Oboy do we have some good shelves to review today!
Let's get rocking!
- #Brass: Lancashire & #Brass: Birmingham: I figured I'd tackle these two together as they are very similar games. These are the Roxley games deluxified versions of the original Brass game. Lancashire is a direct update and Birmingham is a modified new version of the game. In this game you are a industrial baron/baroness placing industries, canals/railways, on the map. Crucially you will be using your industries and connections along with other players industries and connections to flip your industry tiles to get income and victory points. Birmingham is considered the "smoother" of the two games and a bit more forgiving but both games are simply spectacular. It's hard to explain all of the reasons there are to love these games and I'll leave it to the many review videos out there to explain it in detail but I wholeheartedly agree that these games rock!
- #Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar: The first of the T games and possibly one of the trickiest. The hook in this game is you are putting your workers on large gears that are rotated at the end of every round. As your worker moves around on the gear they will get more powerful/different abilities they can use. During your turn you can either put workers on the gears (costing more and more corn as you put more workers on at a time) or take workers off the gears to activate the abilities. I thought I knew how to play the game decently and then I got in to a game on board game arena and realized that I had no clue what I was doing. There is a ton of strategy around where you put your workers, how many works you put down, and when you take them off. Timing things so you can take a bunch of workers off and have a big turn is tricky but when you pull it off it feels great! Definitely a game where the first play is really just feeling things out.
- #Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun: This game is another excellent game but I don't hear a lot about it lately. This is another worker placement game that has the player interacting with a variety of systems to get victory points. On a first glance it seems like a mess of things are going on and it takes a play to sort of get how things work together. However, after that first game things come together in to a really enjoyable game. The hook here is that you take dice from section around the obelisk to do actions for that sector. However, you can only take certain coloured dice depending on where the "shaow" of the obelisk is. So you need to plan ahead to try to get the dice you need at the right time. But you can't be sure which dice will come out. So you really need a mix of strategy but the ability to pivot if the dice you want don't come out. This is my second favourite of the T games. I don't know if the unknown dice coming out is everyones cup of tea but I quite enjoy it. (See my short review here: Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun A Quick Review | Board Game Atlas)
- #Teotihuacan: City of Gods: My favourite T game and the first one I played. Move worker dice around the rondel. Make points by researching technologies, building and decorating the pyramid (which is built up of cool wooden tiles), and worshipping at the temples. As you take actions you "power up" your worker dice. Using more and/or more powerful dice makes your actions more powerful but at some point the worker becomes a 6 and "dies" to be reborn as a 1 dice at the start of the rondel. Cocoa is key to the game as you pay it to take actions, buy tiles, and feed your workers at the end of each "eclipse". Another game that mixes tactics with strategy. It is a race so sticking to a plan when some juicier opportunity crops up isn't great but just moving willy nilly won't get you anywhere either. My favourte of the T games and one of my favourites of all time!
- #Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire: This one is an odd duck. The board has three areas to it. The middle of the board contains the worship spaces that your priests move around to take actions. The far outside of the board represents outside territories that you conqure, and the majority of the board contains massive amounts of places to put your workers. Those spaces are surrounded by actions. Depending on the worker you place, where you place it, and the workers around your placement you get to take one or more actions from the board. This includes building buildings, building statues, getting warriors etc. At the top of the board your priests move and have you do much bigger actions which is where you end up getting a lot of your points. On an initial play we all focused on the huge worker placement space but in reality those are just areas to get resources to fuel the powerful priest actions. Build tapestries, conquer areas, build statues, like the other T games there are a lot of mechanisms in this game. I think this game is tied with Tzolkin in third place behind Tekhenu in second and Teotihuacan in first. It's not a bad game at all but doesn't quite grab me. (See my short review here: Tawantinsuyu - A Short Review | Board Game Atlas)
- #Azul: A classic game which now has many versions. I think for me I prefer the original in its pure form. Take all of the same tile from different platforms and add them to your board. Any tiles you don't take go to the middle. Any tiles you can't place fall to your boards "floor" and get you negative points. By the end of the round there are going to be some big amounts of tiles in the middle. Who is going to be forced to take that pile and get nailed by a ton of negatives? The placement rules and scoring take a bit of thought initially but most people are rolling along after the first round. Great game for gamers and non-gamers alike!
- #Vikings Raid & Conquer Game: I think this is a bit of an underrated deck building game. No, it's not a 10/10 by any means but this one is a lot of fun with the right group. At the beginning of the round decide, do you want to defend your land, attack an opponent or go on a raid? Play your hand, draw cards, bury treasure, acquire vikings, and then you take the action you decided at the beginning of the round. Attack another player, if you win you get their treasure. Maybe they went raiding so their homeland is easier to attack. Or see who played out the most leadership and gets to lead the viking raid on the treasures. The leader gets the big reward the helpers don't get nearly as much. Do you have enough leadership or will someone else take over? I just love the combat aspect of the game. It reminds me a lot of #Arctic Scavengers: Base Game + HQ + Recon. With the right group who can really embrace the combat aspects this game is a blast.
- #AuZtralia: This is an odd game with a connection to Brass as Martin Wallace designed both games. Once again you are building railroads but this time it's in the outback. And Cthulu has retreated there after being defeated. It's such an odd game that sees the players needing to beat each other but also making sure that Cthulu doesn't win. I've played it a couple of times now, solo and multiplayer and it's a solid if not great game but it's such a odd ball I don't see it ever leaving my collection! (Reviewed by me here too: R0land's Rambling Reviews: Auztralia | Board Game Atlas)
These shelf photos are from last June but I have added a few more games to the collection so I'll have one more "shelf" of new games to go over next week!