Glass Bead Boardgames

A blog about board Games and life from Allen and Annabelle O'Connor.

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It's beginning to look a lot like Crustmas / Announcing the winner of my competition

Allen OConnor
United Kingdom
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It’s beginning to look a lot like Crustmas

As christmas looms closer, Annabelle and I have been catching up with friends and family. On Sunday, our good friends Charlotte and Jordan came down from yorkshire for a board game and pizza night. We exchanged gifts, and like the impatient children that we are opened them straight away. We got them a copy of Honshu, and they gave us Pyramids; both great little games and great gifts. They also treated us to a bottle of Zing 72, which is an interesting looking french gin that uses a blend of traditional gin botanicals six local french herbs. I had a little sample and it tasted amazing. Anyway, onto the games...



Honshu

As we had bought this game as a gift for Charlotte and Jordan, I thought that we might as well play Honshu to teach them the rules. This is an interesting trick taking game in which players build a surprisingly space consuming map out of cards. Each card is split into six segments and can either overlap or be placed under the cards that have already been played, different elements of the cards score in different ways so players have a choice as to how they prioritise in order to maximise their final score. The cards are also numbered, so during the trick taking phase players place a card in front of them in turn, then the player order changes with the highest number choosing which of the played cards to add to their tableau first. There is a subtle nuisance to manipulating player order to ensure that you get the cards that you want, being the last player to play a card allows you to respond to other players moves and choose exactly what part of the player order you want to end up in. I went a bit crazy building a giant lake and didn’t really achieve much else, Annabelle ignored the lakes and scored well in every other area, winning the first game of the evening comfortably.

1st - Annabelle 69
2nd - Allen 60
3rd - Charlotte 55
4th - Jordan 53



Fantastic Gymnastics

We ate our tasty pizzas after Honshu, then I opted for a bit of after dinner ridiculousness. Fantastic Gymnastics is quite stupid and isn’t really a viable game, but I love it all the same. Players have one button to make the gymnast’s legs tuck in, and one to make him let go of the bar. With some near impossible skill and timing it is possible to make the gymnast rotate around the bar and land perfectly on his feet into one of the scoring zones. After around 20 minutes of trying, none of us were successful. Oh well, on to the next game…



Carreau

My Kickstarter edition of Carreau arrived from Cubiko Games last week, and I have to say the new edition looks outstanding. I had an early edition with a slightly different design, which was still a great game but the little tweaks in the new edition are well received. The rules to this game are simple, player’s take turns catapulting blank coloured dice at the board, and once each player has had three attempts whichever player is closest to the Cubiko ball scores one point for each closest cube. Should a player knock the ball off the board, they score an immediate three points; first player to score five points wins the game. We ended up playing three games of Carreau back to back, the game definitely has that ‘just one more game’ effect. The first two ended with me knocking the ball off and winning, and the third ended with Annabelle surrounding the ball with all three of her dice to score three points and win. My first impressions of the new edition are very positive, I can see this new edition getting a lot of play in 2018.



Pyramids

And the last game of the evening was our Christmas gift from Charlotte and Jordan. Charlotte took the lead in teaching this interesting little game. Pyramids is a tableau building game with multi use cards from IELLO games; over the course of the game players will use the cards to build a pyramid, an obelisk and a tomb. On each turn a set of two cards are placed in the centre of the table, alongside a set of player order tiles. Players select their player order tiles, which also dictate which actions can be taken on a given turn; the first turn gets the first pick of the cards but take fewer actions that turn. So a balance must be met between taking more actions, or taking the first turn. I found the flow of the game to be very enjoyable, all four of the players at the table had different strategies to score points but we all ended up being four points away from one and other. I scored reasonably well in all domains to win the last game of a great evening. Thanks for everything Charlotte and Jordan, hope you guys have a great christmas.

1st - Allen 66
2nd - Jordan 65
3rd - Annabelle 63
4th - Charlotte 62








And the winner is… INGINIOUS!

Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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I recently asked my readers to think of a names for the gin that I created recently at the Manchester Three Rivers distillery. Congratulations to BGG user Mat Thomsen for his excellent submission:

1 It's a board game pun
2 For an abstract game
3 From the amazing Reiner Knizia
4 Matt has a gin based cocktail in his username

Mat has won a sample of my InGINios gin, well done to you!



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Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:22 am
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I made my own Gin! Help me give it a name for a prize.

Allen OConnor
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I made my own Gin!

Annabelle and I got married a few weeks back, and my sister and brother-in-law couldn’t make it as they had emigrated to Australia a few months before. They did however treat us to the Manchester Three Rivers gin tour, gin tasting and gin manufacturing experience. Basically you go the the small factory under a railway arch where Three Rivers gin is produced, you get told about the history of gin while drinking plenty of gin and associated drinks. Next you get shown around the manufacturing floor, and finally you get to make your own gin by selecting which botanicals to include and distilling the spirit in a tiny one litre still. Annabelle and I took full advantage of the Manchester Christmas markets before and after the tour, and were a little worse for wear for a Sunday afternoon by the time that we headed home.





My Gin botanicals were made up of:
Coriander 4g
Angelica x2
Cinnamon 1g
Vanilla x1
Orange peel 1g
Oats 1g
Camomile 0.5g
Rosemary 0.5g
Orris Root (just a pinch)
Juniper berries (loads)
ABV: 48.4%

Annabelle’s Gin:
Coriander 4g
Angelica x2
Orange peel 1.5g
Oats 1g
Rose 0.5g
Elderflower 0.5g
Rosemary 0.5g
Liquorice x1
Orris Root (just a pinch)
Juniper berries (loads)
ABV: 43.4%







Competition: Name my Gin

I would like my readers to help me to name my concoction. I think that it should really have a board game related name, and I’m sure that someone out there has a fantastically imaginative name for my booze. I don’t know if there’s something psychological about enjoying something that you have made for yourself, but I think my gin tastes amazing. In addition, I can send my ingredient list to Three Rivers and order myself another bottle if I need to. My wife and I will judge the names after around a week, and the winner will receive a small sample of my drink in the post. No region restrictions, all are free to enter. Here is a link to the Three Rivers website, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon if you’re in the Manchester area. Thank you for reading, it’s back to boardgames for my next blog post.

manchesterthreerivers.com

Prize: I will send a sample of my gin to the winner



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Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:54 am
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Just one more hit (or maybe four)

Allen OConnor
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I tried my best to get away from backing Kickstarter projects a while ago, because I felt like I always got sucked into the hype train and sometimes I would only back projects because of the exclusives that were on offer. It all felt very exploitative and I told myself that I wouldn’t contribute to it anymore. For those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it is a crowdfunding platform in which people pledge a certain amount of money for a product that they are interested in, then if enough people pledged by a certain date the project would be deemed as a success and the product would be manufactured. Board game publishers would often include exclusive components or add-ons only available to people who back the game on Kickstarter, not to be included in the retail edition. Like the board game junkie that I am, I tried to ignore Kickstarter but ended up backing four projects over the last few weeks, I thought that I would share them with you as a kind of group therapy. Do you have a crowdfunding addiction? Do you think that the platform can be at times exploitative? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.



Carreau

This was the first game to break my vow not to back any projects through Kickstarter again. I love Gavin Birnbaum’s work, I’m a firm believer that a board game collection isn’t complete without a few Cubiko Games in it. I actually had an earlier edition of Carreau from 2015 (one of five I believe), however Gavin made a few changes to the design so I thought ‘why not?’ I’m very much looking forward to seeing the new edition. This is a fun and at times ridiculous dexterity game with a ruleset similar to Boules, with each player having a little catapult to fire their pieces onto the wooden board.



Root

So Annabelle and I were somewhat intoxicated while we were on our honeymoon, and we ended up looking through Kickstarter. I think that she liked the cute pictures of the animals and I backed the project, without realising that I just pledged $75 for the game. In hindsight the game looks quite interesting, it has asymmetric player powers and area control, with some amazing artwork and components. Also the game got a lot of buzz here on BGG, and managed to raise over $631k on Kickstarter. Let’s hope that it lives up to its hype.



End of the Trail

The next title was another drunken purchase, this time for a the more reasonable price of $29. End of the Trail combines bidding with set collection and poker. The game is card driven, but contained in each card is a standard playing card face, so at certain parts of the game players must make poker hands. The game looks pretty interesting, and there wasn’t a huge cost associated with it so I felt willing to give it a go. I quite like the combination of different mechanisms, and the clever inclusion of Poker.



Roll to the Top!

And the last title that I backed is Roll to the Top from Cwali, which is a publisher that I quite like. This is one of those roll and write games that comes with a several pads containing different game boards. The game comes with a 4, 6, 8, 12 and 20 sided dice, which are rolled each turn, then each players add some or all of the numbers to their sheet of paper. This game looks very interesting, and can be played for free online at the moment while the campaign is active.

Play it for free here: http://rolltothetop.com/

This campaign is still active, take a look at it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cwali/roll-to-the-top

Pictures in this post are from BGG users: telos81, lebowskiachiever, SaintGiles and cwali. Thank you for reading

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Fri Dec 1, 2017 5:44 pm
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Christmas starts in November

Allen OConnor
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My parents will be spending Christmas in Australia this year with my sister and my brother in law, so we had our Christmas celebrations on Saturday night instead. I’m one of those people who loves everything about Christmas, and will find any excuse to partake in Christmas festivities, even if it’s the middle of summer. We were joined by the grandparents for an early Christmas dinner, a couple of drinks and a few games, accompanied by the nostalgic sound of Dean Martin’s Christmas crooning. I received Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, a new coat, a Dragonball Z Calendar and a selection box from my parents. I know that I’m a little bit late to the Pandemic Legacy party, but I really should see what the fuss is all about, and I do love original Pandemic too. We had such a fun evening, Who said that you can’t have Christmas in November?



The Non-BGG Christmas Game

So my family have been playing this daft game at Christmas for years now, I’m sure that it is probably somewhere in the BGG catalogue under some title or another, but I’ve always known it as ‘the Christmas Game.’ Everyone writes the name of a famous person on a Post-it in secret and sticks it on the forehead of the person to their right. Everyone then asks a set of questions to figure out who they are, responses to the questions are restricted to Yes or No answers. Annabelle was the first to figure out her answer, maybe her’s was a little bit too easy, and my grandad was last. Picking Osama Bin Laden for my grandad definitely brought out his more culturally tolerant side. Here is a list of our secret names:

Me: H from Steps
Annabelle: Margaret Thatcher
Dave: Goku
Mum: Marilyn Monroe
Grandad: Osama Bin Laden
Nan: Roger Rabbit



Montgolfiere

Next up was a charming little balloon racing game from Dominique Ehrhard, released back in 1992. This is a simple simultaneous action game that plays up to six players, perfect for the group of six that we were playing with. Players have identical decks of cards and hold seven cards at a time, on each turn every player plays a card and reveals at the same time. This might make them progress, might hinder the other players, or can even piggyback off other people’s moves. Montgolfiere is a pretty light hearted game with plenty of player interaction. Dave got ahead early in the game and managed to stay ahead until the end. It’s nice to get this one back on the table again.



Fantastic Gymnastics

It’s hard to say whether this is a game or a toy, but whatever it is, I think that it’s brilliant. You have one button to make the the gymnasts legs tuck in and one button to make him let go of the bar. If you time the buttons correctly the the gymnast will start spinning around the bar, then they will dismount, do a backflip and land perfectly on his feet. Different parts of the landing area award different amount of points, however the game comes with no meaningful set of rules, so you basically just dick around with it until you get bored. In addition it is almost impossible to have the little gymnast twat land on his feet. We had a lot of fun with Fantastic Gymnastics, most of the players couldn’t even get the gymnast to spin around the bar, let alone make them land on their feet. Dave and I managed one successful jump each, out of around three hundred attempts.



