It’s now March and the Cult of the New to Me is getting restless.
We’re now close to a year since lockdowns and social distancing became a thing rather than some abstract concept.
This past weekend, a year ago, I was coming home from my first major convention, Dice Tower West in Vegas, which was a blast.
We just nipped it in before everything went to shit.
Now we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re still probably at least months away from normalcy.
What’s the first game that I’m probably going to play at my Sunday Funday board game meetup (assuming it’s still happening)?
Depending on who shows up, very probably Terraforming Mars.
No matter what the Cult thinks of that.
In February, I played new games, both from Boardgame Arena. I’m really liking how they’ve come through during this pandemic with so many games to play, and even more coming!
They were recently bought by Asmodee, which gives me a little pause, but supposedly nothing will change.
We’ll see about that.
In the meantime, my thanks to them for making playing games at home so easy!
So, without further adieu (all of my adieu was buried in the Egyptian sands by some stupid Pharaoh anyway), let’s get this show on the road!
Luxor (2018 – Queen Games) – 2 plays
Designer: Rüdiger Dorn
Artist: Dennis Lohausen
Luxor is a game that I’ve been interested in for a while, but it’s just never made it out to a game day. It plays quickly and would make a perfect lunch time game, so maybe I will go ahead and buy it at some point.
In the game, players are explorers of an ancient Egyptian tomb, trying to find treasure as well as enter the mysterious central chamber where riches may await.
Players start with two adventurers on the starting space, and they will be going around and around until they reach the central chamber.
Three other adventurers are placed at certain locations along the path and, when a player’s adventurer passes that spot, that adventurer is also placed at the start space. Players have five adventurers in total.
How the adventurers move is one of the interesting things about the game.
Players will have a starting hand of five movement cards. All cards must stay in the same order and you can only play the card on one of the ends of your hand in order to move an adventurer that many spaces (or obey the rules of the card, depending on what it is).
After moving an adventurer, the player then draws a new card and puts it in the center of their hand.
As adventurers move around the board, they will be collecting treasures that will give victory points. Also, points will be gained for sets of three different treasures.
The treasures themselves are worth victory points, but sets will get you even more points depending on how many sets you have.
If you land on a certain space, you can either get a key (which will let you into the central chamber) or a Horus card. Horus cards give you different and interesting movement possibilities.
While you are moving adventurers around the board, you will be trying to collect a key (or two) to let one of your adventurers into the central chamber. The first adventurer who gets into the center will get 5 VP and the second will get 3 VP.
The second one also triggers the end of the game. Each player will get the same number of turns, so the round will finish once the end game is triggered.
In addition to the treasures, scarabs, and other endgame scoring, each adventurer will also earn VP based on what tile they are currently on.
I found this really interesting, because it gives you a reason to try and place adventurers that obviously will never get to the center into good spots to get you points.
The game plays pretty quickly and I like the card mechanic where you can only use two of your five cards to move your adventurers. It adds to the strategy because, if you want to land on a certain spot, you have to make sure you have the cards for it. Or just not move that adventurer until you have the right card available.
The cards that have a die (where you roll a die and move that many spaces) add a bit more randomness which is also pretty cool.
This would make a great lunchtime game and, when we end up going back to the office in a few months, maybe I’ll buy it to play with the group.
In the meantime, it’s a fun Boardgame Arena game that I’m really enjoying.
Abyss (2014 – Bombyx) – 2 plays
Designers: Bruno Cathala, Charles Chevallier
Artist: Xavier Collette
For some reason (maybe it’s the really intimidating box cover, shown above), Abyss always struck me as some kind of complicated game that maybe I might not be interested in.
But it’s not!
Instead, it’s a card game with some interesting choices to make on which cards and how many cards you’re going to take as you try to fill out your collection of Lords to get you points.
It’s another relatively quick 2-4 player lunchtime card game that I’m also really enjoying.
In Abyss, you are trying to collect Lord cards to get you points and also (perhaps) get yourself locations that will also give you a bunch more points.
Abyss is a game of underwater sea kingdoms that has you collecting Ally cards that will help you recruit Lords to your side, which will then get you points (and perhaps get you Locations that will get you more points).
On your turn, you will be either exploring for Allies (drawing cards, allowing the other players the chance to buy them first and then giving you the ability to take the card if nobody does buy it), ask for aid from the Council (i.e. taking a bunch of the old exploring discards) or recruiting a Lord.
Lords get you points but also may give you special abilities that let you break the rules or make things more expensive for other players (or maybe less expensive for you). Or maybe they will just give you a cool one-time effect.
I really like how you have to strategize to recruit Lords.
There are 5 different factions of Allies that you can explore to get (or get from the Council). Each Ally card has a value from 1 to 5. To recruit a Lord, you need a certain number of points of Allies, and depending on the Lord, you will need a certain number of different Ally factions.
When you recruit a Lord, you must then “affiliate” one of the Ally cards that you used. It will always be the lowest valued card (you get to choose if you have a tie). At the end of the game, you will score points for the highest value of each faction’s Ally affiliates, so try to maximize those and not get just 1-value Allies!
Sometimes, when you’re exploring, you may come upon a Monster. You can either defeat the Monster or keep Exploring, but if you defeat the Monster, you will get the award from the current Threat Level (if you decide to keep going, the Threat Level goes up one space).
This will allow you to get Pearls, Monster Tokens (which gives you points) or even Keys!
If you get enough Keys (either from your Lords or from the Threat Track), you will then get a Location, either one that’s revealed or drawing one from the deck. This is automatic, and will cover up the abilities of the Lords used, so make sure you don’t really want to use that Lord’s ability before you get your 3rd key!
Since the only way to get key tokens without Lords, though, is letting the Threat Track get higher and then defeating monsters to get keys. So that may not be possible.
These Locations will give you extra points based on certain criteria. In one of my games, the Location I was able to get gave me 3 points for each of my Lords who had Keys, which gave me 9 more points!
The game ends as soon as somebody has recruited seven Lords or if there are not enough Lords to fill the court after the last one is recruited.
Total up the points and whoever has the most is the winner!
I really enjoyed this game. As I said, it’s nothing like I expected and I don’t know why that is. That cover is so intimidating, so maybe my mind thought the game would be intimidating as well?
Or maybe I just intimidate easily?
That could be it.
Look at my Editor (Editor – “Hey! Watch that…”)
I would love to play this at the table and it’s yet another great lunch time game that, maybe, could be played at work. I look forward to playing it on BGA in the meantime as it does work really nicely in that capacity.
What new to you games did you play last month?
What do you think of these? Have you played them?
Let me know in the comments.
So that’s abyss… Huh. I was with you, and thought it was a huge epic game. Looks a lot like Aquatica.
New to me:
Tragedy Looper – a deduction game where you have one side stuck in a Happy Death Day scenario. Fantastic game!
Scythe – After about 3 years holding onto this one finally got it to the table. First game was great and interactive. Second game was a pacifists dream scenario, but as a game was kind of boring. Need to play it a few more times.
I’m glad I’m not alone in my complete lack of knowledge regarding Abyss! 🙂
I have yet to play Scythe. Maybe one day I will.
I tried the app and bounced off it hard. I think I need somebody to teach it to me.
Good to see you, David!