Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Power Grid The First Sparks

Power Grid The First Sparks is a brand new game that was just released in the US this past week by designer Friedemann Friese the designer of my current number one game Power Grid. The US publisher is Rio Grade Games.
    After setting up the board the players in order of the first player (who is randomly determined in round one) put up a technology/tool up for purchase with the next player on the order track having first right of refusal then the next and so on if all players pass then the player that put it up for purchase can buy it using food as currency. Then it is the next players turn to do so, players are out of this "auctioning" phase once they have made a purchase, or when it is their turn to put something up for purchase have passed. Then the players discard "rotten" food which is 1/3 rounded down (unless they have fire).
     Next the players in reverse order from the start player gather food from the market. The food items are herbs and maze (which you only need the tools to collect there are no hexes for them), berries, fish, bear, and ma-mutes. Using their tools, they can only gather food types from the market when they are occupying a hex that has that food supply and if they have the appropriate tool to do so (also it still has to be there once it gets to their turn). Also a neat mechanic is if you have clansmen on different hexes with the same food supply then you get one extra of that food item or two if there are three hexes that have said item. Then you feed you people that are on the board one food per clansman!  If you cannot feed them all it's very bad and you loose any that cannot be feed you choice on the board but it will definitely guarantee you a loss in the long run so don't do that.

    Then also starting with the last place player and working your way up you spread the clan it's one food plus any extra's 1 to cross a mountain 2 extra if there is already another clan in the hex 3 if there is 2 other clans in the hex (and so on). Then there is a scale for each other clan member you expand out onto the board 3 food for the second member, 6 for the third, 10 for the fourth, and 15 for the fifth, and these costs are cumulative.

    Then there is the bureaucracy phase where the tech/tool market is reset, the food supply is replenished and the turn order is recalculated.  

     This is a really good game with some similarities to power grid but also some differences as well which make it worth picking up and playing even if you already have power grid. Yesterday I played it again with my friends Josh and Mark (first time for Mark). The caveman theme is very well done and the card art is nice with the different levels of tools. Above are the tools for hunting the MaMuts the animal which gives the most food! I really like the the knowledge's and they make the game fun and interesting. Speace (yes it's spelled wrong lol) lets you pay one less to spread clansmen into areas where there are other clans, fire lets you hide your food and prevents it from spoiling, intelligence lets you move your position back on the track, so you will get to collect food first and spread your clan before others that are doing just as well, the sled lets you have 4 tools instead of the normal 3, and the plow gives 2 extra food for fields (herbs included). The wooden pieces are great quality as are the hex boards and the food is also in the shape of the animals. The playtime is easily less then the hour that they suggest on the box with the exception of the first time you play. And there is a good amount of re-playability. I have seven plays on it so far and I am going to play more!

  Here are my recorded plays:


 Here is a link to the page on BGG for more information:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tonight was BSG

     Battle Star Galactica is not only one of my favorite board games (my 3rd actually) but is rated 18th on board game geek (which is a fantastic site for all board games the best informational site for anything in my opinion) with over 10,000 ratings which is quite impressive.
It's Designer is Corey Konieczka and is currently published by Fantasy Flight Games.
     The addition of it's first expansion Pegasus and the last expansion Exodus made an already fantastic game  astronomically better with a slew of other characters, crises, 3d base stars, and the advent of treachery cards, the Pegasus ship and a couple of area cards.

     The game has all the feel of the show where you don't know who the Cylons are. You are all passed out loyalty cards at the start of the game after you pick characters. They say either you are a Cylon  (and give you what your benefit is when you revile it), you are not a Cylon, or you are not a Cylon with added objectives to need to attain before the end of the game and revile or the humans loose something. The objective of the main game is for the human players to get to earth with out loosing any of the main resources (moral, population, fuel, or food) below zero. The Cylons win if any other the resources reach zero before the humans get to earth. There is a twist if there are 4 or 6 players there is a sympathetic Cylon which only wins the game if they meet a specific set of win conditions drawn randomly when they are reviled.
    Each player takes a move and an action on there turn (after drawing their skill cards) and then they have a crisis drawn from a really nice big deck when using all the expansions. First in a crisis there are two cards put in from the destiny deck (a deck made up of two cards from each skill set and shuffled) and then players take turns starting to the left of the current player putting in cards face down to pass or make fail in the case of Cylons the crisis. The cards are then shuffled and we see if there is failure or success! Some of the mission cards have jump prep and once the fleet hits the end of the jump track the Admiral draws two destinations of the destination deck and picks one (a bad one if they are an unrevealed Cylon) which has a jump distance and possibly another effect.
    At the half way distance of jumping to earth (full distance 8) there is a second loyalty phase where more loyalty cards are passed out and possibly more Cylons!
    There is an element of bluffing which I really like and there is a really big feel of the show which was excellent too by the way see it if you haven't! The game is made with fantastic quality pieces as per most Fantasy Flight Games, and I have spent several hundred hours with over 15 different people playing this game. It a has even created a Tuesday night group after I close the store of different people just to play it. My favorite characters to play tend to be Dee, Boomer (unfortunately in the second loyalty phase she gets thrown in the brig and no one wants to let you out), and Helana Cain!

    The two expansions also offer two different variants which add all sorts of other mechanics and fun with the Ionian Nebula, and New Caprica, which are both great fun although I would not want to do those every time.  

    Here is a record of my current plays with the game I played some before I started recording but here it is:

    You should check it out! Here is a link: