Board game club: Age of Steam, End of the Triumvirate

Box front: Age of Steam

It’s been a while since my last visit to the board game club. Yesterday I was able to go, and had enough time, too, to play some heavier games. We started with Age of Steam: Mississippi Steamboats, one of Ted Alspach’s expansions. It’s a long and narrow board, split by the big river. Urbanization doesn’t turn towns to cities, but adds new cities to the river as steamboats. Goods can be moved to the boats, from the boats and cross the river through the boats. On the banks, distances between cities are fairly long.

It’s a strange expansion. It was fun, but the boats are quite random (they move 2d6 hexes each turn), so you can’t really count on them — which was, sort of, the point of my strategy. I did a marvellous move on the last turn, though: I carried a blue cube from a city to the steamboat next to the city — but took the cube for a ride, passing it first south by the river, then across the river on a different steamboat, then up the river on the other bank and from there to the waiting steamboat, for six links. Pretty neat!

So, not a bad expansion, but not one of my favourites, either. Mississippi Steamboats doesn’t make my "this one needs to be played again" list right now.

Ubongo box

I played the big Ubongo — actually first time with the correct rules. Last time I played, we picked up the gems after the timer had run out, in a peaceful and ordered fashion. I prefer the more hectic version. The guys who I played with deserve some credit: they hadn’t played before, but opted for the more difficult version straight away.

End of the Triumvirate box

After some quick card games (Coloretto, good fun after a long break and Briscola, which was pretty good with just two), it was time for The End of the Triumvirate, which I bought from Tommy last Spring. Now I got it on the table!

It’s a three-player semiwargame set in the ancient Rome, where Caesar, Pompeius and Crassus duke it out, fighting for the ultimate power in Rome. There are three paths to victory: military dominance, political power and gaining superior competence. The players move their character, leading legions and collecting money. Battles are simple affairs: one-for-one attrition battles with a small random element included to spice things up.

It’s a clean, neat game and rather well done. It’s just that I don’t really like the genre… The whole concept of preventing other players from winning the game as the main purpose of the game just doesn’t work for me. Here it’s almost ok, as the game is forced to progress and end fairly soon (it can’t just go on forever, which would make it really, really bad), so yeah, I could see myself playing this again — it was sort of fun. However, this one goes to the trade pile. Good game, sure, but not for me.

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