Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Ghost Stories and Suburbia

Josh and I had half a game of Ghost Stories, a Chinese themed game in which your Taoist monks attempt to defeat the ghost of Wu Feng and a variety of other ghosts. There are nine Village tiles arranged in a square, and you're trying to prevent them from becoming Haunted. If your monk is standing on a tile, he gets the option of using an ability associated with that tile: gaining more Chi, for example, or moving a ghost from one side of the village to another. On each side of the village is an entry board for ghosts, with three spaces corresponding to the three adjacent village tiles. Some ghosts advance and Haunt village tiles; others hamper your ability to fight. You must manage your resources (mostly Chi) and maneuver to make the best use of the Villagers while dispelling ghosts quickly enough that you don't get overrun.
We did well at fighting most of the ghosts...but that was probably because we were misunderstanding or omitting some rules, which weren't quite as clearly written as I would have liked. According to Josh, the game's designer says that winning one game is twenty is doing well.

We also got in a game of Suburbia, in which you build residential areas, heavy industry, government buildings and businesses in an effort to increase your burough's population and reputation.  New offerings come onto the real estate market at a premium, getting cheaper as time goes on; you have to weigh wether you want to snatch them before your opponent does, or wait for the price to drop. Once you've bought a piece, you have to choose a good location in your burough--nobody wants to be next to a landfill, for instance, but you get synergy from having parks next to residential areas, or museums next to schools. As your town gets bigger, it becomes harder to keep up your reputation (you're losing that "small town feeling") and income (simulating increased infrastructure costs and diminishing returns); you want to grow, but not too quickly. And you'll have goals, both public and secret, for things like "have the least cash" or "have the most heavy industry".
The rules are only a couple of pages long but the game is more interesting than I had expected. You can see what's on the real estate market, so you  Josh got an early lead in population and held onto it to the end, although I was closing in quickly. I ended up buying a copy for myself.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Fury of Dracula

This is game where one player--in this case, me--plays the Count, moving around Europe and evading the Hunters--in this case, Duncan, Chris, and Joshua. The Count wants to gain Influence in Europe, which he does by letting time pass or by disabling Hunters; the Hunters want to cooperate to track down and destroy the Count. 
As Vlad, I started in Spain and moved into France, but passed too close to Marseille; the hunters quickly found me before I'd laid many traps. I compounded my error by going into combat rather than breaking contact and evading the Hunters. I did managedto bite Mina, sending her to hospital in Madrid and gaining Influence for me. I scored another coup when Hunter in hot pursuit followed a false tip to Lisbon instead of my location in Paris. Unfortunately, the two remaining Hunters closed in on me and turned out to be better armed than I expected. Garlic and Holy Bullets did a lot of damage, and the Hunters mostly avoided my Fangs, which would have done damage to them and helped heal me. After taking 8 damage out of his 15 total hit points, I had the Count turn into bats and flee Paris for an undisclosed location to the east. 
We called the game there due to time but I think the hunters were well ahead. I took the Count into combat too much, and didn't lay enough delaying traps.