Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report @ OTK Cheras 13/9/2013 – Kickstarter Nite #3 (Fleet, The Manhattan Project with the Second Stage XP, Zong Shi, Escape, Cargo Noir)
Back to KICKSTARTER Theme Night as we covered another three Kickstarter games tonight with FLEET (card), MANHATTAN PROJECT with THE SECOND STAGE expansion and ZONG SHI. Non-kickstarter games like ESCAPE and CARGO NOIR also were in play.
Gamers: Sinbad, Ivan, Matthew Lok, Yee Seng, Choy, Kareem, Henry Yeo, Heng, AAnemesis, CK Au, Waiyan & others.
Games: Escape: The Curse of the Temple, Fleet, Manhattan Project with The Second Stage XP, Cargo Noir, Zong Shi.
Resuming our Kickstarter Theme Nite!
With three Kickstarter nights done – and about 11 Kickstarter games (plus a few non-Kickstarter ones) played – we are still a long way from completing our Kickstarter playlist (easily 20+ games). Adding to this, we’ve another longer list of incoming Kickstarter games coming in later this year and into 2014.
With that in mind, we ran another Kickstarter theme nite yesterday and hope to make some grounds.
With Gryphon Games successfully completing the kickstart of its FLEET expansion the ARTIC BOUNTY earlier this month, we thought it’ll be good to have a round of FLEET the base game in tonight’s Kickstarter Night. The Artic Bounty expansion won’t make Essen 2013 and also won’t make our BGC Retreat 2013 timeline so looks like it’s one for 2014 gaming.
We also have Yee Seng (those who used to game at Games Circle and Mage Cafe would know him) and Choy dropping by for a quick R1 gaming and they were keen to try FLEET too. I’d initially thought FLEET supports 5-player until Kareem told me, yes it does if you have two sets of Fleet. Duh….
FLEET is an interesting card game, offering you a mix of Power Grid style bidding (for the Licenses) with hand management and multi-use of the cards as ships, captain and currency (similar to San Juan). It also plays quickly.
Every round there are as many License cards as players for everyone to bid on (think power plant). You do not really need to be bidding for a license each round but you need to know how you intend to line up the license cards to build your economy engine as there’s only a certain number of each license cards to go around.
Each of the License type allows you to form a different economy engine – be it money (shrimps), card draw (tuna) etc. Collecting more licenses of the same type improves your economy engine hence you would normally want to be bidding for the same license type. Or you might want to diversify.
Once you have acquired a particular fishing License card say shrimp license, you may now launch “shrimp” ships that’ll help bring you shrimp catches each round. There are as many different ship types as there are license types.
The only non-thematic issue here is that all ships get one crate (represented by cute fish meeples) regardless of the ship type ie. your shrimp ship would fetch you one crate while the king crab ship would also get its owner one crate. What? I thought king crabs are much rarely than shrimps?
There’s no real material differentiation between the “fish” type – they are merely one VP or one resource. I suppose the designer chose to abstract that and focus on the bidding & hand management aspects rather than specific value on the different “fish” type. Don’t think the game is lesser because of this. Merely pointing out an observation.
Launching ships will cost you money – which you pay using another “boat” card (ala San Juan where a card has dual purpose – as a currency or as a building). Each ship would also need a captain if you wish to start fishing using the ship. A captain is represented by a “boat” card flipped to it’s back (again this forces you to make hand management decision since boat cards used as captains are no longer available to you).
Licenses, launched ships and the catches (fish meeples) earn you VPs at the end of the game. There are also some premium license cards that offer you more VPs (but they are much more costlier to start the bid with, and also do not offer you any economy engine capability).
Above: Our Kickstarter set came with some promo cards (more License types and Boat cards above) but we didn’t bring those out in this session. Perhaps next round, I would like to try some of these promo cards to see how the game is changed.
This game didn’t get the wider circulation after it’s successful Kickstarter last year as Gryphon Games quickly ran out of stock. Gryphon is reprinting this together with the recently concluded ARTIC BOUNTY expansion. In spite of that, this game is well received in the Boardgamegeek community.
Our copy of Fleet: Artic Bounty expansion should be with us early next year and we heard it makes the base game more replayable with more ways to assemble your “fishing” engine. Can’t wait. J
FLEET is easy to learn, plays well under an hour and offers some depth – another card game that’s similar is the fabulous Mundus Novus (below), another OTK favorite.
ESCAPE: THE CURSE OF THE TEMPLE
Over at the other table, they were starting a… uhm 10-minute game. Yeah.. definitely timeboxed to 10 min. No more and no less. That’s ESCAPE: THE CURSE OF THE TEMPLE for you. J
The game plays to a soundtrack (not unlike Space Alert) which helps to time the game. Game ends when the soundtrack is over so everything’s happening in real-time.
