Well, it happened! Two of the big names at the top of my wishlist arrived 2-days early!!! Woo Hoo!!!!
I am so excited to have these two in my collection. I sat at the table for 4.5-5hrs after dinner last night, unboxing, learning and playing through some "multiplayer" games (by myself) to get things figured out and loved every minute of it.
I first headed to the future - 2077 I believe it is with Terraforming Mars. I was excited to get it to the table (after reading the rules and watching a video) and to see why it sits at #4 on BGG's top 100 list. I quickly realized how the somewhat "intimidating" initial look at the game, is like some others I have; it's really not intimidating at all! The gameplay is very smooth, and the engine building aspect (which I love) is very smooth. I feel where some may get lost (like other games on my shelf, such as Caverna) is simply because you have so many options of what you can do! Not because of the gameplay itself. These are my favourite kind of games. So much depth. :)
I kept saying to my wife and daughters last night; "If you need me, I'll be on Mars." :) So much fun!! I'm excited to head back to the future, and Mars, today to try the actual solo mode now that I have the idea of the game.
I can't wait to play it with someone else as well. As much as I loved learning the ins and outs of the game (as always), I feel handling two player boards/cards etc... I most likely missed several possible options of how/what I could play on various turns. It's all good though, I had a blast!
After spending time with my corporation and TM, I came back to earth to head to the past. 857 AD I believe it is, as I unboxed Architects of the West Kingdom. (Shem Phillips you've done it again! Not that there was every any doubt!)
I understand the talk and hype around this game now as well. For me, the artwork being similar to Raiders of the North Sea is a major draw. The colours are bold, the art is fantastic... I love it!
The theme in the game is wonderful, as you try to impress the King by building structures around the village and/or focusing your attention on building the cathedral as well. The game brings some tough choices in ways of losing or gaining virtue through honest, or not-so-honest work, as well as capturing workers and sending them to prison (and getting workers out of prison), paying off debts, gaining rewards.... It's amazing what goes on!
I think one of the things that stands out aside from the artwork is the worker placement mechanism that Shem has in this game. Plus the fact that you have 20 workers! Whoa! In Architects, you not only place workers as you would in a typical workers placement game, but you also can get them back, and at times lose them. It's a matter of managing your workers on your player mat to ensure you have enough to get jobs done so to not slow down your plans, while also capturing opponent workers to slow down their plans. Amazing! It was a constant flow of workers on and off the player mat. Such a cool twist to a mechanism I really love in games.
After playing a solo "multiplayer game", I couldn't resist and hopped into a full fledged solo game. I only did one thing wrong with one of the AI cards which gave them a few more points in the end than they should've had. But regardless, I lost. LOL Having ROTNS, the use of symbols, the AI in solo play etc... felt quickly familiar and allowed me to "get it" quickly. Shem does a really great job for his fans of keeping a familiar feel in his various games, yet still giving you a very different experience.
I can't wait to post more about these two great games. They were rightfully at the top of my wishlist, and they also are rightfully both in BGG's top 100 list. FANTASTIC travels to both past and future! :)