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Thursday, March 17, 2005


Hunters and Gatherers review. HotS.

Had the chance to play Hunters and Gatherers Carcassonne several more times since my initial comments. I find that I continue to enjoy the game. It isn't a game that I would waste time playing with my serious game buddies, although they introduced me to it, but it is a good game for casual gamers or a mixed group of casual gamers and serious gamers.

The added elements: bonus tiles, huts, no scoring for incomplete items, tigers, and fish all work together to give added dimension to the regular game. It turns regular Carcassonne from a party game to a light (quite light) strategy game. The H&G version is much more pleasing to look at, also. The hideous colors of the original have been replaced with more aesthetically pleasing colors. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I think Hunters and Gatherers may replace Settlers of Catan as my go-to game to introduce new gamers to German games. Not that it is better than Settlers, but my enthusiasm for Settlers is waning due to excessive play.

Brief review of H&G Carc.

In H&G players draw and place tiles to create a land of forests, meadows, and rivers. Players must place new tiles adjacent to already placed tiles in a logical manner (i.e. forest sides must be placed next to forest sides, rivers must continue through the next tile). After placing a tile the player has the option of placing a meeple (pawn), or a hut on that tile. The meeple must be placed on the forest, meadow or the river. The hut may only be placed on the river. When the forest or river is complete, and there are pawns on said forest or river, they will score the owner some points.

When the forest or river is completed the meeple(s) are removed from that particular forest or river (provided that there are any), returned to the owner and the points are calculated. Each river scores one point for each fish in the lakes at either end of the river, plus one point for each tile that the river runs through.

Each forest scores 2 points for each tile that the forest occupies. Plus, if there is a gold nugget on any of the forest segments a bonus tile is drawn. Bonus tiles are a separate set of tiles that have some good stuff on them. One of the bonus tiles depicts a shine, if a meeple is place on the shrine it locks in the adjacent meadow so that only the owner of the shrine can score that meadow. Another bonus tile depicts a fire. If the fire tile is adjacent to a meadow the saber-tooth tigers in that meadow don't count against deer in the meadow for meadow scoring (see below). There are a dozen or more bonus tiles.

Each meadow is scored at the end of the game. Meadows are scored differently. For each animal, other than saber-tooth tigers, that is contained in that meadow the player with a meeple in that meadow scores 2 points. For each tiger in the meadow one deer is not counted.

At the end of the game each hut is scored. Huts score one point for each fish in the entire river system. Incomplete rivers and forest are not scored at the end of the game as they are in the original Carcassonne.

Doesn't sound that different from the original Carcassonne, does it? On its face I should despise the game in the same manner that I despise Carcassonne. But, got to say it is a good light game.

Other notes of interest to me.

Got to play Hammer of the Scots with one of my serious game buddies. I played the Scots. Got my ass kicked in short order. I've been hinting that he would like the game for a year or more. He is an old-school hex and counter guy. He looooooooves ASL and the like. (As a side note I agreed to learn ASL, will experience my first ASL butt-kicking this weekend.) HotS is an enjoyable wargame. Each side has vastly different abilities, and obstacles, yet it is fairly well balanced. I've read a few reviews that give the advantage to the English, I suspect they are correct, yet it isn't an overwhelming advantage. I like exploring asymmetrical sides.

Game night at the Boys and Girls Club has been disappointing for the last month or month and a half. All the kids that routinely played games ceased attending the club on a regular basis, and there were 4 of them. Several of the kids that occasionally play have continued to occasionally play, but it hasn't been uncommon for me to be playing with only one other player. Had no kids interested in playing on one occasion.

Part of the problem is in my schedule. I had been working the night shift, so I was always there on the same day each week, Thursday. Got switched to evenings and have been working about every other Thursday evening. That puts a crimp in things.

Heroscape continues to draw some interest, so I've been bringing that regularly. Star Wars: Epic Duels is also popular.

Good gaming,

P.S. Dame Coldfoot has been hinting that she has some good comments to post concerning cleavage on my previous entry. Just hasn't had the time to post it yet. Thought I will would put the pressure on her by making note of it in this entry.

CC:H&G try the following:

Give each player one bridge token - a half a match will do, and it doesn't matter what color it is.

During a player's turn, instead of playing a meeple, they can play their bridge which links two meadows.

The implications of this piece take several playings to discover.

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