Friday, December 13, 2013

Secret Santa - wonderful gifts!!

Each year, we participate in the Secret Santa list at Boardgamegeek, which is a great way to exchange board games with the community.

It works like most Secret Santa lists - you submit your name, and there is a randomizer that spreads them all around - so you get another name in return.  Then you purchase some gifts ($50 minimum is suggested for this one), and send them to your target.  The person who got your name does the same in return.

By looking at people's wishlist on BGG, you get to see what they want, and it encourages people to keep their wish list up to date.

This year, my Secret Santa really did a great job.  I got three really fantastic, and different, gifts.

 
Image from Z-Man Games website.

First, I got the board game Troyes.  From the publisher (Z-Man Games), the following blurb appears:
Built by the Romans during the first century in Belgian Gaul, Tournay experienced most of its growth along the Scheldt river.

Unfortunately, the river also contributed to its troubles, because in 881, the Normans traversed its watery path, and thereby easily captured the city. That act of aggression stunted Tournay’s prosperity. This game invites you to participate in the reconstruction of the city, in order to establish a glorious era that will last for more than seven centuries. Help your district flourish by cleverly coordinating the work of the city’s three domains: military, religious, and civil. Certainly the prestige of your buildings will brighten the entire city!
 On the Boardgamegeek website, a different blurb appears, that is more about the actual game play.  I haven't played yet, but it involves rolling dice to generate possible actions where you place markers to control areas/actions, and improve your situation that way.

In Troyes, recreate four centuries of history of this famous city of the Champagne region of France. Each player manages their segment of the population (represented by a horde of dice) and their hand of cards, which represent the three primary domains of the city: religious, military, and civil. Players can also offer cash to their opponents' populace in order to get a little moonlighting out of them—anything for more fame!
Make your underlings:

  • work on the cathedral
  • combat misfortune
  • bustle about the city
  • and other such tasks that are below your family's stature
I am really excited about this one - it looks like it has tons of theme, and lots of medieval history and medieval inspired (and actual) art in the game.  Just from looking through the cards, I am sure Anita and I will love this one.


The next game in the gift package is Unexploded Cow - the Deluxe edition from Cheapass Games.  This game, from the fertile mind of James Earnest, involves using Cows with mad cow disease to wander across fields of unexploded ordnance in France, trying (or not) to blow it (and the cow) up.  Wonderful theme for a game, I can't wait to play this one with friends over Christmas travels!!

Here is an image from the Paizo blog, although I suspect it might be a Cheapass Games image...




Nice full color components, including money chits, cards, box, and even a dice.  Color rules folio?  Cheapass games has come a long way from their beginnings (with everything printed on cheap white paper, and stuffed in a plain white envelope, with dice and money, etc coming from your own collection).


Here is a video of James, and friends, explaining the game.  Very nicely done.




And finally the third game that came in the package is not a game at all, but the latest "big" expansion for Carcassonne.  This one is called (in English) "The Count, the King and the Robber".  It wasn't availabe in English for a number of years, although the component expansions (it includes several smaller add ons that were published, separately in other places, previously) were part of some of the Big Box releases.  It comes with River II, the Count of Carcassonne, the King, and the Cult.


image from the publisher - Z-Man Games
 The last one (the Cult) was the one I was most keen on getting, as well as another copy of River II (we like using a big sprawling river to play our games, gives everyone lots of room to spread out, so another dozen or so of river tiles and branches are very welcome.  Curiously, rather than being published in English by Rio Grande Games, this one was published by Z-Man games.  Strange.  But, Rio Grande had given this material out in small expansions, and part of Big Box 2 previously, so maybe not so strange.

So, some wonderful new stuff to try and play, over our Christmas holidays.

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