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The pace of new games has unfortunately slowed a bit lately, but a recent weekend vacation filled with beer, food, and games has me writing again. Let’s dive in.
7 Wonders is a city building game that takes place across three ages. Each age starts you off with seven cards. You pick a card to play, as long as you can pay it’s cost, and pass your hand to the player next to you. Some cards give you resources which automatically refresh every turn. Neighboring players can buy these resources from you and you cannot refuse to sell to them, but you also have access to the same resources even if they are bought. Other cards may be for scientific structures, your military, or augmenting your buying power.
Victory points are earned by either playing straight victory point cards, building a number of scientific structures, having a better military than your neighbors, and other random reasons laid out in guild cards. Guilds give you things like one victory point for each trade-related card you and your neighbors have or points for how strong your neighbors’ militaries are. Each player is also given a set of world wonders to build which give bonuses like victory points, building a discarded card for free, or resources.
I really liked the couple of rounds I played of 7 Wonders. There is a touch of screwing the players next to you, since you can see what they have in front of them, glean what they are looking for, and either play or bury a card they need before giving them their hand. I actually have owned the game for months and haven’t opened it yet. I should get on that.
Trapped on a failing space station, the crew in Dark Moon has to survive as best they can to win the game. As if things weren’t bad enough with shield and life support failing, there are infected players amongst the crew. These traitors are trying to cause the station to fail in order to win. Dark Moon has a really cool mechanic for masking who is on which side, too. Everything in the game is handled with dice rolls behind a little shield (pictured above). For example, say you need to roll a positive number across three die to repair a shield segment. Maybe you’re infected and roll two positives and a negative, so you say, “Ah, damn it. Well, here’s the least painful thing I can do” and submit a negative die. Muahaha.
Dark Moon is steadily working against you, too. Not only are there traitors, you will undoubtedly run into the inability to fix part of the ship, only being allowed to roll half of your normal die, and other negative effects. I’d play it again, but I think the price point is a bit high. Standard price is $60, but it can be found on Amazon for $41. I understand that dice normally make a game expensive, but I’m not buying it (no pun intended) in this situation.
I’ve mentioned Coup and it’s spinoff Coup: G54 in two previous articles, so I can’t help but compare Operation F.A.U.S.T. to those games. In F.A.U.S.T., the winner is the first player to $1,000,000. Money is earned by buying/stealing WWII art using the five role cards. In a similar fashion to Coup, players start with two roles but can play any action on their turn that they wish, whether that be to take extra intel (currency), steal intel from another player, steal art from another player, etc. Players are never eliminated, either. Instead, a wrongful challenge results in giving half of your money to the opposing player. You can also buy new role cards on your turn, allowing you to have three, four, or more roles at one time, even multiple cards of the same role.
Operation F.A.U.S.T. is an interesting take on the hidden role game. Since players are never out, there’s never a kingmaker or a point where you can see the end of the game six turns in advance. Certain pieces of art, marked as forgeries, must be legitimized by one of the few authentication documents in the game, which can be used in place of giving someone half your money for a wrong challenge. Combining hidden roles, no eliminations, multiple abilities per role (one if you keep the card and one if you discard it), and a race to a point value makes Operation F.A.U.S.T. a great game.
Ever wanted to be a bridge officer on a space ship? Look no further than Space Cadets, where you and your team work together to complete missions. In Space Cadets, each player takes on a role aboard a space ship — captain, weapons officer, helmsman, engineer, etc. After discussing what the plan is for a few minutes, each role plays a mini-game designed for their station. For example, the engineer must match tiles to form circles and give energy to other stations for the next turn, the shield officer must make pairs and straights out of numbered tiles, and the sensor officer must match shapes in a bag to cards with empty spaces by only feeling around in the bag. Completing these mini-games is crucial to your crew’s success, as you’ll be able to lock on to enemy ships to cause extra damage, absorb shots with shields, move out of enemy range, and so on.
Space Cadets is a really well put together game. Each station’s game makes sense when you stop to think about it. It was pretty tough, though. We played for about six total hours (!!) between one night and the following morning, failing twice and only beating the first mission after dumbing it down a bit. Some tips: don’t engage more than one ship at once, keep your speed low, and help the tractor beam/warp jump players out whenever possible. All things considered, I’d like to play Space Cadets again.