It was another quiet night this week, but the landlady of the pub commented that February is the worst month for them, so maybe it’s catching.
The first game up was Race for the Galaxy. This is a card game where players build galactic civilizations by playing cards that represent worlds or technical and social developments. Some worlds allow players to produce goods, which can be consumed later to gain either cards or victory points and other worlds or developments have bonuses that help players manage their hand or build more efficiently. At the beginning of each round, players secretly and simultaneously choose roles, then each player has the opportunity to the action associated with the roles. The iconography on the cards takes a little getting used to, and some of the players were unfamiliar with the game so we used pre-set hands. The game was tight with only five points between first and last place and the Produce/Consume strategy giving the win.
We decided to save the “Feature Game” for next time, so instead, we played Queen’s Necklace. This is another card game (maybe we should be renamed “CardboardGOATS”?!?!) where players buy gem-stones and then try to win the right to sell them. There are two key things about this game: firstly, if a card is not bought by the first player, it’s value decreases for the next player, so the longer they hang about the cheaper they are to purchase. Secondly, when it comes to selling, each gem has an intrinsic value, but the amount the seller gets will also depend on availability, so if everyone tries to sell a valuable gem, the seller may not get as much as the person who won the right to sell a less valuable gem. In addition to gems, players can also buy character cards which allow players to inspect another’s hand, steal a card, sell an extra gem etc. This game was not as close as Race for the Galaxy though the eventual winner was the same.
Learning Outcome: It’s always just when you have managed to build a really efficient victory point engine that someone ends the game.