pieces of information. At the top is the title of the card shown in a particular color which denotes the type of damage taken when that card is played. In the top left corner are two numbers, the larger is the number of Action Points used on a turn, the smaller is used only when leaving the pits. In the center is an icon to show the type of movement you’ll be using on the car you activate this turn. More on this later. Some cards have text which applies when you play this card, and at the bottom is the Team Bar which is used to choose starting positions at the start of the game and to settle any ties. Simple and very useable cards but I’d personally like to see the movement arrows reflected at the top left so it can be seen when the hand of cards are fanned.

Each round begins with dealing cards to players, one more than the number of cars they control. Then players take turns, starting with the owner of the pole position car, playing a card to activate one of their cars and continuing around until all the cars have been activated. Then you perform the end of the round sequence which is:  determine the Leader, perform Pit Stops, determine first player (the lead car), and remove any lapped cars (ouch! Keep up!)

The movement mechanic is the heart of the game, of course, and is like no other game I own or have played. It is quite simple and very effective.

Solo movement is just as it states, you activate one car and move it using the Action Points on the card. It takes one point to move to an adjacent empty space, straight ahead or laterally (sideways); two points to move sideways when that space is occupied; and three points to move forward if you must push a car that is in front of you. If you push a car laterally, it moves into the next lane unless it is already in the inmost or outmost lane, in which case it is pushed backwards one space. Doesn’t that sound like racing?

Draft movement involves a line of cars linked forward and backward to the activated car. The whole string of cars move the allotted movement points, including any cars that are picked up in front of the line as it moves. You can move laterally only at the start of movement, spending movement points as you do in solo movement; once you start forward, you must keep going forward in a straight line until all movement points are used.

Pursuit movement is rather like pushing the line of cars you have linked to in front of you. Like Draft movement, you can only move laterally at the beginning of your move. Not being a race fan in real life, this felt like the least thematic part of the game. Come on, if the car in front of me makes a break for it, I’m going to stick to his tail if I can, right? Maybe that’s it, the cars behind are just not able to keep up.

Lead movement is the final type and is just as it sounds, leading the string of cars that begin the movement linked behind the activated car. Unlike Draft and Pursuit, you can zig and zag through the pack however you wish provided you have the action points, and the cars behind you will follow your actions exactly. This really feels like finding the whole in the pack and making a break for it.

Damage (or wear) on a vehicle slows it down, the more damage, the less movement points you can use. If you activate a car that already has 6 damage markers, it is eliminated.

At the end of the race, points are awarded for the Position each car finished, one point for being the lap leader at any time, and an extra point for leading the most laps. After adding the points for each car on your team, the player with the most points wins and does a victory lap around the table, finishing with a couple of donuts if they still have tires.

We were captivated by the game in almost no time at all. It’s simple to grasp, offers a challenge but isn’t brain-burning, gives you the thrill of a real race without all the noise and fumes, and most importantly…it’s fun. There’s the feeling of racing that I can’t explain effectively, something that doesn’t come through by simply reading the rules and understanding the concept. It can only be understood by doing–by seeing the movement of cars and changing of positions that you caused with a simple turn of a card.

If you can’t print your own version or see a demo somewhere, then take just trust me on this: if you love racing or racing games, you should try this game. I’m pretty sure you’re going to love it.

Posted in board games, Do-It-Yourself Games, Reviews | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Wild Kingdom Rummy

Posted by sodaklady on March 16, 2010

I was browsing the newest Reviews the other day and came across The Gaston Game, a rummy variant. This in turn led me to an article about a contest for people to design a rummy variant. I love rummy so I read through all of the entries, marked a few to try, and picked Wild Kingdom as my first to try for a couple of reasons.

First, the cards have 3 characteristics so that melds can be of varying strengths allowing them to attack other melds of lesser or equal strength. Oh, yeah, lets add more conflict to rummy.

The second reason is that you can pick up anywhere in the discard pile, adding everything above that card to your hand and using the card you picked up, 500 Rummy-style. I’ve always preferred 500 to vanilla rummy with the added tension that a wrong discard can be fatal. That, and grabbing a handful of cards – mmwwaahaahaahaa!