This game was very well-received at last year’s Essen where QUEEN had arranged large demo / play areas for the attendees to try out this game. Have to say together with this game – and the SDJ winner KINGDOM BUILDER, Queen made lots of noises in the last Essen!
And in case you are wondering, no this is not a Kickstarter game. But ya.. we do sometimes “bend” the rules and get un-theme if it makes sense. J
Updated: Was informed by Ivan that ESCAPE is a Kickstarter game and I managed to confirm that thru the Kickstarter site. Apparently Queen Games is now kickstarting almost all their new releases (which include Stefan Feld’s Amerigo). Hmm…
THE MANHATTAN PROJECT: THE SECOND STAGE
One of the requested game for tonight is a Kickstarter worker placement game with an unusual theme… making nuclear bombs! Yes that’s the MANHATTAN PROJECT. Been awhile since this game was played and with the arrival of its latest Kickstarter expansion The Second Stage, we thought it’ll be nice to have another session.
No additional player even with The Second Stage expansion – so this game still plays max to 5 – and we’ve Kareem running the rules over a mixture of new & experienced Manhattan Project gamers (below from left Kareem, Ainul, Matthew, Henry and Heng).
A new set of Nation cards with the expansion – think we can mix this with the Nation cards from the base game – and if you have done this game before, you’ll either love or hate the Nation cards.
There’s now North Korea in the expansion’s Nation cards! And guess who drew North Korea? The most peaceful fella in the group… yes I ain’t kidding you!
In addition to plutonium and uranium bombs, you can now make H-bombs! That’s what the orange cubes (they are lithium deuteride) are for. All rise and cheers to more ways to lay waste to planet earth!
And if bombers are still not good enough for you (USA anyone?), you can now build rockets that’s not susceptible to opponent’s fighter air cover. Talk about aggression!!!
Another new edition is the Personality tokens – similar to the role in Vanuatu. Whenever you retrieve workers, you get to choose a new personality and return the previous. Each comes with his own bonus ability. Was told this is one of the better additions from this expansion.
I didn’t get to play in this session so will be keen to get another session running soon to try out the expansion. Apparently the most peaceful fella (aka North Korea) wins. That’s the guy who keeps telling us he doesn’t like to play “wargames”. Oh yeah.. sure. Hehe.
Update (comments from Heng)
Btw peaceful guy wasn’t North Korea. He was Israel, albeit one that’s busy building rockets…
While the Manhattan Project session was going on, we did CARGO NOIR on our table (with waiyan, Ivan and Sinbad). Err.. yes this is also not a Kickstarter game but I did mention we do “bend” the theme nite rules sometimes?
CARGO NOIR is a light medium game from Days of Wonder so you can expect the high standard of artwork and game components. It’s basically a set collection game – you collect the smuggled goods and trade them for victory spoils (which earns you end-game VPs).
Smuggled goods can be purchased at the various ports in-play such as Rotterdam, Panama, Hong Kong, Tangier etc. You do have to contend with competitions and every player gets to top up their bids until there’s only one smuggler left standing in that port eg if Green above decides to abandon his bid, Purple will get to buy all four smuggled goods for the amount he bid. J
Panama, smaller port than Rotterdam so you get to buy less goods. But perhaps also less competitions here?
Your objective is to collect smuggled goods in either 1) set of similar goods type (ie all cigars) or 2) set of all different good type (ie cigars, ivory, gold, etc). The value of similar good type sets grow in value proportionately better than sets of different good types. You sell the sets you collected in exchange for victory spoil cards or smuggler edge cards (eg Syndicate, Cargo Ship below) which help you build your game engine but offer lower VP ratio compared with victory spoil cards (which are just pure VPs).
The LOL moment in our game was when Kareem walked over and realized we’ve been playing the rules wrongly. Instead of resolving actions by player, we were resolving actions in rotation. Anyway that would have changed the game dynamics though we found it was very much playable still.
We call that the “OTK Variant”. Haha.
ZONG SHI (the Grand Master craftsman) was a Kickstarter project that closed successfully towards the end of 2011, arrived late 2012 and we’ve not had the opportunity to testdrive it (given the deluge of new releases since last year). One of the objectives of setting theme nights is to ensure we provide an opportunity to rotate some of the lower profile games onto the table – and not be playing one or two games persistently week after week (that would be boring ain’t it given the number of games we’ve in our collection).
ZONG SHI plays up to 5 so those late owls who stayed back for R2 settled down quickly with the rules. It’s a worker placement game (hey tonight can be a “Worker Placement Kickstarter Nite”?) where you aspire to become the Grand Master craftsman of all. Apparently there can only be ONE Grandmaster so yeah, you know the drill… outcompete your other grand master wanna-be craftsman opponents.
