Tag Archives: MetroX: Sendai & Hakata & Nagoya

27th April 2021 (Online)

The evening started with Beige protesting about the lack of Dinosaurs.  This had to be explained to everyone else:  Pink had dropped round paperwork for Welcome to Dino World on Monday, only for Blue to realise that she’d got confused.  This meant that everyone now wanted Dinosaurs and felt they’d missed out on something they hadn’t known wasn’t going to happen…

Welcome to Dino World
– Image by boardGOATS

In order to mark the start of “Golden Week” on Thursday, the “Feature Game” was the MetroX expansion, Sendai & Hakata & Nagoya.  “Golden Week” encompasses four of Japan’s national holidays, celebrating the Japanese Constitution (May 3rd), Children’s day (May 5th), Emperor Hirohito’s birthday (April 29th) and his love of plants (May 4th, also known as Star Wars Day).  Blue’s confusion with dates meant she had thought it was the end of May, not the start.  Still, it meant people have something “up-roar-us” to look forward to in a month or so, and in the meantime, they had trains to play with.

MetroX
– Image by boardGOATS

MetroX is a game we played a few months ago and was provided by Blue’s very lovely BGG Secret Santa.  Somehow, although it is not complicated, it is a rather difficult game to get your head round.  In summary, the game is a variant on the “Roll and Write” games where a card is turned over and players write on their train map.  They assign the number on the card to a line and “build” that number of stations along the line (marking them with an open circle).  When a player completes a line, they score points with the first player (or players) scoring more points than those to finish the line in later rounds (similar to the scoring for columns in Noch Mal! and Noch Mal So Gut!).

MetroX
– Image by boardGOATS

There are four different types of card, but the most common are plain numbers which allow players to just build stations and these are numbered two to six, with fewer of the high numbers.  Each line must be extended from the start end (the end with the “Indicator Boxes”, marked in red on our paperwork).  This means that although stations can be built in the middle of the line because they are part of another line, stations cannot be added beyond this point (where the lines diverge) unless all the earlier stations have been completed.

MetroX
– Image by boardGOATS

Normal number cards cannot “skip” completed stations.  In other words, in a line where the first two stations have not been completed, but the third has, if a “Six” is used to build the first two, the third cannot be jumped, and the remaining four are wasted.  So efficiency is the name of the game.  There are a small number of special cards with a circle round the number that allow players to skip completed stations, but these are few and far between and are only low numbers.  There is also a wild that allows players to fill in one station anywhere on the board without filling in an indicator box.

MetroX
– Image by boardGOATS

In addition to scoring points for completed lines, players can also score a lot of points for intersections.  In the deck of just twenty cards, there are three “Star Cards”.  These allow players to build just one station at the cost of one Indicator Box, but instead of writing a zero in the box, they write a number that corresponds to twice the number of lines that go through the station—this is the number of points they score at the end of the game.  With some stations forming the intersection of four or five lines, these can be very lucrative, but the timing of these cards is really critical.

MetroX
– Image by boardGOATS

This time the early cards were not helpful with a circle card coming out first, when there was no opportunity to take advantage of their special ability.  The second card produced even more moans and groans as it was a “Star”, when there was only one place that would give more than two points and some people had already used that with the first card.  There was a bit of confusion as well with some of the colours looking a bit similar as a result, Purple was quick off the mark and was the first to claim a line, but others thought it wasn’t possible given the number of cards we’d had; it turned out the line was longer than she thought.

MetroX: Sendai & Hakata & Nagoya
– Image by boardGOATS

Several people got in a bit of a mess, but Pine got into such a tangle that he retired early as fixing his problems was too difficult.  We got all the way through the deck on the first pass, as the “six” (and shuffle the deck) card was the very last in the deck.  Which meant we had the full quota of low numbers (and high numbers too), and as we’d had some useful cards at the start everyone struggled at times.  Despite the issues, it didn’t really take long to play.  So, while everyone else was still counting up Ivory was the first to post with a massive, and what proved unbeatable score of twenty-eight, helped by being able to put one of his “stars” on the one highest scoring space, giving him a eight points.