RULES
I had no problems understanding the rules, and no unanswered questions. There were examples for everything that is unique to this rummy variant. And I thought the addition of a glossary for theme-related game terms was very nice touch.

DESIGN
The card design is very good, the subtle colors, the lovely pictures of the animals, the iconography, and the paragraph at the bottom giving a brief description of the animal, which I think is a nice addition. The one problem we had was finding a way to see which animal we were holding since the animal name is at the top right and all the way at the bottom left, and that in tiny-sized font. I would have preferred the name to be under the icon at the top left.

Some cards from Wild Kingdom. Image by Rebekah B., the designer

GAME PLAY
The theme of the game is groups of animals battling each round to see who is superior.  The Land Group have green borders, Sea Group has blue, Air Group has yellow, big Cats are Orange, and King of Beasts are purple. There are only 3 King of Beasts cards and if you manage to make a meld of them, it’s an automatic win for that hand, leaving your opponent with zero points.

Melds are made up of any 3 cards of one Group, regardless of animal. But within the Land, Air and Sea Groups are 3 Families, each with 3 distinct Animals. The more characteristics your meld has, the stronger its Rank. So a set made up of a Gorilla, a Polar Bear and a Frilled Lizard is the weakest set being made up of three different animals from different Families (apes, bears & lizards) of the land Group. If your set is Polar Bear, Grizzly Bear and Brown Bear, it’s a higher Rank, being made up of all one Family. The King of Beasts (male lions) is the highest meld.

The Cat Family is a special Group which can be used either for a meld OR discarded to the Carrion pile to use its special ability. An Eye of the Tiger card lets you peek at your opponent’s hand, the Fast Mover with a cheetah on it lets you play two melds instead of one this turn, and the lion cubs on the Bonus cards are set aside for extra points to the player who has the most cards in the Group that wins the battle this hand.

In keeping with the theme, when played, melds of a particular Group can attack any other Group that is of equal or lesser Rank. A card is taken from the attacked meld and placed in the Carrion pile. This can be useful not only to cut down your opponent’s field but to strengthen one of your own meld’s Rank by eliminating an odd animal from your set. A set is never more than 3 cards but can be attacked and herded so as to leave only a single card in the “set”. It can then be strengthened as long as you do not decrease its Rank.

Herding is an interesting ability which can help both yourself and your opponent.  You can take one or two cards from any lower-ranked melt to form a new higher-ranked meld. You can rearrange your own field with this ability OR steal animals from your opponent. In the latter case, you could very well be increasing the strength of his meld, making it harder to attack in future.

OPINION
First, there’s a lot of rules here to give Wild Kingdom its special twist on rummy. This makes it both a unique and interesting game but also challenges you when it comes to teaching it. It also means it may take a hand or two to come to terms with all you are able to do, how you can manipulate not just your own sets but your opponent’s to your advantage. In my opinion, it’s worth the effort.

I loved the theme, and the rules supported that theme very well. I loved the extra depth of card play and think there’s a lot of game here for a rummy variant. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys card games and is looking for rummy with punch.

My husband’s opinion? He wanted to know if this can be bought or is it just for download? From my non-gamer spouse, it won’t get any better than that.

Posted in Card games, Do-It-Yourself Games, New Game, Reviews | 1 Comment »

Flowerpower… sort of

Posted by sodaklady on February 6, 2010

Flowerpower is one of the games in the Kosmos 2-player line which has been out of print for quite a few years. It’s fairly popular as a wife/girlfriend-friendly game, and it’s also nearly impossible to get a copy. Fortunately someone (cuzzle on BGG) who didn’t care too much for the flower theme posted a pdf of the tiles for his big-game animal re-theme. I have to admit that the original flower version is a little on the ugly side in my opinion.

Anyway, I downloaded the file, printed it on sticky paper,  stuck the two sheets to matte board, and finally cut until my joints hurt. The next task was to come up with a board. Not a Photoshop guru, or even a student, my best effort was crayons. And since the tiles represent African big game animals, the board I created shows yellowish areas (dry, grassy plain) divided by a big blue watering hole.

