Check out my previous review of 12 other tabletop games!

As I mentioned in my previous tabletop roundup (linked above), Friday Gameday Lunch has become an institution where I work.  As such, I’m back with some more quick hits on the latest games I’ve played.

Carcassonne

 

Dynamic city building with backstabbing mixed in
Dynamic city building with backstabbing mixed in

Carcassonne is easy to pick up but very, very hard to master.  You are given a set of pieces called meeple.  Each meep (merson?) can do one of three things: control a road, inhabit a city, or become a farmer.  Points are scored for completing roads, cities, and farms — the bigger the better, and the player with the most meeple involved gets the points.

The city and countryside is revealed one tile at a time, so the board is always different between play sessions.  There is a lot of risk/reward in Carcassonne.  Say you control a city close to another player’s city.  Do you want to try and link them so the both of you work towards a common goal?  What about building a third nearby city, linking them all, and taking all the points for yourself?  Farms aren’t scored until the very end since farms score via completed neighboring cities.  If you place your tile down, will it link with another players farm (connected grass)?  The number of players is a factor, too.  If you need a specific tile to complete something, you have a much lower chance of getting that tile with five players than you do with two.

 

King of Tokyo

Conquer Tokyo as your beast of choice
Conquer Tokyo as your beast of choice

I really, really love playing King of Tokyo.  Players control one of six beasts with fantastic names like Gigazaur and Cyber Bunny.  There are two ways to win — get to 20 victory points or be the last monster standing.  Victory points are earned in various ways — dice rolls, power up cards, etc.

In my few times playing, combat has been the primary method of choice for winning.  The dice can also come up as claws (attack) or hearts (heal).  Each player starts with 10 health.  If a creature is outside of Tokyo, they attack all creatures inside and vice versa.  You have to be careful when attacking, though — if a creature inside Tokyo is attacked, they can choose to swap out with the attacker.  Players earn victory points for entering Tokyo and for staying inside Tokyo for an entire turn rotation.  But, you cannot heal while inside Tokyo.  It’s a constant battle against other players and pure chance.

Dice rolls can also net you energy cubes, i.e. money, which can be spent on power up cards.  Some are always-on, like extra damage or camouflage, while some are single-use cards like gaining victory points or healing quickly.  I highly recommend King of Tokyo.

 

Saboteur

Everyone works together ... for a while, until it gets ugly
Everyone works together … for a while, until it gets ugly

Saboteur is a mainstay in our gaming rotation.  It’s super easy to play.  Everyone is part of a dwarven digging team who is trying to get from the starting point (pictured above as the left-middle tile with the white border) to the end to find the gold.  There are three tiles on the right side which are flipped upside down, one of which is the gold.  The team must build a seven-card-wide path from the start to the gold in order to win.

The sabotage comes into play by the fact that a few players, unknown to each other, will be saboteurs who win by causing the team to not find the gold.  Players are given a role and a hand to play.  Cards in the hand include pathways, fix/break cards, map cards, and cave-in cards.  Pathway cards build on the map.  Fix and break cards come in three varieties and if any of your three items are broken, you can’t dig anymore of the path until you are fixed up.  Map cards allow you (and only you) to look at one of the three possible gold cards, but you can’t announce what it is.  Cave-in cards destroy a pathway card of your choice.

A lot of the fun in Saboteur comes with meta gaming.  “Why did you play that card there instead of there?”  “You looked at two map cards?  The first one must not be the gold, then.”  If you are a saboteur, you don’t want to out yourself too quickly, otherwise the good guys will disable you and slowly win while you do nothing.  Ideally, a saboteur should probably help for the first few rounds before making any blatantly evil moves.  Players can choose to discard, face down, instead of playing, which brings up more meta gaming questions.  Did that player discard because it was a junk card?  Is that player a saboteur who just threw out a card the good guys need?  Finger pointing and wild accusations make Saboteur a blast.

 

Tsuro of the Seas

Ships, dragons, waves -- oh my
Ships, dragons, waves — oh my

Tsuro of the Seas is a game heavily focused around survival and tile placement.  Players start by placing their boat on the board’s edge and only win by being the last boat alive.  Dragons are scattered around the board, always on the hunt.  Each turn means a new water tile is placed down directly in front of your ship, which will move along the wake path until the path hits an endpoint.  If that endpoint is a dragon or the edge of the board, it’s game over.

Oh, and the dragons can move.  Yeah.  Players roll before their own turn to determine if the dragons will move and, if so, they will either move one space or rotate, depending on the number rolled and it’s placement on each dragon’s card.  If dragons run into each other, one will die, but if there are less than three dragons on the board, another will be added.  Dragons can destroy water tiles, as well.  Basically, you’re trying to hold out the longest.

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