MetroX: Sendai & Hakata & Nagoya
– Image by boardGOATS

Burgundy claimed a “moral score” of twenty-six, which would have given him second place, though in reality he was just off the podium behind Green with twenty-three and Black with twenty-two.  With that, Lime took an early night and Pine joined the group again for the lighter, travelling band, route planning game, On Tour.  We first played this back in January, but a few people missed out.  Those that had been there had really enjoyed it though, and we were keen to give it another go.

On Tour
– Image by boardGOATS

The game is really, really simple:  two d10 dice are rolled to give two numbers.  These are combined to give two, two-digit numbers.  Players have a map with a network of circles, and write these two numbers in two of the circles somewhere on their map.  At the end of the game, they have to plot a route through the numbers along the provided connections such that the route connects adjacent points starting with a low number and never decreasing.  Players get one point for each circle they manage to visit.

On Tour
– Image by boardGOATS

There is a restriction provided by cards which indicate the area of the map numbers can be placed in on each turn.  These also provide a specific location, such that players who place a number in that circle score a bonus if their route goes through it.  There are two maps available:  USA and Europe, so being a group full of Europhiles, this time, we chose Europe.

On Tour
– Image by boardGOATS

The dice were particularly challenging this time though and despite both Blue and Pink trying, neither managed to roll a five, or a two, and there were an awful lot of nines.  There were the inevitable complaints when people didn’t get what they wanted, and these increased in number as things became increasingly critical as the end approached.  Pink possibly came off the worst claiming a “moral score” of thirty-seven, though his actual score was only twenty-five.

On Tour
– Image by boardGOATS

Green managed the highest score, with thirty-eight with a route going from Ireland to Norway via Italy and Bulgaria.  Blue and Black made up the podium four and eight points behind respectively.  Time was marching on, but there was still time for our now traditional end-of-evening trip to Board Game Arena and after everyone had enthusiastically eschewed Dingo’s Dreams, we went for our old favourite, 6 Nimmt! (with the Professional Variant).

6 Nimmt!
– Image by boardGOATS

6 Nimmt! is so simple and so much fun, and we’ve played a lot of it online in the last year.  The simultaneous card selection means the downtime is minimal, and the balance between strategy and luck means it is the perfect game for our large group at the end of the evening.  Starting with the card with the lowest face value, they are added to the end of row that ends with the highest number that is lower than the card in question.

6 Nimmt!
– Image by boardGOATS

If the card is the sixth card, the player picks up all the other cards, and that is exactly what happened to Blue on just the second turn.  This game is one of those where once it goes wrong it goes very wrong, and from there, things just went from bad to worse for her as she picked up again on the third turn too.  She wasn’t the only one to get unlucky of course.  For example, Pink managed to pick up on the first turn of one round when four of the other six other players played cards between ninety-one and a hundred, leaving him to place the next card and pick up a pile of cards.

6 Nimmt! on Board Game Arena
– Image by boardGOATS
from boardgamearena.com

Fairly inevitably, Blue ended the game, though it was closer than it might have been with Burgundy finishing with just one point left from his starting sixty-six.  At the other end, Pine (who always does well in this game), lost just ten points giving him a massive win, with twenty-five points more than anyone else.  After a vote on Vevox to decide what to play, we went for the easy option and decided to play 6 Nimmt! again.

6 Nimmt! on Board Game Arena
– Image by boardGOATS
from boardgamearena.com

This time, Pine did not do quite so well and Pink was the one who managed finish with the most points, fifteen points clear of second place, which this time went to Blue.  Remarkably, Burgundy managed the whole of the final round with just one point and on the last card, Purple pipped him to the post and ended the game.  Green had spent a large portion of the second game talking to himself when his sound went down, so decided that was his queue to finish.  Another online vote confirmed things and everyone went to bed.

6 Nimmt! on Board Game Arena
– Image by boardGOATS
from boardgamearena.com

Learning Outcome:  Every country should have a “Golden Week”.