Homemade board for the animal version of Flowerpower

It’s a very simple game, rules-wise, but a nice past-time for 2 people. On your turn, you pull a tile from a bag (or shuffle them around face-down) and place it on any pair of empty spaces on your side of the board or in the shared blue area.  You’re trying to create large groups of the same animal, of which there are 10 different types. You may claim the animals in the blue area only if they connect to the same animal that is on your side of the board. Your opponent can steal them if they connect to them and have a larger group on their side of the board. That adds a bit of nastiness to the game but you can also be nasty by placing a tile upside down anywhere on your opponent’s side of the board to block him, but you can only do that 3 times.

When there are no more tiles to place or when both players have run out of places to place tiles, the game ends. You then score each animal grouping one at a time, which is why there is a list of them along the edge of the board to help you keep track. Each grouping of 3-5 is worth 1 point, a group of 6-9 is worth 2 points, and 10 or more is worth 4. I had fun doing this, in fact, it was more fun than playing some versions of card-based solitaire.

I have quite a few of the Kosmos 2-player games and I think this is an excellent addition. It’s a shame that it isn’t easier to come by, but thanks to cuzzle I have my own, better looking, copy.

Posted in board games, Do-It-Yourself Games, Reviews | 3 Comments »

Napoleon Is Dead

Posted by sodaklady on August 10, 2009

Napoleon at Waterloo is a very basic war game using what I assume to be traditional mechanics. I may move any or all of my units, battles occur between adjacent enemy units using a CRT (combat result table), then my opponent takes his turn. The rules are even more simple than the frequently recommended Memoir ’44 since terrain offers very little to remember: each hex is one movement point whether it’s buildings, road, or forest with a road (forest without a road are impassable). Buildings double the defender’s value, making it harder to fight them.

Starting positions. French are blue; British are red. French move first.

Starting positions. French are blue; British are red. French move first.

The heart of the game, the tough decisions, and, ultimately, what killed it for me, is in the details. First is how the CRT works. This was new to me but is very familiar to long-time war gamers. Here’s how it works: count the fire power of the attacking units then compare that to the fire power of the defending units using odds, such as 1:1 or 3:1. Then roll a die and trace the result across the row to the column with the odds for this battle. This gives you the results. In this game you can get Attacker Retreat, Defender Retreat, Attacker Eliminated, Defender Eliminated, Even Elimination.

The CRT for Napoleon At Waterloo.

The CRT for Napoleon At Waterloo.

This means that you are constantly computing odds and trying to figure a way to increase your firepower to give you better odds. Even that wouldn’t be too much like a math assignment if not for the second rule: every unit (of both sides) that has an enemy adjacent to it must battle.  So when faced with a line of enemy, you not only need to design an attack that gives you the best odds you can in each battle, but must be careful not to forget an enemy that you happened to touch while working towards good odds on another unit. Now it becomes more like a math puzzle, a relative of Sudoku, and can take a lot of thought and counter pushing to come up with a satisfactory solution. After 3 games, I decided that this wasn’t something I enjoyed.

One thing I did like was zones of control (ZOC). This is the area adjacent to a unit that it controls. In Napoleon, a unit moving into an enemy’s ZOC cannot move any further, and cannot leave that space except as a result of death or retreat. Also, a unit that is forced to retreat cannot enter a ZOC of his enemy, and is eliminated instead. That’s very cool and a tactic to be constantly aware of.

Although I found Napoleon at Waterloo not my kind of game exactly, I did enjoy the experience of learning about traditional war game mechanics and I came away with a better feel for overall tactics. I finally found myself looking at the whole and coming up with a loose plan, rather than just concentrating on a small part of the battlefield. Call this my first baby step.

Posted in board games, Do-It-Yourself Games, War Games | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

I Opened The Door and Was Warmly Greeted

Posted by sodaklady on July 17, 2009

I was beginning to despair that I’d ever have any more game related stuff to write about and would be left with only the mundane news, which I’m sure you would find… mundane. Do you care that I’ve been having an enormous amount of fun with InFamous on my PS3? Or that we had baby blue jays in our hedge?

O.k., you would probably be interested in the fact that Mike finally brought Goa over for the second time since he got it, probably in 2004 or 2005 when it was new. We enjoyed it a lot more this time (I suspect it’s because we’re much more familiar with Eurogames now) and I won by ONE point. We also played Elfenland, which I got for trade but hadn’t played yet. We liked it well enough but with three there was little competition so probably didn’t live up to its full potential.