Indigo

My grandparents headed home, so the four of us played the one last game before we headed off. Indigo is one of my personal favourites by Reiner Knizia, and probably the best four player abstract game in my collection too. Players use their tiles to guide the coloured gems around the board to one of six scoring zones. Each scoring zone is controlled by two players, meaning that each player can score points with any other single player at the table. You must strike a balance between cooperating and blocking each other player to win, so the game can lead to some funny strategies and interactions. Dave and I ended up scoring big in our shared zone, but I did a little better with the other two players to win the game.

1st - Allen 13
2nd - Dave 11
3rd - Annabelle 9
4th - Sue 5

This Christmas I’ll have four parents, three siblings and a brother in law celebrating 12 hours ahead of me in Australia. Have a great time guys, and thank you for the November Christmas!



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Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:43 pm
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Board Games, Martinis, Chilli Sauce and the Vengaboys

Allen OConnor
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Splendor

last Saturday, my wife was off to a concert in Liverpool to see Steps and the Vengaboys to relive her youth of listening to terrible music; thankfully I wasn’t going with her. Before she left we managed to squeeze in a few games of Splendor, which has become one of our most played games again in recent months. I love how Splendor plays with two, there is a simple ebb and flow to each action in the game, and you only need to keep an eye on what one other person is doing so it is easier to plan your strategy. I think that Santa might be bringing us a copy of Cities of Splendor this christmas so I can see Splendor being a regular part of our gaming into 2018 as well. In the first game I found myself to be one red card away from claiming a noble to win the game, and it just didn’t materialise before Annabelle reached 15 points and won. In the second game, I hit 15 points, but as I went first in the game Annabelle still had a turn left, in which she leapfrogged me to hit 16 points. Well played wife.





Cosmic Encounter

Annabelle made her way to her shite concert, and my friends arrived for a few games and a couple of drinks. I’ve been meaning to get Cosmic encounter back to the table for a while now, I used to play the game all the time, but it seemed to get forgotten about in the flux of new games that entered my collection over the last few years. It’s great fun when you play with the right group of players, even better if you add alcohol to the mix. Ginge tried to be a scumbag too early in the game and ended up getting picked on a little. Matt B was ahead from early on in the game but used his powers of persuasion to keep everyone on the table from attacking him. Towards the end of the game, Kim, Matt B and I all found ourselves on four points, one away from winning. We agreed that on my turn we would go for a joint win, however I drew Matt B’s colour from the destiny deck and found myself in a bit of a pickle. I tried to stab Matt B in the back and go for a joint win with Kim instead, not knowing that Matt B had the 40 attack card in hand. I lost the fight, and Matt B and Kim ended up winning in a joint attack against me the following turn. I haven’t played this since 2014, and I’d forgotten just how much I like Cosmic Encounter; my friends had a great time with this game.

5 points (joint win) - Matt B (Chosen) and Kim (Vulch)
4 points - Allen (Mutant)
3 points - Ginge (Oracle) and Matt P (Parasite)





Medici

Before we started the next game, the donner kebabs and pizzas arrived and I whipped out my ridiculously hot chilli sauce for a laugh. Carolina Reaper is currently the world’s hottest chilli with a Scoville Scale rating of 2,000,000, which to put it into perspective is about the same as pepper spray. We all had a fair amount of the sauce, and much hilarity ensued. Ginge and Matt P spent most of the next day updating the group on their bowel movements. We washed it all down with a few Martinis and moved on with the game.

Medici is a game that I have played as an iPhone app many times, but this was the first time that I have played the physical version. I got the gorgeous Grail Games edition from Kickstarter last year, and I’ve been meaning to try and get it on to the table. Medici is a simple auction game from Reiner Knizia in which players bid for cards over three rounds; points are scored in two ways, one that accumulates over the three rounds and one that scores each round. Players bid for cards using their in game points, so Medici’s strategy requires players to strike a balance between spending and earning points. The game was just as fun in it’s physical form as I was hoping it would be, and the game ended up being very close. Matt P shot ahead in the first two rounds, but Matt B scored big in the last round to win the game. A great night with my awesome friends, thanks for reading.

