This gaming session there were two games played, the first was Offrandes which I picked up at
last year. Designed by Cedric Lefebvre and produced by Ludonaute, it takes from 3-5 players and claims to play in 60 minutes, only having played it twice I think this can only be achieved with experienced players, it is aimed at age 10+. Essen
The box contains 3 separate playing boards, a quantity of cash, a number of discs in player colours, 7 auction cards and the best bit – lots of wooden animals, namely chickens, pigs, goats, sheep and cows. The rules are clearly written with examples to help. The theme of the game, if not already guessed, is that the people of
in an effort to fend off a plague which is devastating their cities are offering sacrifices to the Gods. It is the player who gains the most points in the game that wins. Greece
|The playing boards|
The game is played in a series of rounds. In each round every player runs a number of auctions after which corruption takes place, then points are awarded for prayer and each player may make a single sacrifice at an altar gaining further points. The game ends when all altars have a sacrifice or someone gains 100 points, at which point game end bonuses are added. As a brief aside for the purists I have missed out a few of the “if and but”/minor rules, so no complaints there please.
There are seven jobs up for grabs which are dealt with by way of auction. The auction process was difficult to get to grips with when I initially read it and equally difficult to explain on the two occasions I have introduced other players to the game, however saying that, after everyone has completed their first round of auctions it all seems so simple and the games have ran smoothly; so feel free not to understand the rest of this paragraph. In short the first player chooses 2 of the jobs for auction and makes an initial bid, if another player is the winner than the first player chooses a second pair to auction off, the winner of the first pair cannot bid. If again another player wins he gets to auction off a third pair in which the previous 2 winners cannot bid. If the first player wins any pair he puts up for auction, then his run of auctions ends at that moment and no further pairs are put up for bidding; all the jobs are collected together and the second player then runs some auctions. This continues until all players have run some auctions. A player can choose to forgo their run of auctions and just pass the job stack on. Now perhaps is the time to explain that money is tight, and at times, very tight. Each round after the sacrifices you get an income of 10 Drachmae, this must last you all the auctions run by all the players this round, the good news is that you can carry money over between rounds but there is a maximum holding of 25.
|Drachmae and start token|
When a player has run his set of auctions all players get to move their markers up the scale of the two jobs they obtained, before handing back the tiles to go to the next player to run his auctions. So what are these jobs, the first is the peasant from whom you take the animals, the higher up his scale the better the type of animal you obtain. The water carrier purifies the animal and the flower carrier adorns the chosen animal type. The lowest on these two scales dictates how many animals get sacrificed. The
allows you to sacrifice at a higher level of altar, the Priestess scale is where you pray for additional victory points during the sacrifice phase. The Briber allows you to corrupt a player whose token is lower than yours on the Soldier scale. Temple Guardian
|The Jobs for auction|
|Soldier and Briber|
|Animals in close up|
It was an enjoyable game and all players said they would be happy to play it again. I myself like the game a lot. The underlying subtleties of doing certain things at the right time keep you thinking throughout the game and the interaction of current token positions with jobs put up for auction will make every game different, and to top it off it comes with loads of wooden animals. Fantastic!
|Loads of wooden animals|
The second game we played was Kingsburg from Stratelibri, this game is well thought of in gaming circles and there are enough reviews out there for me to keep this one short and sweet. A brief overview of the game is that there are 5 game years over which you try to accumulate the most victory points. Each game year is split into the four seasons; in each of the first 3 seasons you get to roll a set of dice, place these dice on the playing board, gather resources based upon your selection and then use those resources to build one building. In the fourth season there is an attack which every player must defend against. Success brings bonuses, defeat results in losses.
The resource spaces may include one or more of the following resources/options :-
Gold, Wood, Stone, A Good of choice, Combat Bonus, A +2 Chit (which can be used to boost a die roll) , A Victory Point, and Advance information of the enemy to be fought in the last season. Most of the victory points you gain will be from the buildings you build, however these also provide in-game benefits such as combat bonuses, die rolling bonuses or boost to Victory Points when doing certain things.
During the game you will build about half of the buildings, so early choices have to be made as certain advanced buildings cannot be built until the relevant minor building has been built.This game again was new to the group, however the basic rules were easier to explain and the building/crib sheet is an excellent player aid. Despite not finishing until we all had a good game and everyone was happy for a revisit on another occasion.
won the game and it pays homage to his capacity for new information that this was the third new game that evening, that I had taught him the rules to. The first being Antiquity by Splotter, as we were soon to be playing it by post.This had taken the first hour of the evening as I had had to run a dummy game through the first few turns to fully explain the interaction of the mechanics. A review for another day. Gary
Anyway, back to Kingsburg, this will be a favourite for a while with its very well balanced mechanism, playing equally well with anywhere between 2 and 5 players. I am hoping to pick up the expansion set for it soon, I will do a full review of this game then.