You might even be interested in the fact that I decided to buy the new version of Formula De (called Formula D, for crying out loud) even though Mike has the original and probably all of the additional tracks. The production is excellent and I really like the dashboards compared to pencil and paper to keep track of your stats.

The lack of gaming and accompanying posts isn’t totally the fault of my family’s lackluster gaming attitude; I, too, have been less than enthusiastic about the games in my collection. Don’t misunderstand — I have some wonderful games and I wouldn’t get rid of most of them unless I absolutely had to. But my attention has been diverted to a sub-genre: war games.

It all started with Memoir ’44 which I got at the end of 2004. It was simple, easy to teach and fun. I’ve always liked the games with confrontation in them and war is the ultimate confrontation. This led to Commands & Colors: Ancients which is the same gaming system but with additional rules to cover the time period better. And it’s brilliant. So brilliant that I added the first three expansions to my game library.

I started looking for other light, fun war games to add to my collection. I found myself reading GeekLists about war games and posts in the wargame forum, I’ve downloaded and read a dozen set of rules, bought a couple more games to feed my need, pre-ordered Sekigahara from GMT, and even made one that’s free to download.  That’s when I took the next step, the one that led me through that door.

I had seen To The Last Man! mentioned in a GeekList or forum post which praised it as innovative so I downloaded the rules. After reading them, I thought it sounded fairly simple in rules but with plenty of depth. The innovative part is that some of the chits are not just units but armies; the units that make up that army are shown off-board and can be kept secret for a fog of war effect.

After spending a day and a half creating this game, I set it up using the 1915 scenario which is recommended, then sat staring at it with no idea of what to do with it. Sure I knew the rules but I was lost as far as coming up with a tactical move; or any move at all actually. It sat on the gaming table for 3 or 4 days taunting me. In desperation, and feeling kinda stupid, I wrote a post in the wargame forum hoping for a little advice on how to learn tactical thinking.

A suggestion or two would have been helpful; I was surprised by the number of responses I received. As usual, the gaming community at the Geek was helpful, understanding, and supportive. They didn’t act like my post was stupid at all. Besides advice, there are several links to books/articles, and puck4604 (Hilary Hartman) is sending me two magazines.

As if that weren’t enough, I received a GeekMail from RaffertyA (aka Tim) offering to teach me a game through emails. We have started with Napoleon at Waterloo, a print and play game that has a simple rule set, small chit count, teaches many of the standard war game mechanics while still offering a challenging game.

I don’t know if Tim has done this before but he’s an excellent teacher of what I’m calling War Gaming For Dummies. The first emails covered the most obvious things and yet I still found a thing or two that I didn’t know or hadn’t really thought about. I’ve made the first moves, we talked about it and changed a few things, and pressed on. This is the way I like to learn something new. It’s been fun and exciting; I love learning something new and challenging.

This whole experience has felt like I’ve left the (virtual) main room and wondered over to a closed side door. You can hear voices on the other side of the door but most people just walk by without noticing. Curiosity prompts me to open the door and I find a room full of people, talking and laughing. They beckon: come in, please, and join us. You’re going to have a great time in here.

Posted in board games, Do-It-Yourself Games | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Game Day: DreamBlade & Descent

Posted by sodaklady on July 2, 2007

DreamBlade

When Mike arrived yesterday, there were just the two of us until Cori and/or Richard could join us so I showed Mike the free sample version I’d made of DreamBlade.

 This game came to my attention by way of another blog, iMosse.net.   Mosse’s enthusiasm for the game after being less than impressed with the interactive demo made me curious enough to look for more information.  What I found was some very pleased gamers and a downloadable Virtual Starter.

 
Homemade DreamBlade         

 
The game is played on a board of 5 X 5 “cells”, creatures being brought into the game from your reserve according to the roll of 2 dice, which limits your selection but still offers enough choice of pieces.  On your turn, you have two actions and can choose between:    move (shift) or attack (strike).  Each player has cells that will award him points if his piece(s) are the only ones in it at the end of the round.  You also get one point for each enemy character you’ve killed in the round.  The player with the most points wins the round.  You must win 6 rounds to win the game.

