Game day yesterday was a small affair...only Alex and Anthony joined me. Still, we made good use of the time and had some quality fun.

Perry Rhodan - the Cosmic League

I covered this game in the previous post. I hadn't been to my basement in the intervening week, so it was still on the table when Anthony arrived, and Alex was running a bit late. So we played a game.

We completely forgot a critical rule early on. When rolling for flight, all rolls of 1 are rerolled and added to the result. Thankfully, Alex arrived and set us straight halfway through.

The game was different from those I played with Alex last week. There was a lot of backstabbing and card-countering, but as it was last week, I overspent on my ship and Anthony beat me handily.

King of Tokyo

Because we were expecting Yori to arrive (he ultimately did not, mostly because of the aggressive germ control at my house), I was forced to find a quick game to play until he did. I had several choices, but ultimately settled on King of Tokyo:

It's a LOT more attractive than Yahtzee, too!

King of Tokyo is a dice-rolling game from Richard Garfield, the well-known creator of Magic: The Gathering. Its base game mechanics are not unlike Yahtzee, but with a heavy dose of theme and a few added elements, it's a much more enjoyable game.

You are a monster. Not just any monster, a monster so bid and badass that it probably will take more than one low-budget movie to tell your story. All you want to do is go to Tokyo, destroy some buildings, and rocket to monster superstardom.

Only one thing stands in your way. Well, 1 to 5 other things: other similarly situated monsters. Whichever monster wreaks the most havoc, or is the last one standing, will win.

As I said, functionally, the game is essentially modified Yahtzee. You get six dice (six sided) all of which are identical. You roll them, then you keep some if you want and roll the rest, then you keep some if you want and roll a third time. For those who don't know, that's how you play Yahtzee.

What you do with the resulting dice, however, is very different. Each has the following faces:

1, 2, and 3 - The three numbered faces work a lot like are trying to get matches. 3 of a kind gives you that many points. Any more similar dice give you one more point. So three 3's are worth 3 points, as are five 1's.

Attack - The claw-like symbol hurts one or more other monsters. Which one you get to hurt depends on where you are. If you are in Tokyo, you hurt all monsters not in Tokyo (king of the hill style). If you are not in Tokyo, the monster in Tokyo gets hit. You get 10 hit points, and getting killed is more common than I'd like to remember (I got killed in 3 of our 4 games).

Heal - A heart symbol. The least sexy option, a sometimes you just need some hit points. Beating up Tokyo gives you victory points, but healing is not permitted in Tokyo, so most often, monsters leave Tokyo because they need some of these.

Energy: The sixth face shows a lightning bolt, and this gives you a cube of energy. This is what makes the game really shine. First off, the energy is taken in the form of really wonderful little green energy cubes, which means that this game already has more to do with the original Transformers cartoon than all of the new Transformers movies. Second, these cubes are used to buy randomly-chosen power ups to make your monster even badder-asser, bad-assy enough to get away with using words like badder-asser. Since these cards are randomly drawn, you don't have the same game twice.

"Release the Kraken!!" Badass even though he won no games!

I have never had so much fun losing a game. We played 4 times (twice before the next game, twice after), with Alex and Anthony getting two wins apiece, and me never getting past 10 points. Like the Perry Rhodan game, I kept upgrading my monster instead of scoring points. I may have lost...but I was the bad-assest.

My only complaint is the lack of variable player powers. I played the Kraken, Anthony played Cyber Bunny, Alex played King Kong. Shouldn't these three very different characters have their own advantages and disadvantages? They don't. But they really should.

Castles of Burgundy

Sandwiched between two sessions of King of Tokyo was a game of Castles of Burgundy, a really solid game by Stephen Feld which has been on my shelf, unplayed, for over a year.

Don't worry, my version is in English

When you open the game, it's a bit overwhelming. There are a ton of tiles, counters, chits, boards, and dice, and the rulebook has a lot of words in it. It looks a lot more complicated than it is, and when we started playing, it was actually quite simple.

At its heart, Castles of Burgundy is something of a worker placement game, except your workers are dice, and the dice dictate which spaces you can claim. "Worker tiles" let you modify your rolls, allowing you to claim other spaces, but workers are hard to come by, and wasting an action getting more always feels like a failure. Many of the items you can claim lead to other efficiencies (like free actions) so it's all about choosing your actions wisely and in the right order.

At its core, the game boils down to rolling 50 dice and using them to claim as much advantage as possible. However, the richness of the game is in the synergies of the tiles and goods, and in the frustration of rolling two 4s when you really needed a 2.

I could probably devote 5000 words to my single playing of this game (including about 2000 words to the one rule we played wrong and its impact on the game) but I will just end with this one final word: I won this one, and it was glorious!!

Pete (is glad to get at least one win this gameday)