Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The faulty colours swapped spot

Tonight’s game fest was hosted by Steve and Anja, making their debut appearance this season. We were seven in all: our two hosts, Sam, myself, Martin and Matt drove up and Ian sauntered across from his nearby home. Joe was otherwise occupied, Katie was ill and Adam and Hannah... well, we assume they got an early night for once, but who can say for sure?

We split into two groups. Anja, Ian and I lounged casually on sofas as we played Istanbul, while Sam, Steve, Matt and Martin sat up straight at the dining table for a sensible game of Mexica.

Anaja was new to Istanbul, so I talked her through the rules. I have to admit, there were a lot more than I’d remembered. But Anja seemed to take them all on board without any problems, and we began playing with the recommended “short game” layout.

Everything seemed to be going smoothly until about a third of the way through, when Anja (red) realised that at some point she and Ian (green) must have swapped their pieces, since she was now moving green and he was red. We pondered what to do. Retracing our steps was impossible because it had happened several turns earlier, and starting again wasn’t too popular. In the end, they just decided to change colours.

Molly the cat, aghast at the developments in Istanbul

Apart from that, the game went pretty smoothly. I was the last to pick up any gems, but I had a “Use Gemstone Dealer twice” card, so I soon leapt back into contention. In fact, I was fairly confident of a win, and I was just three moves away from the last gem, but Anja swooped in to the Sultan’s Palace to pick up her fifth and final gem.

Anja 5
Andrew 4
Ian 3

It was interesting how different this game was to previous games. The Black Market was hardly used to get blue goods, since we preferred the smuggler who was usually quite conveniently placed, or bonus cards/actions. A pretty deep game which changes even when the board stays the same.

Meanwhile, Mexica was entering its last stages, so we had enough time for another quick game. We went for Timeline. I managed to be accurate, but only to a +/- 4 years gap and mostly on the wrong side. Anja and Ian sped away from me, and Anja was the smarter of the two in the end.

Anja 0 cards
Ian 1
Andrew 2

And finally, we watched the final stages of Mexicana. It seemed completely incomprehensible to me. They just seemed to be doing things at random while counting. And then, at the end, they moved a bridge. Anyway, at the end Martin came away a winner, having withstood the last round of scoring where Steve and Sam (briefly in the lead at one point) mounted a spirited last gasp attack.

Martin 93
Sam 88
Steve 87
Matt 68

And with that, the evening drew to a close. We separated happy, with Anja perhaps happiest of all.

Andrew 3 2 2 1 1 9
Sam 2 3 2 2 2 11
Martin 1 5 3 2 1 12
Ian 2 3 1 3 3 12
Joe 3 2 3 3 1 12
Katie 1 5 1 2 4 13
Chris 4 2 4 4 1 15
Matt 4 1 3 2 5 15
Hannah 2 2 2 5 5 16
Anja 1 1 5 5 5 17
Adam 4 4 3 3 5 19
Stanley 4 1 5 5 5 20
Steve 3 5 5 5 5 23


  1. I like the simple race aspect of Istanbul - I'd be interested to try the variant where each players stack includes a neutral assistant who can be used by any player. That said it would probably introduce a bit of AP where there is currently very little. So maybe not.

  2. Mexica was fun. It does look and kind of is mad, but I liked it. You're trying to create and then have control over several areas by placing temples there. But the interesting part is how you move your Mexica around. He trudges slowly across the desert but can swim vast distances in the same time. However he will only enter and exit the water via a bridge. It's kind of silly but at the same time, good. Like Five Tribes you can't truly plan your turn until it arrives though, as at least one person will be trying to screw you!