Friday, November 23, 2012

A New Game and a Reunion

Haven't posted in a while, but I am hoping to get on a regular schedule with my updates.  Been doing some work with my other blogs (mainly just shutting them down for now) and cleaning up my BBG profile. Also worked on a new microbadge for AvalonCon attendees.  I've designed about a dozen or so microbadges to date.  I enjoy it, and it provides a steady stream of geek gold income.

As for gaming, I've played two games this past month (three if you count the aborted Kingmaker game with my youngest son) -- one a new game (Conquest of Paradise), the other an update of an old favorite (Britannia). 

Conquest of Paradise 

Box Cover
This game reminded me a lot of Twilight Imperium. According to the blurb on BBG, Conquest of Paradise is "a game of empire building in the "Polynesian Triangle" of the central Pacific Ocean for two, three, or four players. Players explore the unknown ocean around them, hoping to discover the most lucrative island groups, and colonize them. They build canoes and train warriors to create a force to defend their empire, while forging lines of communication with their developing discoveries. Resources are scarce; using them wisely is a key to victory. Investing in exploration widens your empire. Building warriors strengthens your empire. Investing resources into cultural innovations can yield unexpected dividends, like tattooing, hula dancing, surfing, or even the giant moai statues of Easter Island fame."

I can't really say it better myself.  This is the first (and probably only) game I've ever played of that theme.  At first I thought it was European conquest of the Polynesia region, but soon found out it was the original conquest of the area by natives.  I thought that was an interesting take.  The components are top notch and I really enjoyed the game mechanics.

My Position at the End of the Game
Like Twilight Imperium, players have to make some tough decisions -- the old "bread or guns" question -- do you spend resources to expand, settle, and progress, or spend it to defend, or maybe even attack?  The cultural innovations, in addition to rewarding VPs, gives the player certain perks.  I can't recall the details, but the "stop an invasion" helped me win my first game.

Another reason I won is because I "discovered" New Zealand (rich and lucrative) right next to my home island, and my opponents waited until the last turn to mount an attack on me, which failed due to the defenses I had built up and my "stop an invasion" card.

Overall, it was a fun game--although I'm not sure how often I'll play it.  It's definitely not an "I have to get this game," but if someone suggests it I'll play.


Avalon Hill Edition
I played this game quite a bit in the 90s, and a few times at AvalonCon. It's like "History of the World" but with a focus on Great Britain.  Players play a particular color and different invading groups based on that color.  For example, I played green and played the Welsh, the Caledonians, the Danes and the Jutes.  Each play takes turn playing his group based on the history of the group.  The game started with my Caledonians and Welsh and the Jutes and Danes came in later -- the Danes in force.  Historically, the game begins with the Roman invasion and encompasses the time period up to the Norman invasion (and then some).  Civilizations ebb and flow and great leaders (including Arthur, Harold, William, and Cnut) live and die.  Victory points are earned in various ways (occupying, holding, being voted Bretwald or King, or killing specific enemies), again according to the player's civilization and reflected the objectives of that particular group (for example, the Welsh gain victory points by destroying Roman forts or occupying York during a specified game turn).  The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

The Welsh Resurgence (Fantasy Flight)
It's a fun game, despite the fact I came in last place.  I got pounded early and, while my Welsh enjoyed a resurgence, I couldn't do what I needed to do with the Jutes and the Danes to make a difference.

The version I played was the updated Fantasy Flight version.  The rules and game played just about the same, but the components were given the "Fantasy Flight" treatment (better graphics, more color, etc).

Unlike Conquest of Paradise, this is a game I will likely buy in the near future.