With Halloween Horror month behind us, our group moved on from zombies, witches and monsters to something a little more “down to earth”. And by down to earth, I mean, down IN the earth. From mine ore on Mars to building villages in subterranean caverns, we tore through mother earth in about 5 straight hours of gaming. And it was one of our most memorable nights. All three games were a blast. So much of a blast that we even played one of them twice! Here’s what we played…
Let me start by saying that this cooperative card game is downright DIFFICULT to beat! The game is modeled after decendents of the designers who actually fought in the trenches of WWI. Players take on the role of an allied soldier who is working cooperatively to achieve their objective, which is for the most part, surviving. Players are each dealt cards that depict various symbols or are “Hard Knocks” cards that give the individual (or group) a disadvantage. Players take turns trying to rid themselves of their cards and reducing the amount of cards in the stack. Sounds easy right? Not only is it extremely difficult to play cards without failing the mission, but the game is made even more difficult by disallowing communication between players regarding what cards they are holding and what should be played. The more cards held in players hands at the end of a mission means more cards dealt into the mission stack, moving the group closer to failure. I know, I haven’t quite explained it clearly so you’ll just have to give it a shot yourself!
Last week, I played Super Motherload for the first time and absolutely loved it. So of course, we tried another Matt Tolman game; Undermining. A rather simple but strategically difficult game of mining ore on Mars. Players drill their way down and pick up various ore and alien technology, then hustle back to the refinery to harvest their load. But of course, other players are racing you to the best nuggets and doing their best to slow you down or block your path! Players gain points by harvesting ore, completing contracts or purchasing mining vehicle upgrades. However you decide to score your points is up to you, but time is not on your side! We played with 5 players and that seemed to be a perfect amount of people.
This village building game had a fun story telling mechanic similar to that of Arabian Nights or Agents of Smersh. When players use their villagers to explore, they roll dice to determine which scenario to read from the story book. Encounter an old crone who asks you to help her retrieve a magic tome from a nearby cage.. do you help her or try to steal the tome for yourself? Each choice you make determines your reward, or your consequences. We enjoyed playing this game, but beware.. there is not enough time to accomplish everything you set out to do! Grab points quickly because the game will be over before you know it!