Match Report 22nd November 2010

Another Games Night saw the return of a number of by now familiar faces (Daniella, Matt, Malcolm, Crispin and Ian) in spite of my mentioning that we would be trying out two new games.

Dominion (Age 10+, 2-4 players, 30 min playing time)
If you get bored jump down to the 5th paragraph 

Well the first new game to the group was the 2009 Spiel des Jahre winner, Dominion. A card game (unlike anything I had ever played before) where the theme is vaguely medieval - you seek to build up your Dominion of Estates (worth 1 Victory point), Duchies (worth 3 Victory points) and Provinces (worth 6 Victory points). The game commences with each player having 7 copper cards and 3 estate cards, you shuffle these and deal yourself 5 cards with which you play the first round, the remainder makes up your Deck.

During their turn a player uses the 5 cards in their hand to do the following:

A. Perform an action (or actions if allowed by your cards)

B. Buy a new card (or cards if allowed by your cards). There are a number of stacks of cards (see below) laid out in the centre of the table that you can buy.

C. Clean up your used cards and put them in your discard pile and deal yourself 5 new cards from your deck i.e. the unused cards from the start of the game. (Once your deck is exhausted you take your discard pile i.e. the original 10 starting cards plus any additional ones you have bought, and shuffle them before dealing yourself 5 more cards with which to play the next round). As the game progresses this constant addition to your hand increases the strength of your deck whilst the shuffling means you can never be quite sure what you will get in your hand at any one time.

When you buy more cards you have a number of alternative options laid out in front of you, with costs ranging from 0 (yep!) to 8:

· Kingdom Card – There are 10 alternative stacks of 10 cards e.g. Militia, Market, Village etc. Each card type provides some benefit once it is in your hand, such as more money, actions or various special powers.

· Treasure Cards – Gold (with a value of 3), Silver (with a value of 2), and Copper (with a value of 1). The value equates to buying power and so they help in acquiring other cards.

· Victory Cards - The previously mentioned Estates, Provinces and Duchies

The game ends when either all the Province cards have been purchased or three of the other Victory or Kingdom card stacks of are exhausted.

(5th Paragraph!) If you have read this far well done and if you were like me when ever I read a review of Dominion you are probably going, “sounds a bit dull”. Well all I can say is I was wrong this is an awesome game with massive re-playability. The game itself comes with 25 different sets of Kingdom cards of which only 10 are used in any one game so it is going to take a while before you have exhausted yourself on them. It is also a fast game as, once you have had your go, you deal yourself 5 new cards and start working out what you are going to do on your next turn. For those who like a bit of mischief in a game then the game has this in bundles, albeit (as you might expect with a Eurogame) more by your ability to impact ALL other players rather than pick on one individual.

The verdict at the end of the group’s first game was a unanimous thumb’s up with a “let’s play that again next time”. If there is a downside it was only that in order to accommodate the group I had to buy the Dominion Intrigue expansion as the basic game accommodates only 4 players. (Having played it at Essen and invested in the two Dominion boxes I was very relieved that the group enjoyed it as much as I had hoped they would.)

Taking a break for the lovely Panettone that Daniella had bought along (for which thank you), we set off for a much more serious game!

Hick Hack (also called Pick Picnic at times) (Age 6+, 2-6 players, 30 min playing time)
The players during a game of Hick HackThis is a game where 6 different types of poultry are represented by square cards in the centre of the table. At the beginning of each turn feed is distributed to the poultry by placing small wooden cubes onto the cards.

As players you have 5 cards representing the various types of poultry or foxes! Each person places one card down in front of them. Once revealed:

1. Players with the same type of poultry typically fight over who gets the feed placed on the relevant card in the centre of the table.

Munchies and the Hick Hack tiles and feed2. The foxes (if they turn up) eat the poultry (if present) or rue the fact that they went after the wrong type of poultry (it happened three times to me last night whilst Malcolm to my right sat chuckling away as his foxes kept eating my poultry- oh the injustice).

This was another game picked up for a mere 7 Euros at Essen which like Straw and Saboteur will, I am sure, become a regular at our games evenings. It is very light but has that mischievous element that people love.

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