 I had tried out a few turns in a solo game after I finished my do-it-yourself project and thought it moved a bit slow.  Then I discovered I’d made a mistake with the rules, moving only 1 piece each time I chose the “shift” action.  Well, that would make a difference, wouldn’t it?!   So this game did not get relegated to the trash can and it continued to occupy a part of my mind.  Maybe it was the concept of putting together pieces that would enhance each other, maybe it was the feeling that there was a unique game here, or maybe it was the dice.  Yeah, I have a love/hate relationship with dice; I love them, they hate me.  So with Mike as a fellow experimenter, we gave it another try.

 I set up the paper pieces and dug out a fistful of dice while Mike read the rules.  Maybe I’ve mentioned before that Mike is great at reading and digesting rules so this is a better method than my trying to explain a game I’m not yet totally familiar with.

  Mike won the first roll for initiative, and every one after that for that matter.  Mike won the second round by taking possession of one of his scoring cells while I hadn’t reached one of mine due to forgetting to spawn in my spawn row instead of my portal.  Mike continued to win the initiative and kill off my creatures for the next 3 rounds, winning all but one round, which was a tie.

 I was feeling a bit helpless by now.  I couldn’t win the initiative and was not allowed to run from a fight and couldn’t roll well when I did attack.  That’s when we realized that we had missed a crucial rule.  Since Mike had the initiative, my creatures should have been granted a “deathblow” when they were killed, as a way to balance my being second player.  It was too late in the game to fix the mess we’d made of it but we had gotten a feel for how it worked and decided it was, indeed, kind of a neat game.

Descent:  Journeys In The Dark

Cori was now ready to play with us and Richard was due home shortly so Mike and I set up Descent.  I and my family had never played before, though we had a basic knowledge of the characters from our previous playing of Runebound.  I chose a character for Richard, a hunky dude with a reach of 2 spaces and the ability to cleave, who should be great in melee.  For myself, I chose a sexy lass who was fair in melee and good with ranged weapons, with the ability to shoot from the aspect of an adjacent square.  Cori covered the magical arena with another sexy lass who turned out to have quite an attitude.  We made a formidable band but, sadly, clueless as to what awaited us.

 Our band of heroes took a vote and pushed Richard toward the first door.  We were greeted by bow-wielding skeletons and hairy, beastmen; not a large obstacle for such a talented bunch as we were.  We cleared the room and headed towards the next door.  Our first surprise as novice adventurers came when Mike spawned a couple of beastmen and huge bat-like creatures right behind Cori.  She took the brunt of their mindless hate and then returned their attack with an area blast, killing two of the beastmen and a bat.  As a necromancer, she then revived one of the beastmen which killed the second bat.  

When it was time to open the next door, we again took a vote.  I found myself facing more skeletons and a room full of hellhounds waiting to breath fire on any brave explorer.  I took out a skeleton then stepped aside to allow our hulking brute-force comrade to step in and cleave another skeleton and two hellhounds.  What a man!  I think I’ll marry him if we make it out of here alive.  Cori set off down the hallway to show the last hellhound the error of his fire-breathing ways.

 We cleared the hallway and next room which was guarded by an Ogre but not without mishap.  The ceiling fell in on Cori, causing some minor sprains and putting her in a foul mood.  Her mood was improved when the treasure chest held a spell for Burn.  This determined lady had just become very dangerous!

The next room was so full of demonic creatures you couldn’t spit without hitting one.  Spiders, bats, beastmen and a wizard or two milled about waiting for fresh meat.  So far we had been lucky, suffering only minor bruising and sprains…well, I was developing a headache but I think that was just the bad air in the place.  We gave it all we had; cleaving, and burning, and necromancing fallen enemies, and shooting arrows around corners.  The enemies were falling without too much trouble, except for the wizard who wouldn’t stay dead after all the work I’d gone through to kill him the first time and Richard’s bad luck to be caught in a web for three turns.

