Friday, 25 October 2013

Come the revolution!

In the week prior to Wednesdays meet James had mentioned that he had been routing around underneath the back tables in the Works and had prised out another bargain worthy of a try. Precious little information was divulged about it until the big reveal on games night with the promise that it was a quick learner. Being a bit behind with the kids bedtime routine meant that the time I entered the kitchen Revolution! (Remember the exclamation mark!) was in the end stages of being set up.

Revolution! is a fast paced influence/territory game with cruel bidding mechanism that achieves it's design to stymie the plans of your opponents. Set against a back drop of the American Revolution players are to use their influence tokens, a red fist for force, a black envelope for blackmail (geddit?) and gold coins for good old fashioned bribery to coerce 12 different upstanding members of the community to your cause. The public figures include people like, the captain, priest, merchant, general and err... spy and are all laid out in a grid in front of you complete with their varying support conditions i.e. the merchant allows you to win 3 support points (General score) 5 Gold pieces and influence the Market. On the brightly coloured playing board is a representation of a small town complete with dock, fortress, market etc. Each one of the venues has an influencer that allows you to put a marker in it. These have a finite amount of spaces and only the the clear winner in each wins the support score attached.

Colourful revolution

The clever bit of the game is how the tokens work. Using the VERY sturdy screens to hide your grid players are to choose which character they want to win over. The tokens work in an olympic medal table kind of way. Therefore force (Gold) will beat any amount of Blackmails (Silver) or Coins (Bronze) and combinations there of will always start biggest first and then down. Ties mean neither player win that characters benefits. Additionally gold coins can be used to influence any role but you are forbidden to place tokens on the same colours, so you can't force the captain or blackmail the magistrate... Ooer.

In the 3 player there was always spaces left over but often the case was players were competing for the same options. I came a cropper a few times with Paul either matching my choice or beating it therefore seeing my lovely tokens disappear to the supply piles.

Have ever seen such sturdy screens?

The game reminded me of a lighter version of El Grande and the association harmed neither game. Toward the end I began to fall behind on the score track and wasn't winning enough token for the next rounds and slipped out of contention. James, however, got to grips with the mechanic the best and edged away as the last spaces on the board where filled.

James - 205
Paul - 154
Chris - 86

Next up was another new game to the Wednesday night trio although not Paul and I in Modern Art. This early Knizia classic has its roots wedged in the brilliant game designer's economics past. Balancing out the right amount to pay for each range of paintings in the different types of auction requires a little bit of business nous. Which, unfortunately, I didn't have. Unlike Medici where bidding big can still bring in the goods in the art world buying low and selling high is the name of the game. Who'd of thunk it. Anyway I was completely bowled over by the figure James and Paul had managed to accumulate compared to my poor return. Paul rather charitably tried to cheer me up by saying the amount I had made would have been good for any company in real life, but really I sucked.

James - £520,000
Paul - £482,000
Chris - £342,000


  1. The screens in Palaces of Carrera are pretty strong: thick cardboard and a roof that clips holds everything rigidly in place. That way, if there's an earthquake, you can keep playing quite happily.

    James is just two wins from the perfect five! No pressure.

  2. intrigued by that! I like the sound of a Revolution, tho it also sounds like it could frustrating too. I've just gone a bit mad and bought Castle Dice. My accountant will kill me when she finds out - in about two hours at teatime.

  3. I don't generally like player screens in games, they make me feel silly - but I can see that they're essential in this game.

    I've heard lots of good things about Revolution! and I regret not picking it up when a few copies turned up in TK Maxx (is that the correct spelling? Maax? Mmax!) for a tenner a few years ago.

    I love Modern Art, though it needs to be played with players who are playing at a similar level of understanding; when I've played with one of my daughters she's let paintings go for too little in a fixed price auction, which gives the player to her left a huge advantage.

    The simple market makes it easy to assess the relative worth of a painting, but there's lots of strategy in using your cards to control timing the end of each season to your advantage.

    Contrary to some comments on the Geek, I think the dreadful artwork on the cards absolutely makes the game - it wouldn't be half as much fun if you were auctioning anything resembling a decent painting. Did you find yourselves talking bollocks about the artist's backstory? this seems to happen instinctively when we play.

  4. Joe, Revolution (or Steve Jackson's Revolution, to quote its full less modest title) was indeed from TK Maxx. Not Works as Chris mistakenly reported. £10 from £26, bought last weekend, so maybe there's a few more copies doing the rounds, though I bought the last one off the shelf in Basingstoke. Picked it up thinking I'd get my tenner back (or more!) on eBay if we hated it, but I loved it. Highly likely a keeper and potentially a game that can be done in 45 minutes after the main game now we know the fairly simple rules.

  5. Sorry James, I missed the bit about it being from TK MAnXXXxx.

    I'll leave the report as read.

    Joe, I think Paul and I fell into doing the patter like we used to. By the end James had a go too. I too love the shit paintings. It makes it more fun talk up a crap painting.