Did some gaming with Steve and Johnny again last night.
First up was Lost Legacy: The Flying Garden. It’d be easy to summarise this as a more in depth, tactical Love Letter. What it loses in simplicity it gains in depth with a little more variety and chance a core part of the game. I’m not sure it’s as “fun” as Love Letter, but it was a nice game to start with. Steve won the race to 3 points, the cad.
It’s built in much the same way – a limited number of cards with each player starting with a hand of 1. On each turn, they draw one and play one (discard it), placing it face up in front of them. At that point any effects are carried out. They key variation is the existence of an area called the “ruins” – an area next to the deck which starts with one face down card. Through the game, more cards will be added to the ruins, face down, which adds an element of randomness while removing the card counting element of Love Letter, for better or worse.
Once all the cards in the deck have been used, if any players are left in the game they enter an investigation phase. This is where the player with the lowest numbered card gets to guess where the “Lost Legacy” is – whether it’s in a player’s hand (including their own) or the ruins (picking one card).
Next up was Dungeon Raiders, a little card game recommended by Cardboard Children. None of us had ever played it and, frankly, the instruction booklet makes it feel much less accessible than it is.
In a nutshell, you create 5 random levels of a dungeon using the cards in the box. This is relatively easy to do. You then lay out some shop items across the top, give each player cards labelled 1-5 and sort them out with their starting treasure and health tokens. Then, layout the first level of the dungeon (5 cards). As each of those is revealed, and some may already be, players work together to either minimise their negative effect, buy what’s in the shop, or kill a monster.
But! You can only use each of your power cards once per level, and when you get to the end game if you have the least health you’re out, and the winner is the player left alive with the most treasure. Some of the shop cards, if you start with them or buy them, allow you to peak at what’s coming up on the level, or wait to decide which card you’re laying. It’s pretty cool – it’s basic maths with co-op dungeon exploring thrown in, with everyone knowing they may just be stitching each other up.
It worked great in 3 player as you’d only ever have just enough power to get through a dungeon – I suspect in larger groups players get killed off earlier in the game more often. As it only takes around 20 minutes to play a game, though, that’s not a problem at all. We very quickly settled into trying to kill each other horribly while smiling politely at each other.
Our first game ended with Steve having heaps of money but the least health, which in the game means you bleed out and die without winning. Johnny then emerged the victor. In our second game – which lasted 15-20 minutes now we had the rules down – we all made it to the end with 1 health left. But, because there wasn’t anyone with the least health, we all bled out and died and nobody won. Fun stuff.
On to Lords Of Waterdeep. I’ve only played this the once with the guys but they’ve had lots of practice so I was a little nervous. It is brilliant, I absolutely love it. At a shallow level it, Ankh-Morpork and Kingsburg share elements but I think Waterdeep is the more accessible of them, and the better for it. I’d try an explain it here but I’m not that good for this type of game – you lay a set number of agents to get resources over a set number of turns and to try to win with the most points.
Despite holding my own for much of the game, Johnny stormed ahead on the final turn and beasted us both. I’m trying to thin out my collection at the moment but could see myself picking this up and seeing if the wife likes it. I’m just not sure how it would lend itself to a 2 player experience, but then I said the same of Ticket To Ride.
Finally, we played a few rounds of Love Letter which immediately proved itself to be more fun and lighter than Lost Legacy (it lacks both the ruins element and the investigation phase and the cards have different effects), but is effectively the same otherwise) but also continued to confuse Steve with its complex “take a card, play a card” structure. I managed to win the race to three cubes after 7 rounds.
While there’s no need to go over the game’s mechanics, the version we played with (and there are a few now) was the Kanai Limited Edition pictured above. The artwork on it is absolutely gorgeous.