1st - Matt B 92
2nd - Ginge 86
3rd - Matt P 85
4th - Allen 82
5th - Kim 70



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Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:20 am
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I appear to have found the best game ever

Allen OConnor
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Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:45 pm
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I’m a lucky man: Games night with three generations of my family

Allen OConnor
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Sequence

On Wednesday this week, Annabelle and I were joined by my parents and grandparents for dinner and games. Bangers and mash, which is the favourite meal of both my Grandad and I. After food and a few drinks we whipped out a few games, starting with Sequence. We played boys (me, Step Dad, Grandad) against girls (Wife, Mum, Nan) to encourage a bit of healthy spousal rivalry. This is nice simple game to teach casual players, partly because it uses standard playing cards to drive its central mechanism. Players play a card and place a disk of their teams colour on the board, with the intention of getting five disks in a row on two occasions. Jacks work slightly differently, allowing players to add or take away disks in any position of the board. My nan managed to complete two rows of five on consecutive turns to win the game for team oestrogen, while team male privilege were sat with only one row of five.



Cockroach Poker

Next up is a game that my Grandparents really enjoy. Cockroach Poker is a simple bluffing game made up of a deck of 64 cards; eight copies of eight different animals. The entire deck is divided between the players, and the game starts off with one player trying to give another player a card and telling what it is; that player can either call out whether this is a lie or not, or they can pick the card up, look at it, and try and give the card to somebody else. If you get called out, or if you incorrectly call someone else out then you keep the card face up in front of you; then you start the next round with a card from your own hand. The first person to lose all of the cards in their hand, or to end up with four of the same animal in front of them is the loser. The game was hilarious as always, and everyone ended up losing a few rounds, however my step dad Dave was was unlucky on a few occasions and ran out of cards to play, making him the loser.



Splendor

The Grandparents left at this point, leaving four of us for the next game. Splendor is my wife’s favourite game, and although it has been in my collection for a few years now, I feel like it is only this year that I have learned to absolutely love the game. My parents also have a copy of Splendor so the game needed little explanation before we started to play. I decided to play entirely for noble tiles, focussing almost entirely on lower tier cards. My parents both ended up playing for top tier cards, both managing to score a few. Annabelle played a more balanced game, and as she sat there with 13 points and one move from winning I snatched my third noble to win the game. I thought that my normally tolerant wife was going to force feed me Poker chips after that move, but all players scored at least 11 points, so it ended up being a tight game.



Catch the Moon

The night ended with a simple dexterity game. There’s something about Catch the Moon that I absolutely adore, it has such an elegant look and an uncomplicated set of rules. Players roll a die, then add a ladder to the stack according to the outcome. The ladder will need to be added so that it either ends up touching one other ladder, two other ladders, or becomes the highest point in the stack. Should a player make the stack fall, then they take a teardrop token; when the last token is taken, the player who took it is instantly eliminated and the remaining player with the least amount of teardrops is the winner. My parents and I all found ourself with two tokens each with one token left to get, Annabelle had avoided getting any tokens at all. I ended up taking the last token and my gorgeous wife won the game. She took great pleasure in avenging my win from the game before.

I’m lucky to have such a great family, but luckier still that they enjoy my gaming hobby with me. I’ll leave you with a good gin and tonic combination that my wife and I have discovered recently. Forest Gin with London Essence tonic, garnished with mango and a sprig of rosemary. Thanks for reading.



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Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:45 am
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Van00uber Reviews #10 - Telestrations

Allen OConnor
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Telestrations

Designer: (Uncredited)
Year released: 2009
Players: 4-8
Time: 10-20 minutes
Key Words: Drawing, Guessing, Profanity

Telestrations is a simple party game that sees players drawing and guessing pictures. The basic game comes with eight dry erase pads, each with eight pages; or twelve pads with twelve pages in the larger Telestrations: 12 Player Party Pack. It also comes with a set of black dry erase pens and a set of cards with suggestions for players to use for their secret word.



How does it work?

