Note: This is a continuation of the Essen 2011 As it happens! (Wednesday & Thursday) report and the Friday update.
Only one game played tonight – late nights and lots of stress trying to figure out boxes and logistics take their toll. But the one game I did play was Pala, a new trick taking game by Jeff Allers. And it’s very cool.
The key twist is that the colour cards that make up the deck are split into two types: Primary colours (Red, Yellow, Blue) and Secondary colours (Orange, Purple, Green).
When a primary colour is let, you must follow suit. If you can’t, you can slough. That’s all basic standard trick taking. The cool bit is that you can also “smear” by playing a new primary colour on top of the one your right hand neighbour played. Those two colours combine to make a secondary colour, which you represent with a second (secondary) colour card played out in front of yourself. That colour is now the new suit to follow in the trick!
Cool, huh? There are also rules for following suit in a secondary colour by “mixing” two appropriate primary colours together.
And the whole thing is a ‘bid on how many tricks you’ll win’ style game, where you bid on how many different coloured tricks you’ll win (the actual number of tricks in each colour you win is important but there’s no penalty for ‘missing a bid’ because you got two green tricks instead of the one you planned on. At the end of each round, if you made your bid you get points equal to the number of tricks you won multiplied by the number of different colours of tricks you won. Missing a colour means you score zero.
It’s also possible to bid 0 colours – in that case you win +/- a certain number of points depending on how many players are taking part. Play to x points, where x varies with player number. I liked Pala a lot. Enough that I’m going to try and pick up a copy tomorrow at the fair – hope Cambridge still has copies left!
Okay. And now for, as they say, the rest of the story. Herewith find the list of all the rest of the games I bought at Spiel 2011.
- Eclipse – together with Supernova expansion.
- Quebec – bigger box than expected (about double the standard Ystari size).
- Panic Station – got this on Thursday before they all vanished, with mini expansion.
- Ora et Labora – the sprues kinda suck (not very well cut at the tile edges) and it’s in German, but hey. Free copy as partial payment for doing the English rules so I can’t complain.
- Welcome to Walnut Grove – looks coo, another game received as partial rules translation payment.
- Colonial: Europe’s Empires Overseas – oh sweet lord I hope the gameplay lives up the looks. This is one beee-utiful game board.
- MIL (1049) – another one I hope lives up to the hype. Sounds cube churny but hopefully not in a bad way.
- Last Will – I already know this one’s good from playing the prototype.
- Coney Island – Michael Schacht without abacus? Hope that’s not a warning sign.
- Alba Longa – I know the designer and he’s good people. I’ve played the prototype and it’s good game.
- Singapore – getting some good buzz. I loved King of Siam so Peer Sylvester’s games always get a look.
- Hawaii – looks so pretty and getting good reviews too. Congrats to Greg Daigle, this is a sweet-looking design.
- Vanuatu – hope it’s decent; the cover art is kind of neat at least.
- Drum Roll – gorgeous artwork, but some rumbles are starting to come out about the gameplay being a little pedestrian. I’m hoping they’re wrong.
- Tournay – sequel of sorts to Troyes but supposed to be a good deal lighter.
- Meltdown 2020 – another Corne game. Hope it’s a good one. It’s always hard to gauge Cwali games at the fair since they don’t seem to get as many ratings as the larger booths do, even though they’re in hall 12 with a lot of the biggies.
- Champions 2020 – see above.
- Pret-a-Porter – the buzz is that this one’s pretty tight and challenging, so hopefully a good buy.
- Terra Evolution – deckbuilding but I like the theme.
- Space Bastards – Need I say anything? :)
- Dungeon Petz – Vlaada = autobuy. Until he comes up with a big box stinker.
- Sidi Baba – you cannot tell me this doesn’t look cool.
- Thor – 5 Euros? Sold.
- Tuareg – I always buy the adlung games. They’re usually worth at least a few plays.
- Fliegende Teppiche – see above.
- City Tycoon – another one I’m hoping won’t suck because I like the theme.
- Ghost Stories: Black Secret – yeah, like I’d pass this up.
- PAX – I’m willing to try this one.
- Pergamemnon – ditto.
- The City – simpler Race for the Galaxy? Okay, I’ll give it a shot.
- Mogel Motte – total impulse buy. I was looking for another game when I heard the little kid next to me beg his parents if they could please play Mogel Motte again tonight. Okay, I’ll bite. Gimme.
- Zooloretto – Catta and various other freebies and mini expansions, which I will eventually add in, but for now they’ll have to wait since I don’t have a photographic memory and my games have all been sent off via mail already…
Update — And here are a few more I forgot to add:
- Mondriaan 2020 – abstract in a cool way according to a friend. I hope I’ll like it and think I might – I like Kunststucke and this at least looks a little bit similar. Hey, I just realized. Between this, Kunststucke, Pala and Fresko, there’s a painting-themed night waiting to happen. Whee!
- Rapa Nui – no less than William Attia says this one’s pretty decent, so for 12 Euros it was a buy. Small, too, so it works well with the nested games thing.
- Age of Steam Expansion: African Diamond Mines & Taiwan Cube Factories – I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Age of Steam maps I got. First of Ted’s maps. Looks cool.
- Age of Steam Expansion: Australia & Tasmania – second of Ted’s AoS map set. The challenge to rotate all my maps through my game group continues.
- Age of Steam Expansion: Outer Space & Reversteam – third of Ted’s maps. The outer space map looks very cool and mind-bendy.
- Age of Steam Expansion: Greece and Cyclades – finally, the new mapset from Alban Viard of AoS Team.
- Santiago de Cuba – and another one I forgot to mention earlier. I did the English rules editing on this so I picked up a copy from Peter at the eggert booth. It’s the third (and final?) game in eggert’s Cuban Line (they don’t call it that I think, but it seems apt).
- Friedrich – not the full new anniversary edition. I picked up the new board today for 6E – with that and a couple rules changes that you can find online, you have the new gameplay. Seems like a better option than buying the game for a second time…