Saturday, April 21, 2007

One more time, with feeling! (Goa, Blue Moon City)

We played two games I personally had played once before, but were new to the rest of the group: Goa and Blue Moon City.

Goa worked very well in it's second outing. It was nice to see that turns went by very quickly and everyone caught on to the game system (which seems intimidating at first, but is actually fairly simple).

Near the end of the first half of the game, I came across a few opportunities to grab a number of discovery cards. Lo and behold, 5 of my 6 cards had the same symbol on them! I spent the second round of the game unable to draw or play discovery cards, and I was constantly wondering whether I would fall hopelessly behind because of it. In the end, the 15 points my set got me were the game winners, so I certainly can't complain!

I find the discovery cards somewhat awkward. I've read that many find this particular progress track to be too powerful, and I'm inclined to agree. Drawing cards not only significantly improves your chances of making a move at a greatly reduced price, but the cards themselves are worth MORE points at the end! It could be that familiarity will even out the game, or that every game will feature all players pushing hard on their discovery track.

Blue Moon City was next. I find myself really liking this one, though reaction from other tends to be lukewarm. Can't really explain it, but I do find it satisfying to look at my hand and to figure out my next move. The game moves ultra quickly, and the race for scales and crystals is engaging. It's a Ticket to Ride level strategy game, but this one seems tighter (even if the other is ultimately more approachable to non-gamers in rules complexity and theme).

I started out off on my own to see whether I could make a solo expedition work. The consensus seems to be that in order to win, you have to stay where the group is. There was a couple of single contribution buildings which looked like they might work for me. After a few turns, I gave in and joined the pack. It was a very tight race, with the last space of the obelisk determining the winner. On top of that, all but one building were constructed when it all ended.

Kozure won the game.

I found it interesting how the game evolves. At first, the possibilities for using your hand are rather endless. You need to pick a strategy and go. However, as the options narrow, the card draw becomes more important (so cycling thorugh cards until you get the ones you need becomes critical). Unlike Ticket to Ride, where waiting on the right cards starts pretty much right at the beginning, Blue Moon City allows you to make the best out of what you have for the first 2/3rds of the game.

I like it.


  1. Goa

    Way less difficult than both the rules and the graphic layout of the boards imply. Fun, but also a game where it seems like it ends just as it's getting rolling. I had read through the rules of the game as translated at BGG and found my head spinning. It just seemed way too difficult for what it was trying to be as explained. After playing, it seems much less complex. Still, a relatively medium-heavy game, as the rules are somewhat more complex than average and there are several paths to victory.

    My strategy of trying to advance all "tech levels" at the same rate was obviously misguided. I sort of figured that out halfway through the game, but I decided to stick with it in case it was a situation where I was "chasing the needle" in pilot's lingo - to try to compensate in one direction when you should wait for the situation to stabilize or show an actual trend. Although I didn't do too badly, I was not in contention for first place.

    Easy ran away with this largely due to his discovery card sets, but also some keen play.

    Very interesting gameplay and theme matches well to mechanics. Lacks player interaction, but otherwise quite good. Graphic design is well done but seems to lack "punch" - should relate more to theme and concept - could be much more enjoyable on a visual level if this was redone. Enjoyable and well done, but somehow not spectacular, probably due to player interaction issues.

    Blue Moon

    This is clearly a case where my preference for a theme which engages me clouds my judegment of the game. The various races and the buildings they're creating don't make much sense to me, nor does the "dragons" mechanic. I mean, I understand them from a gameplay and thematic viewpoint, but they just feel weak somehow.

    Despite this, the game plays quickly and does have a very good sense of close competition, at least in our first game. It didn't seem like anyone was running away with the win. I was anxious to get my pawn back to the Obelisk to make the final tribute, and I thought for sure that Easy had a chance of beating me. Fortunately I squeaked under the wire for the win.

    A note for future play - keep extra move (grey) cards in hand for the final obelisk dash, and if none are available and you have enough crystals to win, discard your entire every turn to increase your chances of pulling one.

  2. Forgot to mention that I actually like the game of Blue Moon City, just dislike the theme. If someone rethemed it as building landmarks and important buildings in a modern-day city with various factions (artists, businessmen, police, etc.) represented as suits, I'd probably like it much more.