Sunday, March 26, 2006

Guillotine, Royal Turf, Louis XIV, Theophrastus.

Quick one:

Guillotine: A very light game about choping people's heads off. Basically, a "take that" type game which takes place over 3 "days" (hands). Each "day" the dealer lays out a string of nobles to be executed. On your turn, you have the option of playing one card before the noble at the front of the line gets executed (you get fame points for having done the deed). Of course, cards allow the order of the line-up to be changed, and other shenanigans. For fast, light, easy fun this is a very good game.
I can imagine that the theme might be awkward to introduce, however...

Royal Turf: This game is much better when played by the correct rules. By rolling first, and THEN picking which horse to move, the game ceases to be completely random. A good, light game.

Louis XIV: I'd heard so much about this one, I'm glad we finally tried it. Thematically, we are dealing with players trying to gain favours from the varous nobles in the court of Louis XIV. Mechanically, it felt a lot like a mash-up between El Grande and Traders of Genoa. From El Grande, there are elements of area control and influence token management. On the other hand, the resource collecting, "missions" oriented gameplay and movement mechanic all remind me of Traders of Genoa.

Overall, the game sounds very complicated when the rules are being read but plays as a "middleweight" game in practice. Your hand of cards dictates to a certain degree what areas you can influence, so the "decision tree" is not too bad. One of my favorite aspects of the game is that the rules make it sometimes beneficial to come in 2nd rather than 1st on any particular noble, which adds a nice twist to the decision making.

Shemp was out of the gate early with 2 missions accomplished by the first round. We did a pretty good job catching up, be we didn't quite make it. I played pretty poorly, and came in last. I'm looking forward to playing that again!

Theophrastus: Theophrastus is supposed to be showing us how to make our own magical experiments. He lays out the recipe, but leaves out some of the details (I know I need 3 base medals, but which ones?). Each player gets a turn developping Theophrastus' spell, and playing cards on their own concoctions to try to match the mysterious recipe. Various cards and abilities give players sneak peeks, allow cards to be exchanged between player, etc.

Also a nice game!

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