28 Mar 2014. Glory to Rome. I like this edition. It's a pity the guy who published this version lost so much money from the Kickstarter project.
I played a three-player game, and got this crazy combo. The Storeroom allowed me to treat every client I have as labourers (each labourer may collect one building material card from the central pool). Circus Maximus allowed each of my client to do his action twice instead of once. At one point in the game when I had six clients, I played a labourer card and collected 13 goods from the pool all at one go. Even my jaw dropped.
11 Apr 2014. It had been such a long time since I played Blue Moon City that I had to re-read the rules from the beginning. But it's a clean and straight-forward design (it's Knizia afterall) so it was quick to pick up again, and the three new players to whom I taught the game grasped the game quickly too. At this point in the game, about half the buildings had been constructed.
This is a race game with a collaborative element. You spend cards to construct buildings, and whenever a building that you have participated in constructing is completed, you gain a reward. So naturally you want to get involved in as many buildings as possible. The highest contributor at a building does get a larger reward, but it is normally better to spread around more, and not try to be highest contributor at many buildings.
I've played the game quite a few times, so despite being a little rusty, I took an early lead. However the others soon caught on, and in the second half of the game they avoided collaborating with me. My poor card draws didn't help either, and I eventually lost the lead. It was a tight struggle to gather enough crystals to win the game. We were close to completing the city when Ivan managed to get that one more crystal he needed to win the game. And guess what - he got it on Sinbad's turn, when Sinbad completed a building that he had previously contributed to.
The drawings on the cards come from the Blue Moon card game (which is a great game), so there is plenty of variety.
18 Apr 2014. Boardgamecafe.net did an Alea Game Night, and I chose to play Chinatown, which I had played before quite some time ago, but had forgetton most of the rules. We managed to assemble 5 players, which is the ideal count. We played using a variant where instead of having to decide which plots to claim before the negotiation stage, you get to keep your plot cards in your hand and use any of them for negotiation. After negotiation is completed, you may keep some plot cards for next round, just that you will draw fewer cards next round. This gives much more flexibility, and also the hidden information during negotiations makes it trickier to assess how much a plot is worth to your opponent. Calculations become less deterministic. I like this variant. It also makes completing sets easier because of the additional flexibility. That can be good or bad depending on your personal preference.
In this photo, plots with only a round marker on them are claimed plots with no shops yet. The square tiles are the shops. Shops tend to group together because if you own a chain of shops, you make more money. If the chain reaches a certain size (which differs by shop type), you complete a set and the income jumps significantly.
Plot cards and shop tiles.
Our game ran quite long. We were stingy negotiators. I think the variant used increased the game length because there is more information to digest and more possibilities to explore. Also most players were new to the game. I wasn't very lucky with the plots and shops I drew, so most of my effort was spent on convincing others to pay me cold hard cash for plots and shops that could help them complete lucrative business chains.
This was near the end of the game. At the top left, Jeff (blue) had two completed and very lucrative sets. At the top centre, Ang (red) could have established two large complete sets, but in his eagerness to prevent Jeff (blue) from completing the small 3-shop set, he expanded one of his chains to also block his other chain, preventing the latter from reaching full size. I (green) barely managed to put together those two medium sets at the bottom centre. The bottom right section was monopolised by Sinbad (yellow), but he didn't have enough shops of the same type to occupy those already-connected empty plots. What a waste!