Catch-up: Resistance, Age of Steam, Arkadia

Last Wednesday was a nice day of games. Some Die Dolmengötter, a quick and brutal Innovation and first go at The Resistance, the new Werewolf-style game which is faster and removes the player elimination.

The Resistance coverIt’s an interesting game. Players form two teams. Leader chooses a group to go on a mission. The players on the mission can sabotage the mission and if even one player sabotages, the mission fails. One team wins if enough missions succeed, the other wins on failures.

Players must figure out who’s on which side (the bad guys — the minority — know each other, the good guys don’t know who’s who) and then the good guys must avoid losing the game. It’s an interesting thing and plays fast — we played three rounds with five players in just 15 minutes or so.

With five players, it’s not very interesting. I’m sure it gets better with more. I’d buy the game, if I regularly needed something quick for up to ten players. I don’t, so I won’t.

Random cards
Some random cards from The Resistance. Photo: Mikko Saari

Innovation was quick and brutal and fun. 6-0! I got the expansion, by the way, and already received the PDF version — the final product should arrive later this year (Q3, says Chris Cieslik). The PDF solution was fun, and made me preorder. I already printed it out, now I just need Hannu to give it a go with me. The expansion looks like fun.

Instead of telling you how badly I played Die Dolmengötter, I’ll share this photo.

My red druid got stuck
My red druid got stuck. Photo: Mikko Saari

Today I was able to participate in the classic weekend sessions. It’s been a while! I tossed some suggestions and Olli was interested in Age of Steam. Suits me. I want to get Age of Steam on table at least five times this year, so it means one play per quartal and then one more.

We played California Gold Rush from Bèzier. In this expansion there’s a strip of easy terrain on coast, then lots of mountains. Mountains have gold, though. Gold can be picked from hexes instead of moving goods. Gold nets you no income, but is worth five income in the end of the game, after the final income reduction. Very powerful!

We left most of the gold in the hills. We were a bit too poor… Three out of four maxed out on shares and I took 13. One player went bankrupt. Interesting game, lots of tough fighting for the good terrain and close scores (except for the bankruptcy): 74, 71, 68.

I got a DGT Cube game clock (it’s a cube, and you turn the side of the active player up, very simple) and we used that. No time limits, just counting the time spent by player. The bankrupt player was fastest, she played almost till the end and spent almost 9 minutes. I spend about 13 minutes, Olli almost 18 minutes and the other Olli about 23 minutes. 10 minutes was spent on production and other maintenance.

That gets us a total of 80 minutes or so. Replace the slow Ollis with some copies of me and hey presto, Age of Steam in 60 minutes! Jokes aside, I think the clock was a good idea and probably made the game a bit faster even though we had no penalties for extra time or anything like that.

Olli and Olli in deep concentration
The two Ollis thinking. I think we need more first names here. Photo: Mikko Saari

Up next: String Railway. Nothing particularly notable in it, except for the first time we have less than five players. The three-player game, with a proper triangular playing area, is a refreshing experience. Also, my worries about the weak starting player position are removed, as I read the rules more closely and noticed the first player gets an extra tile.

Of course, that did nothing to help me actually win from the first position.

String Railway tracks.
Three-player game in a triangular land. Photo: Mikko Saari

A rare treat: new game, taught by someone else. Still, why play a fresh game when you can try a classic from 2006? We played Arkadia, a nice tactical exercise from Rüdiger Dorn and Ravensburger. As a general rule I don’t like Dorn’s games, but Arkadia is a fun game. Being fast helps: 35 minutes or so with three players.

Players build buildings, surround them with other buildings and workers to collect seals, which are scored in the end and up to four times during the game. The values of the seals fluctuates by the players’ actions, so it’s important to score them while the scores are high.

I did ask Olli for a good price for the seals, considering that something important enough to not learn from experience. Olli said five points is very good and four passable. Armed with that knowledge I cashed in my seals quickly, spending all four actions in the first half of the game.

I’m happy to report I squeezed in a victory — the final scores were 109, 108 and 70. Of course, to make it a bit sweeter, we used the clock in this game as well, and I spent just 6.5 minutes on my turns, when both Ollis spent more than 13 minutes each.

The castle in Arkadia
Arkadia is a warm land, with lots of dudes standing around and a nice castle. Photo: Mikko Saari

For a closer, we played a game of Die Aufsteiger. A fun game of climbing, that one… We built a most outrageous tower. I could’ve won, but got too excited and kept on going higher. Of course I lost the game. I got to the top, but the other guy was there first. Still, a fun way to end a game session.

Die Aufsteiger tower
The resulting tower. It got a bit wobbly in the end. Photo: Mikko Saari

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