August 2017 Minutes

MB Minutes August 2, 2017, 7 PM, Arc of Southeast Iowa

  1. Call to Order
  2. Minutes – reading waived, posted online
  3. Treasurer’s Report: we have lots more money than last month but AI bills have not been paid yet
  4. Convention Reports Read More »
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Game Review: Diamonds

Diamonds
Stronghold Games, 2014

Diamonds is a entrancing two to six player trick taking game. The object is to collect as many diamond crystals as you can. You collect “diamonds” for suit actions.

Players start with a hand of ten cards. The dealer then determines how many cards each player will pass, either one, two or three. Not passing is not an option, and cards will always pass to the left. Once everyone has their final hand of ten cards, the player to the left of the dealer will lead.

You must follow suit, if you have it. But here’s the twist. If you don’t have the suit led, you may play a different suit AND take it’s suit action. Each suit has it’s own unique suit action. Suit actions will let you collect crystals from the pool, steal from other players, or store crystals in your vault. Crystals in your vault cannot be stolen.  You also take the suit action when you win a trick, and at the end of the round, the player with the most of each suit, will get that suit action as a bonus. Any player who took no tricks gets to take two diamond suit actions.

The number of rounds you play depends on the number of players. At the end of the last round, players will total up the number of crystals they have in their vault are worth two points, while collected crystals out side of your vault only count one point. The player with the most points wins.

I love a good trick taking game, and this one sure qualifies. There is always some strategy in knowing which card to throw off when you can’t play on a trick. Diamonds makes this one step harder. When you play off on a hand, you get to take the suit action for the card you played. This makes each card valuable in a different way. It may be valuable to keep in order to take a trick later on, or it may be worth more to use it’s suit action. It’s these decisions that give Diamonds an edge over other trick taking games.

The game recommends two to six players ages 8+. The game actually comes with a separate set of rules for two player. I’d recommend four or five players as working the best. Because the deck comes with 60 cards, and each player is only dealt 10, the strategy varies based on the number of players as the entire deck is shuffled each round, so you won’t necessarily know which cards are in play at any given round.

Anecdotally, I was running a Diamonds tournament at our local game convention (Gamicon), and had a 10 year old who wanted to play. She had never played a trick taking game before, so we taught the basics of trick taking games first, then added in the suit actions bit. She completely lost the first round (but never misplayed). But then steadily throughout the tournament rounds got better and better, and almost won! It is really an easy game to pick up. It’s a lot of fun, and offers something new to the veteran card player, while still be fun and exciting for the newbie!

I highly recommend adding Diamonds to your collection, especially if you already enjoy trick taking card games.

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Game Review: Slide Blast

Slide Blast
FoxMind Games, 2016

Attention “serious” gamers. Before you look at this game and say “nah, too light” or “kid’s game”, give it one try. Despite the 7+ age recommendation, I promise it’ll be worth your time.

In Slide Blast, you are creating waterslides at a waterpark. Your goal is to make the longest slide possible. You create your slide by playing tiles, adding them to the end of your slide and attempting to connect to unclaimed areas before your opponents can. You begin the game with one tile in your “hand”, each turn you will draw a tile, and then place one of the two in your hand. After placing your tile, you move to the end of your slide. For those of you who have played “Tsuro” this mechanic will be familiar.

There is an initial inclination to try to direct your slide away from other players. But after some game play, you will find that interaction with other players is key if you wish to connect your slide to other slide pieces being created as the board takes shape. If you place a tile, and happen to move another player’s pawn as well, you will get bonus tiles that give you extra points at the end of the game. Strategic tile placement may also head your opponent away from sections they may be trying to capture.

Although easy to learn, this game may take some time to master, but is still accessible to younger players. Younger players will tend to focus solely on adding to their own slide, without taking advantage of tiles placed by other players. I have found this game to be fun for both adults and kids in a way that few other games seem to manage.

Additional large tiles and tunnels make give a little bit of luck to an otherwise very strategic game, as well as adding some fun theme features. The theme and gameplay interweave very well in this game, and complement each other to create a very immersive experience. A real life slide created with lots of twists and turns is more fun than a straight one. In the game, a slide with lots of twists and turns will also tend to get you more points.

The artwork is eye-catching and fun. I recently ran a demo of this, and had people of all ages asking about it as we played. Everyone, from a young boy, to older adults enjoyed the game and when we finished, I had people asking to borrow it to play again. I had never heard of this game before I received this copy to demo, but rest assured I will be bringing it out often, to all different types of groups. This could be a great gateway game if you are looking for something to play with your non-gamer friends and family. Oh, and it has AWESOME meeples!

Highly recommended to EVERYONE…. Really!

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July 2017 Minutes

Mindbridge Meeting Minutes for Wednesday July 5, 2017 7 pm Denny Lynch Home

  1. Call to Order
  2. Minutes – posted online, reading waived.
  3. Treasurer’s Report – we have less money than last month after lots of AI bills.
  4. Convention Reports Read More »
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