Worker placement gamers would be familiar with the setup, you have a number of workers (two in this game), a number of options you can send them to, your objective here is to gather the resources (below) to complete Masterworks that score you VPs. Game ends when someone has completed his 6th Masterworks.
The game box and components are very well made and of good quality. It even comes with a Jade Buddha to denote the start player.
One unique aspect of this game is that you only get two workers – and unlike Agricola you won’t have the chance to get more. There’s the Master (the taller figure on the left) and his Apprentice. Masters can do all the 5 possible actions but Apprentice only gets to do three. So a Master is certainly more useful than the Apprentice.
However when you start a project, your Master will have to focus on completing it.. therefore he won’t be available for a number of turns (you track this by placing the Master in the Time Track to indicate project in progress). This means you only have your Apprentice to go around gathering resources and other limited actions for you while you wait on your Master to complete the project.
Project needs resources (colored tokens) and the most obvious way to get them is from the Marketplace (below).
You can send both Master and Apprentice to do this work.. Sending an Apprentice only gets you one resource but sending a Master allows you to split the resources among the other Masters sent here (or if you are the only Master here, then you get to take ALL the resources except those given to the apprentice). Another difference between using your Master vs your Apprentice.
Above: Master & apprentices shopping at the Marketplace. The Orange (or is it brown?) Master on the left will buy all the four resource tokens while the two apprentices on the right will get to take one resource of their choice.
The Pawn Shop on the other hand allows you to exchange one resource for another type, giving you flexibility which is important since you are only keep 5 resources on-hand. The Pawn Shop also scores you VP for each pawn exchange tile you obtained up to a max of 8 pts. I didn’t check their game end score so do not know how significant 8 VP is. Given the Masterworks project (below) also gets you 8 VP (but you need to spend more resource tokens plus commit your Master to 4 turns of project work), I suppose the 8 VP from Pawn Shop is very useful.
Masterworks projects are slightly different from normal projects (below). Normal projects cost less resources, takes shorter time (for Master) to complete but offer lower VP. However normal projects come with special ability which helps your Master in his quest.
Masterworks projects however are pure VP play. High VP (8 pts), usually twice the amount of resource needed compared to normal projects and takes your Master four turns to complete them. It’s your call whether you want to start with normal projects, build your game engine and work up a strong foundation to become the Grand Master craftsman – or focus on the high scoring Masterworks.
There’s also the often-overlooked scroll of fortune (and it’s associated one-time ability). To get a scroll, you simply send your apprentice (or Master) to the Temple and donate one resource (in exchange for a scroll). You do have a hand size of four scrolls and each of them is a one-time use item. I was informed the ability of the scrolls is pretty good and certainly worth the single action point plus one resource you are trading for.
There’s even one scroll that allows you to send your apprentice to do the Master’s work in completing a project (below). Now that’s something very useful!
Above: An apprentice taking his Master’s place in completing projects. You can only do this if you have the “right” scroll of fortune card.
Other ways you can gain VP is by paying respectful visits to your elders. You exchange resource tokens (same type) in exchange for VP. Again the maximum points you can gain from this section is 8 VP. However there’s the “First Visit” promo if your Master is the first to visit any of the elders. You get a one-time bonus which can get you a scroll of fortune, a pawn shop exchange tile, etc.
Oh by the way, Boardgamecafe.net also has a First Visit Promo ie. if you are dropping by our OTK shop for the first time in person, you get a 20% discount promo on all games! More details here. J
I did not play in the above session so would not be able to comment on the game’s playability. It does have some unique elements eg having only two workers (both with different capability) and a time-delay when the Master’s working on projects where he’ll be unavailable to do your bidding.
However it’s one of those few Kickstarter games that – after being successfully funded – didn’t really make it to the wider retail distribution and thus suffer from being annoymous in the deluge of new releases. If you get the chance, do give it a try and let us know what you think.
Comments from Heng
Zong Shi is quite good. Most of us sent our disciples to the scroll temple, so we can get one scroll for free. If you sent your master there, you would also get one free but have the option to trade resources for extra scrolls.
We managed to cover
three four KICKSTARTER Games tonight:
- The Manhattan Project with The Second Stage expansion
- Zong Shi
- Escape: The Curse of the Temple
This is our 3rd Kickstarter night and looking at our list of existing (and incoming) Kickstarter games, we still have a long list to checked off. We do find Kickstarter theme nights useful to be introducing some of the lesser known Kickstarter games to our gamers but we’ll certainly slot in non-Kickstarter theme nights to mix things up.
P/s I also realized I’ve not done my Kickstarter meetup #2 sessrep? Ah.. another one for the backlog.
For more pictures of tonight’s meetup, pls check out our Facebook album below.
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