Today seemed quieter than the previous days with less games to find and play. But it was an opportunity to oook at games that I didn’t have on my list and I was pleased I did so.
Flotter Otter – this is a typical fun Zoch speed game where you vie to be the first to set a stack of 5 different coloured Lego cubes up in an order given by a card flipped over. Each card shows 5 pictures of something, eg a cat with a ball of wool, in which are hidden two aspects that go from small to large such as the cat’s eyes, ears, whiskers or the wool. Your challenge is to identify the order in which this something grows and represent it in your stack. Surrounding the picture is a coloured frame. If the option you choose begins or ends with the Lego cube matching the frame colour you get two points if you are fastest; if not you get 1 point. It’s fun and great for kids – I like it
Silencio – another Zoch game clearly inspired by the success of The Mind. Here players have six random cards each and take it in turns to play their cards in one of six coloured row. The rows all start with a number 1 card and in order to play all six of your cards you must of course try to play them in numerical order. However the twist is that if you play two cards next to each other which are sequential in number you receive a penalty; but If you play the cards so that they are not sequential in number, you receive a benefit. The penalties and benefits help you or hinder you in getting the cards played in the right order. Players are not allowed to discuss what is in their hands (hence the game name) and must try to figure out when it’s best to play a card or pass when it’s their turn so that they manage to beat the game and get all six cards out of each player’s hand. It’s a lot of fun and interesting and I bought a copy. – I like it.
Seastead – I was not able to play this because it was on TTS and my friend didn’t have a licence, so we got a walk through instead. It didn’t seem to be anything very special if you ignored the theme of flotillas of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world. – Not for me.
Furnace – This was a lovey pared down engine-building game in which the twist is that each round you bid on 5 production cards with one of 4 tokens numbered 1-4. If you win the auction you get the card and can activate it. If you lose you get whatever the card offers in compensation multiple by your bid ie up to a triple multiplier. You note your resources and then plow them into your engaging to try and produce gold using the cards you obtained. There are 4 different resources to churn and the game is short and very engaging. I may buy a copy when the non-Russian version is available – prohibitive shipping costs at the moment so that will be in 2021. – I like it.
Castles of Tuscany – I had a very pleasant late Sunday experience playing this with 3 strangers and an explainer. It’s a very very smooth Feld, very much based on the principles of Castles of Burgundy; and like that game it is difficult to master but unlike the game I would say it’s much more accessible. On your turn either reserve a tile or play it into you mat, which is divided up into multiple areas of 1- 2- or 3-tile-sized areas. When you play it, you always get a benefit and 1, 3 or 6 points depending on if it’s the 1st 2nd or 3rd tile in matching colour in that area of your board. The benefits you get from each tile are more interesting than Castles of Burgundy – extra turns, joker tiles, and 1 more benefits for example. To pay for the tile you have placed you must pay two cards of a matching colour, or replace cards of a matching colour with a pair of two other matching coloured cards. The key to the strategy is to have access to a number of different tile areas and to beef up the bonuses that you get each time you get a tile down on your mat – all in order to increase efficiency of each tile that you play down. It’s a really lovely game and one that I will definitely enjoy playing many more times. The modular board allows you to choose or randomise your starting mat and the order in which the tiles come out and the decisions of your fellow players will make this a very engaging and yet not too long game. – I love it.
I had a very enjoyable time at Spiel.Digital and as with a real spiel convention I have come out of it feeling inspired to play more games. The experience is far from ideal but much better than nothing. My games of the convention are Renature, Castle of Tuscany and Dwerger