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Category: Board Games

[:en]Reviews of board and card games.[:]

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game

Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game

Dieser Eintrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar.

If you’re interested in cooperative games, Lord of the Rings: LCG is an involving card-based game designed for 2 players, but also playable solo or with up to four. This core set includes all you need for two players to get started, with three adventures of increasing difficulty for the players to overcome. The term ‘living card game’ basically means that the story continues in various expansion sets, so this game has plenty of longevity if you enjoy it.

For those not familiar with this type of game, the fundamentals are fairly simple. Each player chooses up to 3 heroes to play with from a selection, and builds themselves a deck out of the appropriate cards (preset decks are suggested for the first time out). During the game, the heroes generate ‘resources’ with which to pay for bringing cards from their decks into the game, such as extra allies to fight with, weapons and armour for their heroes, or beneficial event cards. Meanwhile, the adventure also comprises a deck of cards, which contains enemies for the heroes to fight, locations for them to explore, and nasty events which can bring tears to their eyes. In each round, players may gain resources, pay for cards from their hands, tackle the adventure, travel to a new location, parry attacks from enemies, and retaliate.

Der Herr der Ringe: Das Kartenspiel

Der Herr der Ringe: Das Kartenspiel

Der Herr der Ringe: Das Kartenspiel

This post is also available in English.

Wenn man sich für kooperative Spiele interessiert, bietet das kartenbasierte Der Herr der Ringe: Das Kartenspiel ein bestechendes Erlebnis für zwei Spieler, welches sich auch allein oder zu viert spielen lässt. Im diesem Grundspiel findet man alles nötige, um sich zu zweit durch drei Abenteuer steigender Schwierigkeiten durchkämpfen zu können. Im Grunde genommen heißt die Bezeichnung „Living Card Game“, dass die Geschichte durch eine Vielzahl an Erweiterungspaketen fortgeführt wird, und somit bietet das Spiel einen anhaltenden Spielspaß.

Auch für die, die mit dieser Art von Spiel nicht vertraut sind, bleiben die Grundlagen relativ einfach. Jeder Spieler wählt von einer Auswahl bis zu drei Helden aus, und stellt sich aus den dazugehörigen Karten ein Deck zusammen, mit dem er spielen möchte. Eine Anzahl vorgefertigter Decks sind für das erste Spiel empfohlen. Während des Spiels erzeugen die Helden Ressourcen, anhand von denen man die weiteren Karten ins Spiel bringen kann. Diese bestehen aus Kampfeinheiten, Waffen und Ausrüstungsteilen für die Helden, sowie nützliche Ereigniskarten. Dagegen verfügt das Abenteuer selbst über ein eigenes Deck, welches die Hindernisse und Gefahren für die Spieler darstellen: Feindliche Truppen zu bekämpfen, Ortschaften zu erkunden, sowie fiese Ereigniskarten, die den Spielern teilweise Tränen in die Augen treiben. Jede Runde darf der Spieler Ressourcen erzeugen, damit Karten aus seiner Hand ausspielen, sich dem Abenteuer stellen, zu einem neuen Ort reisen, die Angriffe des Feindes wehren und deren Truppen auch selber angreifen.

Power Grid

Power Grid is a simple, business game for two to six players, in which participants compete to buy power plants, the fuels to run them, and then build networks to sell their generated electricity over. In turn, the profits from electricity sales are used to build newer, improved plants, supplying more electricity, stockpile resources, earning greater profits, with a winner eventually determined on who supplies the most consumers.

The gaming elements are simple enough that the rule booklet, which is clearly written, can be read through and understood virtually in its entirety immediately before play. Each turn of the game runs through four phases. Firstly, power plants are bought at auction, each player proffering an available plant in turn, with the plant going to the highest bidder. Purchased plants are replaced from a visible ‘futures market’, allowing players to plan ahead with their bids. The second stage involves buying raw materials from the market. Each plant produces energy from one of five sources: coal, oil, garbage, nuclear or renewable. The latter plants require no raw materials at all and are oft hardest fought over at auction. The other fuels become increasingly expensive as supply dwindles, forcing players to either diversify their sources, or stockpile for future shortages. The third phase has players building an electricity network to supply power to their consumers. The network costs are based on proximity, and as players can only initially build in unoccupied cities, good initial placement can be a crucial factor. The final phase of the game is called the ‘bureaucracy’ phase, dealing with the supply of electricity (and thus generating profits), and various bits of setup to keep the game flowing.

Playing the Game

Risk

It’s about coming up to another one of those birthday events soon, the kind where you get together with a few close friends, have a meal, a few beers, perhaps watch a movie, before whiling away the rest of evening playing a board game. And as it’s in the UK, you only need a few guesses before you’ll stumble upon which game that will be.

Now I don’t claim to be any kind of expert in the field of board games, but that serious lack of diversity in most UK households makes most games evenings feel like you’re stuck in the same old rut again. Take a look at Wikipedia’s list of popular games, and you might see what I mean. Ignoring those that aren’t easily or commonly played in groups, there’s Cluedo, Monopoly, Risk, and Trivial Pursuit. And let’s face it, if a household has anything, it’s probably one of those. Of course, there’s plenty of fun to be had there, but to be honest there just isn’t enough variety in what’s usually available.

The Settlers of Catan: First thoughts

Settlers of Catan

Occasionally there’s no better way to spend an evening than sitting down around a table with friends and family, having a few drinks and playing a board game. That stands particularly true when the game is something new. Every player goes into the game trying to learn, meaning everyone is that little bit more focused, that little bit more bewildered, and tactics have to be picked up along the way. Although I wouldn’t call any of us board game connaisseurs, this wasn’t the first time we’d learnt a game from scratch of an evening, nor presumably the last time we’ll be up past midnight trying to play one out!

The Settlers of Catan advertises that it can be picked up in fifteen minutes, and with a bit of concentration there really is nothing too complicated about it. The object of the game is to score 10 victory points, which can be gathered in a number of ways, but the key to all of them stems from the same basic root. The island of Catan is divided into various regions or ‘hexes’, each representing a type of landscape which will produce a certain variety of good. Precisely which of these regions will bear fruit on any one turn is determined by the throw of the dice, adding that little element of luck which thankfully doesn’t marr any feeling of player involvement in this game. Placing your settlements and roads wisely should ensure a decent windfall of the produce from the dice throws, and it isn’t necessary to be in control of the dice in order to profit from a roll. Using various combinations of goods produced, a player can expand his network, building more settlements and roads, and creep towards that victory point tally.

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