It is important to note that there are official rules to Telestrations, but the game benefits from ignoring a lot of the rules. I’ll first tell you the official rules, then I’ll tell you the best way to play. Each player is given a dry erase pad, a pen to write on, and a double sided card with six words on each side. The group chooses which of the two sides to use, rolls the die and plays with the word that is given to them. Everyone writes the word on their first page, then they flip the page over and attempt to draw the word or phrase on the next page. Once everyone is finished, or when the egg timer runs out if you choose to use it, players pass their pads face down to the next player. Now everyone has a picture in front of them that needs to be identified, they turn the page write their guess and pass the books on again. Now players have a word or phrase that must be drawn on the following page, and this cycle of drawing and guessing continues until everyone has had contact with each pad once. Players each reveal their pads page by page to show the evolution of people's answers and drawing, and hilarity ensues. There are scoring systems for the game, but they are a bit pointless, and I don’t think that I know anyone who has ever used them. When played with an odd number of players there is a slight change to the rules; players do not draw their secret word but instead pass their pad after writing it. This ensures that each game finishes on a guess rather than a drawing. That’s the official rules, then there’s the way that I play the game: get rid of the cards, the die and the egg timer completely; encourage players to select secret words or phrases that are bizarre and interesting, because the crazier it is the more interesting the evolution of answers will be. Also invest in some coloured dry erase markers and the game’s pictures come to life.



My thoughts on the game

Telestrations is my most played party game, and one that I feel that I can play with any group. I would say that the game doesn’t really work with less than 6 because you only end up with two drawings in each pad, but with 6, 7 or 8 the game is always a great choice. The cards that come with the game are quite boring, so I wouldn’t bother using them. If you draw a tree as your secret word, then everyone else will do the same and there will be no evolution of guesses and drawings. Instead I would encourage the people at the table to think of bizarre words or phrases. Some of my favourites have included ‘a t-rex flying a kite,’ ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ and ‘the 1976 race relations act.’ When played with the right group the game can be crude, offensive and hilarious; it is one of the few games that can make me cry with laughter. This fits into the category of games that I would recommend to a tabletop gamer looking to start a board game collection, as a staple party game. When playing with a larger group of players, this is a good icebreaker game to get the session started and to get people laughing. I like to play one round clockwise and one round counterclockwise at the start of the night.



What is the verdict?

This is a timeless classic that almost anyone will play and enjoy. I’ve logged nearly 100 games of telestrations over the last few years, and I’m not tired of the game yet. Ignoring some of the game’s rules and investing in some coloured pens is a must. You can get your gaming group to acquire whiteboard markers from their various jobs and add them to your game. Highly recommended to anyone who can get six or more players to their gaming table.

BGG Score 9/10



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Thu Nov 2, 2017 11:54 am
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Jordan and I played at the Pyramid Arcade

Allen OConnor
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On the Saturday before my wedding, Jordan and I met up for coffee and board games. We decided to explore some of the many games found as part of the Pyramid Arcade set, which is basically a big box full of components meant as a game system rather than single game. The box contains the rules for 22 games, but if you look at BGG under the Looney Pyramids family, then you’ll find entries for 221 games at the time of writing. Although the Pyramid Arcade only came out last year, Andrew Looney of Looney Labs has designing games using Looney Pyramids since 1989. Essentially these games are designed around sets of three coloured pyramid shapes of different sizes. When placed next to one and other they are called a Trio, when stacked inside each other they are called a Nest, and when stacked on top of one and other the are referred to as a Tree. Pyramid Arcade contains 30 sets of Looney Pyramids in 10 different colours, and a bunch of different boards, cards and dice. We played five of the games found in the main rulebook of Pyramid Arcade.






