Click on the linked names below for those particular games....
‘Metropolys’ by Sebastien Pauchon
'Maharajah' by Kramer and Kiesling
'Magna Grecia' by Michael Schacht and Leo Colovini
'Mexica' by Keisling and Kramer x 2
'Merchants of Amsterdam' by Reiner Knitzia
'Modern Art' by Reiner Knitzia and
'Machu Pichu' by Gunter Burkhardt.
'Modern Naval Battles'
‘News from the North: ‘Mission: Red Planet’ by Bruno Faidutti and Bruno Cathala
Tom and Pete (as said elsewhere) arrive with huge bags of games, many just acquired at Essen. They affect a manner that is a cross between East-end market trader (“Nah then my chirpy cock sparrer – just have a look at these counters”) and a second-hand car salesman (“how about a spin in this one? Goes like a dream. Lovely mechanics”). the Ragnars are spell-bound. In the end Phil breaks the deadlock – “I like that one”. And so he, Roger, Tom, Jason and Dicken settle down to a session of Mission: Red Planet.
This game has it all . Great theme – loading up your space ships, sending colonists out into space, taking over Mars. Great components – chunky space rockets, a nice board, quality cards, an impressive box (all that glisters…. – ed.). The boys can’t go wrong with this one. Or so they think.
A long explanation of the rules follows. These are not complicated; they’re not long. However, there is a nagging doubt creeping in already that this is one of those “simple” games, the one where you listen hard, start thinking of possible tactics, don’t hear the next rule and then develop a paranoia that that rule was the most crucial of the lot – and you didn’t hear it. The character cards, about 10 of them, cause the Ragnars particular difficulties, possibly something to do with the fact that each card has a different capability and because they are played at different points in the turn, things go a little hazy on their relative effectiveness.
But eventually they’re away. Basically, collect colonists, load them on to a space ship (with some scope for altering destinations and scuppering the journey totally) and land them on Mars. Where you land is extremely important: there isn’t much movement on the planet’s surface so getting into the right place is crucial. Each turn a player effectively has a special capability, depending on which character he has chosen. Now, because character’s take their turns in a certain order, there is a lot of ‘deep thought’ in this one (typified, at a Ragnar bash, as ever, by a swig of alcohol followed by a low monotonous sequence of colourful blasphemies).
Phil has a dream game. His bonus cards indicate that it would be common sense to swamp the centre of Mars with his colonists. Fortunately for him, not only are there two 3-Victory Point tokens waiting there, everyone else seems to want to go to the edges of Mars (does a planet have edges? Probably not, but this one does). Incredulously he watches as he is left to his own devices, spaceships head to central Mars on a regular basis, and all in all it’s about as straightforward a comprehensive victory as ever comes along.
Opinion is justifiably divided. Phil is, as ever, irritatingly smug at his tactical acumen, whereas everyone else feels that:
a) the game is too short
b) most of the characters don’t get properly used
c) for a very chaotic game, nothing much seems to have gone on and
d) Phil was unbelievably lucky.
A reasonable outing for the game; it may get another look-in one day. Possibly.
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