Friday, 1 July 2016

China in your hands

Last night Andrew and I played Sun Tzu - a two-player cheapy from The Works.

It's a battle mildly reminiscent of Condottiere. There's a small map showing ancient China, and the players are contesting ownership through card-play.  Over nine rounds players play different strength cards to each area, which are revealed simultaneously. The difference in strength between the cards is the effect on the area - if blue plays a 6 and red plays a 4, red will lose two armies in the area (if they have any) or blue would add to armies (if they already have armies present, or the area is empty. If red had one army present, that would go, and blue would add one army.

Like Condottiere though, there are other elements at play. You have a base set of cards valued 1-6 that you always take back into your hand at the end of a round. But there are stronger cards to be added to your hand, and these are only available once. There are values 7-10, cards that take away strength from your opponent, add strength to yours, and even a Plague card that stops any opposing army having an effect. It's the timing of these cards that can decide the game.

There are also event cards to incorporate, but we didn't bother. Looking at the rules it felt like extra guff. Maybe we'll try them next time.

After the third, sixth and ninth round scores are calculated: what a region is worth varies from round to round (and game to game). It's possible to win on the third or sixth round, but we lasted the duration. My strong showing on round nine claimed the win:

Sam wins
Andrew doesn't.

We liked it. Not a classic, but a faster play than Condottiere and a decent blend of luck and tactics. Plenty of scope for the odd bluff too.

Then we blasted through some short games - I was a disaster spy master and agent in Codenames; Andrew out-honeyed me in worker placement/bidding game Waggle Dance, and took me to the cleaners in Dice Heist.

1 comment:

  1. I wasn't a great spy master either. It required a half-decent knowledge of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin to know he opened a shop that sold rubbish (linking two words: "shop" and "litter") and it was especially risky with "beach" on the grid since the opening sequence is on a beach.

    Sun Tzu was interesting. I'd like to try it again since it has the possibility for hidden depths. Or something.