Martian Chess

The first game that we tried new to me, and one of the more popular games from the set. In Martian Chess there are two 4x4 grids side by side, each having nine pieces on. There are Pawns which can move one diagonal space, Drones which move one or two orthogonal spaces, and Queens which can move an unlimited number of spaces in any direction. Players start with three of each piece on their side of the board, and as the game goes on they must attempt to take their opponent's pieces in a similar fashion to Chess. The twist is that a player controls every piece that is on their side of the board, so when you take a piece from your opponent you are also handing control of that piece to the other player. In addition, the better pieces are worth more points at the end of the game, so the strategy really revolves around trying to capture the opponent's Queens and Drones. I managed to capture a few Drones, then made an effort to empty my side of the board to force the end of the game; I ended up winning fairly comfortably. The strategy is really unusual in this game, but I liked it a lot.

Allen 14 - 10 Jordan






Twin Win

This game uses a small nine spaced board with arrows on showing which way the pieces can be moved, and adds a small set of cards to the game. Set up involves making five mixed colour Trees using five different coloured Trios. Then two cards for each coloured Trio are collated to form a draw pile, one showing a Nest and one showing a tree for each colour. Players will each have two cards, and must attempt to make one of the patterns to win the game. Players take two actions each turn, either to move the pieces on the board or to swap one of their cards for a new one. If a player makes it obvious what they are going for then their moves will be easily blocked by the other player; so bluffing plays a part in the flow of the game. Jordan and I really enjoyed this game, and ended up playing it three times. Every time Jordan was about to win, I would find a winning move. All three games were close though.






Volcano

Next up is a game that has evolved a little over the years, designed by Kristin Looney. The rulebook states that this is the third iteration of Volcano, and I’m aware that the previous versions required five Trios of the same colour which wouldn’t be possible with Pyramid Arcade, so I’m sure that this updated version might have been made to work with this set. The game uses the 5x5 grid, and starts with three Nests of eight different colours scattered around the board with a space left in the centre. Then six smallest Pyramids from the two remaining colours (in this case Black and White) are placed on top of two sets of Nests, referred to as Caps and the game begins. Players move the caps on their turn, causing everything under the Cap to cascade out in a straight line across the map. If a piece would land on the same size of piece it is captured. The first player to score three matching coloured Trios, or five mixed colour Trios is the winner. This was a real brain burner, but Jordan and I loved it. We both found ourself one move away from winning, but in the end i got a bit lucky and won because Jordan had overlooked my previous move. Definitely one that I would like to play again.






Color Wheel

I sat back for the next game as Jordan played a round of Color Wheel. This can be played solo or as a cooperative game, and it’s probably the one that I’ve played the most from this set. Setup includes taking all of the Pyramids from seven colours and mixing them in a bag, then to randomly place a piece on every section of the circular board until it is full. This will only use a little over half of the pieces so there will be an uneven distribution of colours on the board. The pieces from the three remaining colours are now stacked neatly on the side of the board, these represent the 27 moves that players are limited to in order to beat the game. The aim is to have all of the pieces grouped with their colour, and each move can either be to swap two pieces of different colours but the same size, or two pieces of different size but the same colour. This might sound simple, but it’s really the closest to a Rubik’s Cube that a board game can get. Jordan managed to beat the Color Wheel in 24 moves, and he seemed to enjoy the challenge.






Hijinks

And finally the last game of the afternoon was Hijinks, previously released as Pink Hijinks using only pink Pyramids. I’ve played this one a few times and it’s a nice simple game. This uses a 3x3 grid and starts with three Trees across the central row, the colours don’t matter here but I like to use different colours to match the different sizes. Players control the three spaces closest to them, and must try to either get one matching piece in each of their spaces, or must try to get all nine pieces into the opposing player’s spaces. Each turn a special die is rolled showing the player which sized piece can be used that turn, and a player can move a corresponding piece orthogonally from either their row or the central row. Players can move pieces onto the opponent's row, but can’t take them off it. Jordan and I both had two pieces in position and needed a third to win. We were both getting in the way of each other winning, waiting for the right dice roll to win the game. It was close, and it would have been nice for Jordan to beat me at something that day, but luck was on my side as I rolled what I needed to win. A great afternoon with a great friend, thank you for reading.



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Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:01 am
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Allen OConnor
United Kingdom
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Thank you for all of the love and support that we have received here on BGG. We are now Mr and Mrs O’Connor
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Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:56 pm
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