On Saturday, Ian, Andrew and I found ourselves at Chris' house. Whilst the children played Minecraft we opted for a more combative affair - Chris's recent purchase: Imperial Settlers.
The box cover has a slightly Super-Mario-esque character on it that suggests a friendly family-type game, but the contents told a different story. Each player begins with a small, book-mark shaped board that is divided into three: production, feature, and action. Over the five rounds of the game, you'll pick up production at the start of the round, and use it to build cards: more production is more production, feature is a whenever you do X, get Y element, and action is a kind of cashing in: either on the card, or potentially other people.
Because for all that Imperial Settlers is a very Euro-y engine-builder, it has high screwage potential. Everyone starts each round with a raze token, and that can be used to either raze a card from your hand, or (if you have two raze tokens) a card somebody else has built! You get a reward for doing so, but razes aren't the only combative element. Ian's saboteur card let him steal resources form opponent, something he did with alarming regularity to Chris (alarming at least until we discovered we only get to use our cards once per round - after we discovered that, he just stole from Chris once per round)
Also, there are two types of cards: your bespoke deck (I was Egyptian, Ian Barbarian, Chris and Andrew Roman and... something else?) which once built is impervious to raiding, and the common deck, which can be targeted but are much cheaper to build.
My ongoing aversion to text on cards meant I was never going to fall in love with it, but it's a clever design and if you like a bit of engine-building mixed with some roughhouse tactics, it would scratch an itch.
Didn't write down the scores, but I think that's correct...
We followed this with the new palette-cleanser of choice: Cosmic Run! Roll dice, get your ships up to the planets as fast as you can (before they explode!), but don't forget those Alien Cards. I can't remember who won. Andrew? Me? Great game, though.
Finally we bashed out a quick game of Push It. I don't remember who won that either (Chris?) but I do know it wasn't me: I was stuck on zero points for quite a while, then one point, and I think I finished on a baggy, saggy, draggy three points! A new low?
Andrew and Ian made their way back to Bristol and Chris and I settled down to watch Match of the Day. What a night! Thanks chaps!