 Finally the room was quiet, albeit messy.  We looted the room and headed to town before opening the Red Door.  I opened the door, Cori right behind me, and found a beastman, two spiders, two manticores and a large, very ugly giant.  I took a shot, doing little damage, and fell back to allow Cori to Burn.  This is one mean spell and she took out the beastman, one spider and one of the manticores, and burned the second manticore to within an inch of death in a fierce Battle attack.  This enchantress then resurrected the beastman, who proceeded to kill the second manticore.    Richard took out the second spider but then we heard a sound behind us and found several creatures had come in behind us. 

Since I couldn’t penetrate the giant’s shields but did manage to ensnare him in a web, I set about to clear the room behind us of monsters while Richard stepped up to confront the giant, now only 1 space away.  Unfortunately for our muscle-bound hero, the giant did not play fair and turned him into a monkey.  So the marriage is off.

 In a desperate act, Cori sent her Burn spell towards the giant, eliminating the monkey as well.  It was a blessing, really, since he was doomed to a boring life of nit-picking.  Cori continued to fight with her Burn spell and I continued to attack smaller prey.  We fought as ones returned from the dead and finally managed to prevail, watching the giant breathe his last through the wall of flames that had engulfed him.

 We headed home to await our next chance encounter with a creepy old dude spouting information about adventure and loot.

 (Poetic license filled in where memory failed.)

Posted in Do-It-Yourself Games, Game-related Thoughts, New Game, Session reports | 5 Comments »

Hacienda Map Available on SBW

Posted by sodaklady on June 30, 2007

The map I created is now posted and available to play on SpielByWeb.  A play test there ended in a 3-point difference.  This seems to be a very well-balanced map where every extra point you manage to get could make the difference.  There are no “sweet spots” that players will fight at the beginning of the game; the longer land chains may not have as many markets and water within reach, the small chains reach more markets and water but it’s hard to expand your chain except with 2 pampas.

I hope some of you will try it out and let me know what you think.  The map is #153 and, through some glitch on SBW, does not have a preview shot.

Posted in Do-It-Yourself Games, Game-related Thoughts, Internet | Leave a Comment »

More Hacienda–Making And Playing My Own Map

Posted by sodaklady on June 25, 2007

All Saturday evening my mind was caught up in what didn’t work in the 2-player map we played. First thing Sunday morning, I started working on my own map using the Westpark Gamers’ map-generator.

I decided there were three issues that I wanted to address to give the game back its tension and decision-making. First, there weren’t enough markets; it was too easy to get to all of them. This brought up my second issue—everything in the previous map was just 1 space away from something else: land-land, land-market, land-water. I think it should be harder to make the jump, at least in some places. The third issue, which was my first thought after the last play, was the balance of terrain types.

I started with a slightly larger playing area, increasing the columns by two and then plunking down seven markets and five water holes in an asymmetric pattern. Maybe it says something about my personality, but I don’t like maps where one side mirrors the other; I like to mix things up a bit.

I filled in the random hex areas that would be non-pampas terrain, mixing up the length and placement. I also left at least two pampas spaces between most of the features, with only a few 1-spaces. By now Cori showed up to take a look and said she thought there was too many markets. Alright, we’ll turn one market into a water hole although I like the market better. The water hole in the upper left corner used to be a market. Excuse the quality of the printing—I guess it’s time for a new ink cartridge.

hacienda4.jpg

When I hit the button to place terrain randomly, it came up with an even distribution of terrain: 7 of each except mountains which were 6. Well, that wouldn’t do, would it? Time to short-sheet one of the terrains. You, mountains, as long as you’re already a bit shy, you’re elected. My map has 8 forest and rocks (or mud, as we like to call it), 7 swamps, 6 meadows and 5 mountains.

Cori and I play tested the map twice with excellent results. No one was able to make huge land chains and it wasn’t as easy to gobble up markets. Our games were very close even though our scores for various items varied. The first game Cori won 131-128. The second game was a tie score, with Cori winning by $5. Here’s an end game photo of the first game. I’m blue and, as you can see, I’d have been more likely to spend animals to connect to the upper left corner if it had been a market! Then again, maybe it would have given me the game instead of Cori!

hacienda5.jpg

I really enjoyed this project. In fact, creating maps could become addictive if it weren’t for the cost of buying new ink cartridges!

Posted in Do-It-Yourself Games, Game-related Thoughts | 9 Comments »