Stabcon Summer 2010 - The Games

So to the games I played whilst at Stabcon.

Kleine Fische (or Duck Duck Bruce) (Age 7+, 2-4 players, 15 to 20 mins) 
Cards from Kleine Fische
Played with Andy, his wife Mary and her visiting sister Kristina (over from the US), Tim and myself. Kristina must be very dedicated not only has she flown thousands of miles to help her sister but is also now being entranced (I think this is a fair description or is it brainwashed!) by the delights of board games. Having never played them before I think she is building a list of those she would like for her own collection when she gets backhome, if recollection hasn’t failed me this would include Stone Age and Shadow Hunters (see below).

Kleine Fische is a simple and delightful card game where you collect as many fish as possible. You keep turning over cards until either you elect to stop in which case they go into your hand or you get a duplicate fish (normally caused by the desire to have just one more fish, also called
greed) in which case you loose most of those turned over. If you turn over an octopus then there is a chance to steal another player’s card. This game is supposed to be played with only 4 but worked well with 5!

A good game for younger members of the family and as a light starter or end game, with attractive and amusing images of fish and octopus,

Hick Hack (or Pick Picknic) (Age 8+, 2-6 players, 30 mins) 
Players involved in Pick Picknic
For Hick Hack 'Pick Picknic' we were joined by Steve and Ian so again pushed the boundaries of the suggested maximum number of players for this game. In this game you aim to collect as much feed as possible for your farm birds, and avoid the unwanted attentions of Mr Fox. It has great artwork and again a simple concept although with more interaction between the players as the birds fight over the feed or the foxes fight over the birds.
A close up of the playing pieces from Pick Picknic
A quick game that would again work well with children and or as a starter / end game.

11 Nimmt (Age 8+, 2 -7 players, 30 mins) 
Continuing with the same players we thought we would try out a game whose maximum number of players equalled those sitting round the table – an innovative approach. 11 Nimmt is apparently a variant on the popular 6 Nimmt (I hadn’t heard of either of them). The cards are numbered 1-100, and each card has a number of bullheads on it. Each player starts with ten cards in hand and is trying to discard those cards to win the round. The player who goes out scores zero points, while everyone else loses points equal to the number of bullheads on their cards.

Stacks of cards during a game of 11 Nimmt
More details on how the game works can be found on Boardgamegeek. A good game for working with children, it is both fun and will help them with their addition. That said it didn’t make me want to rush out and buy it.

Shadow Hunters (Age 10+, 2-8 players, 30 mins) 
Players and a 'hand' during a game of Shadow Hunters
Like Bang or Saboteur this is a fight between three sides, in the case of this game Shadows (the bad guys) the Shadow Hunters (the good guys) and the Neutrals caught in the cross fire. Personally I really like Bang and think it is a simpler game to explain and get going, however my inclination these days is to avoid exclusion games as this inevitably results in players being removed from the game whilst others continue and so Saboteur works best for me. However if you like these kinds of games Shadow Hunters handles up to 8 players has an interesting theme and good artwork.

Ra (Age 12+, 2-5 Players, 60 mins) 
The board and playing pieces from RA
Following my disastrous introduction at the UK Games Expo to a bidding game (Workshop of the world) I had been keen to play one of the best known bidding board games, Ra, and had mentioned this to both Tim and Steve, who with the help of Paul took on the challenge of introducing me to this game.

You can immediately tell that this is an award winning German game the pieces are a delight, the board attractive and the mechanics simple but resulting in an interesting game that everybody has a chance at winning. The game centres around collecting tiles representing various aspects of Ancient Egyptian culture via an auction system, that can be initiated by any player at any time or by the game itself.

Players during the game of Ra, a thoughtful pose
The game design sets the theme of the game as Ancient Egypt, however ultimately it has very little to do with that period of history but if you are not looking for a games that ties into the historical dynamics of that period of history then that shouldn’t’ be a problem either. Definitely a game to add to the collection, at some point, and a much more enjoyable experience than the game Workshop of the World described elsewhere in this blog. So thanks guys for introducing me to this game.

Alhambra (Age 8+, 2-6 players, 60 mins) 
Following a quick Indian with Tim and a couple of guys from the Stockport board gaming scene we returned for a final game of the night.

My small palace complex during the game of Alhambra
Quickly bumping into Andy, Mary, Kristine, Tim and I joined them for a game of Alhambra. This is another German award winning game that involves managing the opportunity to acquire more money or architectural elements for your palace. These elements are represented by square counters not unlike those in Carcassonne but that is the where the resemblance to that game ends. As you would expect with an award winning game the play is on the one hand simple whilst presenting a number of alternatives that allow players to follow different approaches to building their palace complex’s, Kristina I noted favoured gardens whilst Andy managed to surround his towers, palaces, gardens and guest houses with a massive protective wall that ultimately ensured he finished as the winner of this game.

Happy gamers at Stabcon
A nice theme with great artwork and playing pieces that has a game mechanic different from any games currently in the collection.

An evening spent playing a variety of new games and meeting some really nice people. That's probably why people travel so far to go to Stabcon twice a year.

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