Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Alien City -- FAIL!

Tonight, for the first time in a long while, I busted out my Piecepack.

For those of you who don't know, a Piecepack is a sort of "generic, all-purpose" set of board game tools. Think of it as a deck of cards for board games. You can play many, many different games with the same old deck of cards. Well, you can play many, many different board games with a Piecepack.

If you are interested in buying a Piecepack, I recommend Blue Panther as a reseller. If you want to make your own, there are pdf files on the website. You need only print and play.

One of the most highly rated games on the Piecepack is "Alien City." I've read the rules several times, but I've never played. It's a kind of real estate grab game like "Tigris and Euphrates." (I'll play that in the future!)

I dug the rules out and I counted out all the pieces we'd need. I sat down and read the rules to Jeanne and she looked perplexed. I said, let's give it a try. We'll talk about each move as we make them. No since overthinking it at the beginning.

The game requires that you play one of two types of structure, a tower or a dome, each turn. Each space on the game board is color coded based on what "guild" it belongs to. You must play domes on squares the same color as the dome.

The rules for the placement of towers is a bit looser and that's key. Each player is able to claim a total of three towers during the course of the game. These 'claimed' towers are the ones that earn you points.

You earn points based on the total number of customers that are close to a given tower. The catch is that customers must be a different color (or guild) than the tower in order to score. They must also be connected by a road.

This is where things went horribly wrong.

You see, all the empty spaces on the board are roads. You must be careful not to block any given structure in. Each structure must have access to a road and that road cannot be cut off from the other roads.

Simple in theory and easy to understand, but when both players are a bit tired and you've never played this game before -- it's easy to block stuff in. :(

We tried twice. It was interesting. I could start to see strategies developing and then you'd look down and, damn, that dome is blocked in. Who did that? I don't remember.

I put all the pieces in a bag. We'll try again soon.

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